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In Equatorial Guinea, the world's longest-serving leader

October 1st, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Corruption in Equatorial Guinea

Dissent in Equatorial Guinea

By Lucky Gold, CNN

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the world’s longest-serving leader, says that allegations of massive corruption within his own family are “all the work or our enemies.”

The governments of the United States and France are investigating Obiang’s son, Teodorin, for corruption, extortion and money-laundering that includes multi-million dollar mansions, Maseratis and Michael Jackson memorabilia. But Obiang, who has held power in the African nation of Equitorial Guinea since 1979, defended his son, who is also Vice President: “First of all, my son, even before he became a politician, he’s always been a businessman. He has his own private business activities.”

Appearing Monday on Amanpour, he added, “There are no signs or any proof that he had actually embezzled any government property or government money. The moment he became a minister, he contributed a great deal into the coffers of the government’s administration.”

Those government coffers were vastly enriched when oil was discovered more than a decade ago, bringing billions of dollars to the tiny nation with a population of only seven hundred thousand. Yet, with a per capita income to rival Great Britain, persists and one in eight children die before the age of five - while President Obiang’s personal wealth has been estimated at six hundred million dollars.

“The critics who are saying these things cannot show that I have so much money in my account,” said Obiang. “And just what accounts are they referring to? I don’t have any special or private accounts. All this is false. It’s completely invented.”

As for his future in office, Obiang himself introduced a constitutional reform that mandated a maximum of two seven-year terms. Following that requirement, he would end his term by 2016. However, he refused to say that he would adhere to his own mandate: “It’s not me. It’s the people. The people decide.”

When asked if he might remain in power forever, Obiang reiterated: “I am not the one. It is the people.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Angel

    Amampour I really have to handed it to you. You asked the tough questions to Obiang.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  2. Olastep

    Yes. But no matter what, he should try to develop his country better than it is right now. Many things should have been in place by now. And be more focused

    October 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  3. Disgusted African

    Obiang is a vile despot who has enriched his family and cronies by looting Equatorial Guineans' wealth. Such an individual should be shunned by any democratic nation. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, while the US is investigating "corruption" congress is approving private contractors to train his military. It's unfortunate that oil enslaves democratic nations like the US who have no qualms about disregarding the values they hold dear for a drop of the black gold. It's time the democratic nations of the world stop speaking with a split tongue and stand for respect of human rights and democracy and shun tyrants like Obiang who make a mockery of a democratic system of governance and trample on the values which free people hold dear.

    October 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  4. Omar

    OMG! It's everywhere, I could swear I heard the same exact expressions, same exact excuses from every dictator I ever read or heard about! It seems to be a text-book case to me, I don't even need to look any further. People of equatorial Guinea: Hang that man!

    October 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  5. Brett

    South Africa is next, and people like Amanpour did it.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:26 am | Reply
  6. Brett

    Obiang's fortune makes Zimbabwe's vice-presidential spouse Solomon Mjuru's estate of US $9bn look like chump-change.

    At least it gives dictators in our part of the world something to aspire to.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:31 am | Reply
  7. aloysius okereke

    for me the only thing in this story is the fact that his investigated son is the vice president. well seven hundred thousand people that is indeed a small nation. six hundred million dolars cannot compare with 12 bilion dollars stolen by ibrahim babangida who is highly respected in nigeria as the pace setter in corruption. but that was then nowadays if u steal less than a billion u will go to atleast six months jail so to escape jail term u must still enough to go round the corrupt prosecutors.

    October 2, 2012 at 4:48 am | Reply
  8. Jean

    Amanpour knows her trade.She can call sunshine a night so convincingly.She can very convincingly justify killing of millions in Iraq,Afghanistan and Libya

    October 2, 2012 at 4:58 am | Reply
  9. Brown

    Thanks for all these good questions and findings.....please when will be the tend of President Paul Biya?

    October 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply

    A a cadeira de ditador já tem teias de aranha se o povo da Guiné Equatorial tivesse uma educação este sir. já tinha que largar o poder se ele esta á anos no poder e porque no pais a corrupção é rei

    October 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  11. Henning

    Brett – The article says Obiang has a personal worth of $600 million. That is less than $9 billion.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  12. chinesmusings

    Sad, very sad. It is people like this – Obiang Masogo of Equatorial Guinea that give African leaders and people a very bad name. Non of them see, remember or want to emulate a leader like Nelson Mandela! They are so self-absorbed that they subsume the entire population of their country into their household and reign over them like Emperor Nero of old Rome! They steal their countries blind, wear nice suits, appear before television cameras, lie through their teeth and insult our sensibilities. Is this a curse? And the prophesy is being fulfilled? God have mercy!

    October 3, 2012 at 3:35 am | Reply
  13. Osarenren Ihaza

    What changes has He made sine entering office 33 years ago? Still searching...

