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Gabon president says giving inheritance to country's youth

18 August 2015, 12:05

Libreville - Gabon President Ali Bongo said late on Monday he would give "all his share of the inheritance" from his long-ruling father Omar Bongo Ondimba to "the Gabonese youth" in a speech marking the 55th anniversary of independence.

"I've decided with the full agreement of my wife Sylvia Bongo Ondimba and my children that my share of the inheritance will be shared with all Gabonese youth because in my eyes we are all heirs of Omar Bongo Ondimba," he said, after saying "no Gabonese must be left by the side of the road".

"All income from my part of the inheritance will be donated to a foundation for the youth and education," he said.

The president then announced that "on behalf of the children" of Omar Bongo, a property in Libreville near Camp de Gaulle would be transferred to the state for the establishment of a university.

He added that Bongo's children would give two properties in Paris that had belonged to the late president to the state for "a symbolic franc".

Also read: Gabon opposition leader buried in home village

Diplomatic and cultural use

"These properties, which will become part of the heritage of the Gabonese state, will be assigned for diplomatic and cultural use," the president said.

"Those who were fortunate enough to have the support of their parents or the state must in turn be generous, in solidarity, especially in hard times," he said.

"I know my father, from where he is now, watches us and hears us. I also know that he approves this decision and gives us his blessing."

Ali Bongo assumed the presidency following the 2009 death of his father Omar Bongo, who had presided over the equatorial African nation and its oil and mineral wealth since 1967.

The of Omar Bongo's inheritance, which is to be split between 53 declared heirs, has not been settled.

The extent of his legacy has not been fully figured out but the assets identified so far are worth several hundred million dollars.

Two French judges have been probing the source of money spent in France on luxury homes and mansions by Omar Bongo, Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and Congo-Brazzaville's president Denis Sassou Nguesso.

The charges were brought by Transparency International, an anti-corruption campaign group, which alleges several African leaders and their relatives spent state funds from their countries on lavish purchases in France.



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