Gabon: Court sends ex-First Lady into detention

A court in Gabon addressing corruption cases hauled October 11 the former First Lady Sylvia Bongo Ondimba into prison after she was charged in September 2023 with money laundering, concealment, forgery and use of forgery, one month after her husband, President Ali Bongo, was ousted from power on August 30 in a military coup.

Sylvia Bongo placed under house arrest since her indictment appeared Wednesday October 11 before a court located in the National School for the Judiciary, in a confrontation with Brice Laccruche Alihanga, a former Chief of staff of her husband.

Alihanga has been in prison since October 2021 following his condemnation to five years in prison by a court in the central African country.

He is also being sued for corruption related offences. The confrontation lasted for several hours, local media ‘Gabon Review’ reports. Sylvia was later sent to Libreville central detention center where her son Noureddin is also being held.

Noureddin was charged and incarcerated for corruption and embezzlement of public funds, with several former young members of the presidential Cabinet and two former ministers, few days after the father was deposed.

A junta led by General Brice Oligui Nguema, head of the presidential guards, seized power on August 30 less than an hour after the country’s Independent Election Commission announced Ali Bongo winner of August 26 presidential elections.

The coup brought an end to Ali’s 14-year-control of the country and an end to 55 years of Bongo dynasty.