Thursday, December 13, 2018

Here is the powerful man of the shadow of Biya for 40 years who finances 'these delusions'

Discreet until the obsession, Adolphe Moudiki directs the SNH since twenty-five years. Portrait of a man as faithful as powerful, whose head of state refuses to separate. 

This is a case that will bounce back on May 24 before the Paris Court of Appeal. It opposes the National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH) to the founders of International Business Corporation (IBC), an industrial steel distribution company."From the day of the entry of the SNH into the capital of this company that I built with my hands, his intention was to dispossess me," complains the businessman Leopold Ekwa Ngalle, sued for embezzlement public funds and exile in the United States.

Terminated and replaced in April 2014 by a SNH executive following a capital increase, he was expelled manu militari from his offices. Repudiated by the banks, leaded by losses, IBC was finally placed in liquidation on August 23, 2017, and the episode speaks volumes about the methods and power of the financial arm of the Cameroonian regime.

Moreover, the questions addressed to the SNH remain generally unanswered. "I report only to the President of the Republic," retorted Jean Assoumou Mvé, the former boss of the company, a journalist he found too curious. It was in the late 1980s, but nothing has changed since. From this cult of discretion, Adolphe Moudiki has also made a precept.

The art of moving under the radar

General Director of the SNH Since 1993, Moudiki has let it appear even less than his predecessor. He does not give an interview.  Sheltered out of sight in a building far from the city center, the company's muffled structure is beyond the control of Parliament, while its importance is vital for public finances. When the SNH declares - on its website - to have transferred to the Treasury nearly 4528 billion CFA francs between 2008 and 2017, no one knows on the basis of which equation.

Even the multilateral partners have not managed to dispel the heavy fog that surrounds its activities. Since the 1990s, the IMF has urged the state to "stop using SNH as an off-budget expenditure mechanism in advance". In its 2017-2020 triennial plan, signed on June 26, it obtained from Cameroon that it undertakes to limit this recourse. Did he obey? Nothing is less sure. Under the leadership of this remarkable boss for his obsessive discretion, the SNH has learned to move under radars.

A 79-year-old man fighting the disease, Moudiki told several people that he wanted to retire. But in the Biya system, the retreat is left to the discretionary discretion of the leader, who shows little eagerness to let go of this faithful collaborator who has dedicated to him forty years of his life.

As soon as he was appointed Prime Minister, in 1975, Paul Biya called the young fresh magistrate from the National School of Administration and Magistracy (Enam) to his cabinet as technical advisor before promoting him as secretary-general. In 1982, Biya succeeded Ahidjo and moved with his protégé to Etoudi. In 1988, Moudiki inherited the strategic post of director of the civil cabinet of the presidency. After a stint at the head of the National Railways, he passed the Minister of Justice before the keys of the SNH were entrusted to him, on the death of Assoumou Mvé. Moudiki has the profile.Of a reserved nature, he leaves little.Coming from the administrative middle class of Yaounde, he does not despise this class populated by upstarts.

It abhors effusions and familiarities. At the height of condescendence among the Bantu, he may be able to drive a member of his family cheeky enough to go see him without an appointment. This did not settle his unpopularity in his native fief of Bonamouti, a district in the north-east of Douala. But "Mr. Oil" cares as a guinea: he does not make politics and let rumors flourish, like the extravagant one that lends to this Franco-Cameroonian often seen at the polling station. the French Embassy in Yaoundé during the French presidential elections the desire to be buried in Herault, near Montpellier.

Sometimes loneliness weighs on him, says Léopold Ekwa Ngalle, the partner who became a friend before the IBC dispute arose: "When he is confident, he appreciates the intellectual argument and can even pour out. "On the other hand, he has the chic to scramble with his friends, such as Samuel Kondo, the former president of the Trade Union of Industrialists of Cameroon (Syndustricam), with whom he is cold.

Deadly blow

It is not easy for Biya to find a new great money-maker, mentally strong enough not to give in to the power of the base metal. Assoumou Mvé had built a sumptuous residence with a golden faucet (his family has turned into an inn, unable to maintain it), but Moudiki does not like the noisy luxury. When he stays in Paris, he carefully avoids palaces, preferring rented apartments in the beautiful neighborhoods. On Sunday, this connoisseur of fine food is happy to eat at the Auberge Dab, next to Porte Maillot.

A few years ago, according to an established tradition, the SNH's austere and his wife, Nathalie, invited to dinner, every December 31, at the restaurant Le Safoutier Hilton Yaoundé, a couple of their very few friends, the husband Casalegno.Jacqueline, born Chanas, settled in Cameroon since 1953, was the manager of Chanas & Privat, a general insurance agent who became in 1999 - unpublished! - a full insurance company.

