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.

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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.

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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”.

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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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