March 09, 2012
Supreme State Audit Indicts First Suspect
The General Manager of the Rice Exploitation and Modernization Corporation, SEMRY, is in the dire straits. Marc Samatana has been formally accused of swindling some 31 million FCFA from corporation coffers.
He enters the records as the first senior state official to be slammed embezzlement charges by the Budgetary and Financial Disciplinary Council which began meeting last February 2. News of the accusation was made public Tuesday, March 6.
The Council is a division of the Ministry of Supreme State Audit and has been questioning a number of suspects incriminated by audit reports produced last year by budgetary controllers and financial inspectors. Officials say President Paul Biya himself instructed the Council to meticulously scrutinize the accusations, cross-examine the indicted persons and outline befitting punishment.
It is however unclear what Samatana’s sanctions will be. “Any sanctions would be administrative, with the underlying goal of punishing those who have erred in managing state money. But you must note too that the Council’s role is not just to punish. It also works to prevent misappropriation and that’s why it has controllers and inspectors who undertake sporadic control missions, as well as educate stakeholders,” Laurent Bondje, a Douala-based lawyer explained.
He added that Samatana, and all others charged with siphoning and misusing public funds may also likely end up in court if the Council so deems necessary. The formal accusation of the SEMRY boss has reportedly perked up panic that gripped several officials since they were served summonses by the Council over a week ago.
The initial list of 83 incriminated officials published last week included Jean Tabi Manga, Rector of the University of Yaounde II in Soa; Othon Niwa Long, Managing Director of MATGENIE; Andrew Motanga Moundimba, Government Delegate to the Limbe Urban Council; Jean Jacques Ndoudoumou, General Manager of the Public Contracts Regulatory Board and several others.
That roster has been stretched, following new summonses read over the state-owned broadcaster CRTV at the weekend, and signed by Supreme State Audit Minister Henri Eyebe Ayissi. The accused officials are answering questions regarding financial management irregularities identified by auditors, controllers and inspectors for the periods spanning 2006 to 2009, 2007 to 2009 and 2002 to 2008.
According to Minister Henri Eyebe Ayissi, competent judicial structures have been informed of the hearings, an indicator that many of the accused officials will end up being prosecuted. “The Council’s role is different from that of the regular judiciary system. It may be administrative, but both can work together and if it turns out that there’s a penal link, then the justice department is brought in,” Bondje added.
Article source Cameroon Post Online, posted on The Cameroon News under Cameroon Breaking News