The public prosecutor announced on Friday that Sylvia Bongo Valentin, the wife of Gabon’s ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, has been charged with “money laundering” and other offenses. The charges come a month after her husband was toppled in a coup shortly after being declared the winner of a presidential election. Noureddin Bongo Valentin, the couple’s eldest son, has already been charged with corruption.
On Thursday, an investigating judge formally charged the former first lady, as confirmed by prosecutor Andre Patrick Roponat during a statement broadcasted on state television channels on Friday. Roponat also stated that the house arrest order against Sylvia Bongo Valentin remains in effect. Earlier this month, one of her lawyers claimed that she was being held “incommunicado outside any legal framework.”
Noureddin Bongo, along with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers, has already faced charges of corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Ali Bongo assumed power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar, who had ruled the country for almost 42 years. However, his presidency came to an end in August after the disputed election, which was denounced as fraudulent by the opposition and the military coup leaders. The coup leaders have also accused Ali Bongo’s government of widespread corruption and poor governance.