Chevron staff nabbed for fraud

February 16, 2010 12:00 am

, BRAZZAVILLE, Feb 16 – Two employees of the Chevron oil company were arrested and detained for seven weeks in the Republic of Congo, accused of fraud, and then freed on bail, a government official said Monday.

Iqbal Osman and Christian Li, who come from Mauritius, were arrested in the last week of December in the oil capital, Point-Noire, then transferred to Brazzaville where they were freed on Friday after paying bail of 100 million CFA francs (152,000 euros/ 207,000 dollars).

They have been "formally banned from leaving Congolese territory," the official said.

The two men were arrested on the orders of the public prosecutor when they were "implicated in a case of fraud and the embezzlement of 10 million dollars (7.6 million euros)," the official said.

Congolese workers for Chevron were also suspects, along with a Brazzaville bank.

"Curiously, all the Congolese are as free as the wind," the official added, without saying how many there were.

The release of the two men was confirmed to AFP by a person close to the case.

The person said an envoy of the Mauritian prime minister, the lawyer Herve Lassemillante, has been in Brazzaville since February 11 "to attempt to meet the Congolese president (Denis Sassou Nguesso) in order to win the total freedom of his fellow citizens."

A Mauritian envoy already met Sassou Nguesso in his native village of Oyo in the north in January, without success, the same source said.


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