Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Picture: Reuters
Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Picture: Reuters

Equatorial Guinea's 'playboy' to appeal SA assets seizure order

By Vincent Cruywagen Time of article published Aug 1, 2019

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Cape Town - Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is appealing an attachment order for his South African assets after he was sued by a man who was detained in his country.

The matter stems from a ruling made by Judge Vincent Saldanha on October17, 2017, in which an order of attachment was granted for the immovable property in Cape Town belonging to Obiang. At the time of the judgment, he was the first vice-president and minister of defence and security in the government of Equatorial Guinea.

His properties in Bishop Court and Clifton were attached to be auctioned off to settle a R75million civil claim Daniel Janse van Rensburg had launched against Obiang for wrongful arrest.

Janse van Rensburg was jailed in the notorious Black Beach prison in Equatorial Guinea for about two years despite being cleared by a court of theft charges. In papers he claimed the prison was under the command and control of Obiang. He was accused of stealing R1m from a local businessman and politician and released in September 2015.

In papers, Janse van Rensburg alleged that he had been brutalised to the extent that he suffered permanent physical impairment. His ordeal lasted for 423 days.

However, Obiang has vigorously denied any responsibility for the harm.

On Wednesday, Janse van Rensburg said: “I’m aware that his appeal has been heard. I don’t want to talk about the merits of the case. I will wait for the outcome of the court, and then I will air my views.

“Every day is still a battle for me. It is hard to erase the memories of what I endured in Black Beach prison. I’m still receiving counselling. I’m surviving by the grace of God. This case is not about the money, but about justice. Somebody has to stand up to him.”

Obiang’s legal team argued that the judge erred in making the judgment and wants a full Bench of judges to set aside the ruling.

The president’s son, Teodorin Nguema Obiang, is involved in civil claim initiated by Daniel Janse van Rensburg, pictured above. Picture: Supplied

From their arguments it also appears the judgment holds serious ramifications for South Africa and could affect political relations between the country and Equatorial Guinea.

After hearing argument from both sides, judgment was reserved.

In his answering affidavit, Obiang claimed that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity from civil and criminal jurisdiction in South African courts. His claim is based on the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges Act no 37 of 2001, read together with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.

In papers, Obiang’s contention was that Janse van Rensburg failed to provide any evidence that he was in any way involved or responsible for his incarceration. He said that reports and other supporting affidavits on which the South African relied were inadmissible hearsay.

Obiang also denied that he was at all responsible for internal security, police and prison services in Equatorial Guinea.


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