Mauritania’s president appoints a new government

Move comes after former ministers appeared in a controversial report on the financial dealings of ex-leader.

Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani poses for a picture during the G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania June 30, 2020. Ludovic Marin /Pool via REUTERS
The announcement of a new government comes days after Mauritania president appointed a new prime minister [File: Ludovic Marin/Reuters]

Mauritania’s president has appointed a new government after the names of several former ministers appeared in a report on the financial dealings of ex-leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Adama Bocar Soko, secretary-general of Mauritania’s presidency, told reporters in the capital Nouakchott on Sunday that the move would allow all those named in the report “the time they need to prove their innocence”.

The new government remains substantially similar to the previous one, however, with 18 former ministers reappointed.

Soko also said the number of ministries had been reduced to 22 after some were fused.

The move comes after President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani announced a government reshuffle and replaced his prime minister on Thursday.

Sunday’s announcement marks the first time Ghazouani’s office has admitted that the reason behind the reshuffle was the controversial report on Aziz.

A nine-member parliamentary committee set up in January was tasked with shedding light on aspects of Aziz’s 2008-19 tenure.

Matters investigated included the handling of oil revenues, sale of state-owned property in Nouakchott, and the liquidation of a state-owned food company, according to parliamentary officials.

Last Wednesday, Mauritanian prosecutors said they had received the committee’s report and would open an inquiry.

Three former ministers and ex-premier Ismail Ould Bedda Ould Cheikh Sidiya were named in the report.

Aziz first came to power in the poor West African state in a military coup in 2008, then won an election in 2009, followed by another in 2014.

Source: AFP