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Wife of ousted Gabon president arrested for ‘money laundering’

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In a shocking turn of events, the wife of Gabon’s recently ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba has been arrested and charged with “money laundering” and other offenses.

Sylvia Bongo Valentin has been placed under house arrest in the capital city, Libreville, ever since her husband was overthrown on August 30th, just moments after being declared the winner in a presidential election. This arrest comes in the wake of her eldest son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, already being charged with corruption.

Wife of ousted Gabon president arrested for 'money laundering'
Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba, left, and Gabon First Lady Sylvia Bongo Ondimba. second left, are seen at the Nzang Ayong stadium in Libreville on July 10, 2023 [Steeve Jordan/AFP]
According to the public prosecutor’s office, Sylvia Bongo Valentin was formally charged by an investigating judge on Thursday. The news of her arrest was announced by prosecutor Andre Patrick Roponat on state television channels on Friday. Roponat also confirmed that her house arrest order has been upheld.

It is worth noting that one of her lawyers had previously claimed that she was being kept “incommunicado outside any legal framework.”

This statement raises concerns about the transparency and fairness of the judicial process surrounding her case. The public will be watching closely to ensure that due process is followed and that the rights of the accused are respected.

As for her son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, he has already been charged with corruption and embezzlement of public funds. He is currently facing trial alongside several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers. The charges against them reflect the military coup leaders’ allegations of widespread corruption and bad governance under Ali Bongo’s government.

Ali Bongo assumed power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled Gabon for nearly 42 years. However, his presidency has been marred by controversy and allegations of electoral fraud.

The opposition and the military coup leaders have vehemently denounced the election result, branding it a fraud. They have also accused the government of rampant corruption and mismanagement.

These recent developments in Gabon’s political landscape have sent shockwaves throughout the country and raised concerns about the rule of law and the integrity of the judicial system.

The arrest of Sylvia Bongo Valentin, the wife of the ousted president, for alleged money laundering further underscores the gravity of the situation.


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