Gabon: the underside of Ali Bongo Ondimba’s legacy

14 September 2015
14 September 2015 adminCDBeghi25

One month after his announcement, the decision of President Ali Bongo Ondimba (ABO) to share his share of the legacy with Gabonese youth continues to generate strong comments. J.A. has managed to reconstruct the main stages of the operation.

It all began in June 2013, when Sylvia, the wife of the Head of State, called on the services of lawyer Claude Dumont Beghi to assist her in the foundation dedicated to women that she created. Ms. Dumont Beghi knows the country well: for fourteen years (1986-2000), she was Air Gabon’s lawyer. This is how “Ali” met her.

Another element that pleads for her recruitment by the Head of State (in a personal capacity, as she does not work for the Gabonese State), in December of the same year: she successfully took care of the explosive Wildenstein succession, a rich dynasty of French art dealers.

For a long time, ABO did not wish to take care of her father’s estate, which was managed by a notary, Me LydieRelongoue. But since the beginning of his mandate, he has been planning to give up his share to a foundation, which is impossible until the said succession is settled.

[ut_parallax_quote quote_linebreak_mobile=”on” cite_custom_border=”yes” quote_font_source=”google” quote_google_fonts=”font_family:Raleway%3A100%2C100italic%2C200%2C200italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:800%20bold%20regular%3A800%3Anormal” quote_font_size=”30″ quote_line_height=”40″ quote_letter_spacing=”-0.03″ quote_ins_font_weight=”” cite_font_source=”google” cite_google_fonts=”font_family:Raleway%3A100%2C100italic%2C200%2C200italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:600%20bold%20italic%3A600%3Aitalic” cite_font_size=”12″ cite_letter_spacing=”0.05″ cite_font_weight=”” cite_color=”#313131″ cite_border_color=”#dddddd”]Legal action[/ut_parallax_quote]

He therefore instructed Me Dumont Beghi to “put the file in order”. The lawyer started work on January 28, 2014 and, at first, came up against the notary’s ill will. In order to obtain answers to her questions, and, she said, “to know what and who we are talking about” (the list of assets, the list of beneficiaries, etc.), she decided to resort to legal action to force her interlocutors to open their files to her: eighteen orders on request were launched.

All of the orders were successful and she also obtained the appointment of a neutral and independent administrator. On December 10, 2014, this painstaking work led to the drafting of a working document summarizing its investigations, which was sent to the 54 members of the Bongo Ondimba family that were concerned. Until then, on the basis of a will drawn up in 1987 and never amended, the estate only concerned a dozen people.

Me Dumont Beghi is therefore in charge of settling the succession of Omar Bongo Ondimba on the legal level, and has had all the deceased’s assets validated by the magistrates, in France as well as in Gabon. Including, contrary to what may have been written here and there, those who are the subject of the investigation that has been underway for eight years in the so-called case of ill-gotten property (which concerns ABO and his father).

[ut_parallax_quote quote_linebreak_mobile=”on” cite_custom_border=”yes” quote_font_source=”google” quote_google_fonts=”font_family:Raleway%3A100%2C100italic%2C200%2C200italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:800%20bold%20regular%3A800%3Anormal” quote_font_size=”30″ quote_line_height=”40″ quote_letter_spacing=”-0.03″ quote_ins_font_weight=”” cite_font_source=”google” cite_google_fonts=”font_family:Raleway%3A100%2C100italic%2C200%2C200italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:600%20bold%20italic%3A600%3Aitalic” cite_font_size=”12″ cite_letter_spacing=”0.05″ cite_font_weight=”” cite_color=”#313131″ cite_border_color=”#dddddd”]Irreversible gift[/ut_parallax_quote]

“Ali” can finally put his plan into action. First, he must convince the dozen or so family members involved in the will to share the inheritance with about 40 other people. This he achieves, not without some difficulty. He then proceeds with the donation: payment of the income from his share of the inheritance (assets and dividends from his shares in the Delta Synergie family holding company) to a foundation for youth and education; transfer to the Stateand destined to become a university (estimated value : 120 million), free of charge, a 30 hectare property located near Camp De-Gaulle, in Libreville, sale of two mansions located on rue de la Baume, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris (value: ’20 million), and rue Edmond-Valentin, in the 7th arrondissement (approximately ’10 million).

Both will be used for diplomatic and cultural purposes. The declaration of unilateral transfer has been transmitted to the Minister of the Budget, making the donation effective and, above all, irreversible.

Source: Jeune Afrique

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