Une affaire sur 28 000 000 euros: Omar Bongo aurait financé Sarkozy

Mercredi, 29 Décembre 2010 23:54 Izno Fall Télégrammes
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Le Journal espagnol en ligne El Pais a publié hier soir plusieurs notes diplomatiques confidentielles fournies par Wikileaks. Une affaire de prés de 30 000 000 d'euros met l'ex président gabonais Omar Bongo en accusation.
Selon les sources, cet argent aurait servi à financer des partis politiques français, et plus particuliérement l'UMP de Nicolas Sarkozy.
« Les dirigeants gabonais ont utilisé les fonds détournés pour leur enrichissement personnel et, suivant les instructions de Bongo, ont remis une partie de l'argent à des partis politiques français, y compris en soutien au président Nicolas Sarkozy. »
Cette histoire de détournement, la énième du genre révélée par Wikileaks vient mettre de nouveau en cause les dirigeants africains.
D'aprés le Nouvelobs.com et l'AFP, Une enquête est en cours en France sur le patrimoine dans l'Hexagone de trois présidents africains et de leurs proches, dont Omar Bongo, après une plainte de Transparency International, une ONG spécialisée dans la lutte contre la corruption.

L'extrait de la source diffusée sur internet.

ID: 215456
Date: 2009-07-07 12:58:00
Origin: 09YAOUNDE608
Source: Embassy Yaounde
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 09YAOUNDE147
Destination: VZCZCXRO5655
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHYD #0608/01 1881258
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 071258Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0076
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 YAOUNDE 000608 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2019 
TAGS: KCOR, EFIN, PREL, PGOV, ECON, CM 
SUBJECT: (C) CENTRAL BANK SOURCE: "GABONESE STOLE $40 
MILLION, FUNNELED SOME TO FRENCH POLITICS" 

REF: YAOUNDE 147 

Classified By: Political Officer Tad Brown for Reasons 1.4 b and d. 

1. (C) Summary. Senior Gabonese officials in the Bank of 
Central African States (BEAC) colluded to embezzle more 
than 18.3 billion CFA (about $36 million) from the pooled 
reserves of the six states of the Central African Economic 
and Monetary Community (CEMAC) over the past five years, 
according to a senior Embassy contact at the bank. In a 
June 12 meeting with Poloff, the source, a senior 
third-country national, said BEAC discovered the crime 
during internal audits conducted in the wake of revelations 
that Gabonese national and BEAC Governor Philip Andzembe 
had covertly placed 500 million Euros in high-risk 
investmentQwith French bank Societe Generale (reftel). 
According to the Embassy source, senior Gabonese political 
leadership, including the late President Omar Bongo and his 
son, Defense Minister and presidential hopeful, Ali Bongo 
benefitted from the embezzlement. The source said Gabonese 
officials used the proceeds for their own enrichment and, 
at Bongo's direction, funneled funds to French political 
parties, including in support of French President 
Nicholas Sarkozy. End summary. 

Audit Reveals Deeper Issues 
--------------------------- 

2. (C) The BEAC official asked Poloff to meet on June 12 
to discuss "a sensitive issue that I want the U.S. to hear 
about from me, before it appears in the media." Recalling 
the political tensions created by the revelation that BEAC 
Governor and Gabonese national Philip Andzembe had, in 
violation of BEAC regulations and unbeknownst to the BEAC 
board, placed 500 million euro of BEAC deposits in a 
high-risk investment with French bank Societe Generale 
(Reftel), the BEAC official said the consequent review of 
BEAC's accounts had revealed even broader and more brazen 
malfeasance linked to a hierarchy of Gabonese officials 
throughout BEAC. (Note: Under the agreement that created 
BEAC in 1972 it was decided that, in light of their relative 
economic predominance in the region, Cameroon would host 
BEAC's headquarters while Gabon would maintain exclusive 
power to appoint the BEAC Governor. For more information 
on how the politics of oil of affected the region and BEAC 
see reftel. End note.) 

The Easy Way to Rob a Bank 
-------------------------- 

3. (C) The BEAC official explained that Gabonese 
President Bongo's control of BEAC was more extensive than 
the Governor's office; the Director of Accounting, the 
Deputy Director of Accounting, the officials overseeing 
international wire transfers, and the accountant in BEAC's 
Paris branch have all been Gabonese nationals appointed by 
Bongo. Working in concert, these officials were able to 
subvert BEAC's safeguards. The Paris accountant was, until 
recently, Gabonese national Armand Brice Nzamba, who is a 
close personal friend of Ali Bongo, according to Post's 
contact at BEAC. The BEAC official said BEAC had contacted 
the Paris "financial police" who were investigating Nzamba 
until he fled France earlier this year. Gabonese national 
Maurice Moutsinga served as the Director of Accounting in 
BEAC Headquarters for 20 years until his retirement in 
2007. 


