Gabon oil minister jailed in anti-graft crackdown—source

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LIBREVILLE: Gabon’s former oil minister has been jailed, a judicial source told AFP, days after another ex-minister was incarcerated in an unprecedented anti-corruption crackdown.

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Etienne Dieudonne Ngoubou was on Thursday evening being held in a Libreville prison following a hearing by an investigating judge over embezzlement of public funds, a prosecutor said.

The minister left his office to a chorus of boos from staff on Tuesday, after being sacked from the post he had held since 2012.

He was interrogated Wednesday as part of an inquiry into the management of funds linked to the oil industry, press reports in the oil-rich nation said.

The news comes days after a powerful former minister and advisor to President Ali Bongo was jailed pending trial for graft.

Magloire Ngambia was placed in custody in a Libreville jail on Tuesday, according to the remand order released by Gabonese media.

The 45-year-old former economy minister and advisor to Bongo, who quit the government in 2015, is facing charges of embezzling state funds to the tune of 500 billion CFA francs ($810 million, 760 million euros), news website Gabonreview said.

“For the first time a former government minister has been sent to the ‘Sans-Famille’ (jail) over allegations of embezzling public money,” said the daily l’Union, which is close to the regime but is often critical of its policies.

The paper said the move signalled the end of impunity for the powerful. “No one is untouchable any longer in our country,” it said.

The anti-corruption drive comes as Gabon prepares to host football’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.

AFP

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