Teodorin Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea's dictator, has commissioned a $380million superyacht, with cinema, restaurant, bar and swimming pool, reports say.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea's President and new African Union (AU) Chairman, speaks during a news conference at the closing ceremony of the 16th African Union Summit, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2011. REUTERS

The irony can't be missed when the scion of a tiny sub-Saharan country, which has the dubious distinction for having the highest child mortality rate in the world and abysmal public health and education systems, splurges ill-gotten money on a multi-million dollar super-luxury yacht.

Britain's Mail Online said in a report that Teodorin Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea's dictator, has commissioned a $380million superyacht, with cinema, restaurant, bar and swimming pool.

The report says the yacht, one of the most expensive in the world, will be modeled after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s yacht, Pelorus. The report says Teodorin is employed as the country's agriculture minister with a monthly salary of $6,799. So where does the money come from?

The tiny country of half-a-million people is mired in corruption and the president's family and relatives control most businesses.

This is what Human Rights Watch (HRW) says: Equatorial Guinea remains mired in corruption, poverty, and repression under the leadership of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the country's president for over 30 years. Vast oil revenues fund lavish lifestyles for the small elite surrounding the president, while the majority of the population lives in dire poverty.

Equatorial Guinea is not a poor country in the sense poverty is generally understood in Africa. The tiny republic has vast oil resources. Over the last decade it has become one of the biggest producers of oil in Africa and by some measures it has a higher GDP per capita than the UK, France and Germany, according to corruption watchdog Global Witness.

Though per capita income is the highest in the sub-Saharan Africa and among the highest across the world thanks to huge oil revenues, the wealth has largely been concentrated in a few hands. The socioeconomic situation of most of the country's more than half a million population is awful. For example, the country has the world's highest child mortality rate.

One study published in The Lancet found that the country had the world's highest child mortality rate, though a second study in the same publication found that the country did see progress in reducing maternal mortality, according to HRW.

The outrageous extravagance of Teodorin is funded by the illegal siphoning of the country's wealth. The Human Rights Watch has said that a U.S. Senate investigation showed that Teodorín had bypassed money-laundering controls and used suspect funds to finance expensive purchases in the US. The son's spending on luxury goods from 2004-2007 was nearly double the Equatoguinean government's 2005 budget for education.

According to CIA World Fact Book, the country spends only a meager 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product on education. The GDP, as per official exchange rate, was put at $14.5 billion as of 2010.

Despite the country's economic windfall from oil production resulting in a massive increase in government revenue in recent years, there have been few improvements in the population's living standards, according to the Fact Book. President Teodoro Obiang has ruled the country since 1979 when he seized power in a coup, it says.

Global Witness has this to say about Teodorin: Our investigations have exposed how the President’s son and government minister, Teodorin Obiang, has spent millions of dollars on sustaining a playboy lifestyle in Europe and the U.S. while reportedly earning a government salary of only a few thousand dollars a month.