A court in Nouakchott on Monday sentenced former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to five years in prison, on trial since January 2023 for having abused his power in order to amass an immense fortune.

Mr. Aziz had been responding since January 25 with ten other personalities, including two former prime ministers, former ministers and businessmen, leaders of “illicit enrichment”, “abuse of functions”, “trafficking influence” or “whitewashing”. The court only charged him with “illicit enrichment” and “money laundering”.

The court ordered the confiscation of the property acquired by Mr. Aziz through actions falling under these two qualifications and pronounced the forfeiture of his civil rights.

Mr. Aziz, 66, becomes one of the rare former heads of state convicted of illicit enrichment in the exercise of power. His peers tried by national or international justice are mainly for blood crimes, such as, elsewhere in West Africa, the former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara, on trial since September 2022.

With this conviction, Mr. Aziz, detained since January 24, 2023, after spending several months in detention in 2021, continues his descent into hell under his successor, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, one of his most faithful companions in the past.