Part IV of AfroAmerica Network’s series: The Dilemma of Dictators focused on arguably the most ruthless, corrupt, and cunning dictator that Africa has ever known: the self styled General Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.
As we write this, the extent of his appalling human rights record and massacres and his empire of corruption is being exposed even further. Based on what AfroAmerica discovering, thanks to new sources, the facts outlined in Part IV appear to be a tiny tip of a large deep sea iceberg.
Several economic actors have learned the hard way how, using political manoeuvers, intimidation, and spoliation, General Paul Kagame is able to squeeze them out of the country, regardless of how mighty they may be. In Wikileaks cables, US Embassy says that “Chevron closed shop in Rwanda citing fraud in its Rwandan operations (including in the alleged fueling o MONUC aircraft … and friction with the Government of Rwanda on compliance with US sanctions against fueling aircraft from Sudan and Iran… [Chevron] accused Rwandair (government owned) and the government of Rwanda in the fraudulent acts … Chevron’s withdrawal raises questions on the country’s …record on corruption”
The businesses once owned by Chevron are now in the hands of Kagame’s brother-in-law, the brother of the equally corrupt Mrs Janet Kagame
Today’s Part V of the series shifts the focus to another African corrupt leader, Teodor Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been ruling over the tiny oil-rich county of Equatorial Guinea for more than 32 years. He overthrew, in a bloody coup-d’etat, a more vicious dictator Macias Nguema in 1979 who, four years earlier had executed 150 opposition leaders under the tunes of Mary Hopkin’s Those Were the Days. Under Francisco Macias Nguema, 1/3 of the population was massacred or sent into exile. On a population of 300 thousands, 80,000 people was killed by Macias Nguema’s soldiers and militias.
When the United Nations welcomed the coup by Obiang Nguema, it was was expected he will be a positive change compared to Macias Nguema. They were right on one point: He was a change. On paper he agreed to abide by UN and US terms. But that is on paper. Yes, he has killed less than 1/3 of the population and thanks to the oil improved most of the public services. However, he has replaced an army of bloodthirsty killers with a clan of corrupt murderers.
He has concentrated power in his sole hands, killing whoever he wanted, appointing members of his own clan to influential positions, especially the security forces. One of these his most influential relatives is his own son: Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue also known as Teodorin. He is the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
Once a dusty, poor, and obscure country somewhere in the tropical Africa, Equatorial Guinea became an instant global point of interest when oil was discovered. The problem is, most of the revenues from the oil benefits mostly one man and his entourage.
To show how corrupt the leader is, we will focus on his own son, Teodorin. The ostentatious corruption exhibited by the son has been so scandalous that the US Department of Justice has decided to act and take judicial measures against the African dictator.
As of the late, the U.S. Department of Justice says it’s pursuing more than $32 million in assets from Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue in the US, out of the hundreds of millions hidden within the US alone. The assets by Obiang Jr include mansions, cars, memmobilia and other outrageous possessions. According to a 2010 U.S. Senate report, by 2010 Obiang Jr had siphoned the citizens of his country of $110 million and moved them into the United States through shell companies, diplomatic cover and anonymous transactions. He used the money in the US to fund his outrageous lifestyle.
He bought and collected an arsenal of sport and luxury cars including eight Ferraris, two Bugatti, several motorcycles and a $2 million Maserati. Like General Paul Kagame, he also acquired private jets, including Gulfstream V jets. It is alleged that when he wants to go to the mall, he takes one of his private jets and flies all way from Equatorial Guinea to Paris, Johannesburg, Durban, Milan, New York or London. After his shopping sprees he boards his private jet back, usually after also shopping for a couple of Buggatti, Maserati, or Ferrari.
The US Department of Justice is also looking into seizing one of Michael Jackson’s white gloves the dictator’s son bought for US$ 500,000, a $530,000 Ferrari and a $30 million Malibu estate that the son of the corrupt African dictator has collected.
According to US Department of Justice, the judicial move is included in the overall effort to crack down on corruption by dictators around the World. The US-based Human Rights Watch has been critical of the US Government of not being tough enough against the African dictators, especially when these dictators serve US business interests and has recently called on the United States and other countries to move against the Obiang clan and cronies to set an example.
Commenting on the US Department of Justice move against the Obiang, Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch said that: “The move to freeze Teodorín’s assets in the U.S. is overdue, But the real test will be if the U.S. government vigorously pursues the inquiry to its conclusion without letting diplomatic or business ties stand in the way.”
Let us hope that the move against Obiang Jr, hence his illustrious father, Teodor Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, one of the most corrput African dictator will give a lesson to other African Dictators.
Next, another type of Dictator.
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