Africa’s only female president resigns over credit card scandal

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Africa’s only female head of state, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius has resigned and will leave office on Friday, her lawyer says.

Amid claims that she made large personal purchases on a charity bank card, Ms Gurib-Fakim has been engulfed by an expenses scandal.

But on Saturday, just days after she rejected any idea of throwing in the towel, her lawyer, Yusuf Mohamed told local media that she would be stepping down.

Meanwhile, the president has issued no statement.

The country’s prime minister had originally said she would stand down last Monday.

Following Ms Gurib-Fakim failure to do so, there were fears of a constitutional crisis on the Indian Ocean island nation.

Local L’Express newspaper reported in February that the country’s first female president, a renowned scientist, had used a credit card given to her by the Planet Earth Institute, PEI, in London to buy jewellery and clothes abroad.

According to the paper, she was given the card for serving as the non governmental organisation’s unpaid director and it was to be used to pay for the promotion of a doctorate programme named after the president.

Ms Gurib-Fakim’s office said she “had an identical credit card from the same bank [and] inadvertently used the card from the PEI for expenses not linked to her mission”.

It added that $27,000 (£19,335) had been refunded and Ms Gurib-Fakim would defend herself with “legal action”.

In a statement to the BBC, PEI London said that Ms Gurib-Fakim had refunded the money to its Mauritian sister organisation.

The organisation said it had given her a credit card to cover travel expenses while promoting African science, technology and innovation.

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