E Guinea MP jailed for embezzlement

2010-08-14 14:44

Malabo - A Malabo appeals court has sentenced 11 people including an MP to up to 21 years in prison for the embezzlement of almost €4m worth of public funds, a court source told AFP on Saturday.

Twelve other suspects were acquitted by judge Antonio Pascual Ojo Ebobo at the end of the trial on Friday, the source said.

The prison terms ranged from six months to 21 years, and the court ordered the guilty to repay the €3.8m in stolen funds.

The trial began in June with four defendants being tried in absentia. The accused were employed by different companies, including the SGBGE bank, a subsidiary of France's Societe Generale, as well as the finance ministry.

Martin Nzeng Monsuy, an MP from the ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), was sentenced to 19 years in prison. He admitted to receiving five million CFA francs from one of the other accused.

His lawyer, Fabian Nsue Nguema Oboano, said at the start of the trial that the payment "was known and authorised by the finance ministry hierarchy".

On Saturday the lawyer said he would appeal his client's sentence which he deemed "too harsh".

The trial was the first in Equatorial Guinea of so many suspects on corruption charges.