former oil company boss sentenced to 12 years in prison

Tried in Gabon since Monday 18 July for embezzlement, aiding and abetting embezzlement and money laundering, Christian Patrichi Tanasa – former general manager of the Gabon Oil Company, the national hydrocarbon company – and his two collaborators have just been sentenced to prison terms and large fines. The court almost complied with the requisitions and sentenced the leader to 12 years in prison and his deputy to 10 years. However, the third defendant is acquitted.

as reported from Libreville, Yves-Laurent Goma

The verdict was passed: the court almost followed the state attorney’s requisitions. Christian Patrichi Tanasa, former CEO of Gabon Oil Company, gets 12 years in prison. He was found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering, crimes for which he had been in preventive detention for two years and seven months.

His deputy Jérémie Ayong, who appeared to be free, sentenced him to 10 years in prison. A court order was immediately issued against him: he will spend the night in prison. The director general and his deputy are jointly and severally ordered to pay 20 billion CFA francs [soit environ 30 millions d’euros] to the Gabonese state.

Only Carelle Ndemengane, the treasurer, is doing well: she was acquitted and her bank accounts released.

The lawyers of the defendant declared himself acquitted of their customers. “Do not judge the mistakes of the Gabonese administration through these young 30,” asked Me Charles Henri Gey, defense lawyer. They then expressed their disappointment and promised to appeal in cassation. “It is a good decision”, for his part, commented Me Aymard Moutsinga, lawyer for the state.

Requisitions followed A few hours earlier, the public prosecutor in his requisitions had requested 15 years in prison with a fine of 100 million CFA francs. [environ 152100 euros] against Christian Patrichi Tanasa, former CEO of Gabon Oil Company. The public prosecutor has certainly recognized him as a good manager for raising the company’s accounts from 6 billion to 44 billion CFA francs. [de 9millions à 67millions d’euros environ] in a year. But he accuses him of ordering expenses, providing benefits and offering donations without the board’s approval.

For his deputy Jérémie Ayong, who appeared free, the public prosecutor had requested 10 years in prison. Finally, for Carelle Ndemengane, the cashier who also acquitted, the prosecution had requested 3 years in prison.

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