The government decided on Thursday, March 8, to launch impeachment proceedings against President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim over an embezzlement scandal. The motion will then likely be put on the agenda of the National Assembly when the body next meets, likely after Independence Day celebrations on March 12. Related protests are possible in the coming days.
A local newspaper, L’Express, reported that Fakim spent several hundred thousand rupees on personal purchases, using a platinum credit card offered by a non-governmental organization called Planet Earth Institute (PEI). PEI is owned by Álvaro Sobrinho, a controversial Angolan businessman, who initially worked with the president to offer scholarships to Mauritian students. The president claims to have reimbursed the money.
For the impeachment process to be initiated a motion has to be made by the prime minister to the National Assembly to launch an investigation. This motion must be supported by two-thirds assembly members. Should the motion be successful, a tribunal consisting of a chairperson and two to four other members appointed by the chief justice, from among persons who hold or have held office as judge, would be constituted to investigate the alleged misconduct. Should the tribunal, after its investigation, recommend Fakim’s removal to the president to the assembly, the prime minister may then make a motion the remove the president.
Fakim became the first woman to be sworn in as president of Mauritius in 2015.
Individuals in Mauritius are advised to stay informed of the evolving sociopolitical climate in the coming weeks and to avoid all protests as a precaution.
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