Empire News Africa

African Entertainment News Online…

Mauritania: ex-president Mohamed Abdel Aziz seems in courtroom as corruption trial opens

Spread the love

The trial of former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz opened Wednesday in Nouakchott, providing the distinctive picture of a former head of state positioned in a cage-like field to reply for illicit enrichment.

Tried for abusing his energy to amass an enormous fortune, the person who led from 2008 to 2019 this largely desert nation of 4.5 million folks twice the scale of France stood up and waved when his identify was known as, then sat down behind the gates within the entrance row of 10 defendants current.

Former presidents, prime ministers, ministers and businessmen, they’re charged with “illicit enrichment”, “abuse of workplace”, “affect peddling” or “cash laundering” for an unknown time frame. Mr. Aziz, 66 years previous, denies the details and cries of a plot to take away him from politics.

In a white boubou, a surgical masks concealing a part of his bald head and his skinny moustache, Mr. Aziz has silently adopted the president’s interminable efforts to cease the confusion of the organising and to discover a house on the concrete benches for the hundred or so attorneys current within the immense trendy courtroom with the air of a bunker plunged into the darkness.

These delays don’t detract from the extraordinary nature of the second, together with past this pivotal nation between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, which was as soon as shaken by coups d’état and jihadist actions, however returned to stability beneath Mr. Aziz when bother was brewing within the area.

“It’s a first within the historical past of Mauritania and maybe even in that of the Arab world {that a} former president explains his enrichment,” Brahim Ebetty, one among a number of attorneys representing the state, informed AFP.

Mr. Aziz is among the few former heads of state to be held accountable for a way he enriched himself whereas in energy. His friends on trial in nationwide or worldwide courts are totally on trial for blood crimes.

– Give the cash again –

“All of the folks within the field have used the identify of the state, the workplace of the state, particularly Mr. Aziz” to complement themselves, mentioned President Ebetty.

A number of Mauritanians interviewed by AFP hope that the trial will set an instance in a rustic ranked one hundred and fortieth out of 180 by the anti-corruption group Transparency Worldwide.

Maybe distinctive, the second might by no means be documented in footage. The judiciary has banned all cameras within the room, together with cell telephones. They tediously filtered the entrances and outraged the attorneys by having them subjected to a search.

The authorities had a whole bunch of cops encompass the compound, with no clear indication of the risk to be averted, whether or not it was protests by Mr. Aziz’s supporters or in any other case.

Dozens of individuals gathered exterior the Palace earlier than the trial, some to help Mr. Aziz, others to demand on placards that he “(return) the cash.

The flexibility of Mr. Aziz, recognized to be pugnacious, calculating and unpredictable, to trigger hurt is a topic of hypothesis, regardless that he’s typically portrayed as politically remoted now.

He has been in fixed denial because the screws started to tighten on him in 2019. That was a couple of months after he had given method after elections to one among his most loyal companions, his former chief of employees Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, the primary transition not imposed by pressure in a rustic vulnerable to coups since independence.

– Revisionism” –

Aziz himself was dropped at energy by a putsch in 2008 after which elected president in 2009 and re-elected in 2014. This trial is the story of his shame and ruined friendship with the one he had designated as his successor, Mr. Ghazouani.

Mr. Aziz’s daughter, Asma, described him to AFP as “drained.” She mentioned she was alerted Tuesday evening by the previous president’s heart specialist as a result of he had fallen in poor health after being detained. One in all his attorneys, Me Antoine Vey, was alarmed by an “arbitrary” arrest and by situations that augured that his consumer wouldn’t have a good trial.

“The case has been constructed on a piece that simply seems like political revisionism,” he informed AFP. He was planning to ask for a postponement of the trial and was making ready to refer the case to UN our bodies if this request was rejected. Mr. Aziz’s successor has all the time denied interfering within the case.

Not one of the events interviewed may say how lengthy the trial would final.