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Madagascan president’s aide charged in Britain with bribery

Madagascan president’s aide charged in Britain with bribery
Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina (R) reviews French troops upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 29 August 2022. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT

The Madagascan president's chief of staff has been arrested in London after being suspected of seeking a bribe from precious stone miner Gemfields GEMGE.L, Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Monday.

Romy Andrianarisoa, who works for Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina, was arrested along with a French associate at a meeting in London where the NCA said they were believed to have attempted to solicit a bribe to secure licences to operate in the African island nation.

Neither spokespeople for Rajoelina’s office nor representatives for the suspects were immediately available.

The NCA said the pair were seeking around 225,000 pounds ($286,000) in upfront charges as well as a 5% equity stake.

“I am grateful to Gemfields for bringing this matter to our attention and for their ongoing cooperation with the investigation,” Andy Kelly, head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, said in a statement.

“Their quick reactions to engage the NCA have been critical to our ability to pursue this case.”

The UK-based miner owns the Faberge jewellery brand, operates ruby and emerald mines in southern Africa and has been exploring setting up operations in countries including Ethiopia and Madagascar.

Andrianarisoa, 46, and French national Philippe Tabuteau, 54, appeared in court on Saturday and have been remanded in custody until their next hearing in London on Sept. 8.

Gemfields declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7881 pounds)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Additional reporting by Lovasoa Rabary in Antananarivo;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    This is good news – any exposure of possible extortion by the politically connected shows how far we have come. Perhaps South Africa should be thanked for highlighting what’s been happening when government personnel are acting in their own best interests rather than those of the country’s citizens. It gives me hope that this country perhaps has a chance of surviving as an economically sound democracy!

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