March 17, 2018 / 3:34 PM / 2 years ago

Mauritius president resigns over claim of financial impropriety, denies wrongdoing

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - The president of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, resigned from the ceremonial position on Saturday, her lawyer said, amid accusations of financial impropriety that triggered a dispute between her and the prime minister.

The president’s lawyer Yousuf Mohamed told local Radio Plus that she had decided to resign “to prevent a constitutional crisis”.

“She doesn’t want the country ... to suffer. In the country’s best interests she has decided to leave,” the lawyer said.

On Wednesday the president - who denies wrongdoing - rejected calls to resign, saying she was ready to provide evidence in court to debunk the accusations, prompting a rebuke from the prime minister.

Gurib-Fakim’s resignation letter had been sent to the speaker of parliament and she will leave office on March 23, Mohamed added.

The president has been facing growing pressure, including from Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, after a local paper, L’Express, said she had used a credit card issued by an international non-governmental organization to buy clothes and jewellery in Italy and Dubai.

The Indian Ocean archipelago markets itself as a bridge between Africa and Asia. Its economy relies on sugar, textiles and tourism but it is trying to develop new sectors like offshore banking, business outsourcing and luxury real estate.

Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Andrew Bolton

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