Gabonese NGOs file case against Transparency International

19:28, November 16, 2010      

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Five Gabonese NGOs on Monday filed a case at a Libreville court against Transparency International, accusing it of engaging in a "defamatory and injurious" exercise against the country's late president Omar Bongo Ondimba.

"We have been given a date of November 23. Our case can either be accepted or not, but we shall still soldier on," said the advocate of the five NGOs, Me Ferdinand Abena Bidzo'o,.

The NGOs filed the case in a bid to stop the one filed in France by the Transparency International and an NGO called Sherpa.

In the case filed in France, Transparency International alleged that some African presidents got their wealth illegally and therefore this wealth should be returned to their respective nations.

The five Gabonese NGOs include the Acquired Cash Belongs to Bongo Ondimba (CASBO), Echos from Gabon, the Young Leaders Forum, the grouping of NGOs and Associations of Gabon. They are protesting against the defamatory remarks being made against Omar Bongo, who died in power after having ruled Gabon for 41 years from 1967 to 2009.

The NGOs are claiming that their former leader was capable of acquiring the wealth in the question without "stealing."

The NGO's advocate also said a serving president could not be prosecuted.

"No country can prosecute a serving president. The wealth acquired by president Bongo was property acquired when he was executing his duties," he said.

Bidzo'o hoped that the case filed at the Libreville court will be accepted. He noted that the five NGOs will be represented by five to six lawyers.

Transparency International wants investigations to be carried out on the wealth in France for Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon.

The organization based the case on the investigations by the French police which revealed that these leaders had bought a lot of property in France using public funds from their respective countries.

On Nov. 9, the French Appeal Court accepted the case filed by Transparency International as valid, increasing pressure on Libreville.

Source: Xinhua


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