The file of Gabonese “ill-gotten gains”, fifteen years old, has been relaunched: French justice has confirmed that it has indicted in June and July five sons and daughters of Omar Bongo Ondimba, former Gabonese president who died in 2009 and father of the current head of state. Among those interested are especially Pascaline Bongo, the former chief of staff of Omar Bongo Ondimba, and Omar Denis Junior Bongo, who is also the grandson of Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Gabon: the last hours of Omar Bongo Ondimba
Also concerned are Jeanne and Joseph Matoua, children of Omar Bongo Ondimba and Patricia Thérèse Matoua. They were indicted for concealment of embezzlement of public funds, active and passive corruption, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets.
“It’s a whole family clan”
French justice suspects them of having “knowingly” benefited from an important real estate heritage “fraudulently” acquired in France by the former Gabonese president. The value of these assets has been assessed “at least 85 million euros”.
In addition to the Bongo children – Grace, Betty, Arthur and Hermine Bongo were also indicted in March and April – and the BNP Paribas bank, fourteen other natural persons are also being prosecuted. Among them are members of the family of Denis Sassou Nguesso and several French people, including a lawyer, a notary or a manager of a civil real estate company (SCI).
“It’s a whole family clan that will have to be accountable,” reacted Me William Bourdon, lawyer for Transparency International France, civil party in the case.
Ali Bongo Ondimba not concerned
“This does not concern the President of the Republic, nor any member of the Gabonese Republic’s presidency, so there is nothing to comment on,” declared Jessye Ella Ekogha, spokesperson for the Gabonese presidency.
For Pascaline Bongo’s lawyer, Me Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, there is in this procedure “a legal and factual anachronism”. Lawyer for Omar Denis Junior Bongo, Me Jean-Marie Viala contested the indictment of his client “on the basis of law”, “not morality”.
Grace, Betty, Arthur and Hermine Bongo denied having knowledge of the fraudulent nature of this fortune.