Mauritius' first woman President to resign over 'shopping extravaganza'

A local newspaper has reported that Ameenah Gurib-Fakim had shopped in Italy and Dubai, using a credit card issued by Planet Earth Institute – a private organisation.

Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim will step down next week, the country’s prime minister said on Friday, after she was accused of using a credit card issued by an international non-governmental organisation to buy clothes and jewellery.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauthrime told reporters Gurib-Fakim would resign after March 12, after the celebration of the country`s 50th anniversary. He did not comment on the row over credit card expenditure but he has previously said everyone should shoulder their responsibility, when asked about the issue by reporters.

Gurib-Fakim, a chemistry professor, was appointed to the largely ceremonial post in 2015, as the island nation`s first female president, has denied any wrongdoing and said she had refunded all the money in question. “I do not owe anything to anybody. Why is this issue coming up now almost a year later on the eve of our independence day celebrations,” she said in a March 7 speech.

The local L`express newspaper reported that the President had shopped in Italy and Dubai, using a credit card issued by Planet Earth Institute. The organisation supports education by offering scholarships, and the President served there as an unpaid director. The newspaper reported that the card was to promote a doctorate programme named after the President.

Mauritius is currently undergoing tremendous political turmoil with opposition leaders accusing the government of dictatorial leanings.