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A relative of the Malagasy president has been arrested in England on suspicion of corruption

A relative of the Malagasy president has been arrested in England on suspicion of corruption

A Frenchman described as the Madagascar president’s chief of staff and his accomplice have been arrested on suspicion of bribing British mining group Gemfield to grant an operating license. United Kingdom.

Romy Andrianarisoa, 46, and Philippe Tabuteau, 54, were arrested in London on Thursday, the British Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Monday, August 14.

The company raised its concerns with the British authorities and the two suspects were arrested in the Victoria district “during a meeting where they are suspected of trying to demand 250,000 Swiss francs (260 000 euros) and a capital participation amount of 5%”, the NCA continues.

According to the Financial Times, which published the information on Sunday evening, the latest request was for participation in all Malagasy projects by Gemfields, which has owned Oriental Mining in the country since 2008.

Release from office

Romy Andrianarisoa and Philippe Tabuteau appeared in a British court on Saturday. He remanded them in custody pending a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on September 8. Each of them faces up to ten years in prison.

“I am grateful to Gemfields for bringing this matter to our attention and for their continued cooperation with the investigation,” Andy Kelly, head of the UK Crime Branch’s International Corruption Unit, said in the statement. Contacted by AFP, Gemfields did not respond.

The Malagasy presidency announced on Monday that “in view of the circumstances”, Romi Andriarisova “is being relieved of her duties with immediate effect”.

A close friend of head of state Andriy Rajolina has been on official leave since last week, the president said in a statement, adding that “the reasons for her trip to the United Kingdom are unknown to the Malagasy authorities.”

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The affair erupted less than three months before the November 9 first round of presidential elections on the large island in the Indian Ocean. Andriy Rajolina, a dual citizen of French and Malagasy, who has been in controversy lately, has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

“Andrei Rajolina must leave”

“This case is an example of the extreme corruption that has plagued our country to the detriment of all Malagasy people. For the good of my country Andriy Rajolina must go!” That was answered on Monday by one of Andriy Rajolina’s main opponents, Sidney Randrianasoloniako. .

The country is ranked 142nde 180th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Last month the non-governmental organization called on presidential candidates to “engage in the fight against the pervasiveness of corruption.” Madagascar And the intensity of political and judicial protection that surrounds them fosters impunity”.

Madagascar experienced a political crisis in 2018, months before the previous presidential election, due to the adoption of controversial electoral laws that led to the prosecution of 79 representatives suspected of receiving bribes.

The country’s justice system announced in November that it was launching an investigation into the trade of the country’s main producer of lychee after a Transparency International report on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.

Gemfields, owned by jeweler Fabergé, operates an emerald mine. Zambia and rubies Mozambique. In Madagascar, the group has concessions but is not currently operational.

According to Gemfields’ latest annual report, Oriental Mining has “several concessions for several types of minerals, including emeralds and sapphires,” and plans to resume procedures for obtaining additional permits in the country this year after Covid-related delays. 19 Pandemic.

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With AFP