|Ange -Felix Patasse in 2005|
He had been blocked from leaving the country for medical treatment on two occasions and had only been allowed to depart on Saturday, Mr. Kodegue said.
Mr. Patassé served as minister and then prime minister under the former dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa before becoming president in 1993 and winning re-election in 1999.
Opponents accused Mr. Patassé of rampant corruption, and he survived repeated attempted coups as well as military mutinies over unpaid salaries and labor disputes.
Despite the nation’s wealth of gold, diamonds, timber and uranium, Mr. Bozizé’s corruption-beset government remains perpetually strapped for cash. Its authority is mostly limited to the capital, Bangui, and armed bandits and insurgents roam the anarchic countryside.