Son of Jammeh’s friend Obiang sentenced for corruption

Monday, October 30, 2017

Teodorin Obiang, the son of Yahya Jammeh’s host and the country’s feared vice president, has been found guilty by a French court and subsequently sentenced to a three-year suspended jail term.

He was found guilty of corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds.

Teodorin, who was groomed by his father to rule the country, a highly critical proposal that prompted furor and outcry from not only the county’s opposition but also several international human rights groups, was sentenced in absentia.

Even though the defendant was not present, the court ordered that his assets, including an expensive mansion in Paris, be seized or forfeited.

Furthermore, he got another suspended fine of 30 million euros.

Teodorin and his father accused of systematic repression of opponents and journalists is also found guilty of “siphoning several payments” amounting to hundreds of thousands of Euros from timber firm exporting from the country.

The court also involved in a lengthy and thorough investigation tirelessly tracing his “money laundering scheme”.

Police eventually raided his properties and found “evidence of corruption and unprecedented luxury” such as a fleet of expensive cars including a collection of Ferraris and Rolls-Rocys.

The investigations against Teodorin’s empire had also reached Switzerland where Swiss prosecutors also seized dozen vehicles. Other belongings included a private jet and several memorabilia of the late Michael Jackson.

French journalist Bernard Guerard, responding to this correspondent regarding the verdict said: “Yahya Jammeh’s host who has been in power since 1979, accused of repression and suppression of opponent and media... is still defiant and condescending... I am not surprise that he is now confused and upset with this unrivaled verdict... he has no regards for the rule of law or respect for his people or even basic international norms...”

Doubtless, Teodorin lawyers are also furious as the defence immediately denounced the verdict as ... “meddling and harsh”.

It is also likely that the case against the Obiang’s family is yet to be concluded as the International Court of Justice reportedly gave green light for the trial thus the application for immunity was dismissed.

Such significant permission prompted some rights organisations within the European Union (EU) and beyond further requesting to pursue the case in detail.

Transparency International already described it as “historic verdict” and publicly pointing fingers, casting blames and cautioning Banks involved in the case.

Few hours prior to the important verdict, The Point had reported unprecedented criticisms piled against the President Nguema and his son including extreme “human rights violations, embezzlement and brutality”.

The ‘AllTimes’, exposing and uncovering tyrants, described President Nguema as one of the 10 “most brutal dictators in the world”.

Transparency International also put him and his country in the top of its “most corrupt” while Human Rights Watch outraged regarding the “dictatorship...using an oil boom to entrench and enrich itself further at the expense of the people”.

Observers argued that France, an important and influential member of the EU, played an important role to see to it that justice prevails.

Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea is yet to receive financial support or funding from the European Development Fund (EDF) for refusing to “ratify of the EDF agreement... and its reluctant to unreservedly accept Article 11 of the Cotonou Agreement on the International Criminal Court”.

Whatsoever, observers who spoke to The Point unanimously agreed that the verdict is a wake-up call for others as it will not only affect and expose the massive unexplained wealth of the Obiang family but will also internationally hurt Teodorin credibility, respect and will further hinder his official duties including travelling within the EU. 

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent
Source: Picture: The son of Equatorial Guinea’s leader, notorious for his extravagant taste in cars, homes and Michael Jackson memorabilia, has been found guilty of plundering his country’s resources