Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the wife of the deposed president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, was jailed late on Wednesday on charges of embezzling public funds, her lawyer said on Thursday.
Bongo, who had been under house arrest since the August 30 coup that toppled her husband, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is accused of money laundering, forgery and falsifying records.
Her lawyer, Francois Zimeray, condemned the arrest as an “arbitrary … illegal procedure.”
“There is a difference between justice and arbitrary actions, between the law and revenge,” he said.
The public prosecutor in Libreville has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Bongo’s arrest comes as the country still grapples with the coup’s aftermath. The putschists allege that the former president and his entourage falsified the election results and misused public money.
Nourredin Bongo Valentin, Bongo’s son and a close advisor, has also been detained on corruption charges.
According to the World Bank, Gabon is Africa’s third-richest nation in per-capita GDP, but one in three people lives below the poverty line. The Bongo family has ruled the country for over 50 years.
The coup was seen by many as an attempt to end the Bongo dynasty and usher in a new era of democracy and transparency.