South Africa Seizes Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue’s Superyacht

Published: 15 February 2023

Cape Town Waterfront

The yacht was seized in Cape Town. (Photo: Andreas Tusche, Wikimedia, License)

By Josef Skrdlik

South African authorities have seized a luxurious yacht from Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue after he lost a lawsuit filed by a South African investor who had been arrested at Nguema’s command, local media reported on Sunday.

The 67-meters-long vessel was seized on February 7 after the High Court in Cape Town dismissed Mangue’s appeal against its ruling from 2021 that he should pay the equivalent of around US$2.2 million as compensation to local businessman Janse van Rensburg.

Rensburg was previously hired by Mangue’s uncle Gabriel Angabi to set up an airline for the impoverished central African nation.

In 2013, Rensburg set off for Equatorial Guinea to launch the airline company but was told upon arrival that the country was no longer interested in the project and that he should return the money Angabi had invested. The dispute led to Rensburg’s arrest. He spent nearly 500 days in a prison.

In the memoir published last year, Rensburg characterised the experience as a “journey into depths of hell,” describing how he was subjected to beatings and torture and had to witness atrocities committed on other inmates, including murder, brutal stabbings and rape.

Mangue’s father, Teodoro Obiang, has been ruling Equatorial Guinea since 1979 and has been accused of having turned it into his personal fiefdom, funneling billions extracted from the country’s rich oil fields into his family’s bank accounts in a complete disregard of the nation’s developmental needs.

Mangue, seen as Obiang’s likely successor, has earned notoriety for his opulent lifestyle and lavish overseas spending.

He has faced sanctions and asset freezes around the world on embezzlement and corruption charges.

In 2014 for example, Mangue was forced to give up a mansion in Malibu, a Ferrari and a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia to settle a $30 million case in the U.S.

In 2016, Swiss authorities confiscated 25 of his supercars, which were later auctioned off for about $27 million.