Gabon: Son of Ousted Leader Detained on Treason, Graft Charges
The state prosecutor in Gabon has announced that Noureddin Bongo Valentin, the son of ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, along with several allies of the deposed leader, have been arrested and charged with high treason and corruption.
Libreville prosecutor Andre-Patrick Roponat disclosed the developments on Tuesday, revealing that they have been placed in provisional detention.
The charges against Noureddin Bongo Valentin, former presidential spokesman Jessye Ella Ekogha, and four other individuals closely associated with the former president are wide-ranging. They include accusations of high treason against state institutions, massive misappropriation of public funds, forgery of the president’s signature, corruption, and drug trafficking.
Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had governed the oil-rich central African nation since 2009, was removed from power by military leaders on August 30, shortly after being declared the winner of a presidential election.
The election’s outcome was denounced as fraudulent by both the opposition and the military coup leaders.
Furthermore, Bongo’s regime was accused of widespread corruption and poor governance.
On the same day as the coup, soldiers detained one of Bongo’s sons, five senior cabinet officials, and his wife, Sylvia Bongo Valentin.
National television broadcast images of the arrested individuals alongside suitcases allegedly containing confiscated cash from their residences.
Sylvia Bongo Valentin is currently placed under house arrest in the capital city, Libreville, “for her protection,” according to authorities. Her legal representatives argue that her detention is “arbitrary.”
Ali Bongo Ondimba, who himself experienced a period of house arrest after the coup, has been granted freedom to travel and move about, including travelling abroad, as announced by the country’s new military leader, General Brice Oligui Nguema, on September 6.