The Libreville state prosecutor has confirmed to the press that Noureddin Bongo Valentin, the son of ousted Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba, and several of his allies have been charged with high treason and corruption.
- Former Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s son and close allies were arrested and charged in court.
- Gabon junta named General Brice Oligui Nguema as the transition leader
- Ali Bongo, who was initially placed under house arrest, has been freed
Ali Bongo’s eldest son, former presidential spokesman Jessye Ella Ekogha, and four other people were “indicted on Tuesday and remanded in custody”, said André-Patrick Roponat.
This comes amid the coup that occurred in the country on August 30, and, on the same day, one of Bongo’s sons, five senior cabinet officials, and his wife, Sylvia Bongo Valentin, were arrested.
During that time, national TV showed images of the arrestees with suitcases filled with cash allegedly seized from their homes.
According to Gabon News Reporter Ali Bongo’s son Noureddin Bongo Valentin was found with 4 billion CFA francs in cash. The bags of money about $6.6 million was at his chief of staff Ian Ngolou’s house, this Gabon state TV report claims.
Bongo took office in 2009, succeeding his father, Omar, who died after more than 41 years in power.
The Gabon junta named General Brice Oligui Nguema as the transition leader, according to a statement made by soldiers on national television last month.
Gabon is the sixth African country to have undergone a coup in the last three years. Other countries include Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and most recently Niger.
On August 30, the army overthrew Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had been in power for 14 years, moments after he was proclaimed re-elected in an election deemed fraudulent by the military and the opposition.
General Brice Oligui Nguema, proclaimed President of the Transition, immediately promised to return power to civilians through elections at the end of a period that he did not announce.
Raymond Ndong Sima, a civilian appointed Prime Minister by the military last Thursday, said: “It’s a good idea to start with a reasonable objective and say: we hope to see the process completed in 24 months, so that we can return to elections”, adding that this period could be “slightly longer or shorter”.
Mr. Ndong Sima, 68, was appointed head of the transitional government by General Oligui Nguema. He was previously a leading opposition figure to Mr. Bongo.
The coup d’état on August 30 took place in a matter of moments and without any bloodshed.
The military putschists, who enjoy the support of the vast majority of the population and the opposition, claim to have acted to “preserve human lives” after a fraudulent election and to put an end to the “bad governance” and “corruption” of which they accuse the Bongo clan.
On Saturday, Mr. Ndong Sima announced the composition of his government, appointed by General Oligui and comprising former ministers of the deposed president, members of the former opposition, and civil society figures previously hostile to Mr. Bongo and his family, who had ruled the country for over 55 years.
The transitional charter put in place by the military prohibits members of the provisional government, including Mr. Ndong Sima, from standing in the forthcoming elections, but does not explicitly exclude General Oligui from running for the presidency.
General Oligui has also promised a new constitution, to be adopted by referendum, and a new electoral code, with the participation of “all the living forces of the Nation”.
General Oligui Nguema’s appointment to the Presidency of the Transition and to the military committee that forms his close team, of officers in charge of most of the same sectors as Mr. Ndong Sima’s ministers, raises the question of the autonomy and room for maneuver of his civilian government.
Ali Bongo, who was initially placed under house arrest in Libreville for several days after the putsch, is now “free to move about” and has the possibility of “traveling abroad”, General Oligui announced on September 6.