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« Summit Magazine: Still Going Strong | Main | Letter from Zimbabwe: "We have the right to choose our own leaders" »

April 01, 2008

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Ndo Michel

Cameroon arrests two former ministers for graft

Tue 1 Apr 2008, 6:06 GMT

By Tansa Musa

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon arrested former economy and finance minister Polycarpe Abah Abah and former public health minister Urbain Olanguena Awono on Monday on allegations of fraud, corruption and embezzling public funds.

"The two ministers were picked up early today and are currently being interrogated," a senior official at the judicial police department, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

Abah Abah and Awono lost their portfolios in September after being in government for three and six years, respectively.

Two lower ranking officials were also detained on suspicion of collaborating with the ministers: former paymaster-general of the Yaounde main treasury Etogo Mbezele, and the former director of the National AIDS Control Committee, Maurice Fezeu.

Abah Abah's lawyer Jean Calvin Bilong said his client was being interrogated in his absence, which violated the law.

A number of former government figures have been arrested since President Paul Biya, under pressure from the donor community, launched a clampdown in February 2006 on rampant corruption in the Central African country.

Earlier this month, the former Secretary of State for Public Works was arrested on allegations of embezzling several million dollars in forestry royalties.

Former mining minister Alphonse Siyam Siwe, a former senior member of the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM), was jailed for 30 years in December for embezzlement.

Last week, some members of parliament complained the war against corruption was too slow, giving some culprits time to dissimulate the stolen wealth.

Vice Prime Minister Ahmadou Ali, in charge of justice, told the assembly that the government was working methodically to ensure cases were legally watertight.

He said 133 persons suspected of corruption, including ex-ministers, managers of public corporations and MPs, had already been prosecuted, many receiving jail terms ranging from 10 to 50 years.

Cameroon was ranked as the most corrupt state in the world in 1998 and 1999, according to Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

Nyankpe

Wow! Thanks to the links to the CRTV radio and TV newscast. Didn't even know you could get these online. As usual, the French TV newscast is as vapid, stale and boring as usual....

Sofi Monono(Yaoundé)

Cameroonians should turn their eyes to Zimbabwe and follow attentively what's happening there.If Mugabe tries to hang on(as speculated),let's see what follows next.
Rumours are rife that ZANU-PF are holding talks with the MDC on Mugabe's exit,reason for the delayance in proclaiming presidential election results.

Judy

Emm!! I wonder what these guys have done to provoke Biya's wrath. He knows that his entire cabinet is composed of seasoned thieves, when he singles some out for punishment sumtin is amiss within the "elite minority." Anyway, whatever it is works, to the benefit of the Cameroonian citizens who are deprived of their livelihood by the actions of greedy and self centererd bastards like these guys.

Good job popol but we still want you out come 2011.

Sofi Monono(Yaoundé)

The end of "Operation Sparrowhawk" should be the repartriation of all embezzled money back into Cameroon's coffers.Anything short of that will be unacceptable by Cameroonians.
And Paul Biya should start by showing the example by bringing back all the money he and his family members have embezzled and stashed in Swish banks.

Starting from Jean Irene Biya's spree at the 'Société des Banques du Cameroun'(SCB) and other financial houses which the presidential couple helped to milk and liquidate.

The Southwesterner

Nyankpe, welcome to the city. How come in this age of info revolution it was so difficult to find even from a search engine about crtv or any order Cameroon related resources online. Hehe

JUDY, what did popol just do to deserve a pat on the back? are you out of your mind? dont be naive. How many of those bastards have being told to return the huge amounts they stole from us?. Its not enough to let this guys only sit in jail. They need to bring back our monies to the treasury. Besides why did it take so long? Judy its being more than two decades since your Popol has being presiding over the feast of tax and embezzle,big ineffective government and the rise of daily nouveau riche and just of a sudden you pompously think its ok to give him a pat on the back. Come on, if young folks could be summarily arrested, judged and sent to jail for daring to demonstrate on the streets, then i guess for a junta that really wants to fight corruption, many of those thieves should not had been free.They are economic and moral terrorist.
Yes we want him go 2011,even today would had been ok. He has being a waste, big time. He deserves nothing , just nothing. I am bitter we have to even keep up with him for the coming days before 2011. The Ahidjo - Biya continuation has done so much harm to the Cameroons.

