The arrests were launched after the Council of Ministers chaired by Ali Bongo in early November 2019. During this Council, the Head of State separated from his Chief of Staff, Brice Laccruche Alihanga. Several of his lieutenants were dismissed on the same day and are reportedly the target of ongoing arrests.
The news today remains dominated by this hand-to-hand operation called “Scorpion”, which has so far enabled some 20 senior administration officials to be questioned. At the end of a three-day hearing before the Special Court of Justice, several executives were placed under arrest, some were released, and all these arrested personalities have one thing in common: their proximity to Brice Laccruche Alihanga. The former chief of staff of the head of state was in the forefront during Ali Bongo’s absence following his stroke.
According to a source who requested anonymity, the Special Judicial Court heard 21 defendants. 13 persons were formally charged and placed under a detention warrant.
Among them, Ike Ngouoni, the spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic and Christian Patrici Tanasa, political adviser to President Ali Bongo. He is being prosecuted for acts committed while he was in charge of the national hydrocarbon company.
Two other important prisoners, Renaud Allogho Akoué, former Director General of the National Health Insurance and Social Guarantee Fund and Ismaël Ondias Souna, former CEO of the Equatorial Mines Society. The other persons placed under detention mandate are deputy general managers of public or parapublic companies that handle billions of CFA francs.
All are prosecuted for embezzlement, corruption, misappropriation or money laundering.
According to our source, of the 21 people heard, six are released while two others are charged but released on bail. The same source states that the investigations are ongoing, further arrests in the coming days are not excluded.