Mauritius: Case against PM’s son made headlines in Mauritius

Port-Louis, Mauritius (PANA) – The appeal case involving Pravind Jugnauth, son of the Mauritian Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, who was jailed one year by an Intermediate Court here on 11 July, 2015, after he was found guilty of conflict of interest in the purchase by the State of a private hospital in which his sister was a shareholder, dominated headlines this week in Mauritius.

After two day of debates, Chief Justice Keshoe Parsad Matadeen and Judge Asraf Caunhye, sitting at the Supreme Court, are yet to give their verdict.

Mr Jugnauth was represented in Court by British lawyer Clare Montgomery.

The daily Le Défi reports that the representative of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Rashid Ahmine argued that Mr Jugnauth should not have, as Finance Minister, signed the cheque for 144 million rupees (about US$ 4.3 million) on 23 December, 2010, for the purchase of the hospital, knowing fully well that his sister was a shareholder in that establishment.

According to Le Défi, this case is of high political importance due to the fact that Pravind Jugnauth who is the leader of the ruling party, the Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM), resigned from his post of Minister of ICT in July last, following his one-year sentence, and is being presented as the immediate successor to his father, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, to the post of Prime Minister.

On its part, the daily Le Mauricien reported that Clare Montgomery told the Court that the decision to buy the hospital had already been taken by the government and that he (Mr Jugnauth) was not in a situation of conflict of interest.

Insiders in the MSM believe that 85-year-old Sir Jugnauth will resign soon to cede the Prime ministerial chair to his son.

The Mauritian media also reported on the 6th report on non-communicable diseases published by the Health Ministry this week.

According to Le Défi, the report indicates that the prevalence of obesity has increased from 16% in 2009 to 19,1% in 2015 and that the figures regarding diabetes indicate that the situation has stabilized, from 23,6% to 22,8%, during the same period after registering a considerable increase of 62% between 1987 and 2009.

Quoting from Health Minister Anil Gayan, the daily Le Matinal writes that obesity "is abnormal and we should not allow it to become a way of life.

"We have a responsibility towards our body and taking care of it is the highest form of personal discipline to improve our quality of life."

The media also reported on a non-sugar agricultural strategic plan presented by the Agro-industry Minister Mahen Seeruttun, in a bid to reduce the volume of imports of basic foodstuffs to the island.

The plan, according to the Minister, as quoted by the daily Le Mauricien, "should help create huge opportunities for the agricultural community and jobs for the youth in this sector.”

According to Mr Seeruttun, "this strategic plan is meant also to encourage farmers to present innovative projects, improve food security, create an agri-business hub in Mauritius, boost the tea sector, improve animal husbandry, increase forest cover and improve seed quality.”
-0- PANA NA/VAO 16Jan2016

16 january 2016 15:32:17

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