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28 April 2017 06:33 (South Africa)

French court dismisses embezzlement charges against African ‘Big Men’

Next time you want to slap a lawsuit on an African “Big Man”, avoid the French appeals courts system. Approach the International Criminal Court instead. Why? Because one French court has dismissed a lawsuit against three leaders, Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, and the late Omar Bongo of Gabon, for embezzlement. A French police investigation found they and their relatives owned luxury homes in Paris and on the French Riviera, along with cars such as Bugattis, Ferraris and Maseratis. Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 40 years and died in June, was one of the richest men in the world. Gabon, now run by his son, remains one of the world’s poorest countries. And the less said about Congo and Equatorial Guinea, the better. An earlier ruling deemed the case admissible in a French court, but the appeals court agreed that civil society activists, Transparency International, had no right to act as plaintiffs against heads of state.

Read more: BBC, VOA, The Washington Post

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