Boosted by very large contracts, including that of SNH and its affiliates encouraged to do the same, the Company had emerged at the head of its branch at the national level. The success story lasted until the arrival of dozens of employees or executives of the SNH to its capital, up to 20%. There followed a quarrel between Moudiki and Casalegno, and a ruthless war of attrition. Wearing the fatal blow, the boss of the SNH refused to renew his juicy insurance policy. It was asphyxiation.Jacqueline Casalegno resigned in November 2014. The dinners were over on New Year's Eve.

Paul Biya wants to keep it, but the departure of this peculiar character will not make many unfortunate, except perhaps among those which he has sometimes indirectly allowed the nomination at the head of large companies controlled by the SNH. Léopold Ekwa Ngalle describes "a strategy of equity participation in companies in the productive sector implemented by its main collaborators": "Entering the capital allows them to preempt a board of directors here, a general direction there" . "

Thus of Antoine Bikoro Alo'o. Technical adviser grinding black after twenty years of SNH, it is imposed in 2008 at the head of shipyards and industrial Cameroon (CNIC). He will be disembarked two years later - following a strike strike of employees - to rebound in April 2014 as managing director of IBC, including Bernard Bayiha, another technical adviser gnawing its brakes in the shadow of Moudiki , will chair the board of directors.Once a flourishing company, the CNIC fired 270 employees last January.

He reads everything, annotates and corrects

Moudiki is not appreciated by the bosses of the private sector, not only because his interventions have put companies in difficulty, but also because under his "reign" not a Cameroonian operator has emerged in the exploration -exploitation.

The country's first fortune, Baba Ahmadou Danpullo is at the head of an empire estimated at more than 940 million dollars. He owns assets in the crude in Angola, but is asked to curb his ardor in his own country. While Nigeria's oil billionaires are jostling for the ranking of large fortunes, Cameroonian private actors remain excluded from upstream oil.

"The Cameroonian oil adventure is purring.Ahidjo had taken her out of sight, Biya had asleep with Moudiki, sighs a Parisian trader. When one writes to him, he does not answer! "However, assure former collaborators, he reads all, annotates and corrects ... Cashier of the" expenses of sovereignty ", which are often of a character of urgency, this cautious jurist likes to take his time. Trained in the Biya method, he never acts under the pressure of immediacy. "Some secretaries general of the presidency were rebuffed when they called him at his home to settle a pressing case. The master of the house made them answer that he was at the table, therefore unavailable, "said one of his relatives.

At the height of the IBC case, on May 30, 2014, an interministerial committee was convened by the Prime Minister's office.But, at the appointed hour, Moudiki's point, yet of a Swiss watch punctuality. His collaborators were also absent. They did not come to the meeting, however, chaired by the head of government, Philemon Yang, in the presence of at least four ministers and a representative of the presidency of the Republic. The message had the merit of being clear: in Yaoundé, few can summon Moudiki.


Nathalie Engamba Ada

Very influential in the SNH, the wife of Adolphe Moudiki is assistant head of the legal division of the company. She is also a confidante of Chantal Biya.

Christian Franck Nsom Engamba

Moudiki's brother-in-law is one of the key elements of the family system installed at the head of the SNH. Business executive, he is the eyes and ears of the boss.

Perrial Nyodog

This SNH alumni has always built and runs Tradex, a fuel distribution company that has developed in the sub-region. It achieved a net profit of 7.92 billion CFA francs at December 31, 2016.

Oscar Matip

The Deputy Director General of Addax Petroleum Cameroon, previously at the General Directorate of Mines and Geology at the Ministry of Mines, is one of Moudiki's protégés.


The case has hit the headlines and has earned Adolphe Moudiki, one of its protagonists, some inconvenience. When, on August 21, 2001, the government asked the SNH for a $ 31 million advance to finance the purchase, unbeknownst to the IMF, of a presidential Boeing Business Jet (the famous Albatross), Moudiki runs without asking questions.

The episode nevertheless returns to him like a boomerang when the central agency of the BNP, in Paris, requires justifications on the "economic justification" of a payment of 13 million dollars made on August 22, 2001 in favor of GIA , the company responsible for negotiating the purchase of the device. To calm the BNP and avoid closing accounts, Moudiki is obliged to come to Paris himself with the order of the Minister of Finance.

But the fire is declared: Cameroon has not received the plane, Moudiki is heard November 18, 2008 by an investigating judge in its offices of the SNH. The case is the culmination of the imprisonment of Marafa Hamidou Yaya and Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara, two former secretaries-general of the presidency, and former Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni. Moudiki has never been called to the bar. In the interest of all, it is better for him to stay in the shadows.


The Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), an elite unit that is the pride of the Cameroonian army and has distinguished itself in the fight against Boko Haram, does not emanate from the budget. of the Ministry of Defense, but benefits from special funds that he allocates ... the SNH!An endowment that makes envious: the Directorate General for external research (the Cameroonian intelligence service) has long been fought to benefit too.