Thursday, May 19, 2016

ALEXIS VINCENT GOMEZ: Profile of a poor boy turn International lawyer and real estate Mongul

ALEXIS VINCENT GOMEZ:  from Jeans seller to billionaire in FCFA

He was also born in the populous neighborhood of Poto-poto, located north of Brazzaville, the capital of Congo. Alexis Vincent Gomez is also known as a Sassou Nguesso created millionaire by his detractors.  For it is believed that, he is also playing the same role like Paul Obambi, another alleged Sassou Nguesso created millionaire. While Paul Obambi is an economist by profession, Alexis Vincent Gomes is a lawyer by profession. The only thing that, both new generation Congolese businessmen have in common is their proximity with the President of the Republic and his wife. He is a very simple man, who has not forgotten where he comes from. When I met him in 2013, he was 58 year old and that night, he was spending time with some of his childhood friends in a popular bar in Poto-poto called Espace Feignond. He does that regularly whenever he is in Brazzaville. To him, Poto-poto is his Israel or promise land. However, if you want to talk serious business with Alexis Vincent Gomez who is also the Governor of Lions Club, it is in Diosso, a locality situated some 23km from Pointe Noire, the economic capital of Congo. The city of Pointe Noire is the most populated and the richest in Congo and it is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Congo’s second city financially and economically is not Brazzaville, but Ouesso.  Mr Gomez is not only a simple man as already mentioned, he is also a bright international lawyer and also a formidable businessman. He has invested in real estates in Congo, France and in the United States. His investments or properties are estimated according to him to stand at FCFA 1 billion in Congo, France and in the United States.

While Vincent Gomez could be loquacious, he becomes taciturn when he is asked to explain how he became a billionaire. For like Paul Obambi, he is also suspected to be a straw man or fronting for the Presidential family and precisely the wife of the President of Congo, Mrs. Antoinette Sassou Nguesso. It is an allegation that he roundly rejects and instead says that, he is what he is today because of hard work and also because of the help that, he got from one Raymond Obadiah.  In the words of Vincent Gomez, his story is a classic case of a poor boy becoming rich or from rag to riches. Mr Obadiah, the mentor of Alexis Vincent Gomez, he claims, was a Jewish merchant whom he met at the Strasbourg Saint Denis market in Paris. Mr Gomez adds that, he knew Mr Raymond Obadiah because, he frequented the Strasbourg Saint Denis market in Paris where he bought jean pants that he sold back in Brazzaville, when he was on vacation. He also told me that, Raymond Obadiah, who was a wholesale merchant, gave him packages of jeans pants on loan and he only paid him back after selling them. Another lining of the admiration that Alexis Vincent Gomez has for Raymond Obadiah was the Jewish merchant’s capacity to forecast. Alexis Vincent Gomez also told me among the predication his friend or business partner told him was that, he (Alexis Vincent Gomez) had a bright star. Some might think it only want embellish is his past or mystify it. 

However, one thing that is true about Alexis Vincent Gomez, he was born into a very large and poor family and he only knew his father when he was 11 years old. He grew up with his mother, grandmother, half brothers and sisters. And life was very hard for him.  He was conscious that, things where very hard and he knew that, his only salvation was education. Hence he studied hard and passed his Advance levels exam or Baccalaureate at the age 20. He later on got admitted at the lone University of the country known then as the University of Brazzaville, which is today known as the Marien Ngouabi University.  Upon graduation, he obtained a scholarship to further his studies in France, where he studied law and specialized in international business law. It was while in Paris and in order to make ends meet that he met with Raymond Obadiah, whom he claim is the source of his wealth and business mentor. He also told me that, while practicing law, he came into contact with George Walker Bush who was at that time the Governor of Texas. In what conditions or circumstances did he meet with former Governor and former President Bush? He doesn’t explain.

But he told me that, the friendship that he made with George Bush helped him a lot, when he decided to return to Congo in 1983. His friendship with George Bush enabled or facilitated him to work or win contracts with US oil firms working in Congo and also within countries of the Gulf of Guinea. While he is explicit in his relationship with Raymond Obadiah and George Walker Bush, he says nothing concrete regarding his relation with the ruling Nguesso family. As for his relationship with the President of the Republic, he claims that, they knew each other when he was still in France and President Denis Sassou Nguesso, appreciated his job and told him he was real lawyer. But he doesn’t also explain why what made him to meet the president and also why the president said he was a real lawyer? Are other lawyers not genuine? Those are questions that he seldom answers. While he is evasive, about is relationship with the President or his wife, he is rather clear as to how he views the opposition in his country. According to Alexis Vincent Gomez, the opposition political parties in Congo are led by amateurs who are threats to the economic prosperity and stability of the country. Why? He doesn’t answer. Perhaps, he will one day give an answer as to the reason why, he thinks the opposition in Congo is not business friendly.

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