When Gurib-Fakim, a 58-year-old scientist and biologist of international renown, took the presidential oath in 2015 she became the first woman to do so in Mauritian history. However, the female president’s integrity is now in question.

Dubbing it the “platinum card case”, the Mauritian daily L’Express published bank documents showing that Gurib-Fakim had used a credit card given to her by a London-based NGO, the Planet Earth Institute, to make personal purchases that totalled thousands of dollars. According to the newspaper, the card was given to her as part of her work as an unpaid director of the charity.

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The crux of the controversy is that the NGO in question is funded by the notorious Angolan billionaire Alvaro Sobrinho, who happens to be under investigation for fraud. The paper says that Alvaro Sobrinho secured a permit to found an investment bank in Mauritius, prompting allegations of favouritism. These allegations also stem from his growing influence in Mauritius’s political and financial circles, raising questions in parliament and in the media about the legality of these licences.

The matter of a Gurib-Fakim resignation came from a statement issued by the country’s prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth. He told reporters, “The president of the republic told me that she would resign from office and we agreed on the date of her departure. The interest of the country comes first, and I am proud of Mauritius’s image as a model of living democracy in the world.”

Gurib-Fakim at first denied wrongdoing but has since paid back the sums “apparently inadvertently used on a credit card issued to her to cover logistical expenses whilst travelling to promote African science, technology and innovation”, according to a brief statement from the Planet Earth Institute. Gurib-Fakim has also since stepped down from the institute.

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Her only response to her alleged impending resignation, as contained in the prime minister’s statement, has been:

Time will tell if these allegations are the precursor to proof of corruption and impropriety on the part of the Mauritian president or a smear campaign to discredit her.