The wife of Gabon’s deposed president, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, has been indicted on charges of “money laundering” and other crimes.
This comes a month after a coup d’etat removed her husband, Ali Bongo, from power.
Sylvia Bongo, who is of Franco-Gabonese descent, and one of their sons have been implicated by the coup leader as having wielded significant influence in the oil-rich nation.
Their eldest son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, has already been charged with corruption and public fund embezzlement along with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers.
According to Al Jazeera, an investigative judge filed the charges against Sylvia Bongo on Thursday, and she has been placed under house arrest. She is also facing additional charges, including concealment and forgery.
Since the coup on August 30, Sylvia Bongo has been under house arrest in Libreville, the capital.
She has been separated from her husband, and her French lawyers have lodged a complaint in Paris against what they describe as “hostage-taking.”
Ali Bongo, who had governed the central African country since 2009, was overthrown by military leaders on August 30, shortly after being declared the winner in a presidential election. The election results were disputed by the opposition and the military coup leaders, who also accused his regime of rampant corruption and poor governance.
In total, 10 individuals have been indicted on charges ranging from operational issues with the electoral college, counterfeiting and use of the republic’s seals, to corruption, embezzlement of public funds, and money laundering. Seven individuals, including Noureddin Bongo, have been detained.
The new military ruler of Gabon, General Brice Oligui Nguema, has assured that there will be a level playing field for all political parties participating in the upcoming election.