Teacher sacked for taking bribes from pupils

A high school teacher in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea has been sacked for taking bribes from students to give them pass marks, the education ministry said Wednesday.

The scandal puts the low salaries of teachers in the spotlight in the tiny central African country where the vast oil riches have only benefited a handful.

"The teacher who took money from students in return for good marks has been directly thanked," Education Minister Jesus Engonga Ndong said on television, adding that there were two such other cases in the country recently.

A student said the teacher stopped year-end exams, and "asked us each to pay up 2,000 Central African CFA francs ($3.40) to have the required pass marks" in philosophy.

The teacher had set questions from chapters that had not been taught, the student said.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1979, is Africa's longest-serving leader, and his family has amassed amazing wealth.

But the benefits have yet to percolate to the vast majority of people who live in abysmal poverty despite the exploitation of oil and gas deposits driving up per capita GDP to over $29,000 in 2014.

There are only two telephones per 100 people, the country has skeletal infrastructure and power cuts are rampant. Infant mortality rates are among the world's worst.

"It is difficult to make ends meet when teachers aren't paid properly: 150,000 Central African francs ($250) is nothing for the work we do," Mba Ela, a history teacher, told AFP.

Teodorin Obiang, one of the president's sons, is facing legal proceedings in France where he is accused by prosecutors of looting state coffers to fund his lavish tastes, including the purchase of pop star Michael Jackson's famous white glove, private jets and sprawling properties in some of the world's most expensive areas.

In 2012 prosecutors had already ordered the seizure of the Obiang family's six-storey mansion on Avenue Foch -- one of the poshest addresses in Paris -- as well as several luxury cars, famous works of art and vintage wines.