Money behind EG coup plot

News24.com
01/10/2004 21:55 - (SA)

Dakar - Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has said
that a recent foiled plot to oust him was driven by economic interest
groups, Senegalese media reported on Friday.

"Economic interest groups were behind the coup plot in March; these
days Equatorial Guinea is an important country in the oil sector,"
Obiang was quoted as saying.

Speaking to reporters in Senegal, where he was wrapping up a state
visit with his counterpart Abdoulaye Wade, Obiang declined to specify
just which groups he thought were behind the plot.

South Africans, Armenians and the son of former British prime minister
Margaret Thatcher have been accused of involvement in the plot.

Trials opened in Malabo in August for one group of alleged
coup-plotters, among them a former Equato-Guinean deputy
minister. They are expected to resume Monday.

News reports have implicated an international network of wealthy
businessmen in the alleged plot to oust Obiang, in exchange for which
they would have got a slice of Equatorial Guinea's oil riches.

Exiled Equato-Guinean opposition leader, Severo Moto, was accused by
the authorities in Malabo of masterminding the coup bid, an accusation
he vehemently denied last month.

Obiang said on Thursday he was disposed to selling crude oil to
Senegal at a good rate and invited Senegalese businessmen to invest in
joint ventures with their Equato-Guinean counterparts.

"Some say that oil is a curse, but it is not true; what is a curse is
how Africa has been managed, since the time of slavery until now,"
said Obiang,who has been in power since 1979.

A former Spanish colony, Equatorial Guinea depended on cocoa and
coffee for the bulk of its export revenues until offshore oil began
flowing in 1996.

The oil boom has brought double-digit growth but also concerns over
transparency and complaints that the petro-dollars are not benefiting
ordinary Equato-Guineans.

Oil brings in 90% of export revenues, which go to the treasury, run by
Obiang's brother Melchor Esono Edjo.

The president's nephew, Baltasar Engonga Edjo, is economy minister;
his eldest son Teodoro Nguema Obiang, is infrastructure minister, and
the youngest son in the Obiang clan is secretary of state for
hydrocarbons.

Edited by Elmarie Jack