Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the ex-president of Mauritania, has been handed a five-year prison sentence following convictions related to charges of money laundering and “illicit enrichment.” The legal proceedings underscore allegations of financial impropriety and accumulation of wealth through dubious means during his tenure.
Abdel Aziz governed the West African nation for a decade, ascending to power through a coup in 2008. Throughout his leadership, he positioned himself as an ally to Western powers engaged in combating Islamist militants in the Sahel region. His recent legal predicament emerged with a trial commencing in January, where he consistently refuted accusations of corruption.
On Monday, the court delivered its judgment, pronouncing Abdel Aziz guilty on two counts out of the ten charges. This followed an in-depth investigation into allegations involving the misappropriation of public resources and corrupt practices.
The specialized court, focusing on cases of corruption and economic crimes, exonerated several individuals who were co-defendants in the trial alongside Abdel Aziz. This included the acquittal of two former prime ministers among his associates.
In 2019, Abdel Aziz was succeeded by his political ally, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who currently holds the presidential office. However, scrutiny swiftly descended upon Abdel Aziz’s government, particularly regarding its involvement in actions such as agreements related to offshore oil projects.