Mauritius: Media dominated this week by bill on unexplained wealth

Port Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - The Mauritian media was dominated this week by the parliamentary debates on the new bill on unexplained wealth introduced by the government and passed on Thursday evening, after two days of debate.

It was passed by a majority of the members of Parliament, 58 for, 4 against and 7 abstentions.

This bill tackles unexplained wealth of people who would have illicitly grown rich from drug trafficking, fraudulent activities and corruption.

The daily newspaper “Le Mauricien” reports that in Parliament, the Good Governance Minister, Roshi Bhadain, insisted that the bill was not politically motivated.

"The objective of the government is to stop, once for all, the enrichment of people from ill-acquired properties and to show to the youth that it is necessary to work to succeed," he said.

“Le Mauricien” reports also that Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth affirmed his determination to wage a merciless war against fraud and corruption. He said he was not surprised by the Opposition represented by the Labour Party who voted against the bill.

"Corruption is part of its culture, I shall say that it is in its DNA," he declared.

Replying to the Prime Minister, the leader of the Labour Party, Navin Ramgoolam (who is not a member of Parliament), told the media, as reported by the daily “Le Matinal”, that he is not against the fight against crime "but if the government thinks that there are gaps, it should strengthen the existing laws." He believes that this law could be used as a tool for political vendetta.

On its part, “L’express” published the files of the 70 members of Parliament on their real estate property. The information was obtained from the Land Registry, a governmental department.

This database shows the real property of all the citizens - if they were bought, sold or pawned for a loan.

"However, land and houses obtained in inheritance or constructions funded without a loan do not appear in this register. For example, a search in the name of Sir Anerood Jugnauth (the Prime Minister) gives nothing. This does not mean that the Head of the government has no property. There are numerous possible explanations but we shall not speculate," writes “L’express”.

Enchanted by this report in “L’express”, Bhadain declared: "The assets of members of Parliament and senior officials have to be made public and this will be my next law."

According to the newspaper, some members of Parliament have refused to reveal their real estate property.
-0- PANA NA/MA 5Dec2015

05 december 2015 16:35:07

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