Mauritius

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Court to hear Mauritius-UK islands dispute

Yasine Mohabuth

Port Louis, Mauritius

Map
BBC

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) begins hearings from Monday into the dispute over the future of the Chagos Islands.

Mauritius claims sovereignty over the British archipelago in the Indian ocean which hosts an important US military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the 60 islands.

The Chagos are at the heart of a five-decade dispute, since the British decision to separate Mauritius from the archipelago in 1965 in exchange for independence.

The archipelago's entire population were evicted to Mauritius when the UK took control and some Chagossians are now hoping they will soon be allowed to return.

In June 2017, the United Nations decided by a vote to ask the ICJ based in the Hague in Netherlands to decide on the future of the Chagos Islands.

Navigating through this wave of sympathy, the leader of the Chagos Refugees Group, Olivier Bancoult, wants judges to come to a solution in favour of Chagossians.

"We are confident that the Judge will provide for a solution to this great injustice against us", Bancoult says.

Read more: Chagos Islands dispute: UK 'threatened' Mauritius

Inquiry into Mauritius ex-president begins

Yasine Mohabuth

Port Louis, Mauritius

Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim speaks to the media after a meeting with Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) and UN officials in Nairobi on September 9, 2015.
AFP

Mauritius’ former President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who resigned in March over an expenses scandal, has appeared in front of a government inquiry for questioning.

Ms Gurib-Fakim denies any misconduct amid claims that she made large personal purchases on a charity bank card.

She told the inquiry that, when in office, she had set up an inquiry into the activities of Angolan businessman Álvaro Sobrinho because she felt under pressure.

Before her resignation, the Mauritian daily L'Express published bank documents purporting to show Ms Gurib-Fakim had used a credit card given to her by the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in London to buy thousands of dollars’ worth of clothes, jewellery and other personal items.

According to the paper, the card was given to her as part of her work as an unpaid director for the charity.

One of the organisation's directors is Álvaro Sobrinho who, the paper says, secured a permit to found an investment bank in Mauritius, prompting allegations of favouritism.

The inquiry that Ms Gurib-Fakim launched earlier this year was roundly criticised at the time by the government, who said it was not within her powers to do so.

She defended that decision today, saying "there was a sense of isolation, total lack of support from the executive…There was no will whatsoever to help the office of the president".

"The Attorney General told me that he could not do anything while the office of the presidency was under attack."

She also told the inquiry she had been advised not to speak to the press.

The inquiry is expected to continue for a number of days.

Mauritian festival brings island sights and sounds to UK
The tropical island of Mauritius - in the Indian Ocean, off south-east Africa - brings a slice of island life to the UK.

Mauritius to sell citizenship and passport

Yasine Mohabuth

BBC News, Port Louis

The national flag of Mauritius
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Opposition politicians say Mauritian nationality should not be a "commodity"

Mauritius is offering foreigners the chance to obtain Mauritian citizenship in exchange for a non-refundable contribution of $1m (£757,400) to the national sovereign wealth fund.

Applicants' spouses and dependents are also eligible with an additional contribution of $100,000 per family member.

The announcement was made by the prime minister and finance minister in the country's 2018 budget.

The move has been condemned by opposition politicians.

Leader of the populist Rezistans ek Alternativ party, Ashok Subron, said:

The notion of nationality of a country is not a product. It has no price and is in no way a commodity."

The Economic Development Board (EDB) is to manage the scheme, and applicants will have to satisfy defined criteria subject to relevant due diligence.

Another scheme will offer Mauritian passports in exchange for the lesser sum of $500,000 paid to the Mauritius Sovereign Fund, and $50,000 per passport for family members.

Council employee flown to Mauritius for inspection

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Voile Bleue Hotel in Mauritius
LDRS

A council officer was sent to Mauritius to inspect a fishing boat, but at no cost to the taxpayer.

The trip was revealed after Cornwall Council published details of a £570.71 payment made to the Voile Bleue resort in the Indian Ocean.

It is understood a credit card charge from British Airways in November for £2,951.50 was also linked to the visit.

Mauritius
LDRS

But the authority says all costs for the port health officer's visit to Mauritius were paid for by the owners of the British-flagged fishing vessel he inspected.

Cornwall Council says it regularly carries out inspections of fish processing operations undertaken on board fish factory vessels "for compliance under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006".

The cost of this inspection is based on 100% full cost recovery. The owners of the vessel pay for all of the costs including the flight, hotel accommodation, subsistence, a daily rate for officer time and for the production of the report. There are no costs to Cornwall Port Health Authority."

Cornwall Council statement

Family members travel from Mauritius for sad farewell

Amy Woodfield

BBC News

Some of the Ragoobeer family members have arrived ahead of the service at 10:00.

I’ve just been told some relations have travelled from Mauritius to be here today.

Ragoobeer funeral
BBC
Ragoobeer funeral
BBC
Map of Mauritius

Provides an overview of Mauritius, including key events and facts about this ethnically diverse Indian Ocean island nation

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