Serial arrests within the presidency, a prosecutor landed, millions of euros « volatilized »: a vast anti-corruption operation brutally rebuffs the cards of power in Gabon.
In this Central African country regularly singled out in embezzlement cases, a new politico-legal soap opera broke out a few weeks ago. On a scale unprecedented this time, because touching the entourage of the former strongman of the Gabonese presidency, Brice Laccruche Alihanga.
His dismissal on November 7 of the post of cabinet director of the presidency of Ali Bongo Ondimba, a position he held for more than two years, has kicked off a wave of arrests amid suspicions of corruption and financial malpractices.
Who could have imagined a few weeks ago that the situation would evolve like this?
Twenty people were arrested, including the former director general of the National Health Insurance Fund (CNAMGS), Renaud Allogho Akoue, but also the director of presidential communication, Ike Ngouoni, considered the right arm of M Laccruche.
Today a simple minister, Mr. Laccruche is low profile, while he had been gaining influence since President Bongo’s stroke in October 2018.
The vise seems to tighten anyway, with the publication Wednesday of a double page in the pro-government daily Union claiming that more than 85 billion CFA francs, or 129 million euros, have « volatilized » these last two years within the Gabon Oil compagny (GOC). A public company managed by a certain Patrichi Tanasa, close to Mr. Laccruche, in police custody since Monday.
The Union’s investigation targets the Dupont Consulting Company, a private company whose directors happen to be the current Minister of Energy, Tony Ondo Mba, and Laccruche’s brother, Gregory Laccruche. The latter was arrested on Wednesday, told AFP a source close to power.