Mauritania’s public prosecution asked the investigating magistrates to refer the case of former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and those accused with him of corruption, illicit enrichment and money laundering to the criminal court specialized in corruption cases for trial.
The request was made after the probe team announced completing more than a year-long investigation initiated by the parliament.
In a statement on Friday, the prosecution said it made the request after reviewing the investigation results and examining the documents collected during the investigation process and based on extensive evidence.
Commenting on the prosecution’s request, coordinator of the lawyers for Abdel Aziz’s defense Mohameden Ould Icheddou said that there was no indictment addendum to the end of investigation notice.
He stressed that the lawyers were completely absent from the investigation process and the legal procedures provided for in similar cases, adding in a press statement that head of the probe team refused to meet with the defendants’ advocates.
Abdel Aziz, 64, came to power in Mauritania, a vast desert country of fewer than five million people, in a 2008 coup and was an important ally of Western powers fighting militants in the Sahel region
He was replaced by a political ally, current president Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, but quickly found that his government's actions, including deals on offshore oil projects, came under scrutiny by parliament.
The ex-president has said he is being persecuted in a bid to keep him out of politics, but has vowed he will not go into exile.