Africa’s only female head of state, Mauritian Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, resigns

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Africa’s only female head of state has resigned following a scandal involving a credit card.

Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigned on Saturday and will leave office on Friday, her lawyer Yusuf Mohamed, said.

BBC reported that the country’s prime minister had originally said she would stand down last Monday, however after Ms Gurib-Fakim failed to do so, there years 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 NGO’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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