Judy

Hi Southwesterner, we're all in this together and even if we disagree every now and then on certain issues i think its more noble if our disagreements are civil and stick to our differing positions. I dislike Popol as much as you do and probabaly more, therefore i find it offensive that you refer to him as " my popol" or call me naive.

I' m not giving Biya a break for letting his stooges bleed the Cameroonian coffers dry. I think his indifference to the suffering of Cameroonians is dispeakable and extremely painfull to observe. However, even the devil deserves praise when its due.

Which do you think is beneficial to Cameroonians? Let Popol give all these greedy bastards a pass or arrest some of them every now and then? In a democratic society where the rule of law is respected these sporadic actions of his will not fly but in an autocratic regime where only the elite minority matter its good to know that they are not above the law after all.

Operation sparrowhawk does not make Biya my hero or a better person overnight but it will at the minimum return some money to the Cameroonian coffers because when these guys are arrested their assets are frozen and property seized. It also has a deterrent effect because most of the remaining thieves are now trembling and wondering if their names are on Ahmadou Ali's list.

My pat to Biya is not an award for competence. I'm simply acknowledging the fact that operation sparrowhawk has some benefits to the Cameroonian society. I'll rather see Ondo Ndong, Siyam Siewe, Abah Abah, Titus Edzoa, Belinga and all the rest rot in jail before Biya leaves come 2011 than to think that they will all retire to Switzerland and host champagne parties while living behind millions of destitute Cameroonians.

The Southwesterner

Judy,
My excuses if you found my statements offensive. I just do not hope that Popol or his cabinet deserve any pat on the back for one line actions like the present and previous arrests. I am of the opinion actions of this nature are pure spin to give the people the impression they are at work, which i guess you do understand its not business as usual but a spin.

A spin i think because actions like this are long overdued. spin because its just not difficult in the present day Cameroon to identify the bad guys. A spin because, its evident someone is trying to settle score with his enemy. Its pure spin because in the famous Ahmadou Ali's list the names that feature are selective and why dont we have the right to know?. Its just a spin , considering the fact that folks like the Meka brothers have been having a field day with their countless and very open shady deals yet they have never been touch or are likely not gonna be touched. Reason why i dont buy this spin. The fact that some are still untouchable makes me wonder if we will ever have a real clean up of the system so long as Biya is still in charge.

Besides,do actions like this bring any fundamental change to the way things are done in Yaounde?. Its still gonna be business as usual. Putting an end to corruption demands much more than just arresting one or two heavy weights. It instead demands a total change of the fundamentals on how governance is pursued. Building credible institutions that can stand the test of time should be the real deal. Institutions that can ensure checks and balances. When a system depends so much on the will of one person like the case of ours where an absentee chief executive is incharge, then i do not see anything good coming out of it today and even tommorrow. Biya,if you will agree with me had more than two decades to put an end to corruption. He had more than two decades to make good on his promises of rigour and moralisation. Reason why i remain a sceptic because there surely has never being a will on his part to step on the toes of those he depends on, the folks who are and still are his partners in crime.

More amazing is that you Judy still dream to see some of the stolen CFAs back to the state treasury. I pray you are right on this.Judy, other thieves who had been sent to jail have yet to bring back their stolen lots. How far are we sure that will be the case of the ones arrested today?.

My view is that the present arrest are surely aimed at settling scores.Pure politiking to play with public opinion. Remember its time for positioning. The conventional wisdom is that the prince might give way and so therefore the battle for positioning is on the way. I therefore make nothing of it because even the present purgers Like Ali and co are themselves not clean. They too must someday be purged.

