Gabon: Former First Lady Sylvia Bongo Charged with Money Laundering

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Sylvia Bongo

In a major development in Gabon, on Friday, September 29, 2023, nearly a month after the coup that ousted former President Ali Bongo, his wife, Sylvia Bongo, has been charged. The former first lady is officially accused of “money laundering, concealment, forgery, and use of forgery.”

The noose has suddenly tightened around Sylvia Bongo. According to Prosecutor AndrĂ© Patrick Roponat, the former first lady of Gabon was questioned by an investigating judge on September 28, 2023. She has now been charged with “money laundering, concealment, forgery, and use of forgery” and is under house arrest.

Sylvia’s situation is becoming clearer as, since the coup on August 30, the Franco-Gabonese woman had been held at an undisclosed location, and her fate was unknown. Her lawyers had filed a complaint in France for arbitrary detention and had denounced her being held hostage.

Many observers suspect Sylvia Bongo to be at the center of a vast corruption system at the highest level of the state.

Immediately after the coup, her collaborator Kim Oun was arrested at his home. A canteen filled with cash was seized in his office, along with the contents of a safe. He stated that the money belonged to Sylvia Bongo’s financial unit and that this office reported directly to her.

This indictment has certainly generated reactions. Geoffroy Foumboula is a spokesperson for a group of NGOs that have announced a series of complaints against the former first lady. He describes it as “very good news” and a “significant sign.” He hopes that “the investigation will run its course.” According to him, the justice system must continue its actions and trace the corruption trail back to Ali Bongo himself.

Soukaina Sghir

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