According to the Mail Online, Ali Ben Bongo, the son of the late Omar Bongo former leader of Gabon, has been attacked for spending £85million on a lavish townhouse in Paris. Ben Bongo Ondimba has bought a sprawling 48,000 sq ft mansion on an acre of land in the heart of the French capital.
The property, a 14-bedroom house on the upmarket rue de l’Universite also includes a heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, seven parking spaces and a tennis court. In Gabon, the average income for most people is just £12 a day and most families live in one-room shacks. Although the west African state is one of the continent’s more prosperous nations due to its oil reserves, most of the population still live in poverty.
The country’s opposition party website called for Bongo to quit, saying: ‘The president has squandered tens of millions by claiming this new mansion will serve to reduce the hotel costs for Ali-Ben Bongo and his official delegations. ‘This is public money that should have been used for housing projects at home, not on palaces in Paris.’
Critics in Gabon have persistently accused the Bongo family of running the country as their private property. Opposition leaders denounced his son’s election last year as a fraud, saying that the poll had been fixed in order to ensure a dynastic succession. A French newspaper, Le Canard Enchaine, said the president ‘had apparently inherited his interest in luxury property’ from his father Omar Bongo, who was investigated for embezzling public funds before his death in 2009. The paper said: ‘President Bongo even made a gesture towards good governance and transparency when he bought his Paris home by announcing the purchase in his own country. ‘He just omitted to reveal either the address or the price.’
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