    October 3, 2012 at 4:35 am | Reply
  14. Brett

    Henning, if you watched the interview it must be clear to you that any distinction between Obiang and his son's personal fortune is dubious.

    Moreover, oil is a highly mobile asset – easily hidden. Ask Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. That US$600m is probably the tip of the iceberg.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  15. kenhurwitz

    Ms. Amanpour, the interview with Obiang is terriffic. It is being discussed widely among Equaotguineans in the country, in Spain and elsewhere. I know many people would strongly appreciate being able to see the interview in the original Spanish. Is it possible that CNN Espanol could psot the original interview in Spanish for benefit of the people of his country?

    October 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  16. Mr. Yeah

    Private zone !

    October 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  17. ETS

    ...President Paul Biya of Cameroon is worth 2 billion dollars; he should be the next...the uses mystical powers and high practice of occultism to rule that country of Cameroon......

    October 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  18. M E E

    President Obiang is a highly criminal, as sources from the presidencial palace says he eats human flesh and drink the blood also.he practices too much of occultism in ruling our country Equatorial Guinea.we the people of EG knows him very well that he can not step down in 2016 because he's afraid of all the atrosities he has comitted sine he took over power in 1979 killing his a citizen of that country,we dont want him any longer nor either his son and wife.President Obiang is not a politician instead he is a military ruler, a fool,Ms Amampour believe me here saying that all he told CNN and the world is big lies..we have no freedom of self expresion,human right in EG...We need help from the US and Spanish government to overthrow him from power...people are suffering everyday, I still have more to tell if am contacted privetaly...many thanks and may GOD bless u all.

    October 16, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
  19. Chakal

    Obiang is a criminal, and should be brought to justice. All he said is lies, all lies. Obiang is a well known assassin and ripper. He will not step down unless killed so that the people of Equatorial Guinea can live in peace and have true freedom. We ask USA and the International Community to intervene in EG to chase Obiang and his family away. Please, help. HELP HELP HELP from Equatorial Guinea people.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  20. pueplo d guinea

    Amanpour gracias x hacerle a ste senior ls preguntas k nosotros ls mismos ciudadanos de EG no nos atreveriamos a hacer. Ahora bien, no se si adjogening volvera a cantar despues d k hayas hecho sonar su disco n l descanso durante l entrevista.
    y como conseguiste hacer sentar al presi? d verdad eres admirable!

    November 17, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
  21. mirabeau

    The Almighty God be with you Dear and Lovely Mrs. Amanpour, I just wish you could live forever so next generations will also have the same luck we now have living in the same world you are living in. I know Obiang is still in live and still killing us as he has always done, but at least I will tell my kids I saw him loosing his temper because of the questions of a great woman called Amampour. God Bless You and all your beloved ones. We, people of Equatorial will always thank you for this. Thank You.

    November 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  22. Reader

    $600M is incorrect – the persident is correct. It is many multiples higher than this! This has been known about for many years and I am glad to see Ms Amanpour highlight it once more. There is also a very interesting Wikipedia entry about this dictator who sees himself as god...yes .....really....

    January 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
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    Since its debut, CNN has expanded its reach to a number of cable and satellite television companies, several websites, and specialized closed-circuit channels (such as CNN Airport Network). The company has 36 bureaus (10 domestic, 26 international), more than 900 affiliated local stations, and several regional and foreign-language networks around the world. The channel's success made a bona-fide mogul of founder Ted Turner and set the stage for the Time Warner conglomerate's eventual acquisition of Turner Broadcasting..

    With kind thoughts

    April 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Reply
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    Since its debut, CNN has expanded its reach to a number of cable and satellite television companies, several websites, and specialized closed-circuit channels (such as CNN Airport Network). The company has 36 bureaus (10 domestic, 26 international), more than 900 affiliated local stations, and several regional and foreign-language networks around the world. The channel's success made a bona-fide mogul of founder Ted Turner and set the stage for the Time Warner conglomerate's eventual acquisition of Turner Broadcasting."

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  27. Ade

    Hey Folks
    We should learn from recent history.
    Before Libya had her revolution, Libyans were the most educated Africans with high living standard under Gadaffi.
    Iraqis were better off.
    The last 50 years have changed Africa. The western nations accusing African Leaders did worse 50 years ago.
    Some are still in power (Economic) but their children and proteges have political power now.

    For the sake of peace. I'm better off with a Dictator who offers relative peace and economic progress than WAR.

    Mr Obiang may be a Dictator but CNN just confirmed it that the Per Capita income of his country competes with that of UK.

    We cannot have absolute peace and Zero Corruption. Corruption is every where in the world.

    Dictatorship in Africa is a system. To change it, these countries needs years of support and Education which brings empowerment. If you fight Power, Power fights back. Just look at Syria!!

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