Mohamed Ould Boumatou, a Mauritanian multi-millionaire tycoon and fierce critic of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, has reportedly b……
Mohamed Ould Boumatou, a Mauritanian multi-millionaire tycoon and fierce critic of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, has reportedly been banned from entering Morocco where he has been living in exile over the last few years.
In December, Boumatou, 65, circulated images of Moroccan passports supposedly belonging to Mauritanian President, H.E. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and a member of his family, on social media, sparking speculation the Mauritanian leader possessed dual citizenship. Mauritanian citizens are not allowed to own dual citizenship.
Moroccan authorities quickly responded to Bouamatou’s broadcast, describing the action as “gross aberration”. In a statement issued the by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (DFAIT), Moroccan officials insisted that the passports were fake and non-existent at the level of the database of competent Moroccan services.
“In accordance with its legalistic approach, the Kingdom of Morocco will carry through the judicial investigation of this insidious act, adds the DFAIT, ensuring that Mr. Ould Bouamatou, involved in this case, will be banned from accessing the Moroccan territory, without prejudice to any criminal proceedings that may be brought against him,” the statement said.
Mohamed Ould Boumatou, who is a cousin to Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the president of Mauritania, is one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs. In 1995, he founded the Générale de Banque de Mauritanie (GBM), the country’s first private bank, as well as several insurance companies. He also founded Mauritania’s first mobile phone company and the country’s largest cement plant. He is the chairman of the BSA Group, a West African conglomerate that that has interests in banking, insurance, automobile distribution, food, mining, and technology.
Boumatou was one of the major financiers of the election campaign of President Abdel Aziz, but a few years into Boumatou’s presidency, relations between the two men deteriorated and the president accused the businessman of tax fraud and other economic offences, and placed sanctions on some of Boumatou’s companies. The tycoon subsequently went on exile to Marrakech, Morocco, where he has been based over the last few years.
Even in exile in Morocco, Boumatou has been a major influencer of Mauritanian opposition politics. In 2017, Mauritanian authorities accused the tycoon of influencing the decision of senators to reject a contentious constitutional amendment, which had been advocated by President Aziz. Mauritanian authorities have also accused him of financing journalists, trade unionists and senators who are opposed to the Aziz government.