Dibussi

This morning, I received an email from a distraught lady in Yaounde informing me that her name was apparently being used by a commentator on this site and that she was getting some heat for these comments. The lady is called Sophie Monono and the ID which has been causing her problems back in Cameroon is "Sofi Monono(Yaounde)".

After doing an IP trace (since it is possible, but unlikely, that 2 women called Sophie/Sofi Monono might actually live in Yaounde), it is clear that Sophie Monono of Yaounde and "Sofi Monono(Yaounde)" are two different people and are not even living on the same continent. The IP trace has revealed that the person going under the pseudonym "Sofi Monono(Yaounde)" is actually writing from Belgium.

While it is common practice for individuals to adopt different personas on forums such as these for a variety of reasons, the right thing to do is to drop or modify that adopted persona when it inadvertently clashes with the identity of a "real" person. This seems to be the case here.

So I am asking "Sofi Monono(Yaounde)" who has been one of the most active and prolific contributors on this forum in recent weeks, to use a different identity for his contributions - or at least modify his ID to reflect his real location (Belgium).

Thanks for understanding and sorry for any inconvenience caused to all those concerned.

Guerandi

Abah Abah is reported to have collapsed and is sufering from heart failure and was rushed to the hospital.How any Cameroonians hae died bc the don't have the money to pay for hosp.bills or money to bribe so as to be operated just bc a gang of people have stolen all the money.Abah Abah,u shall feel the sufferings of the people

Guerandi

Abah Abah reported to have collapsed and is suffering from heart failure and was rushed to the hospital.How many Cameroonians hae died bc the don't have the money to pay for hosp.bills or money to bribe so as to be operated just bc a gang of people have stolen all the money.Abah Abah,u shall feel the sufferings of the people

Sofi Monono(Yaoundé)

Mola Dibussi,

There are many people with the same names and in the same order.It is very common to find for example people having a name like "Atangana Charles" or "Charles Atangana" in the Centre South provinces.The name "Fotso" is common in the West prov. and there are peole bearing it as their family name and have the same personal names.And many common names all over.

That said,I am Sophia Monono née Bandolo(43 years and a woman) and have been living temporarily in Yaoundé since 2003.Temporarily bc I live between Cameroon and (Europe) particularly Luxemburg for business purposes.I don't live in Belgium as such as u say(though Luxemburg is next to Belgium).

So if there's a lady bearing a name that wants to ressmble mine, then that's pure and share coincidence.And it is very possible.However,the lady should have a clear conscience that am not using her name but mine.And if she's going thru persecution and intimidation as usual,then I can only be sorry 4 any inconviniences.


Ngomba

After I read Dibussi's email, I was wondering how Sofi Monono(Yaounde) would respond. "Her" response is hilarious to any real Bakweri. Contrary to what a non-Bakwerian may think, Monono is not a "common" name like Atangana. Efosi, Mojoko, etc. are common names. Monono belongs is specific to Great Soppo, Buea and specific to a particular family/clan albeit large and extended one. So if "sofi" was indeed marrried to a monono and living in Yaounde, then Sophie Monono, a relative, would definitely know her and vice versa. I don't think that even Dibussi is very conversant with this particular Bakweri genealogy or else he wouldn't have gone into the trouble of trying to find out if "Sofi" was for real.

My advice to "Sofi"; the next time you want to use a Bakweri pseudonym to attack another Bakweri person, please use generic Bakweri first names and stay clear of family names which are traceable - the Bakweri are a very small tribe.

Namondo

It is not only one family that has the name "Monono" for that I am very sure.I come from that area.
And I would like to add that we shouldn't interprete everything from a tribal perspective.The lady in question is real and I know her.But am glad about the doubts and the lady said she lives in Y'dé "temporary".That means alot.
However,Dibussi Tande did something very wrong;that's trying to trace people's locations and making it public.This may scare people from this forum particularly if this lady has to be persecuted when she's in Cameroon.

