The wife of Gabon’s ex-president Ali Bongo Ondimba, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, who had been under house arrest since a military coup at the end of August for alleged embezzlement of public funds, has now been jailed for the same charges, according to her lawyer on Thursday.
Mrs. Bongo was charged with money laundering and forgery on September 28th. She has been under house arrest in Libreville since August 30th, the day of the putsch that overthrew her husband.
“I can confirm this,” replied her French lawyer, François Zimeray, when questioned by AFP about his client’s incarceration late on Wednesday evening. He denounced an “illegal” and “arbitrary” procedure. According to Gabonese media reports, Mrs. Bongo was placed under a committal order at Libreville’s central prison late on Wednesday evening after a lengthy re-hearing by an examining magistrate.
After accusing her husband’s entourage of rigging his re-election, the military overthrew him. Following this, the former First Lady was publicly suspected of manipulating her husband, who was already suffering from the after-effects of a serious stroke in 2018. She was also suspected of being the country’s de facto leader along with their son Noureddin Bongo Valentin, and of massively embezzling public funds. Currently, Noureddin Bongo is in prison, charged with corruption and embezzlement of public funds since the first day of the coup.