Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, wife of deposed Gabonese president Ali Bongo, has been imprisoned after months under house arrest following a military coup in August.
Bongo’s lawyer, Francois Zimeray, confirmed she was jailed late Wednesday on charges of embezzlement and falsifying records. He condemned the surprise jailing as an “illegal procedure” and act of revenge.
Bongo had been under house arrest since the coup ended the 55-year Bongo dynasty rule in Gabon. She and her son were accused of manipulating the former president after his debilitating stroke in 2018 and misusing state funds.
The public prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In September, Bongo was formally charged with money laundering, forgery, and falsification. The jailing signals an escalation in the crackdown on alleged corruption under the new military government.
Critics viewed the coup as an act of liberation from the Bongo family’s decades of autocratic rule. Ali Bongo was re-elected in 2019 amid disputed results and claims of voter fraud.
Gabon is one of Africa’s most prosperous countries, but income inequality remains extremely high.