About $2 billion, from Mauritania’s state fund, have been allegedly frozen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and his relatives. Two journalists, who reported this case of embezzlement and money laundering through illicit channels in Dubai, were sued for “slanderous denunciations” and are now in jail.
The defense of the two jailed journalists, who call themselves “the victims of a settlement of accounts”, is provided by Me Brahim Ould Ebetty, one of the oldest lawyers of the Nouakchott.
The two young journalists, Abderrahmane Ould Wedadi and Cheikh Ould Jiddou, had published on Facebook reports of the freezing of slush amount that belong to the head of state, in Dubai-based banks, Ebetty said.
The journalists were detained on March 6 and later released on the same day. They were again detained on March 23 under a detention warrant in Nouakchott civil prison by an examining magistrate of the capital court.
The controversy continues to elicit reactions
The prosecution said earlier this month that it ordered the police to start investigating the case after “complaints from NGOs active in the fight against money laundering and corruption”.
Responding to this controversy in early March, head of state of Mauritania spoke of “rumors” and “montages”, recalling other cases of the same nature, all of which proved unfounded, but avoiding however to make a long comment on the subject.
Subsequently, the justice has seized this file to clarify this polemic, which began to grow, because of the interference of politicians, in support of information disclosed by the journalists and bloggers in the country.
This case comes as President Ould Abdel Aziz is about to leave office after his second term. To succeed him, the ruling party has nominated another former general, Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed, as their candidate for the presidential election in June.