Noureddin Bongo Valentin, the son of former Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba, along with several members of the ousted president’s cabinet, has been arrested, charged with “high treason,” and accused of “active corruption,” as confirmed by Libreville’s prosecutor on Wednesday.
Among those indicted on Tuesday and subsequently remanded in custody are Ali Bongo’s eldest son, former presidential spokesman Jessye Ella Ekogha, and four other individuals, according to André-Patrick Roponat, the public prosecutor in Libreville, Gabon’s capital.
The arrests and charges stem from the events of August 30th when, less than an hour after the announcement of Ali Bongo’s controversial re-election, the military, led by General Brice Oligui Nguema, orchestrated a coup, overthrowing the president. The military accused Ali Bongo’s regime of “massive misappropriation” of public funds.
On the day of the coup, the military apprehended one of the sons of the deposed head of state, along with five other high-ranking officials from the former president’s office and his wife, Sylvia Bongo Valentin. Extensive searches of their residences, broadcast widely on state television, revealed large sums of money piled in trunks, suitcases, and bags.
Sylvia Bongo Valentin is currently under house arrest in Libreville, officially for her protection according to the presidency, but her lawyers have contested this as an “arbitrary detention.”
Ali Bongo, who was initially placed under house arrest in Libreville for several days following the coup, has since been granted freedom of movement and the option to travel abroad, as announced by General Oligui on September 6th.