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Commission of Inquiry on former Mauritius President made public

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The Commission of Inquiry on the former President of the Republic of Mauritius, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, has submitted its Report on 02 September 2022. PM Pravind Jugnauth held a press conference, speaking lengthily on what he described as a “damning” report.

He announced that Government has decided to set up a Ministerial Committee presided by the Attorney-General, Mr Maneesh Gobin. The committee will examine the recommendations of the Report and eventually make propositions for the way forward.

Jugnauth announced that Cabinet has decided to refer the Report to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Police for appropriate actions. The report is already public and available online.

Gurib-Fakim has been accused of having spent some Rs2.2 million, between September 2016 and March 2017, through a Platinum Card offered by the Planet Earth Institute. The entity was directly linked controversial Angolan businessman Alvaro Sobrinho.

PM Pravind Jugnauth dwelt lengthily on the report of the Commission of Inquiry. Image: GIS Mauritius

The Commission of Inquiry indicated that the card was used for personal expenses, including shoes, jewellery, hotel and restaurant expenses.

Ameenah Gurib Fakim also allegedly requested that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) issue a banking license to Álvaro Sobrinho, as Chairperson of PEI to host the PASET Funds.

Nevertheless, the report also revealed, through documents presented by Barclays Bank (now ABSA) that Mrs Gurib-Fakim ​​had paid back all her expenses made through PIE’s Platinum Card on March 24. 

Mrs Gurin-Fakim was forced to resign when the matter went public.

Ameenah Gurb-Fakim’s reaction

Reacting to Jugnauth’s press conference, Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim announced that she will initiate proceedings for a judicial review to challenge the conclusions of the report.

Gurib-Fakim said she never intervened to give a push to Angolan businessman Alvaro Sobrinho’s operations in Mauritius.

Commenting on the use of Planet Earth Institute’s Platinum bank card, the former Head of State argued that she repaid “the entire amount used were her own money and not with taxpayers’ money”.

“An anonymous letter was used as basis to define the terms of reference of an inquiry in order to judge me.”

During the press conference, Jugnauth reportedly evaded questions over an  anonymous letter, attributed to his former adviser Ken Arian, to urge actions against the then President.

She added that many of the points she raised “at length” during the deliberations of the Commission of Inquiry were not taken into consideration in the report.

“The people I had named, and who should have been called before the commission, were completely ignored in this report. I find it shocking and aberrant that this is a report where many witnesses are missing and where many elements that I had explained have not been reported. After four years, we end up with such a report,” she was quoted as telling Le Mauricien.

Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is biodiversity scientist and the founder of the Centre for Pytotherapy Research. Since she stepped dow as Mauritius’ six President of the Republic, she has emerged a leading international speaker on Science and Climate issues.

In 2019, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim also served as a keynote speaker of Cambridge University’s conference “Africa Together: Which Way Forward?”

For her efforts as a scientist, Gurib-Fakim has been recognized worldwide, receiving the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, Laureate for the National and Economic Council, and the African Union Award for Women in Science.

Sources: GIS Mauritius, Le Mauricien, Defi Media

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