In a shocking turn of events, the chief of staff of Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina, Romy Andrianarisoa, has been arrested in London on charges of bribery.
The arrest came after Andrianarisoa and a French associate were suspected of seeking a bribe from precious stone miner Gemfields to secure licences for operation in the African island nation. The arrest has sent shockwaves through the political landscape of Madagascar and has once again highlighted the global issue of corruption.
The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom revealed that Andrianarisoa and his associate were attempting to solicit a bribe of approximately £225,000 ($285,000) in upfront charges, as well as a 5-percent equity stake. The NCA commended Gemfields’ cooperation in bringing the matter to their attention and emphasised the crucial role played by the company in the investigation.
Gemfields, a UK-based miner, owns the renowned Faberge jewellery brand and operates ruby and emerald mines in southern Africa. The company has been exploring the possibility of setting up operations in various countries, including Madagascar and Ethiopia. It was during this process that Gemfields uncovered the alleged bribery attempt and promptly reported it to the authorities.
The arrest of Andrianarisoa and his French associate, Philippe Tabuteau, underscores the commitment of law enforcement agencies across the globe to root out corruption and ensure transparency in business operations.
The NCA’s international corruption unit, headed by Andy Kelly, expressed gratitude to Gemfields for their cooperation, which has been instrumental in furthering the case.
The involvement of a high-ranking official in such a scandal has undoubtedly tarnished the reputation of President Rajoelina’s administration. This incident has reignited concerns about the prevalence of corruption in Madagascar, a country that has consistently ranked low on measures of transparency and accountability.
As the legal proceedings unfold, questions will be raised regarding the integrity of President Rajoelina’s government and its commitment to combating corruption. The president and his office have yet to comment on the matter, leaving the public waiting for an official response to this significant breach of trust.
The case against Romy Andrianarisoa and Tabuteau will continue in London, with their next hearing scheduled for 8 September. The outcome of this trial will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications not only for the individuals involved but also for the reputation of Madagascar on the international stage.