Cameroon bishop condemns corruption in distribution of COVID aid

Angelus News | A Cameroonian bishop has condemned the “audacity” of government officials who have been accused of stealing funds earmarked to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“I really felt bad that within a period like this when most people, most governments are trying to look for ways and means of combating COVID 19 disease – a virus that is killing and taking away the lives of many people – that people will still have the audacity to embezzle funds of this nature, that is meant for the common good, that is meant to save the lives of people,” said Bishop Michael Bibi of Buea, in Cameroon’s South West Region.

According to the Johns Hopkins COVID portal, over 1,200 people have died of COVID-19 in Cameroon, with more than 77,000 people testing positive.

In the face of such a health emergency, Bibi said it was evil for people to steal money.

“To say the least, this is inhuman. It is not correct, and I think that the Cameroonian government should do proper investigation and the people who are responsible should be brought to justice. We cannot allow things like this to go ahead because it is not proper. Humanly speaking, it is bad,” he told Crux.

Cameroon’s Ministry of Health has come under fire for its poor transparency in the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars of COVID aid, with members of the opposition and some international aid agencies accusing members of the government of embezzlement.

In the face of the mounting scrutiny, Cameroonian President Paul Biya earlier this year instructed the Justice Ministry to investigate.

Meanwhile, 23-page report by the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court that was leaked in the local press on May 20 reveals disturbing facts about the way the $382 million of COVID funds were managed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was overbilled at ten times the expected rate, and there was no public bidding for contracts. Some contracts were allegedly given to “ghost companies” that didn’t actually exist.

Over $11 million was budgeted for the local manufacture of chloroquine and azithromycin. Instead, the heal ministry imported the drugs from India and repackaged them in Cameroon.

Renovation work on facilities meant to welcome COVID-19 patients was not completed – only seven of eleven facilities were completed.

“The conditions under which the special contracts were awarded remain unknown to the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court, which reflects a certain opacity in the awarding of contracts, and which affected most of the contracts,” the report states.

The Audit Bench accused the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation of 30 management errors, and recommends ten legal proceedings that could end up as criminal investigations.

The ministries have denied wrongdoing.

Bibi said the government must pursue these cases.

“Corruption thrives when there is little follow up to bring the culprits to justice,” the bishop said.

He said conversion of hearts is the only way the problem can be rooted out of the country.

“Corruption is something that is common and I think that we all have to fight against corruption; we all have to educate ourselves that whatever position we have in the Church, in the government, and if we have funds that are given to us for the common good, we should use it for the common good,” he told Crux.

“We should not think about our individual benefits or what is going to benefit our family members and friends, we should think about the common good. For me I think that is key, and my prayer and wish is that we should be converted from this attitude of corruption, because if we are not converted, the country will never develop, things will never move properly,” Bibi said.

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10 comments

  1. The only country on earth without a President. Why would it not run as individual for profit business with selfish ambitions? Every country receives updates on their strategic plan on combating the virus but for Cameroon. He is awaiting another end of year to hinge on edited video footage for the so called end of year speech. Wondering why only in Cameroon shall the incapacitated take a country’s potential to shine under siege.
    The power of cult are dominant forces impairing good judgment of a people with intellectuals reduced to buffoons. Even those who were moral references have developed malfunctioned hearts what used to be called good conscience. This country is sick and needs to be jump started by those who can defile the rules of these corrupt forces!

  2. When the church regards them so much, reserving front sits for them, bowing to receive
    big envelops during offering time from them, does it care about the source of the much
    monies in the envelops? Come on church, stop pretending. You have failed in converting
    the minds of men. In their footsteps, you too are walking, with very expensive cars etc
    at the expense of your congregants. From birth, i have heard about `church rat`. So the
    lavish livestyles of church personels, stems from what?
    The other name for corruption, is Cameroon. And so, no one, should stand up and pretend
    to even point a finger, not even the church. Years back, pastors of the PCC, championed
    stealing within the church. Instead of going to court and jail, they were post to news stations.
    They were welcomed like heroes.

    • This is a Bishop who tries to speak out against a vice that is eating up a whole nation and all you have to say is that everyone is corrupt and the status quo should prevail? The Bishop has recommended that action should be taken to punish selfish individuals who use public funds for private gain. Read your response to the bishop and ask yourself what in your comment offers a solution that can help in solving the problem. Compare your comments to that of the Bishop and tell us which of them is more constructive. You are such a pathetic idiot…. you are a fool and I mean it. The Bishop is not the church. Respond to the content of his comment and not to the church as an institution. You are a wasted fool who can read and write. USELESS COMMENT

  3. LRC BEARS ALL THE HALLMARKS OF A GOD-FORSAKEN SH*THOLE COUNTRY. NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS

    Thank God the war will separate SC from that God-forsaken country.

    BYE-BYE LRC, BAKASST OIL HERE WE COME!!!!!

  4. Our francophone brothers grew up to understand that you dont demonstrate..That you accept all decisions that come from France..You can **** on their faces, their mouth, take their wife and children and they will tell you AMEN- Very laissez faire wayof life and you can see it on the people..They are afraid of BIR and think France and GOD will help them change the country one day…
    Thank God we have the 2 provinces -NWP and SWP..
    These are the people who will always force and bring a change in Cameroon..
    The four years war will change cameroon for good…Unfortunately many have died, but with Cameroon you can only bring a change by revolting …
    The Francophones have their Angels in Southern Cameroons always helping to bring changes ..
    Can anybody refuse this?..

  5. Where is the ? vaccine developed by the church? or they are still covering THIER eyes and talking to empty air for miracles? kikikiki