How the Bongo's holding company preys on the Gabonese economy


Mediapart has gained access to confidential documents that reveal how a handful of Gabon’s ruling Bongo clan, and Gabonese President Ali Bongo in particular, prey on almost every sector of the country’s economy via a holding company called Delta Synergie. The company, established under the late dictator Omar Bongo, has stakes in the insurance, banking and property sectors, the agroalimentary and construction industries, agriculture and raw materials, gas and oil production, wood processing, business aviation, the transport and medical sectors, and the security business. The scandal comes on top of revelations of the vast wealth, including offshore bank accounts, that Ali Bongo and his sister Pascaline have inherited from their father, and while the West African country, where a third of the population live in poverty, is gripped by a wave of strikes and protests over poor living standards. Fabrice Arfi reports.

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The inheritance of the estate of Omar Bongo, who died in 2009 after ruling Gabon for 42 years, has shone a light on part of the staggering hidden wealth accumulated by the dictator and which is now the subject of bitter infighting among his 53 heirs.