Friday, April 20, 2012

California Judge Dismisses Civil Suit Against Minister of Agriculture and Forestry for Lack of Evidence, He Says


George H. Wu, the California federal judge assigned to the civil suit against Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, granted a motion filed by his lawyers to dismiss the seizure of some of his properties by the United States government.

Judge George H. Wu stated that the Department of Justice had failed to present sufficient evidence to accuse the Minister of using “ill-gotten gains” to purchase property. In his indictment, he described the charges on the complaint as “vague” and called the complaint “devoid of any facts that might support allegations that Nguema directly participated in extortion, misappropriation, theft or embezzlement” of public funds. He then extended the deadline for the prosecutors to bring new and more sufficient evidence.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea responded by rejecting the notion that their officials could be tried or sued in foreign countries over events that occurred in their home country.