4. (C) The embezzlement moved through three main 
Channels, according to the official: 

--in checks made out in the names of the BEAC officials 
themselves; BEAC's investigations have already tracked 18.3 
billion CFA ($36.6 million) that were embezzled in checks 
made out in the name of Gabonese officials. As a result, 
Nzamba accumulated personal wealth of more than of more 1 
billion CFA ($2 million) on an annual salary of about 
$36,000; 

--in checks made payable to shell companies; the main 
recipients were Papieterie Classique and Tour 55 in France 
and Chaiab in Morocco, and; 

--in checks made out to Gabonese politicians, including the 
wife of Leon Mebiane, who was Gabon's Prime Minister from 
1975-1990. 

Did French Politicians Benefit? 
------------------------------- 


YAOUNDE 00000608 002 OF 002 


5. (C) Asked what the officials did with the stolen 
funds, the BEAC official responded, "sometimes they kept it 
for themselves, sometimes they funneled it to French 
political parties." Asked who received the funds, the 
official responded, "both sides, but mostly the right; 
especially Chirac and including Sarkozy." The BEAC 
official said "Bongo was France's favorite President in 
Africa," and "this is classic France Afrique." He said 
technocrats from the French Treasury were relatively 
progressive in encouraging the francophone governments to 
be more autonomous, but that the Banque de France 
continued to exert an outsized influence. 

CEMAC Presidency's React 
------------------------ 

6. (C) The BEAC official said the CEMAC Heads of State 
were understandably upset to learn about the deeper 
governance problems at BEAC. In a January 2009 meeting to 
discuss Anzembe's deal with Societe Generale, Biya had called 
for Andzembe's immediate dismissal. According to the 
official, Biya pounded the table during a recent meeting 
with his CEMAC counterparts and asked, in reference to his 
own anti-corruption campaign, "Don't you read the press? 
We throw people like this in jail in my country!" 
Equato-Guinean President Obiang, long-frustrated that his 
deposits at BEAC exceeded his influence in the institution, 
was more "patient," calling for audits because, according 
to the BEAC official, "he knew what the audits would find 
[regarding Andzembe's malfeasance] and that the resulting 
pressure to institute a Presidency that rotates among the 
member states would be inevitable." 

Audit of SG Placement Continues 
------------------------------- 

7. (C) The Audit Committee includes representatives from 
the six CEMAC economies plus a representative from the 
French Treasury. The Heads of States agreed to conduct two 
audits, a general review of internal accounts and a 
specific investigation into Andzembe's unauthorized 
placement of funds at Societe Generale. According to the BEAC 
official, the investigators have yet to understand fully the 
details of the SG account. "Even SG tells us that they are 
unable to determine the structure of the investment that 
Anzembe made!" he marveled. The official theorized that SG 
had used the BEAC funds to help "plug the hole" created by 
the Kerviel rogue trader scandal, but that the financial 
crisis had overwhelmed SG and swallowed BEAC's funds. 

Jail for Some; 
End of Gabon's Monopoly 
---------------------- 

8. (C) The BEAC official said his own government and 
others would seek jail time for some of the officials, but 
that there would be pressure to deal delicately with the 
new Gabonese Government. Ali Bongo, he said, is close 
personal friends with BEAC Governor Anzembe. 
Institutionally, he predicted, these scandals will mean the 
end of Gabon's monopoly on the Governorship, which will now 
rotate among the member states, and will lead to revisions to 
internal 
controls. 

Comment: A Governance Lesson Learned 
------------------------------------ 

9. (C) This tale of grand-scale corruption is 
unfortunate, especially coming as it does during an 
economic crisis that has depleted the region's resources, 
but the strong reaction from Biya and Obiang suggests 
Gabon's foul play might result in better management--more 
transparency and autonomy--of BEAC's resources. Our hope 
is that CEMAC leaders internalize the lesson that secretive 
management of public resources is a recipe for waste and 
abuse and apply it to BEAC and their domestic 
institutions. Post is unable to assess the veracity of the 
allegation that French politicians benefitted from BEAC's 
loss, but it is the type of claim--that France encourages 
and preys upon corrupt leaders in the region--that will 
gain currency in popular opinion if, as the BEAC official 
predicted, the story leaks to the press. End comment. 

GARVEY
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