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    Wife and son of former Gabon Ali Bongo have been jailed; lawyer reveals

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    Somali Magazine October 13. 2023-Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin wife of Gabon’s deposed president Ali Bongo Ondimba has been jailed over the suspected embezzlement of public funds.
    Her Paris-based lawyer Francois Zimeray revealed that her sentence took place on Wednesday condemning the “arbitrary… illegal procedure.

    Sylvia Bongo Ondimba has been under house arrest in Libreville since the August 30 coup brought the curtain down on 55 years of rule by the Bongo dynasty. The 60-year-old was charged on September 28 with money laundering, forgery, and falsification of records.
    According to Gabonese media reports, she was taken into custody at a prison in the capital Libreville following a long hearing in front of a judge.

    Ali Bongo, 64, who had ruled the central African country since 2009, was overthrown by military leaders moments after being proclaimed the winner in a presidential election.
    The election result was branded a fraud by the opposition and the military coup leaders, who have also accused his regime of widespread corruption and bad governance.
    The military junta has accused Sylvia Bongo of having manipulated the former president, who is suffering the after-effects of a serious stroke in 2018.
    They say she and one of the couple’s sons have effectively pulled the strings in the oil-rich country for the past five years and have misused public money.
    Their eldest son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, has been charged with corruption and embezzling public funds with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers.
    Sylvia Bongo had been isolated from her husband, and her French lawyers had complained of what they said “appears to be a hostage-taking”.
    “We condemned this illegal procedure,” lawyer Zimeray said on Thursday following her jailing.
    “There is a difference between justice and arbitrary actions, between the law and revenge.”
    The public prosecutor in Libreville has not yet responded to an AFP request for comment.
    Many in Gabon saw the overthrow of the Bongo dynasty as an act of liberation rather than a military coup.

     

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