Prosecution in France is following up on some African leaders and their relatives who have plundered their countries’ wealth and stashed the loot in France.
Top on the list is Teodorin Obiang, son of Dictator Teodoro Obiang, and also one of Equatorial Guinea’s vice presidents, who has allegedly stolen millions of dollars and is facing embezzlement charges. The others being investigated by France for stealing and stashing their countries’ wealth include Congo’s Dennis Sassou Ngweso and Gabon’s Omar Bongo.
It is an open secret that the looters of African wealth, passing off as leaders, stash their ill-gotten wealth in some European countries, while millions at home suffer from containable maladies like disease, poverty and lack of education among others.
Last year the younger Obiang was indicted in the US on accusations of stealing about US$300 million, and the shameless ‘leader’, whose desire for lavishness is unprecedented, was forced to spew out US$30 million in ill-gotten wealth.
Similarly, the French authorities have seized the younger Obiang’s six-story mansion, several luxury cars and other ill-gotten valuables after charging him with money-laundering.
The Obiang story is being replicated all over Africa, but there are few exceptions like that of Botswana President Ian Khama and the maverick John Pombe Magufuli, the new Tanzanian president who has set a record in fighting corruption and injustices.
The few exceptional African leaders who abhor corruption need to be recognized and their efforts complemented by moves such as that of France and the US, wresting the loot from the plunderers, prosecuting them and returning the loot to the rightful owners, the citizens of the respective Africa countries.
Indeed, Europe can do a lot to help curb corruption in Africa!