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« President Biya Alludes to the "Gay Outing" Saga | Main | A Dream Deferred: Emmanuel Njela Nfor »

February 14, 2006


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PUBLICS FUNDS: Almost USD$4.2Billion embezzled in six years

Yaounde, Cameroon: The figure comes from of a report by the senior state comptroller dating back to last May. The techniques used in accessing public fortune range from diversion of the funds to the unauthorized spending of budgetary credits, not including administrative violations in the issuing of public contracts, partial or fabricated delivery, cash deficits, irregular transfers or diversion of state goods, the use of state resources into patently ruinous ventures, the acquisition of unearned benefits, over-charging…...

Being official, the figure is no less likely to be staggering. "The services of the senior state comptroller estimate at more than 1,845 billion F Cfa (USD$3.9 Billion)the total amount of public fund siphoned between 1998 and 2004, that is 300 billions (USD$634Million)per year”. The report is relentless. It appears in documents which date back to May 2007. One could add that this sum is close to the total of the state budget for the 2006 fiscal year which rose to 1,861 billions FCfa(USD$3.9Billion). Statistics issued by the services of the senior state comptroller are based on forty-one missions carried out by this institution across decentralized territorial groups, public administrations and public businesses, between 1997 and 2004.

In general, these missions “allowed the uncovering of prejudicial irregularities in the public wealth”. More specifically, “the synthesis of these irregularities are summarize (sic) as follows: diversion of e funds; violation of regulations in the issuing of public contracts; partial or fictitious delivery; cash deficits; irregular transfer or diversion of supplies furnished to the state; engagement of state resources in the patently costly expenditures; granting of undue benefits; overcharging; certification of financial transactions of which some benefits were fabricated in public companies; non-contribution to CNPS of social contributions; illegal recruitment of personnel; non-withholding or non-transfer of taxes and tax duties by administrators of public funds; unauthorized issuing of budgetary credits".

No need to put-down the institutions affected by these misappropriations. According to certain informers, the observers could perhaps be correct in considering that these data could reflect only the visible tip of an iceberg that one imagines would be more impressive. Firstly, because the amount is based on business missions undertaken between 1998 and 2004. This suggests that statistics for the period between 2005 to 2007 , because they were not taken into account in the official evaluations conducted in May 2007, the amount of these abuses on public wealth- which no one imagines disappeared as a result of the high morals of the managers as by magic- can in the meantime be revised upwards. Next, because of the somewhat limited character of the review: only forty-something in six years, while at least six hundred fifty entities should plausibly be affected, of which 33 ministerial departments, 336 decentralized territorial groups, 251 businesses in the public and parapublic sector and 30 establishments in liquidation, according to an official evaluation.

More so, the senior state comptroller works in conditions hardly unlikely to guarantee an optimum yield. Officially, “the credits allocated for on-sight audit missions never surpassed the threshold of 2/10,000 (or 0,02%) of the state budget. Regarding human resources, the hiring freeze in the public services, the promotion of a number of personnel to high office as well as the massive departures into retirement of experienced comptrollers and other support personnel, and the lack of permanent training of the latter considerably curtailed the results achieved by this august institution”.

Altogether an indictment. Which at least calls into question the political will of those who never pass-up an occasion to proclaim, urbi et orbi, their firm determination to fight against corruption since lenders brought up this issue in “benchmarks” of success of economic programs, and instituted governance as a “trigger” for the completion point of the HIPC initiative – arrived at in April 2006 by Cameroon. To illustrate, in the space of several months, Paul Biya has, at least on two occasions with a special seriousness, announced vigorous measures. July 21st 2006 - six months after the triggering of this so-called "Operation Sparrowhark" – from the podium of the third CPDM extraordinary congress, he asserted: "We have, I must say, a serious public morality problem. Despite our efforts to fight them, fraud, misappropriations of public funds, corruption continue to plague the foundations of our society. I had often had to speak up on the subject and to express my determination to stamping out these antisocial behaviors. Harsh penalties were taken over the past months. We will not stop half-way. Those who had enriched themselves at the expense of the public fortune will have to cough-up.”

During the ministerial counsel of September 12 2007, the president of the Republic, restated the charge. “The third priority of the government will consist in fighting against corruption with even more determination than in the past. It is corruption which, for the most part, compromises the success of our efforts. It is what perverts public morality. Each of you must take responsibility for this fight in their area of responsibility. I invite you therefore to be more vigilant. The misappropriation of public funds, whatever the form, is a crime against the people who are thus deprived of the resources that belong to. It therefore has to be punished with the greatest severity.”
Now, the open secret: the president of the Republic, in view of his duties both invested and institutional, is naturally concerned in large measure by this question of utmost seriousness. In fact, very few observers would imagine that he is not informed of the scope and extent of these infringes on public wealth. And quite obviously, on this matter, the senior state controller depends, for his mobility, his movement, only on the Head of state. Considerations among others which lend credence to the hypothesis according to which, obstacles to the action by the senior state auditor are coming from the direction of Etoudi. One could add to this, the deep gap between the often thundering declarations by the president of the Republic and the anticipated actions, however much expected by the public and creditors. As if the battle against corruption demanded more than just the duplication and superimposition of institutions, and more than just spectacular judicial prosecutions.

Valentin Siméon ZINGA

source: http://www.camerounlink.net/fr/news.php?nid=32321 (French)

Y. Maurice Martin

Helo Sir and your entire Crew,

Thanks very much for such an evaluation and good write-up, I did enjoy it well. May God continouse to bless and protect you and grant you with more wisdom to continouse developing and publishing more revelation.

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