NOUAKCHOTT, 9 January 2021 – The former president of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz refused Friday to answer questions or to counter-sign judicial paperwork by investigators indicting him for corruption.
Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz refused to sign the minutes attesting to his interrogaton by investigators.
The former Mauritanian leader has also chosen from the very beginning of the jduciaal inquiry on 6 January 2020 to remain silent.
His lawyers have claimed that an article of the constitution “grants him immunity”.
They argue that the entire probe into “corruption and misappropriation of public funds” is really an act of “judicial harassment” of the former president.
His defense has also decried the probe as an attempt to “tarnish his reputation”.
Several members of the various governments that were formed by Ould Abdelaziz during his reign from 2008 to 2019 are also being investigated as part of this probe into.
They include a former prime minister and several ministers.
Ould Abdelaziz came to power in the 6 August 2008 coup d’Etat which toppled Mauritania’s only democratically-elected president, Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.
The former leader was already one of the leading figures in the August 2005 coup that ended the 21-year reign of President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya.
Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, himself, had seized power in a coup in 1984.
Independent from Frane in 1960, Mauritania in 1976 annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara, also known as Western Sahara or the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.
Mauritania – officially, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania – relinquished Western Sahara after three years of raids by Polisario Front guerilla fighters who have led the armed wing of the campaign for independence.