The wife of Gabon’s deposed President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Sylvia Bongo Valentin, has been charged with “money laundering” and other offenses following a coup that toppled her husband. This occurred a month after Ali Bongo Ondimba was overthrown on August 30, shortly after being declared the winner of a presidential election. Sylvia Bongo Valentin had been under house arrest in the capital city since her husband’s ousting. Her eldest son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, had already been charged with corruption.
The former first lady was charged by an investigating judge on Thursday, and her house arrest order was also upheld. There were concerns raised by one of her lawyers earlier in the month about her being held “incommunicado outside any legal framework.”
Noureddin Bongo Valentin, the son of Ali and Sylvia Bongo, had already been charged with corruption and embezzlement of public funds, along with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers.
Ali Bongo had assumed the presidency in 2009 after his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled Gabon for nearly 42 years, passed away. However, his presidency was ended by the military coup in August following the controversial presidential election. The opposition and the military coup leaders had both criticized the election results as fraudulent and accused Ali Bongo’s government of widespread corruption and poor governance.