After 42 years at the helm of Gabon, President Omar Bongo appears to be easing his way out the door. The official reason is declining health, but Microkhan finds it odds that Bongo seems to have taken ill after a French court lowered the investigative boom, in response to a complaint by Transparency International. The anti-corruption watchdog as long been on Bongo’s case, primarily about his lavish taste in European homes:
The African leaders stand accused of embezzlement, misuse of public funds and money-laundering in relation to “the acquisition of very substantial property and assets in France,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer William Bourdon when he announced the suit.
Transparency International had filed suit twice before, in March 2007 and July last year, to denounce the Gabonese president’s acquisition of luxury homes in France, sparking a wave of protests from his supporters at home…
Bongo and his family owned 33 properties in France, including a villa in Paris bought in 2007 for 18.8 million euros (24 million dollars), and that Sassou Nguesso owned at least three vast properties in the French capital.
You will likely be unsurprised to learn that Bongo has amassed these treasures despite ruling a desperately poor country, where an estimated 70 percent of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. That must make tough financial sledding for the workaday residents of Libreville, Gabon’s capital; it is currently ranked as the eighth most expensive city in the world, ahead of London and Geneva.