With money and gold .. A Mauritanian mutual attack between Ould Abdel Aziz and the authorities

Nouakchott / Mohamed Al-Bakai / Anatolia

There has been widespread controversy in Mauritania since its former president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (2009-2019), challenged any party to prove the validity of his accusation of involvement in financial corruption and looting of public money. the current accused. authority to squander the country’s gold wealth.

In a video speech broadcast on his Facebook page, Ould Abdel Aziz said on Wednesday: “I challenge any of the four million Mauritanians who are residents of Mauritania to show any evidence or come out that I am one of us (the local currency) from the public treasury or from the Central Bank, or from another party, at home or abroad.

He believed that the real motive for bringing charges against him was his interest in “politics and his control of public affairs, which he would not leave because he did not want the group currently ruling over Mauritania to do what he did. himself managed to build, must spoil. effort, ”according to him.

In early August 2019, the current president, Mohamed Ould Cheikh El-Ghazwani, began a presidential term of 5 years, after winning 52 percent of the elections held on June 22 of that year.

Ould Abdel Aziz accused the current government of neglecting the interests of the people and abandoning the largest gold mine in favor of a Canadian company.

The former president’s remarks once again sparked controversy, and were a wealth of material for a number of politicians and activists on social networking sites, as well as the government’s response to it.

** Government response

Hours after Ould Abdel Aziz’s speech, government spokesman Mokhtar Ould Dahi said the judiciary was the only one concerned about the former president’s file and the “heavy charges” against him.

Ould Dahi added in a press conference that parliament had conducted an investigation into the corruption of the former president, and the results of this investigation were referred to the judiciary.

Meanwhile, Minister of Petroleum, Minerals and Energy Abdel Salam Ould Mohamed Saleh denied Ould Abdel Aziz’s accusation that the government had neglected the country’s gold wealth.

Ould Mohamed Saleh said in a press conference on Wednesday that the agreement with the “Kinross Tazasat” company was concluded in 2010.

He added that all the positive and negative things in it belong to the previous regime (the Ould Abdel Aziz regime), and the current government inherited this agreement.

He added that the government was now trying to rectify the agreement in a way that “does not harm the country’s interests, does not harm its reputation abroad, and does not cause a diplomatic or political problem.”

Tasiast Mauritania Limited, owned by the Canadian company Kinross, exploits the Tazyazt gold mine in the north of the country, under an agreement signed with the Mauritanian government in June 2006, when the mine was owned by the Canadian Red Pack Company. is.

In 2010, Kinross acquired the mine, in a $ 7 billion transaction, and was described at the time as “the largest commercial transaction in Mauritania’s history.”

** fortune in astronomical numbers

In the context of the controversy raised by Ould Abdel Aziz’s speech, the former head of the ruling “Union for the Republic” party, Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham, was surprised by what he said was the former president’s evasion of to reveal the source of his wealth. .

Ould Mahim wrote on Facebook on Wednesday: “You are already between two people: an army officer who is banned from making a profit and who is banned from shopping, or a head of state who is banned by the constitution from doing any public or private mission otherwise. as the one dedicated to him. ” .

In 2008, General Ould Abdel Aziz led a military coup that overthrew Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdellah, the first elected civilian president in the history of the Arab country.

Months later, Ould Abdel Aziz resigned from a “military council” formed by the leaders of the coup, and ran for and won the 2009 presidential election.

Weld Mahim continued: “You have recorded your voluntary recognition of your possession of a great wealth, and the evidence so far indicates astronomical numbers. Therefore, you, not we, bear the burden of raising the challenge and the sources of to prove this wealth, and that it was a lawful and lawful merit. “

** Yesterday’s Ally

This current debate, according to observers, is an extension of the conflict between President Ould Cheikh El-Ghazouani and former President Ould Abdel Aziz, which began in November 2019, when the latter chaired a meeting of the ruling Party “Union for the Republic”, founded in 2009.

Days after this meeting, dozens of MPs signed a petition expressing their rejection of what they said was an attempt by Ould Abdel Aziz to dominate the party, which started a crisis that reached the point of Ould Abdel Arrest Aziz, interrogate him, and then release him.

On March 11, the Public Prosecutor charged Ould Abdel Aziz and 12 of his government with charges including money laundering and the granting of unjustified privileges in government transactions.

On April 4, the court issued a decision to freeze the property of the 13 accused, and house arrest was imposed on Ould Abdel Aziz at his home in the capital, Nouakchott, with the obligation to sign with the police 3 times a week .

Ould Abdel Aziz was satisfied with two presidential terms, and in the 2019 election he supported Ould Cheikh El-Ghazwani, with whom he participated in the 2008 coup.

Ould Cheikh El-Ghazouani won a 5-year presidential term, becoming the tenth president of Mauritania since his independence from France in 1960.

The Mauritanian street is dominated by a state of anticipation of what will end with what observers describe as the bone-chilling battle between yesterday’s allies: Ould Al-Ghazwani and Ould Abdel-Aziz.

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