Home / Africa / Can France hold corrupt African leaders to account? [+video]

Can France hold corrupt African leaders to account? [+video]

The son of Equatorial Guinea’s president is on trial in France for misusing state funds.

The son of Equatorial Guinea’s president has been accused of widespread corruption and money laundering, but he is not being tried for it in his home country of Equatorial Guinea.

Instead, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue has been prosecuted in the US, is being investigated in Switzerland, and was tried in absentia in France on Monday.

Obiang is known for his taste for luxury cars, mansions, and expensive works of art.

French prosecutors say the items were bought using illegal money – most of it in cash.

They say Obiang stole $115 million from the government while he was Agriculture Minister from 2004 to 2011.

They are specifically trying him for property he bought in France, including a Parisian villa worth more than $100 million.

Obiang has always said he earned his money legally.

The trial is a major shift in French policy, which has long ignored corrupt African leaders who buy property in France.

So, what’s behind the crackdown?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Florent Geel – Africa Director at the International Federation for Human Rights

Aly-Khan Satchu – Emerging Markets Economist

Antony Goldman – African affairs specialist and former Senior Africa Analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit

Source: Al Jazeera News

Check Also

Broos elated by hard fought win

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos was full of praise for his players for what he described …



    • Yes sir! He who seeks justice is supposed to come with clean hands. France and her African bedfellows make up a typical “joint venture” as far as jurisprudence goes.

    • West Cameroon Ancestry

      Here’s a look at the dictators son’s extravagant lifestyle prior to confiscations and charges against him.

      – Rented superyacht Tatoosh for about $600,000 for a one day cruise with rapper Eve. Yes he’s obsessed with women!
      – Spent about $750,000 on luxury cars and alcohol party over a weekend in South Africa.
      – Owned two compounds worth about $3,700,000 in South Africa.
      – Bought a $31,000,000 compound in Malibu, California and a 460sq.m home on Avenue Foch USA.
      – Owned one of the 30 models of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 sports car, another Bugatti Veyron and a Maserati MC 12.
      – Owned 9 other luxury cars.
      – In 2011, the US justice department seized $70 million net assets, including a gulfstream jet, yachts, cars and Michael Jackson memorabilia belonging to their family.
      – His mansion in Paris is worth around $100million.
      – He created fake companies and offshore businesses to cover his misappropriations. This same tactics is being used by Biya and his family.
      – And the list goes on…….
      Now tell me, has this guy got brains? Who do we blame? Two-third of his county men and women live in poverty, his father is the law and makes the law so who is going to charge him in Equatorial Guinea for all these criminal activities? France is finally taking the right direction to do what is right, since the judicial institutions of this country will hold him accountable.

  2. You are only 47, you are an appointed prime minister.
    You have been educated in the finest institutions the west can offer the world. After all this one would imagine that you finally realized that a Blackman can’t go around dreaming he is a whiteman in Blackman skin.
    You steal from your people in the forest, you buy villas in France $180million, Yatch $267million, Art works of white people only in Paris $50million, Villa California $30million, 11 most expensive car collections seized, and many more close to a billion dollars.
    Who is a fool in the end? You take from your brothers who don’t have drinking water and a great hospital to go and purchase whatever in the land of the most cunning people so they can take from you and the people of Equatorial Guinea what belongs to the impoverished.
    Why not employ the best in the world to build the best hospital in west Africa where all the best will come to train work and treat their people?
    Why not invest in the best transportation system in Equatorial Guinea.
    Why not become a Dubai or Singapore of west Africa.
    So many African elites before you make the same mistakes of thinking because you are trained at the Sorbonne or Havard you will be spared the humiliation.
    “Gazelles and Lions are best friends only in Disney movies ” Not in Real life never too late.

    • @lum
      d tin just pass me
      seriousely e just dehh like nigerian movie for my eyes
      chai africa and france

    • Mami Lum

      I di owe you kola wey I get for give you privately. Dat ya tok mash fire.

    • When the press is muzzled such things do take place, especially in Africa’s “Kuweit” benefiting from clan support, France’s enabling politics and an Africa governed by the Sahelian philosophy “A camel does not make fun of the humpback of another camel”.

      Those who speak disdainfully of the ICC, ICJ and other courts beyond the national frontier, may now begin to appreciate where salvation lies.

