The wife of ousted Gabonese President Ali Bongo was jailed late on Wednesday, her lawyer said, as she faces charges of money laundering, forgery, and falsification of records.
Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin had been under house arrest since the August coup, which ended nearly 60 years of rule by the Bongo dynasty.
On the streets of the Gabonese capital, Libreville, there was a positive reaction by some to the news that she was in prison.
The Franco-Gabonese former first lady and one of the couple’s sons are under investigation as part of a wider inquiry into the alleged massive embezzlement of public money.
Legal sources say their eldest son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, has been detained, as have six former cabinet officials.
Sylvia’s lawyer says a request for a hearing in 10 days has been granted, at which she will be able to appeal for her client’s release.
Coup leaders accuse her and Noureddin of having manipulated the former president, who is suffering the after-effects of a serious stroke in 2018.
The coup leader general Oligui accused the duo of “forging Ali Bongo’s signature and giving orders in his stead” after he suffered a stroke in 2018.
Ali Bongo took over when his father, Omar, died in 2009 after nearly 42 years in power. Ali Bongo, who had ruled the central African country since then, was overthrown by military leaders moments after being proclaimed the winner in a presidential election.
The election result was branded a fraud by the opposition and the military coup leaders, who have also accused his regime of widespread corruption and bad governance.
Gabon is Africa’s third-richest nation in terms of per-capita GDP but one in three people lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
Ali Bongo, who was initially placed under house arrest in Libreville after the coup, was then declared “free to move about” with the possibility of “traveling abroad”.

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