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Journalist appears in court on defamation charges

(JED/IFEX) - Rodrigo Angwe, a Malabo-based correspondent for Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Agence France Presse (AFP), was summoned to court on 15 April 2009 on charges of insult, slander and defamation after he alleged that the director general of Equatorial Guinea's national airline, CEIBA Intercontinental, had absconded with 3.5 million FCFA (approx. US$7 million).

According to a company source, Mamadou Jaye, director-general of CEIBA Intercontinental, fled the country between the end of February and early March 2009 with 3.5 million FCFA. The employee, whom Angwe believed to be the direct source of the story, later admitted that he had obtained the information from the Internet. At Angwe's initiative, RFI and AFP immediately published retractions and offered Jaye a right of reply.

Jaye, who feels he has been wronged by the piece, is demanding a settlement of 3.5 million FCFA - the same amount he was accused of embezzling - from Angwe and the two media outlets. His lawyer also cited in his complaint an article which appeared on, signed by one Mbo Oba and entitled "Mamadou Jaye brings down CEIBA Intercontinental". The lawyer believes Angwe wrote the article himself under a pseudonym.

The two parties met before an investigating judge on 15 April to attempt to reach a settlement out of court. As they were unable to do so, they are now waiting for a court date to be set.

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