Africa’s longest serving dictator has appointed his son as vice-president and another son as minister while his brother also has been appointed minister of defence
Equatorial Guinea dictator Teodor Obiang Nguema has promoted his son wanted in France for alleged money laundering – to vice president in charge of national defense and state security..
Of the 55 government nominations announced on Thursday, 12 are close to Obiang Nguema personally.
These include his brother Antonio Mba Nguema who becomes defence minister and one of his sons, Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, in the energy and industry seat.
Agapito Mba Mokuy, formerly an advisor to the president, becomes foreign minister.
The new prime minister Milam Tang is Nguema’s former chief of staff.
Obiang, Africa’s longest-serving leader, announced on Monday night that another son, Teodorin, had been appointed second vice president with responsibility for defence and security.
A few years ago, the media reported that the son of Equatorial Guinea’s dictator commissioned plans to build a superyacht costing $380 million, nearly three times what the country spends on health and education each year, a corruption watchdog said Monday.
The statement from Global Witness said that German company Kusch Yachts has been asked to build the yacht, housing a cinema, restaurant, bar and swimming pool, though construction has not yet started. Global Witness has been urging Washington to institute sanctions against Teodorin Obiang, whose extravagant lifestyle currently includes a $35 million-dollar mansion (pictured left) in Malibu, California, a $33 million jet and a fleet of luxury cars, while earning a salary of $6,799 a month as agriculture minister.
The government press office in Equatorial Guinea confirmed that the president’s son had ordered the yacht design, but said he “then dismissed the idea of buying it.” It said that if the order had gone ahead, he would have bought it with income from private business activities and not “with funds derived from sources of illegal financing or corruption.”
President Teodoro Obiang, who reportedly is grooming his son to succeed him as president, took power in a bloody 1979 coup. Forbes has estimated his wealth at around $600 million.
Teodorin Obiang justified his wealth in a sworn affidavit to a South African court questioning his ownership of luxury mansions and expensive cars in Cape Town in 2006. He stated that public officials in his country are allowed to partner with foreign companies bidding for government contracts and said this means “a Cabinet minister ends up with a sizable part of the contract price in his bank account.”
The tiny West African nation may be oil rich, but U.N. statistics show that 20 percent of children in Equatorial Guinea die before reaching the age of 5, and the average citizen is unlikely to live beyond 50. The State Department report on human rights also has condemned killings by security forces and the torture of prisoners.