E Guinea slams France for 'violating' sovereignty in VP graft case

2018-02-20 18:45
Teodorin Obiang (AFP)

Teodorin Obiang (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Hague - Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday angrily denounced the conviction of its vice president for corruption by a French court as a "flagrant violation" of international law, and insisted on its "total independence."

On the second of four days of hearings before the UN's top court in The Hague, Malabo pushed its case against France which it accuses of breaking conventions on diplomatic relations and immunity.

Ties have strained between the two countries since Malabo's vice president, Teodorin Obiang, was prosecuted by a French court on charges of embezzling $180m of public funds to finance his jet-set lifestyle.

Obiang, 48, the son of long-time President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, was tried in absentia and sentenced in October to a three-year suspended sentence for corruption. He was also slapped with a suspended fine of $35m.

But Equatorial Guinea sees the case as "a flagrant violation which has given rise to deep indignation in my country," said Carmelo Nvono Nca, Malabo's ambassador to the Netherlands.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

"Such an injustice cannot be allowed. The indifference shown by France to our sovereign rights has had important repercussions," he told the International Court of Justice.

This was "undermining" his country's "ability to manage its international relations," he argued.

Malabo's case "involves fundamental principles of international law, principles that are essential to order the relations between states," added lawyer Michael Wood.

"Principles that are even more essential in today's troubled world."

Equatorial Guinea had urged the ICJ in 2016 to order the French courts to suspend the proceedings against Obiang, but the tribunal refused to intervene.

On Monday, France called on the tribunal, set up by the United Nations to rule in disputes between nations, to throw out the case, arguing the judges had no competence to hear the matter.

Paris accused Malabo of seeking to "paralyse" French criminal procedures in the top-level corruption probe, which came after nearly a decade of lobbying by Transparency International and another group, Sherpa.

French judges have also been probing allegations of corruption against Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon.

The case sets a precedent for France which has long turned a blind eye to African dictators pouring their ill-gotten gains into Parisian real estate and luxury products.

France delegation member Alain Pellet said on Monday that Equatorial Guinea was attempting to "slow down, or even paralyse the criminal procedure launched in France."

The decision to take the matter to the ICJ was a bid "to give their case more prominence" argued Pellet.

Read more on:    equatorial guinea  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.