    • Lum c est ce que beaucoup d africains ne comprennent pas. Ce fou a une video sur youtube ou il est tres content de montrer aux journalistes comment il depense , on peut voir comment l ambassadeur se guinee en France se fait ridiculiser par un gamin parce qu il est le fils du dictateur. C est vraiment triste et ridicule. Je ne suis pas pour l intervention du gouvernement francais dans les affaires africaines mais tout depend de la structure qui le poursuit parce qu il y a des organismes independants qui militent contre la corruption et l impunite des dictateurs africains. Sans leur pression je crois que nos bandits de dirigeants en feront pire. On a vu une chaine francaise denoncer Bollore et etre traduite en justice par ce dernier. L esclavage n a pas ete combattu que par des noirs donc toute pression sur ces voleurs du peuple est necessaire.

    • @Lum
      You are simply jealous, so you want him to be 60years old before been a prime minister? is 47 year old all that small to handle that position.Ali Bongo was 32years old when his father appointed him minister of defense.How old was Joseph Kabila when he became president of DR.Congo?just 27years old.Equatorial Guineans are satisfied, so he also have to enjoy himself.

    • Lum your so right,why not make Africa that place we want.Let our African leaders and the so call rich build all the luxury mansions in Africa and open Car assembles here.In that way unemployment will reduced and people will be happy.That why i love Nigerians, cos no matter how much money a man has, he starts by showing it in his country.My fellow africans copy from nigeria,use the white man not vice versa

  3. Yep, France holding corrupt African leaders to account would be as good as them holding France to account for sitting on several country’s funds, tolerating the building, buying of villas and fancy cars in the first place! After the brouhaha of Guilliaume Solo wanted in France more than a year ago, didn’t we see France hold him to account? Where can we even begin with when talking about France holding corrupt Africans to account? For 60 years African dictators have routinely moved bags of money to French presidential candidates to carry out their campaigns and those who had the effrontery to fail in coughing up the cash, incurred the wrath of their masters. Why has France been selectively been investigating illegal campaign financing only for its own presidential candidates and not included the African dictators who provided cash to those candidates? French leeches have no oita of dignity left in their bones, so they are unqualified to even talk about corruption, talk less of fighting it.

  4. Pocket change to Paul Biya and his son Frank. All these Very Bad Men should all be looking down the barrel of an AK47!

  5. France is just trying to give us a fake justification, while their true aim is to keep the stolen wealth, Like what Switzerland has been and is still doing. The Swiss never got rich becuase of a fantastic economy. It was all the money the Jews kept there while being exterminated by hitler and also from what corupt leaders have left in thier vault.
    France knows the Obiangs’ will not leave power in the next 2 decades. So hanging these charge over them will certainly mean keeping this moeny for thier use.
    You don’t stop a corrupt person by taking away the stuff he has bought with the money, you stop him by refusing to sell him the stuff and making his money useless.

    By the way, this young manis VERY WICKED….thanks @Lum for the write up above!

    • Kikikiki, Fon !

      Brenda squandered 400$ from our coffers, her sentence was unequivocal among some forumites.

      Those same forumites would probably roast Teodoro alive…

  6. Let me tell all my cameroonians abroad and particularly in france it had come to my attention that you are now a target by bollore and its network and some french authority tried to fustrate you so be careful…

    Les francais vous geutte me freres rt soeurs jai infos direct….faites attentions vous aller entendre beaucoup de choses arriver aux camerounais dont soyez prudent

  7. While it is natural to frown at the callousness of the Obiangs, it seems to me that the focus on corruption and pilfering in Africa is underpinned by the idea that wealth is finite. There is a naive idea that Africans would be wealthier if only the political class could distribute more equitably.

    The sad truth is, the people of Equatorial Guinea are not poor because of the profligacy of the political class; they are poor because they lack the ingenuity to create wealth. If only Africans could focus a lot more on wealth creation, as opposed to wealth distribution, maybe a lot more progress would be made on poverty alleviation.

    Less than a 100 years ago, there was no such thing as IT jobs, or commercial pilots or air stewardess…Yet these are all avenues for employment, which we now take for granted.

    Wealth is not finite, but it is limited by the imagination of the community.

    • Wealth (taxes ) for governing bodies of most countries come out of verified registered companies that pay taxes to each individual country goverment which then provide backbone structures of service to the general public to go ahead and work mainly in smaller private enterprises created by themselves ,owned by the general public this is not happening its got nothing to do with peoples ingenuity .Until those bigger companies pay their dues inside African countries to support the budget they will continue to have poverty ..

      • @Phyrne,
        How do you create a private sector without ingenuity?

        Less than a 100 years ago the service industry was non existent, yet today it is the back bone of many societies. Cameroonians would rather pay upwards of 2 million fcfa to get into the public service because we are too afraid to venture.

        The feudal system in Europe became redundant because it could not keep up with technology, not because it was benevolent. Other avenues for wealth creation and employment, severed the link between master and serf.

        Governments can serve as catalysts for economic development, through good policy, but that is not enough: the communities must have the inherent qualities to make use of opportunities.

