Brice Laccruche Alihanga, the former chief of staff to Ali Bongo who fell from grace and was imprisoned in December 2019, has finally been released in the night between Friday, October 20, and Saturday, October 21. A Franco-Gabonese national, Laccruche Alihanga, who had become the de facto powerhouse of the system following Ali Bongo’s stroke in October 2018, was released conditionally alongside two of his close associates.
The only photograph circulated on social media at the moment of his release depicts Brice Laccruche Alihanga as unrecognizable. He appears emaciated, frail, and exhausted. His lawyers had been advocating for his release on humanitarian grounds, as the former chief of staff of Ali Bongo was in very poor health. The deposed regime had turned a deaf ear, even alleging that Laccruche Alihanga was using subterfuge to evade prison.
Last week, during a confrontation before an investigating judge, Sylvia Bongo, the former first lady suspected of contributing to Brice Laccruche Alihanga’s continued incarceration, was reportedly astonished to witness the former strongman of the presidential palace in such a deplorable state.
Ongoing Legal Troubles
Laccruche Alihanga, his brother Grégory, and former Transport Minister Justin Ndoundangoye, all detained as part of an anti-corruption operation, were released on the same night. However, their legal woes are far from over. They are placed under house arrest and continue to face charges of embezzlement of public funds.