politics

Namibia President Geingob Denies Graft Claim in French Probe

Updated on
  • Southern African nation’s leader seeks retraction from RFI
  • Geingob linked to claims related to Areva purchase of UraMin

Hage Geingob

Photographer: Pius Utomi Elpei/AFP via Getty Images

Namibian President Hage Geingob rejected claims linking him to a French corruption probe related to the purchase by Orano SA of Canadian mining company UraMin Inc.’s Trekkopje uranium mine in the southern African country.

Geingob didn’t participate in the transaction and is demanding a retraction from Radio France Internationale, which reported the allegations last week, spokesman Alfredo Hengari said in a statement. He was paid as a consultant before he joined the cabinet and for work unrelated to the purchase by Orano, formerly called Areva, of UraMin’s assets in 2007, according to the presidency.

“I was just involved as a consultant -- whatever the French allegations are, they have nothing to do with me,” Geingob told lawmakers in the capital, Windhoek, on Wednesday.

Paris-based RFI reported that Geingob was linked to the probe in which Areva’s former mining branch head, Sebastien de Montessus, was charged in relation to the French nuclear energy giant’s purchase of the UraMin-owned mine in Namibia. Anne Lauvergeon, Areva’s former chief executive officer, has been charged with spreading false information related to the purchase of UraMin. The former executives deny wrongdoing.

The RFI report “focuses on the alleged involvement of Mr De Montessus in the allegations referred to, yet the report on its own and in context makes gratuitous insinuations and imputations of dishonesty on the person of Dr Geingob,” the president’s lawyers said in a letter to the radio station, seen by Bloomberg.

RFI didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment on the demand for a retraction.

— With assistance by Pauline Bax

(Updates with comments from Geingob in third paragraph.)
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