Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, the Franco-Gabonese wife of former Gabon president Ali Bongo Ondimba, has been incarcerated following her previous house arrest, which began after a military coup in late August. Allegations of embezzlement of public funds led to her imprisonment, as confirmed by her French lawyer, François Zimeray, who criticized the procedure as “illegal” and “arbitrary”.
Reports from Gabonese media state that Mrs. Bongo was placed under a committal order at Libreville’s central prison after an extensive re-hearing by an examining magistrate on Wednesday evening.
On September 28, Mrs. Bongo was charged with “money laundering and forgery” and had been under house arrest in Libreville since the first day of the coup that ousted her husband. The military, responsible for the coup and accusing Ali Bongo Ondimba’s entourage of election fraud, publicly suspected Mrs. Bongo of “manipulating” her husband, who had been recovering from a severe stroke in 2018. They also accused her and their son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, of being the de facto leaders of the country since then and of engaging in “massive embezzlement of public funds”.
Noureddin Bongo has been in prison since the initial day of the coup, facing charges of “corruption” and “embezzlement of public funds”.