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Ousted leader sentenced in absentia to prison

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-03

Madagascar on Wednesday sentenced in absentia ousted president Marc Ravalomanana to four years in jail. He was also fined 70 million dollars for abuse of office over the purchase of a 60-million-dollar plane. He is currently in South Africa.

AFP - A Madagascar court on Wednesday sentenced ousted president Marc Ravalomanana in absentia to four years in jail for abuse of office over the purchase of a presidential plane.
  
"He was sentenced to four years in prison and 70 million dollars in damages," the transitional administration's justice minister Christine Razanamahasoa told reporters.
  
"The judiciary uncovered the offense. There was a conflict of interest, he mixed his personal money with state funds. All the legal tender procedures were not duly followed," she explained.
  
Ravalomanana was ousted from power on March 17 by army-backed Andry Rajoelina, a 35-year-old leader who had spearheaded months of street protests demanding the elected president's resignation.
  
In 2008, Ravalomanana purchased an airliner from the Disney group for 60 million dollars. The Indian Ocean island is one of the world's poorest nations and the jet soon came to symbolise the opposition's grievances.
  
Rajoelina's takeover was described as a coup by the international community and Ravalomanana, currently in exile in South Africa, has since been attempting to muster support for a bid to reclaim his job.

Date created : 2009-06-03

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