Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the former president of Mauritania, has been sentenced to a five-year prison sentence after being found guilty of money laundering and abusing his position for personal gain.
The court in Mauritania, specializing in corruption and economic crimes, announced the verdict, which also included the confiscation of all assets unlawfully acquired by the ex-president.
Aziz was facing multiple charges, encompassing abuse of power, illicit enrichment, money laundering, and influence peddling, with the court acquitting him on some counts.
The court, which specializes in corruption and economic crimes, also sentenced some of the co-accused on Monday, albeit to lighter sentences than Aziz, while the former prime ministers and two ex-ministers were acquitted, BBC reported.
Throughout the trial, Aziz maintained his innocence, describing the proceedings as “politically motivated.”
His lawyer, Mohameden Ould Icheddou, has underscored the political nature of the trial, stating, “The trial we attended was a political trial, and its verdict is also very political.”
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, aged 66, governed Mauritania for a decade.
He initially assumed the presidency in 2009 after a coup that ousted President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.
His tenure lasted from 2009 to 2019.
Though re-elected in 2014, Aziz chose not to seek re-election in 2019, and he was succeeded by Mohamed Ould Ghazouani on August 1, 2019.
Notably, Aziz also served as the Chairman of the African Union from 2014 to 2015. In June 2021, he was incarcerated months after facing corruption charges.
Despite the conviction, plans for an appeal are underway, according to Aziz’s legal representatives.