PARIS A court Tuesday authorised judges to probe corruption charges against three African heads of state accused of using state funds to buy cars and apartments in France worth tens of millions of euros. France's top appeals court ruled that investigating magistrates could open a probe into allegations against Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon who died last year. The charges have been brought by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption campaign group which alleges the leaders and their relatives spent state funds from their countries on lavish purchases in France. Citing French police investigations dating to 2007, TI said Obiang owned more than four million euros' worth of vehicles, Bongo and his relations had 39 homes and Sassou Nguesso and his relations held 112 bank accounts. It said investigations had found that Bongo's wife Edith had bought a Daimler Chrysler car with a cheque drawn on a Gabonese government account in France. The organisation estimates the total value of the three leaders' estates in France at 160 million euros (223 million dollars). "For the first time in France, a lawsuit by an anti-corruption association acting for the interests it aims to defend has been judged admissible," TI said in a statement welcoming the ruling. TI said it expected "that the investigation will contribute to uncovering the truth and in due course lead to the implementation of the law of restitution" of the allegedly stolen funds under a UN anti-graft convention. French prosecutors had closed previous cases brought against the leaders, prompting Transparency International to bring a civil suit which the appeals court finally approved on Tuesday. flashad Source: The East African Jamani wanaharakati na wanamapinduzi vp kuhusu wale viongozi wetu nchini wanaokuwa matajiri kupindukia ni vema tukaanza hizi harakati maana dunia sasa ni kijiji.