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AFP
March 18, 2018

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Mauritius president resigns over credit card saga

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius: Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigned on Saturday after being embroiled in a scandal over her use of a credit card to buy luxury personal items, in an abrupt change of heart after vowing she would not stand down.

Gurib-Fakim, Africa’s only female head of state, submitted her resignation in the "national interest," her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed told reporters. He said her resignation would take effect on March 23, a move that will bring down the curtain on a saga that has gripped the Indian Ocean archipelago for weeks. Gurib-Fakim had vowed to fight the accusations that first appeared in local newspaper L´Express -- that she used a bank card provided by an NGO to make personal purchases, including jewellery and luxury goods worth at least 25,000 euros. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced a week ago that Gurib-Fakim had agreed to resign, with a date set for her departure after last Monday´s ceremony celebrating the Indian Ocean archipelago´s 50 years of independence.

But on Wednesday, a statement from the presidency lashed out at "weeks of attacks and false allegations" and said Gurib-Fakim planned to clear her name and would not go. It is not clear what prompted her about-turn, but her lawyer said Saturday she was "relieved" she had made the decision to resign after enduring a "difficult" time in recent weeks.

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