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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kondengui Prison: Paul Biya Concentration Camp

In Cameroon, it is not easy to serve the party in power without ending up in prison because of financial malpractices. Head of state enterprise, ministers, high executive of the Cameroonian administration: everything goes. Under pressure from donors, Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon launched in 2006 a campaign to clean up the public fortune called "Operation Sparrowhawk".

That it is Mohammed Iya, former director general of Sodecoton sentenced to 15 years of prison for indecent management of the Sodecoton, Ondo Ndong accused of embezzlement of public money and sentenced to 30 years of prison, Gilles Roger Belinga, former director general of the Cameroon real estate company, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for misappropriation of public funds, co-conspiracy to misappropriate public funds, Roger Ntongo Onguéné, sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges still involving embezzlement of public funds, Zacchaeus Forjinda, former director general of the Shipyard and Industrial Cameroon, sentenced in 2012 from life imprisonment, Alphonse Siyam Siwe, former Minister of Mines sentenced to life imprisonment, Yves Michel Fotso, former director general of the Camais, sentenced to perpetuity, Ephraim Inoni, former prime minister, sentenced to 20 years in prison, Jean Marie Atangana Mebara, former secretary General of the Presidency, sentenced to 25 years in prison, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, former secretary-general to the presidency, sentenced to 20 years in prison, all of them, although convicted, cry out for injustice and challenge the facts they are accused of.

Among the "Eperviables", some lost their lives in prison

In 2009, the prison of Kondengui records the death of André Booto Ngon, former Minister of Finance, locked in the context of the land credit, not to mention that of Dieudonné Angoula, former director of telecommunications at the Ministry of Posts and telecommunications, who died in custody at the age of 80 on 12 February 2009.

Cathérine Abena, former Secretary of State for Secondary Education, died on March 19, 2014. She was arrested on January 4, 2010, and then imprisoned in Kondengui Central Prison for embezzlement of public funds. In 2012, she is released, without the charges against her being abandoned, and dies thereafter.

On May 8, 2014, Henri Engoulou, former Minister Delegate in charge of the budget at the Ministry of Economy and Finance died in detention at the age of 60 years. Jerome Mendouga, the former ambassador of Cameroon to the USA, co-accused of Atangana Mebara in the embezzlement of funds for the purchase of a presidential plane, died on November 15, 2014.

Other "spoilers" have fled

Among others, Assene Nkou has been missing since 2012, and sentenced in his absence to 25 years in prison. Essimi Menye, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, charged with embezzling co-taxed public funds, also on the run. Jean Marcel Dayas Mounoume, former director general of the Autonomous Port of Douala, sentenced to 15 years in prison on July 3, 2015, is in exile in an unknown country. Zeh Jean Blaise, Campost ticketer: on the run, etc.

Operation "Sparrowhawk" launched in 2004 in Cameroon has casualties in the high and low circles of the Cameroonian administration. Victims include ministers and former ministers, former diplomats, former directors general of public corporations, civil servants, and so on. The biggest customers of this "Operation Sparrowhawk" are former ministers because of their high number in detention.

Reporter: Hugues SEUMO