All to the glory of ABO, his book “Gabon, from inheritance to sharing” does not however overlook some unpleasant truths. Tasty.
Those who will look at Le Gabon, de l’héritage au partage (1) with, in mind, the quest for some crisp revelations on the birth of Ali Bongo Ondimba and his young years will come out disappointed by their reading. One should not expect the very pugnacious French lawyer to compromise herself. Claude Dumont Beghi reminds us that the birth certificate of the Gabonese president, “established in 1959 in a handwritten form in Brazzaville, has been transferred since 1960 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France, and since 1965 in Nantes”. And that, according to Article 40 of the 1947 French Overseas Civil Code, ‘civil status records are entered in one or more registers kept in duplicate’. Then, according to article 158 of the Gabonese Civil Code, ‘one of the copies is deposited at the clerk’s office of the tribunal de grande instance, the second copy is kept at the town hall or, failing that, at the district capital, and the third at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’. As there were no photocopiers at the time, the inscriptions, which were handwritten, sometimes varied from one register to another: this does not mean that there was fraud. As a reminder, according to some allegations, Ali Bongo is only an adopted son of Omar Bongo, and is therefore not of Gabonese origin.
In short, will Claude Dumont Beghi succeed in convincing Ali Bongo’s opponents that are trying “to make people believe that the French administration has made a forgery, or is the holder of a forgery, borders on the ridiculous”? The precedents of colonial and postcolonial France are unfortunately often much more serious than the faking of documents. As proof, the Parisian lawyer comes back to the Elf case, recalling that Omar Bongo, Ali’s father, set the amount of the subscription for Elf Gabon. “This money was then transferred to his personal account (…) The account was shared with Elf or Oswalt, an offshore company in Liechtenstein. “Claude Dumont Beghi recalls that the same Omar Bongo “often financed the electoral campaigns of friendly French political parties, particularly through Elf’s slush fund.
No electricity in rural areas
These are facts, certainly known, but which deserve to be repeated for the Gabonese people. They are certainly always delighted to be reminded that the money from their deposits, mines and forests fell into the pockets of the Gaullist and socialist parties in the Tricolor. All the more so since in this small African country, despite all its wealth, and a population of only 1.8 million, “more than 30% of Gabonese people (ninety-five thousand households) still live below the poverty line, with less than 80,000 CFA francs (about 120 euros) per month”. In 2014, only 15% of rural areas had electricity, and the city of Lambaréné, capital of the Moyen-Ogooué, waited until January 2016 to be have lighting “thanks to stearin, a fatty acid from refined palm oil”. The author acknowledges that “the level of corruption is still worrying, and the deterrent measures are proving to be insufficient”
Air Gabon lawyer
Claude Dumont Beghi reveals that for years (1986 to 2000), she was Air Gabon’s lawyer. This company represents 80% of her professional activity. But in 2000, she was dismissed overnight (along with the entire board of directors), leaving her with a year’s unpaid fees. This woman of character, who distinguished herself in the famous Wildenstein case (2), did not hesitate to have an Air Gabon Boeing 747 seized! She finally won her case nine years later, in 2009. Reconciled with the Gabonese government since then, there are expecting somewhat tough elections. She flew last Friday to Libreville.
(1) published by L’Archipel, 211 pages
(2) ” Les milliards dissimulés de l’héritage Wildenstein “, L’Archipel.
Source: Le Point
Author: Ian Hamel