Thursday, July 31, 2014

Former Finance Minister Slammed another Jail Term

The Special Criminal Court on 15 July 2014 once more found the former minister of the Economy and Finance, Polycarp Abah Abah and his accomplices guilty of embezzlement of public funds. In a   court session which lasted for about three hours ,found Polycarp Abah Abah,Eyoum  Lydienne and the former Minister Delegate in charge of the budget, Henri Engoulou who died recently guilty of embezzling the sum of 1,07 billion francs .Two others ,notably Baleng Maa and Ngwen Honore were equally found guilty of complicity in embezzlement of public funds.

The state prosecutor said Maitre Eyoum Lydienne received the sum of 379 million francs as her honorarium and the money was paid by Minister Edouard Akame Mfoumou .She helped the state recover a total of 3.6 billion francs from the SGBC Bank. The same Lydienne Eyoum presented yet another bill of 917 million francs to minister Edouard Akame Mfoumou at the time he was leaving office in April 2001 and the bill was at the directorate of judicial affairs in the ministry of finance. The bill ended up on the table of Henri Engoulou, then Secretary General in the ministry of finance who instructed SGBC Bank to pay the bills. The bank sent back the request to the Ministry which was the lawyer’s client. Another 2,155 billion was also recovered for the state and it emerged that the amount to be paid for the honorarium to Maitre Eyoum was to be decided, this at a time when Henri Engoulou was already Minister Delegate in charge of the Budget in the Ministry of Finance.

The state prosecutor ruled that the request of 2,155 billion francs was illegal and against a memorandum of understanding reached between the state and SGBC for the latter to pay 3.6 billion frs. This money was deducted from SGBC accounts at BEAC. With her co-accused, Maitre Eyoum and her co-accused went on to press for the payment of the 2,155billion frs ,half of which she refused to pay into the state Treasury. This, the court ruled constitutes embezzlement of public funds.

Abah Abah for his part was found guilty of giving special authorization for Maitre Eyoum to recover the money on behalf of the state. He equally had power to ensure that this money was paid into the state treasury, but that was never done. Thus they were still found wanting of 1,07 billion frs that they are still keeping till date. Engoulou was found guilty for reopening the file on the request of maitre Eyoum.

As for the two others the state prosecutor ruled that ,Baleng Maa and Ngwen Honore were also guilty, the first for the abusive attribution of the second claim and Ngwen Honore for his role in the reopening of the case file ,contrary to the memorandum of understanding reached between the state and SGBC bank.

By Nyassah Julius

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