And I hope the world now sees how freedom of speech is stiffled in Cameroon from this example how the lady who wrote to Dibussi went thru hard times.


Ngomba

"Namondo", you come from which "area"? Isn't so convenient that as soon as I advise our good friend "sofi Monono" to use a generic Bakweri name such as "Namondo" that a Namondo pops up claiming to know the said Sofi Monono? BTW no Great Soppo native will claim that the Monono.

Anyway, let's humor you guys and agree that "Sofi Monono" is real but only spends time "temporarily" in Yaounde. Then let her use her "permanent" location (Luxembourg as she claims) as her ID since using Yaounde is causing someone else untold hardship. That is the "Gallant" thing to do...

ETEKI ELAME

Hi,
I do not think that contributors to this very engrossing forum should be scared. Its only the guilty who are usually frightened. I do not see how these commentaries make reason for treason. I am sure they are all done in good faith, even those who call for violence, because its only the poltroons who seek mob help. If anyone seeks power, there are legal means to that end.So, there is no need to hide your identity. Don`t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other. Also, you do not need to be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave. The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safty from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him, not the storm without. No one wise can be against criticism. The critic creates nothing, he only points out. But his pointing may show you powers that were indeed always there, and that were even effective, but that, once afresh seen, suggest to active passion a thousand devices whereby the world is revolutionized.
Be candid and be yourself and be proud of your person.

Mbomba Hyginus

Mr Eteki Elame of the Prime Minister's office(Cameroon),that's presuming that u're the one,I would like to say that I've been following up your commentaries n arguments with alot of interest.Bc I'm very elated n excited to meet someone of high standing n close to the regime in such a forum,an advantage which other forums don't have.Though I don't share some of ur opinions.
I would like to congratulate u for ur last comment,it's really a great departure from the previous ones.You talked like a classical philosopher,a big brother n like what the french will call,"un grand rassembleur".
However,talking for the others I would say that,I don't think people are really proning violence here or neither are they scared.Cameroonians are generally peace loving people n they want peace to reign as always.But they believe that peace isn't the absence of war but the presence of justice.They just sincerely want their fellow compatriots to pressurise the regime in place so that Cameroon shouldn't only be an island of peace but that of justice n equality.And they're worried that the regime has created a violence-prone environment(Mfoundi Declaration for eg).And at times p'ple may say things just out of frustration(looking at all what's going on in Cameroon)without really believing in what they say.
Some p'ple prefer the comfort of anonymity while others prefer revealing their true id's.It's a matter of choice.Qui ne risque rien n'a rien.

Meoto

There is no need arresting people several years after they commit a crime. It is a lot better to put a machinery that checks embezzlement as soon as a person leaves office or even while they r still in office. It is only too human to want to steal;it happens in every country even in the West. The difference is the machinery I´m talking about. We hear fewer cases of embezzlement in US not because Americans are angels; rather they are afraid to steal because they know what would happen! That is what we need in Cameroon.

PS:We are all sorry about name clashing issue.

Macadamia Cake

Elame, your man Paul Biya declared his assets in 1983 after his daddy, Ahidjo gave him power. That made a lot of people hopeful. Is he prepared to declare his assets again? Is he prepared to subject himself to an independent legal probe to verify his statements?

Do you have insights about why your man wants to change la Republique's constitution so that he may reign for ever and ever like the king of kings? There must be something to that Fon of Fons title which he bagged in 84.

We are so privileged to have such a big man as you with us. Perhaps some of that would rub off by induction.

ETEKI ELAME

Dear MBOMBA,
This sector has not been working. Wanted to thank you for your comment. In answer to your sound out, concerning justice and equality, I think that justice is the end of government. That rigid justice is the greatest injustice. The government always tries to be as fair as possible. Lawful and settled authority is very seldom resisted when it is well employed. About equality, we all know that people clamour for equality chiefly in matters in which they cannot hope to obtain excellence.

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