Madagascan president's chief of staff arrested in UK

Madagascan president’s chief of staff arrested in the United Kingdom

Romy Andrianarisoa, who works for Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina, was arrested with a French associate at a meeting in London where the NCA said they were suspected of trying to solicit a bribe to obtain operating licenses in the African island nation.

The chief of staff of the Malagasy president Romy Andrianarisoa and a Frenchman were arrested in the United Kingdom. They are both suspected of corruption linked to the allocation of operating licenses to the British mining group Gemfields, the National Anti-Crime Agency (NCA) announced this Monday, August 14, 2023, confirming information from Financial Times .

Bribe for mining licenses

The 46-year-old Magache cabinet director was indicted, as was a certain Philippe Tabuteau, a French national who would be part of Andry Rajoelina’s close entourage, according to our colleagues in Le Monde. He is the head of Groupe Impact Capital, a company based in Geneva, Switzerland, and specialized in consulting to businesses and governments.

They allegedly demanded the sum of 225,000 pounds sterling, or 260,000 euros, as well as a 5% stake in the capital of Gemfields. It was this company which made the report to the NCA which therefore arrested the two suspects in the London district of Victoria last week.

The British mining company, owner of the Faberge jewelry brand, mines rubies and emeralds in southern Africa and has explored the possibility of establishing operations in countries such as Ethiopia and Madagascar. Andrianarisoa, 46, and Frenchman Philippe Tabuteau, 54, appeared in court on Saturday and were remanded in custody until their next hearing in London on September 8.

In a press release published this Monday, the Presidency of the Republic of Madagascar announces that Romy Andrianarisoa is “ relieved of his duties with immediate effect “. The close friend of Head of State Andry Rajoelina had been officially on leave since last week, the presidency said in a press release, adding that “the Malagasy authorities do not know the reasons for his trip to the United Kingdom”.

The affair broke out less than three months before the first round of the presidential election on November 9 in the large island in the Indian Ocean. Mr. Rajoelina, whose dual French and Malagasy nationality has recently been the subject of controversy, has not yet officially announced his candidacy.