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Double Payment Case: Advocate General Demands Conviction

 Accusation and defence presented submissions yesterday at the Special Criminal Court.  


Advocate General, Didier Edjisna, has submitted that personnel of the Ministry of Finance notably Samuel Bayeck, Talla Feuneu, Eloundou Elomo, Joseph Olinga, Moussoua Moukete as well as Nga Melingui and Clement Biandoung of SOGELEC Company, should be convicted for acting in concert to embezzle the sum of FCFA 75 million. It was a double payment made in 2011 for a public contract awarded to the electrification company, SOGELEC by the Yaounde City Council. Didier Edjisna was presenting the Legal Department's submission yesterday May 22, 2013 at the Special Criminal Court before a panel of judges composed of Mr. Justice Yap Abdou, Mr. Justice Mathias Nyoh and Mrs Justice Virginie Eloundou.  

No Error But Scam

Advocate General, Didier Edjisna, submitted that the Yaounde City Council awarded about six contracts for the electrification of the city's streets. SOGELEC company won two contracts. The first was Contract 1965 worth FCFA 300 million while the second, Contract 2948 of December 5, 2010, was worth FCFA 89 million (FCFA 75 million without taxes). While the payment of the first contract posed no problem, the Yaounde City Council forwarded one bill, as is the custom, to the Ministry of Finance for payment of Contract 2948. Didier Edjisna wondered why the bill for Contract 2948 gave rise to the preparation of two payment decisions (Decision 293 and Decision 294) both carrying the same date, April 13, 2011, and same amount of FCFA 89 million.

He said although Talla Feune who drew up the decision had testified it was an error, a close examination of the decisions discarded the likelihood of error. "It was not an error but an act by a well-established network in the Ministry of Finance," he adduced.

No Claim By Ministry of Finance

The representative of the Ministry of Finance (MINFI), Dr. Zock Atara, said MINFI did not constitute itself as civil claimant in the case because a meeting held on January 5, 2012 corrected the double payment error and the ministry recovered the FCFA 75 million from SOGELEC on September 13, 2012. According to him, the double payment was an act of corruption that failed.  

Defence Claims Absence of Evidence

Joseph Olinga's counsel, Jean Marie Woupala, said the Legal Department's submission was void of evidence and full of suggestions. He reminded the court of its duty to do justice based on evidence adduced during court hearings. He further said the prosecution did not establish any offence for even the Legal Department's witnesses had talked of error. Likewise, the element of fraudulent intention as required by Section 184 of the Penal Code was not established. He expressed surprise why the Advocate General introduced new charges of complicity and corruption at the end of proceedings whereas the committal order talked of "embezzlement of funds in concert". For Barrister Mbassi, there was no complicity among the accused. On her part, Barrister Pauline Kamdem said the Examining Magistrate ought to have halted proceedings after MINFI's recovery of the money on September 11, 2011.

After concerting with members of the panel of judges, Presiding Judge, Mr. Justice Yap Abdou, adjourned the case to Friday May 31, 2013 for the ruling.

Cameroon Tribune

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