Minister Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue contests “unfounded accusations.”
Apartment is not privately owned.
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, Feb. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The government of Equatorial Guinea has protested to the French government a raid by French police on an apartment in Paris that is owned by the government of Equatorial Guinea and used for diplomatic purposes.
On February 13, police raided an apartment on Avenue Foch in Paris that they believed belonged to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, who is also the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea. The investigating judges say they want to determine if the apartment had been acquired illegally through the improper use of public funds.
However, the government of Equatorial Guinea said in an official statement issued February 16, “The residence assaulted by the French police authorities in Paris belongs to the State of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, evidence of which is available at the Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in Paris, and is known by the Relevant Authorities of the French Government regarding the subject of Property Acquisition.”
The government of Equatorial Guinea termed the French police action “a flagrant violation of the international treaties that regulate the diplomatic relations and the bilateral agreements of reciprocal protection of investments signed between the Government of Equatorial Guinea and the Government of the Republic of France.”
French media reported that Equatoguinean diplomats were present at the apartment when police arrived and protested the police violation of diplomatic property.
Minister Nguema’s French attorney, Mr. Emmanuel Marsigny, said in a statement, “These premises are the property of the State of Equatorial Guinea and are used in regard to its diplomatic mission in France.” A second attorney, Mr. Olivier Pardo, told the French press that the apartment was occupied by Equatorial Guinea’s UNESCO representative.
Mr. Marsigny said that Minister Nguema “firmly contests the unfounded accusations of the embezzlement of public funds of which he is the target, and which have been relayed uncritically by the media.”
He also said that Minister Nguema would “undertake the necessary legal actions to condemn these defamatory accusations and receive the rightful presumption of innocence to which everyone is entitled.”
The official statement of the government of Equatorial Guinea follows:
“The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea expresses its complete indignation and protest against the illegitimate persecution by the French authorities on a residence owned by the Equatorial Guinean State in Paris, in flagrant violation of the international treaties that regulate the diplomatic relations and the bilateral agreements of reciprocal protection of investments signed between the Government of Equatorial Guinea and the Government of the Republic of France.
“The residence assaulted by the French police authorities in Paris belongs to the State of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, evidence of which is available at the Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in Paris, and is known by the Relevant Authorities of the French Government regarding the subject of Property Acquisition.
“The Government of Equatorial Guinea hopes that the high and decision-making authorities of the French Republic take measures that are imposed pursuant to the International Rights and reserves the right to correspond in reciprocity, should the violation be culminated on the interests of the State of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
“The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea expresses, however, its faith in the spirit of the excellent relations of friendship and cooperation that historically have existed between the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the French Republic, as well as the political, economic and sociocultural interests that sustain these relations, and maintains the hope that, through respect of International Law, the treaties signed between the two countries and these interests, the Government of the French Republic will give a satisfactory response to this intolerable situation.”
About Equatorial Guinea
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. Offshore petroleum and national gas reserves were discovered in the 1990s and have been contributing to the global energy supply since about 2005. Equatorial Guinea has assumed a greater leadership role in the region through the Economic Community of Central African States, the African Union, and bilateral relations with other African states. The country hosted the 2011 Summit of the African Union and co-hosted the 2012 African Cup of Nations. It will host the Africa-Latin America Summit in May. For more information, visit http://www.guineaecuatorialpress.com.
SOURCE Republic of Equatorial Guinea