Obiang's Clifton cottage attached amid R75m court battle
But the High Court in Cape Town has refused to attach a second Cape Town mansion‚ also targeted by Daniel Janse van Rensburg‚ who is preparing to sue Obiang for R75-million for unlawful imprisonment.
Van Rensburg was held for 423 days in Black Beach prison in Malabo‚ capital of Equatorial Guinea‚ after an aviation deal with one of Obiang’s family members turned sour. He said he was tortured and humiliated. He also contracted typhoid‚ malaria and hepatitis‚ which nearly caused his death.
Janse van Rensburg languished in jail while Obiang‚ son of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo‚ enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with yachts‚ luxury cars — including four bought on holiday in South Africa — and properties around the world.
He bought the Clifton property‚ which overlooks Fourth Beach‚ for R23.5-million in 2013 and spent another R26-million on a house in Bishopscourt‚ according to court papers. Both were the subject of a provisional attachment order.
Obiang brandished his diplomatic immunity in a bid to have the lawsuit quashed‚ and denied any involvement in Janse van Rensburg’s arrest.
He swore in a statement that he had spent millions of rands upgrading his Cape Town properties‚ but they had stood empty since he bought them in 2013.
“Since I have purchased these two properties‚ I have not once occupied or spent one night staying over‚” he said.
“Both properties are empty and unfurnished. If and when I travel to the Republic of South Africa for any reason whatsoever‚ I do not stay in any of the two properties. For obvious security protocols and reasons I cannot disclose where I do stay when I am in South Africa.”
Judge Vincent Saldanha dismissed Obiang’s arguments this week‚ but said it was not necessary to attach both houses. He noted that Obiang had been involved in similar attachment proceedings‚ including in France where he owned a large mansion‚ and in the US where his Malibu mansion reportedly sold for close to R500-million.
“He surrendered his United States property in settlement of an asset forfeiture case brought by the Department of Justice against him and which also involved his collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia‚” the judgment said.
“Notably the applicant‚ unlike in the French proceedings‚ did not claim that either of these two properties were diplomatic outposts despite his claim that they were immune from attachment based on his claim of diplomatic immunity.”
Contacted to confirm the attachment order‚ a relieved Janse van Rensburg said: “Yes‚ praise God.”
Source: TMG Digital.