Politics

Eight months after his suspicious trip to Morocco, EPA’s chief Scott Pruitt resigns

EPA’s chief Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday, following allegations of self-dealing and wasteful spending. The official heading the USA's environmental protection agency has been criticized for visiting Morocco to promote liquefied gas imports in the Kingdom.

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Eight months after his suspicious trip to Morocco, EPA’s chief Scott Pruitt resigns./Ph. DR

Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday, 5th of July, following allegations related to wasteful spending and self-dealing, says Moroccan French-language newspaper Le Desk.

Pruitt’s resignation comes as he was involved in a suspicious visit to Morocco, where he reportedly promoted Liquefied Gas imports. The Republican’s departure was made public after it was accepted by President Donald Trump in a Tweet.

«I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency», wrote Trump who hailed the efforts made by Pruitt, who in fact was targeted for months by a wave of criticism in the USA.

«Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this», said the Republican president.

Morocco' scandalous trip

However, Scott Pruitt’s job as head of the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has sparked tension in the American political scene especially after a December trip the official made to the North African Kingdom.

Investigations conducted in May by New York Times, The Washington Post and Moroccan newspaper Le Desk revealed that EPA former chief’s trip to Morocco, was arranged by an American lobbyist, named Richard Smotkin.

Documents provided by Le Desk unveiled that Smotkin’s role in the trip, which has reportedly cost $100.000 and was marked by promoting Liquefied Gas imports, was allegedly connected to a $40.000 contract he signed with the Moroccan Embassy in Washington.

The latter was signed in January to promote the kingdom’s cultural and economic interests.

Reportedly, Smotkin has attended the visit Pruitt made to the Green Energy Park in Ben Guerir and the one that brought him together with OCP’s executive.

The lobbyist had also joined Scott Pruitt for dinner during his final night in Marrakech. Pruitt has even admitted in a congress hearing that the reason why he went on the trip was because he received an invitation from Morocco’s ambassador in the United States, namely Lalla Joumala Alaoui.

Replying to a question asked by Rep. Chellie Pingree, the EPA chief said that he was «asked by the Moroccan embassy to discuss natural gas exports» once in the North African Kingdom.

Pruitt’s visit to Morocco was also connected to his lavish expenses as reports emerged, revealing that he spent around $100,000 during the trip.

His premium-class airline ticket cost $16,164 while his stay at Sofitel in Paris cost for the night $494, including the hotel expenses in Rabat due to a no-show.

As Pruitt bid the EPA farewell, Trump announced in a different tweet that lawyer Andrew R. Wheeler will assume duties on Monday as the new «acting Administrator of the EPA».

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