12/18/2014: And people at UO flip out over a few picketing grad students?
Last I heard the status of the $15M endowment payment to the UO Foundation was still up in the air. I can’t imagine $60 oil is going to increase the chances it will happen.
6/18/2014 update: Trouble in Gabon for Bongo jr. over education, corruption
From the NYT. I didn’t see a quote from former UO Ambassador and current Director of the $20M UO-Gabon project, Eric Benjaminson. Too bad, he must have some inside knowledge on this:
Many in Libreville are angry at the luxurious lifestyles of officials, including Bongo and his entourage. At an investment summit last month, traffic jams clogged city streets as presidential vehicles swept along the coastal road. VIPs drank champagne at a red-carpet gala at a seafront hotel, just blocks from the city’s sprawling shanties. …
Education is key to delivering on Bongo’s pledge to create opportunities for a growing young population, more than one- third of whom are unemployed. Yet at the state-run Omar Bongo University, the campus is littered with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters after police clashed with students protesting the lack of basics, such as text books and Internet access.
Exam results pinned to a classroom wall showed that just 19 out of 176 students studying for an economy degree had passed.
Like much of the political elite, whose offspring are educated in Europe or the United States, Bongo’s son was sent to exclusive British boarding school Eton.
“The authorities don’t send their children here. They send them away,” said 26-year-old student leader Anatole Nnang Mezui. “They want to keep ruling us just like their fathers did. It’s a small elite that’s going to rule over the masses.”
3/12/2014 update: Feds investigating UO donor Ali Bongo over suitcases of cash
According to the Wall Street Journal, US Homeland Security agents intercepted a $150,000 cash payment from noted UO donor and Gabonese President for Life Ali Bongo, headed to his former wife in LA.
There are some interesting quotes from retired Ambassador Eric Benjaminson, now employed by UO, and paid out of the $20M gift to UO from Bongo. A gift which Benjaminson and UO fundraiser John Manotti arranged while Benjaminson was US Ambassador to Gabon, despite US State department conflict of interest rules.
More on the gift, the RG editorials asking for some transparency from UO, and pro-Bongo comments from UO officials below. But here’s the WSJ story: Continue reading