Barely one month after Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, was removed from office through a military coup, his wife, Sylvia, has been arrested in connection with “money laundering” allegations and other offences.
Mrs Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, who had been under house arrest in the country’s capital city since her husband was deposed on August 30, was on Thursday charged with money laundering and receiving stolen goods as well as forgery and fraud.
This was confirmed in a report by the state’s TV Channel on Friday. The Public prosecutor, Andre Patrick Roponat, announced on Friday that Sylvia was charged on Thursday.
“A dozen compatriots were arrested and charged with criminal and misdemeanor offences, and some were remanded in custody. It was in this context that Madame Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin appeared before the examining magistrate on the 28th of September 2023.
“She was charged with money laundering, receiving stolen goods as well as forgery and fraud, all offences punishable under articles 116, 117, 312 and 380 of the Penal Code, before being placed under house arrest.” the prosecutor said.
According to an Aljazeera report, the ex-president’s son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, has already been charged with corruption and embezzling public funds with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers.
Bongo, 64, who had ruled the central African country since 2009, was overthrown by military leaders, moments after being declared the winner in a controversial presidential election.
The opposition alleged that the election in which Bongo Was proclaimed winner was characterised by fraud.
Bingo succeeded his father Omar Bongo, the second president of Gabon, who ruled for almost 42 years, from 1967 until his death in 2009.
The incumbent military government which had placed Ali Bongo under house arrest since the occurred, recently declared that he was free to leave the country or move around.
The wave of military incursion into politics has sweep across Africa especially in the Sahel region, mainly fueled by perceived discord between the leaders and citizens as a result of poor governance.