The former Director of Taxation and others were found guilty of embezzling over FCFA 6 billion.The trial ended at 7 pm yesterday, January 13, 2015, at the Yaounde Special Criminal Court, SCC, of former Director of Taxation and Finance Minister, Abah Abah Polycarpe and others for embezzling over FCFA 6 billion worth of State workers’ contributions to Credit Foncier du Cameroun, CFC or the National Housing Loan Scheme. The acts were committed between 1998 and 2004.
The sentencing followed a marathon reading of the judgement by the panel of three Justices that lasted over four hours; from about 11:20 am to 4:40 pm. Reading out the verdict, the President of the court, Mr. Justice Yap Abdou, who was assisted by Mr. Justice Francis Moukoury and Mrs.
Justice Eloundou Virginie, sentenced Abah Abah to 25 years imprisonment and ordered the confiscation of over 30 landed property in the country; all belonging to him. Also, the former Tax Director is to lose 8 vehicles and three tractors, while his local accounts worth over FCFA 26 million were also seized. The government bench was led by Advocate General Mougnoutou Arouana.
The co-accused, Manga Pascal, who is on the run, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, just like CFC General Manager, Edou Joseph and Meke Raphael. Out of the nine accused, Eloumba Therese, Mewoulou Oyono epouse Mballa Helene and Evina Sylvie Chantal epouse Avocey, were acquitted. The case against Tenlep Tenlep Joseph and Etogo Mebezele Luc Evarice was dropped following their death.
On the other hand, Joseph Edou was accused of embezzling FCFA 15 million alone, FCFA 6 billion with Abah Abah; while Abah Abah alone was accused of unlawfully collecting FCFA 1.1 billion. To make up for the financial losses caused by the embezzlement, Abah Abah and Manga Pascal are to pay FCFA 7.5 billion to CFC, Abah Abah alone FCFA 1.2 billion to the State, Joseph Edou and Meke Raphael FCFA 310 million to CFC. Finally, Joseph Edou alone will pay FCFA 18 million to CFC.
Reacting to his judgement before the sentence was announced, Abah Abah Polycarpe described the trial as a ‘game,’ saying it was only the “away match”. He promised that he and his legal team will do everything to overturn the verdict through appeal. Dressed in a navy blue suit with clean-shaven head and chin, just like Edou Joseph, Abah Abah Polycarpe remained alert throughout the four hours as the judges took turns in reading through hundreds of pages. They revisited the submissions of the prosecution and defence counsels during the months that the trial lasted.