Home News African dictator’s Swiss fortune to be unfrozen

African dictator’s Swiss fortune to be unfrozen

Published on 24/11/2008

24 November 2008   ZURICH –The Swiss fortune of the late African dictator Mobutu Sese Seko will be unfrozen by the middle of December when the blocking order expires, a newspaper reported Sunday.

By 15 December, some CHF 8 million of assets blocked by Swiss authorities will be unfrozen belonging to Mobutu – the late leader of former Zaire, now the Democratic
Republic of Congo – NZZ am Sontag said.

That would give Mobutu’s inheritors immediate access to the money, the
newspaper said.

It also reported that Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey wrote to Congolese President Joseph Kabila earlier this month urging him to decide on what to do with the funds.

Swiss authorities also tried without success to contact Mobutu’s inheritors to ask them to relinquish their share of the money, the newspaper added.

According to NZZ, Congolese officials have remained silent on the matter because Mobutu’s son, Nzanga Mobutu, is one of the country’s deputy prime ministers.

Calmy-Rey refused to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP.

Mobutu came to power in a 1965 coup, five years after the central African nation gained independence from Belgium. He ruled for 32 years, plunging the country into a long economic crisis marked by state corruption, the embezzlement of funds and excessive luxuries.

He was overthrown in May 1997 by Laurent Kabila, the father of the current president, and lived in exile in Morocco where he died of cancer a few months later.

Swiss authorities froze the money shortly after Mobutu was ousted from power.

[AFP / Expatica]