Former Mauritanian President gets five years on corruption conviction

Former Mauritanian President gets five years on corruption conviction

On December 5th a Mauritanian court sentenced former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to five years in prison on charges of money laundering and self-enrichment; as reported by the Associated Press, the trial, which lasted 11 months, accused Ould Abdel Aziz and other high-ranking Mauritanian officials of diverting funds from the nation for their personal gain.

This incident stands as a landmark case in which an African leader has been prosecuted for corruption.

Ould Abdel Aziz's lawyers consistently framed the trial as a matter of score-settling between him and current President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani.

“This is a political verdict whose ultimate objective is to deprive the president of civic rights,” defense lawyer Taleb Khyar told the AP.

The rift between Ould Abdel Aziz and Ghazouani emerged after the latter became president in 2019, marking the country's first peaceful transfer of power since its independence.

The discord between the two leaders intensified when Ould Abdel Aziz sought to assume control of a major political party following his departure from office. Subsequently, a parliamentary commission initiated a corruption investigation against Ould Abdel Aziz and 11 other defendants in 2020. Notably, in the recent court ruling, four former government ministers, including two prime ministers, were acquitted of similar charges.

The court's decision included the confiscation of Ould Abdel Aziz's illegally obtained assets, while several charges--such as embezzlement and harm to the public good--were dropped.


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