Omar Bongo was promoted to key positions as a young official under
Bongo headed the single-party regime of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) until 1990, when, faced with public pressure, he was forced to introduce multi-party politics into
Bongo was criticized for in effect having worked for himself, his family and local elites and not for
After Bongo's death in June 2009, his son Ali Bongo—who had long been assigned key ministerial responsibilities by his father—was elected to succeed him in August 2009.
Italian fashion designer Francesco Smalto admitted providing Bongo with Parisian prostitutes to secure a tailoring business worth $600000 per year .
Bongo was one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world, his wealth attributed primarily to oil revenue and alleged corruption. In 1999, an investigation by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on investigations into Citibank estimated that the Gabonese President held US$130 million in the bank's personal accounts, money the Senate report said was "sourced in the public finances of
In 2005, an investigation by the United States Senate Indian Affairs Committee into fundraising irregularities by lobbyist Jack Abramoff revealed that Abramoff had offered to arrange a meeting between U.S. President George W. Bush and Bongo for the sum of US$9,000,000. Although such an exchange of funds remains unproven, Bush met with Bongo 10 months later in the Oval Office.
In 2007, his former daughter-in-law, Inge Lynn Collins Bongo, the first wife of his son Ali Bongo Ondimba, caused a stir when she appeared on the
Bongo was cited in recent years during French criminal inquiries into hundreds of millions of euros of illicit payments by Elf
The Sunday Times (
In 2009, Bongo spent his last months in a major row with