        It is disheartening to see Obiang parade his wealth before the public, but redistribution is not a long term solution. Africa has a huge problem of resource dependence, and this issue must be addressed before we can get anywhere.

        • So ,Saudi Arabia ,Kuweit,Norway,Scotland ,bahrain,UAE,Dallas and the shining modern day example of good governence mining and oil &gas oil revenues australia, loads of geographical areas which are resource dependent, ignore this revenue?
          No ,they just make sure customers pay the right price and theres no reason not to review contracts,tax payments of said companies within Cameroon ,yearly ,what is the problem with this? First lets have the service which is governence rather than the people wasting time serving (by overpaying and queuing for silly bits of proceedures to slow them down so they give up , in permits, fees )or avoiding ,in fear of loosing buisness, having anything to do with the goverment .

  8. This is just a prove how stupid Africans are..
    How on earth will you liberate yourself from a colonial master, then later steal your peoples money and give him to hide or keep for you..?

    In simple terms, we steal from our people to give to the white man to invest and grow his economy while we suffer..

    Why not just allow them come back and colonize you?,,
    We are such a shame and disgrace for the black race.
    That France is still coming up to prove that African leaders after so many years of so call independence are still hiding money in the banks of the so call enemy is a shame..close to 60 years after the so call liberation struggle, we are today more slaves that our brothers in the 16 and 17th century…

    The Betis in Cameroon even prefer to invest in France by saving money, buying houses and living in 5 start hotels than investing on roads like the Bamenda- Mbouda which is down for years now..It should be recalled that this is the major high way linking Bamenda. and Bafoussam with Douala and Yaoundé..

    • Do you knwo that they actual passsed a law that prevent you as local man to build road in you village? This is really wicket peoples…try and build a road in your village you will see what will happen to you what a disgrace really from this traitors.

      Whites man come and tell you to pass law that will prevent even your own peoples to do charity to your own

      • AfricansforDonaldTrump Canada

        There are loopholes in every law. We just built a road in my village. It was a village development project. No one can stop you guys from doing that.

        If you want to build a road in your villages you will find loopholes in the law that allow you to do that. However since you have no plans to build a road you look for excuses to say why you can not build a road.

        • Lies….you need loopholes to build road? Lies again I am talking of individuals not organisations monkey school school

        • AFDP @ why do we pay people to serve us as governing bodies if we have to find loopholes to have progress? Maybe they sholud get off their seats and undo the redtape so people,especially individuals like Pharaon ,can build the road .

  9. I only read reactions on France but what about the US and Switzerland who also investigated him? Instead of all your reaction you should better ask yourself why they are not investigated in their own country. Counts for so many African presidents. When a president controls military and finance in his country we call him a dictator. Someone else is doing the job for you, as usual. We are 2017, time for Africans to wake up and take action instead of blaming others and look behind. But when the name France falls you are reacting like flies on *****.

  10. How come the top people can amass so much and get away with it in Africa?
    They become so high handed. Fear then grips the people and they live with it.
    Look at the period before Fru Ndi did what Napoleon left undone. Before one
    called the name Ahidjo or Biya, even in the darkest of night or alone in the forest,
    one must turn round many times to ensure there was no one seeing or listening.
    And the people all believe that a clause, word or paragraph in a document, is enough
    to make one a demi god.
    Another factor, is the culture we have lived with. Too much respect for seniors,
    personalities, even qualification, are some of the causes that have helped to put
    Africa and many small countries in untold situations from their leaders. Who will dare
    challenge someone in that bracket?
    Now that we are beginning to liberate our selves from these setbacks, we can see
    how much our chiefs, administrators, even school prefects, can start rethinking. So,
    for how long are we going to stay waiting to see our own Biya and Co, in the limelight?

  11. AfricansforDonaldTrump Canada

    When France holds corrupt African leaders to account, who will hold the leader of France for illegally invading African countries and assassination of African leaders?

    This is just opening up a window for the colonial master to put in place puppets to protect and fulfill his interests and needs.

    Let African’s deal with their problems.

  12. While France the big thief is trying to safe face, when will her sister Switzerland also step up?

  13. Korup Forest, between US, france, belgium, germany and switzerland we know who is master and his assistants collaborating criminal banditory activities that has enabled the freedloading of africa’s resources.

    You better stay quiet on this and similar topics if you can’t expose your western criminality done to the people and the continent of africa, for the good of your western future generations and for peace in the world as a whole.

    • who knows any court that was ever setup to judge aryans for invading and pillaging africa,asia ,South america,new zealand,australia and canada Killing billions of people?

  14. Happy newyear Tah B A, may you live long to educate and free your people.