Gabon's ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba, who ruled the oil-rich country for 14 years, and his wife Sylvia Bongo at a parade to mark independence day in 2019 / © AFP/File

Gabon charges ousted president’s wife with ‘money laundering’

The wife of Gabon’s ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba has been charged with “money laundering” and other offences, the public prosecutor said Friday, a month after a coup toppled her husband.

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, who is Franco-Gabonese, and one of the couple’s sons have been accused by the coup leader of having pulled the strings in the oil-rich country.

Their eldest son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, has already been charged with corruption and embezzling public funds with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers.

Sylvia Bongo was charged by an investigating judge on Thursday and ordered to remain under house arrest, Andre Patrick Roponat announced on state TV channels.

She also faces other charges including concealment and forgery, he said.

Sylvia Bongo has been under house arrest in the capital Libreville since the coup on August 30.

She has been isolated from her husband and her French lawyers have filed a complaint in Paris against what they said “appears to be a hostage-taking”.

Bongo, 64, who had ruled the central African country since 2009, was overthrown by military leaders on August 30, moments after being proclaimed the winner in a presidential election.

The result was branded a fraud by the opposition and the military coup leaders, who have also accused his regime of widespread corruption and bad governance.

Ali Bongo was elected after his father Omar died in 2009 after nearly 42 years in power.

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