Gabon’s transitional leader threatens business owners over corruption

Gabon’s new strongman General Brice Oligui Nguema has blasted corruption among state contractors in a fiery address, telling business leaders they must commit to the “development of the country”.

The general who overthrew Gabon’s 55-year Bongo dynasty is set to be sworn in as transitional president next week.

On Thursday, he summoned around 200 Gabonese business leaders to a meeting, where he lashed out against firms overbilling for their services. The speech was broadcast on state television on Friday.

Opponents of the ousted regime had regularly accused contractors close to the government of massively overbilling on state contracts in return for kickbacks to high-ranking government officials.

“It is difficult to perceive, at this stage, your commitment or patriotism when it comes to the development expected by our compatriots,” Nguema said, vowing to make sure the overcharged money “comes back to the state”.

“This situation, for me, cannot continue, and I will not tolerate it”.

National TV also showed rolling images of the deposed president’s son Noureddin Bongo Valentin and other arrested officials in front of suitcases filled with cash allegedly seized from their homes.

The military has accused them of treason, embezzlement, corruption and falsifying the president’s signature, among other allegations.


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