Libreville — Gabon’s former oil minister Etienne Dieudonné Ngoubou was jailed on Thursday evening, a judicial source said, days after another ex-minister was incarcerated in an unprecedented anti-corruption crackdown.
Ngoubou was being held in a Libreville prison following a hearing by an investigating judge over embezzlement of public funds, a prosecutor said. The minister left his office to a chorus of boos from staff on Tuesday, after being sacked from the post he had held since 2012.
He was interrogated on Wednesday as part of an inquiry into the management of funds linked to the oil industry, according to reports. The news comes days after the powerful former economy minister and advisor to President Ali Bongo, Magloire Ngambia, was jailed, pending trial for graft.
Ngambia was placed in custody in a Libreville jail on Tuesday, according to the remand order released by Gabonese media. Ngambia, who quit the government in 2015, is facing charges of allegedly embezzling state funds to the tune of 500-billion CFA francs ($810m, €760m).
"For the first time a former government minister has been sent to the ‘Sans Famille’ [jail] over allegations of embezzling public money," said the daily L’Union, which is close to the regime but often critical of its policies. The paper said the move signalled the end of impunity for the powerful: "No one is untouchable any longer in our country."
The anti-corruption drive comes as Gabon prepares to host football’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.