GAB is pleased to publish this account of the 4th day of the trial of Equatorial Guinean Vice President Teodorin Nguema Obiang by Shirley Pouget of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Monday, June 26, was the fourth day of trial of Equatorial Guinean Vice President Teodorin Obiang on charges amounting to kleptocracy. After three days of skirmishing about procedural issues, the court finally heard testimony in support of the charges.
*Roberto Berardi, who had been in business with Teodorin, told the court that after confronting Teodorin about allegations of corruption leveled by the U.S. Department of Justice he was jailed and held in solitary confinement for almost three years. The reason, he believes, was to prevent him from talking to U.S. authorities.
*Delfin Mocache Massoko, whose on-line news site Diaro Rombe chronicles the Obiang family’s business dealings, told the court that he and many of his sources had been told “they will pay” for exposing the Obiang’s corruption to the world.
* Tutu Alicante León, an Equatorial Guinean exile who runs EG Justice, detailed the brutality and repression Equatorial Guineans face and deprivation and extremen poverty they live in thanks to the Obiangs’ crimes. At the court’s request he explained how any assets the court ordered seized from Teodorin could be returned to the country in ways that would benefit its citizens.
* Pedro German Tomo, another Equatorial Guinean exile, testified that when Teodorin was Minister of Agriculture and Forestry he forced logging companies to pay 10,000 francs per square meter of board logged to a company Teodorin controlled and later, when Teodorin took responsibility for infrastructure, any company winning a construction contract had to pay a 10 percent commission to the same company.
* Daniel Lebegue of Transparency International France explained to the court why his organization felt it had no choice but to bring this case against Teodorin. He said TI-France had consulted extensively with TI chapters in Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania before lodging the complaint: “we wanted to go hand in hand with our colleagues from the African Chapters and be sure that our action was right.”
What follows is an account of each witness’ testimony. No recording or transcript of the proceedings was made. To GAB’s knowledge, Mme. Pouget’s account of the witnesses’ testimony will therefore serve as the only record. Anyone who believes there is an error, or who wishes to provide additional context, is urged to post a comment below. Continue reading →