France finally moves on Gabon’s Bongos, Opens Investigations into President Ali’s Chief of Staff

After years of condemnation over its Business deals with Gabon’s ruling Bongo family, France started investigating Gabon President Ali Bongo’s chief of staff on suspicion of taking a bribe to help secure a contract, a judicial source told Reuters on Saturday.

Maixent Accrombessi Nkani.
Maixent Accrombessi Nkani.

French police had detained Maixent Accrombessi for questioning last Monday, a move sharply condemned by Gabon, but released him after finding that he had diplomatic immunity.

Accrombessi is suspected of accepting a bribe from Marck, a French firm that makes military uniforms, in connection with Gabon’s award of a contract to Marck at the end of 2005, the source said.

For the man suspected of bribing Accrombessi, Marck chairman Philippe Belin, prosecutors have gone a step further by formally placing him under investigation, the source added. Marck did not immediately answer the phone or respond to an email seeking comment late on Saturday.

After returning home, Accrombessi, one of Bongo’s closest advisers, said on his Facebook page that he was at the disposal of the French justice system, provided Gabon’s sovereignty and his rights were respected. He did not make an explicit denial.

Gabon’s presidency had said Accrombessi’s detention was “linked to an affair that has nothing to do with (his) capacities as chief of staff” and that it had been meant “to humiliate (him) and his public function”.

Gabon had excellent relations with France for decades under a system known as “la Francafrique”, where Paris granted political and military support to long-serving presidents in its former African colonies exchange for commercial favours.

The Bongo's have ruled Gabon since 1967 with Ali Replacing his late father
The Bongo’s have ruled Gabon since 1967 with Ali Replacing his late father

But the friendship has cooled since Ali Bongo succeeded his father Omar as president in a disputed election in 2009, not least because France is investigating the Bongo family’s assets.

France’s Total is one of the biggest oil producers in Gabon, which pumps around 230,000 barrels per day.


Related Articles


Women’s Rights Advocates Call For Reevaluation Of Mandatory Pregnancy Testing At Islamic University In Uganda

In a recent development, women’s rights activists have raised concerns regarding the...


UMA Faults Government Over Poor Quality Of Medical Interns On The Market

The Uganda Medical Association has faulted the government for the poor quality...


Naked Truth: Bigirimana Explains “What Is Good Sex” in His New Book 

The Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Judiciary Dr Pius Bigirimana has...


Reflections On The Boys’ Mentorship Program’s Successful European Tour

Venturing outside one’s country is one interesting adventure that everyone should experience...