Sunday, February 10, 2013

■ MAURITANIA: Former Mauritania Airways' boss jailed; international arrest warrant issued for 3 other execs on charges of embezzlement.

Mauritania AirwaysA Mauritanian court in Nouakchott on Friday issued international arrest warrants for three officials of the now defunct airline, Mauritania Airways (YD), following the arrest and incarceration of Mohamed Ould Debagh, the carrier's former chairman of the board, on charges of "his participation in the bankruptcy of the company."

The four officials' indictments come after former employees at the airline demanded an investigation into the alleged fiscal malpractice and corruption at Mauritania Airways following its collapse in late 2010.
The three ex-Mauritania Airways officials named in the warrant are:
  • Moncef Ben Badis (Tunisia) - former General Manager of  the airline
  • Ridha Jmael (Tunisia)
  • Mohamed Lemine Ould Deidah. - former Mauritanian Minister of National Education (1984-2005),
Source [Panapress]

Mauritania Airways' début flight
Mauritania Airways' début flight (Air-valid)
The three are accused of  “embezzling company funds, forgery, and abuse of public properties” from Mauritania Airways.

Established in December 2006, Mauritania Airways, the predecessor to current national carrier Mauritania Airlines International (L6), was a joint Tunisian/Mauritanian venture between Tunisair (TU) (51%), Mauritanian businessman Mohamed Ould Bouamatou's "Group BSA" (39%) and the Government of Mauritania owned the remaining 10%.

In November 2010, the airline was banned from European airspace by the European Commission, citing "persistent deficiencies in the Mauritanian carrier's operations and maintenance" and subsequently lost its scheduled services to Paris-Orly Airport, France and Gran Canaria Airport, Spain. All flights ceased shortly thereafter with YD officially grounded on 23 December 2010. 

Maghreb newswires have speculated that the witch-hunt at Mauritania Airways was motivated by Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, wanting to settle personal scores with Mohamed Ould Bouamatou, a rich Mauritanian businessman currently living in exile in Morocco.

Thanks to Marzio Pustizzi.