Thursday, February 05, 2004

Gabon: Bongo in sex scandal

Gabon's president Omar Bongo is in the midst of what is shaping up to be a tawdry international incident. Miss Peru, Ivette Santa Maria Carty, invited to Gabon to host the "Miss Humanity" pageant, alleges Bongo tried to sleep with her.
Just hours after arriving January 17 in the capital Libreville, Miss Peru [claims she] was taken to the presidential palace, where Bongo tried to take her to his bedroom and seduce her, said Carty’s parents.

Carty fled the palace and spent 12 days confined at a Libreville hotel. She was able to leave Gabon only after Interpol and a French anti-prostitution humanitarian aid group intervened.
There appear to have been other allegations in the past.
In 1995, Italian fashion designer Francesco Smalto testified in a Paris court that he furnished Bongo with call girls, flying them regularly from France.

At least two opposition newspapers were shut down and French papers were temporarily banned in Gabon after reporting on the scandal.
However, this current story dosn't appear to be all that straight forward. From the Associated Press story ....
Contacted in Peru, the alleged victim's mother appeared to back away from the claims about her daughter's time in Gabon.

"Maybe we have exaggerated, but I don't mind ... if the scandal results in my daughter returning to Peru,'' Antonieta Carty told The Associated Press. (full-text)
And from Miss Peru herself ...
Miss Santa Maria stressed that the president never touched her, nor tried to stop her from fleeing and was probably not involved in what she calls a scheme by would-be pageant organisers who lured her to the West African nation. (full-text)
Also ... when questioned by reporters, Bongo's spokesperson claimed not to have heard of Miss Peru's allegations.