Bongo of Gabon ... what a guy

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by TheStudent, Jun 9, 2009.


    Death of astute Gabon leader ends era

    By Matthew Green in Lagos

    Published: June 9 2009 03:00 | Last updated: June 9 2009 03:00

    Omar Bongo, Africa's longest-serving ruler, one of its wealthiest men and a linchpin of French interests on the continent, has died in a Spanish hospital aged 73.

    Ending 24 hours of confusion over the fate of the president of Gabon, Jean Eyeghe Ndong, prime minister, confirmed the news last night.

    Mr Bongo's death marks the end of an era in Francophone Africa, where he was a central figure in a shadowy web of political, commercial and intelligence networks dubbed " Francafrique ".

    Run by pliant leaders protected by contingents of French troops, the network allowed France to exert huge influence in its former colonies in central and West Africa in the decades after independence and ensure preferential access for its companies.

    Harnessing Gabon's oil income to project a degree of diplomatic clout remarkable for his sparsely populated homeland, Mr Bongo cultivated an extraordinary degree of influence within the French political establishment. He also courted Chinese and Arab allies.

    A former air force officer and senior civil servant, he rose rapidly through the ranks after independence to become one of the continent's youngest heads of state in November 1967, when President Leon Mba, independence leader, died.

    Accumulating a huge store of personal wealth, he survived his fellow 1960s "big men" of African politics with his ability to access the French and even Washington establishment intact.

    Relations with France, however, were under strain, and in May a French magistrate ruled an anti-corruption investigation could proceed into whether Mr Bongo and the leaders of Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo had embezzled public funds to buy luxury homes and cars. The three leaders denied wrongdoing. An indictment against Mr Bongo seen by the FT listed 39 properties, mostly in Paris' chic 16th arrondissement , nine cars, and 70 bank accounts.
  2. The adventures of Bongo

    ‘Gabon leader did not hold me as sex slave’

    Report by AP

    Dakar, Senegal – A PERUVIAN beauty pageant contestant has denied reports that she was held in Libreville against her will to become 67year-old Gabonese President Omar Bongo’s lover and held for nearly two weeks after she refused.

    Ivette Lourdes Santa Maria Carty, a 22-year-old Miss Peru America contestant, said yesterday that Mr Bongo had never tried to force himself on her once he realised she was not there for sex.

    “He never touched me and didn’t try to stop me from leaving,” she said.

    It had been reported that Miss Carty was invited to Gabon to be a hostess for an alleged “Miss Humanity” pageant there.

    Miss Carty said she had been taken to Gabon’s presidential palace hours after her arrival with her boyfriend on January 19.

    Gabon’s president had quickly joined her in a panelled room in the palace, Miss Carty said. “He pressed a button and some sliding doors opened, revealing a large bed,” she said.

    “I told him I was not a prostitute, that I was a Miss Peru. I started to cry and panicked.”

    Miss Carty said she had fled from the room and was running around the grounds of the palace when guards offered to drive her back to her hotel.

    When she returned to the hotel, pageant organisers and government officials apologised for “any misunderstanding”, Miss Carty said. Without money to pay the hotel bill, however, she was stranded in Gabon for 12 days until international women’s groups and others intervened. A spokesman for Mr Bongo, Vincent Mavoungou Bouyou, said on Wednesday by telephone from the capital, Libreville, that he was unaware of the allegations.

    Organisers of the alleged contest had first contacted Miss Carty through the internet, her father, Julio, told Peruvian media.

    The Peruvian foreign ministry identified the contest’s purported organisers as being from Argentina and Switzerland.

    Miss Carty’s parents had contacted Peru’s foreign affairs ministry on Monday seeking help, the ministry said.

    Peru’s United Nations ambassador in New York had contacted his Gabonese counterpart to express his country’s “serious concern”, the ministry said.

    Contacted in Peru, the young woman’s mother appeared to back away from local media reports that her daughter had been held in Libreville against her will.

    “Maybe we have exaggerated, but I don’t mind . . . if the scandal results in my daughter returning to Peru,” Antonieta Carty told reporters.

    Mr Bongo has kept a tight grip on power in this oil-rich former French colony since becoming president in 1967. He has faced similar allegations in the past.

    In 1995, Italian fashion designer Francesco Smalto testified in Paris that he had furnished Mr Bongo with call girls, and had flown them to Gabon regularly from France in 1992 and 1993.

    At least two opposition newspapers were shut down and French newspapers were banned temporarily in Gabon after reporting on that alleged scandal. – Sapa-AP
  3. It's good to be Omar Bongo - you get sluts delivered with your suits.

    Gabon's Bongo Ready for AIDS Test to Quash Rumors

    Reuters (04/14/95)
    Gabonese President Omar Bongo said he is ready to take an HIV test to disprove rumors that he has AIDS, French Cooperation Minister Bernard Debre said on Friday.

    The rumors, which surfaced at the Paris trial of Italian fashion designer Francesco Smalto, emerged when Smalto said that he had supplied prostitutes to Bongo. Smalto, who is charged with aggravated pimping, said that he regularly flew the prostitutes from France to Gabon during 1992 and 1993 to "accompany" clothes delivery to Bongo, who was his best customer.

    On Thursday, French attorney Jacques Verges said he was suing the French daily Le Monde on behalf of Bongo because of an article it published based on the court testimony.
  4. Of course Gabon received an average of $100mm a year in developmental aid from 1988 to 1998, and $50mm a year from 1970 to 1987 before that.

    You can look it up here:

    This is a country that has GDP per capita higher than Romania and Argentina, but a life expectancy at birth of 53 years.