The Chief of Staff to the President of Madagascar, Romy Andrianarisoa, and her associate, French National Philippe Tabuteau, have been charged with bribery offences following a swift operation conducted by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
The charges stem from allegations that Andrianarisoa and Tabuteau sought a bribe to secure licenses for UK mining company Gemfields to operate in Madagascar. The NCA initiated the investigation after Gemfields raised concerns over the suspected bribery attempt. It is alleged that the pair were seeking CHF 250,000 (approximately £225,000) as upfront charges, along with a 5% equity stake.
The NCA’s fast-paced inquiry into the suspected bribery action led to the arrest of Andrianarisoa and Tabuteau in the Victoria area of London on Thursday afternoon. The arrest took place during a meeting where the duo was suspected of attempting to solicit a bribe. The operation was carried out in close collaboration with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which provided immediate charging advice. Consequently, both individuals were charged on Friday evening.
The accused appeared in court on Saturday and have been remanded in prison until their next hearing, scheduled at Southwark Crown Court on September 8.
Andy Kelly, Head of the International Corruption Unit at the NCA, stated, “This operation demonstrates the ability of the ICU to capitalize on cooperation from industry. I am grateful to Gemfields for bringing this matter to our attention and for their ongoing cooperation with the investigation. Their quick reactions to engage the NCA have been critical to our ability to pursue this case.”
Joanne Jakymec, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS, explained, “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorized the NCA to charge Romy Andrianarisoa and Philippe Tabuteau with requesting a bribe… The CPS made the decision to authorize charges after reviewing a file of evidence from the NCA relating to allegations of bribery.”
Jakymec also emphasized the importance of not engaging in any reporting, commentary, or sharing of information online that could potentially prejudice the ongoing proceedings. She highlighted that the role of the CPS is to make fair, independent, and objective assessments about whether charges should be presented for a criminal court to consider.
The case highlights the seriousness with which bribery allegations are being handled and underscores the necessity of cooperation between law enforcement agencies and industry players to combat corruption.