The wife of Gabon’s deposed president Ali Bongo Ondimba, under house arrest since a coup in the central African country on August 30, has been jailed, her lawyer confirmed on Thursday, October 12, 2023.
Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, suspected of allegedly stealing public funds, was charged on September 28 with money laundering, forgery and falsification of records and imprisoned on Wednesday, October 11.
Sylvia Bongo has been under house arrest in Gabon’s capital, Libreville, since the August 30 coup. According to her lawyer, Francois Zimeray, her arrest is considered an “illegal procedure.”
She was accused alongside her son, Nourredin Bongo Valentin, of influencing the former president, who has not fully recovered from a serious stroke since 2018 to rig presidential elections.
It is believed the two have effectively run the oil-rich country for the past five years and have embezzled public money.
Nourredin Bongo Valentin has been placed in detention since the coup, charged with corruption as well as other crimes.
Bongo, 64, had ruled the Gabon since 2009, but was overthrown by military leaders moments after being proclaimed the winner in a presidential election. Many saw it as an act of liberation rather than a military coup.
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