Cameroon Citizens Raised $40M for COVID Relief, But Where is It?

YAOUNDE VOA | Cameroon has bowed to pressure from rights groups and ordered investigations into the management of the COVID-19 solidarity fund contributed to by civilians. The rights groups said most of the $40 million cash and material had been embezzled. An outcry was sparked after rights groups said 4,000 bags of rice donated to COVID-19 patients were illegally sold.

About two dozen people are this Monday morning at the Messassi government hospital in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde for consultations. Among them is 27-year- old Ernestine Sahmo who is visiting for her weekly diabetes control. Sahmo says she and other patients are surprised at the absence of COVID-19 prevention kits at the hospital.

“Most of the time you go there and there is no water. You just find a bucket being placed there without any water in it and at times too you don’t even meet soap,” she said.

The hospital officials declined to comment on the absence of soap to wash hands. But the government of Cameroon said enough thermometers, soap, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, face masks, medicines and sufficient quantities of water were distributed all over the country.

The government said it used money contributed to a COVID-19 solidarity fund to buy the COVID kits. Cameroon president Paul Biya contribited $ 1.8 million to the fund.

Other contributions were received from civilians, companies, minister, lawmakers and senior sate functionaries.???

Cameroon also received assistance to fight COVID-19 from foreign governments. The central African state said it received $226 million in emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund.

Other people contributed food with a local company handing to the government huge quantities of rice.

Apande Fadimatou of the NGO “Health fo All” says the government should give an account of how much it received and how much it spent. Fadimatou says some of the medicines the government claims it purchased have not been seen. She says she believes some money, food and nonfood items have been diverted.

She says she is surprised that even for the sake of governance and to respect Cameroon public management principles, an audit has not been conducted on the COVID-19 solidarity fund ordered by Cameroon president Paul Biya. She says the government should give the right information to civilians if it ordered the 4,000 bags of rice weighing 50 kilograms each and some COVID-19 protective materials donated by the people to be sold because it needed money to buy COVID-19 rapid test kits as some people claim.

Cameroon health minister Manaouda Malachie says neither the funds nor the goods had been diverted.

He says the ministry of health with the ministries of territorial administration, finance and trade made sure food items were distributed to all hospitals with COVID-19 patients. He says some food was given to Cameroon’s 10 regional governors to distribute to families and communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

Manaouda says face masks, hand sanitizers, soap and buckets were shared to civilians, and protective kits for hospital staff members distributed in hospitals. He says independent control teams and solicitors were invited to follow up the process and render accounts in case there is need.

Manouda said the government had spent more than $40 million from the fund and from government contributions since March when the first case of COVID-19 was reported. He did not state how much has been contributed.

Manouda said following requests by rights groups and civilians, Cameroon prime minister Joseph Dion Ngute has ordered an investigation into how the funds and material were used.

In July, Human Rights Watch asked Cameroon to disburse funds to support health care facilities responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and investigate any missing funds.

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  1. Yep, the Biya REGIME is no stranger to corrupt practices. It is a machinery that has been fine-tuned over years from electoral fraud to defrauding the citizenry materially or financially. People easily forget history. “Coup de Coeur”? Deja vu all over?

    This gerontocratic cronyism that kowtows France at the expense of love of country has no shame. The one area that united Cameroonians-The Indomitable Lions was considered sacred until desecrated by the Beti-Bulu-Ewondo charlatans. Biya and cronies stole more than 250 million CFA donated for the players. Players who dissented were stripped from the team, journalists were arrested, beaten and locked up in Kondengui.

    It’s easy to understand Biya’s fear of retiring. A man of no scruples, he knows he would be jailed. Wreckage all the way !!!

  2. The francophones, love this kind of governance. Sixty years after independence and
    something, is not changing. Have the people not been voting and sending motions of
    support each time to the people`s gov`t? A people, who will close their markets, dance
    naked etc, just to praise Biya. If CRTV can announce tomorrow, that Bya is sick, all
    church bells will ring, to pray for his quick recovery.

  3. @ Bah Acho, Bikutsi: Is this the country you guys are advising the diaspora to come and invest in? Minalmi. I will better go to Ghana where I know I can reap the fruits of my labor. This is exactly why most Diasporas who went to Cameroon to invest have all moved to Ghana. This country will never see light until Biya and his regime are completely taken out. Look at the roads in Douala, what a shame. Don’t Cameroonians see cities like Accra, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Abuja in Africa? How can Francophone Africa watch their dictators controlled by France destroy their various countries and do nothing about it? Is is stupidity, fear or laziness? Francophone Africans like to copy France, why can’t they also copy the French revolution? Cameroon is not cursed it is its citizens that are useless.

    • Abeg bobjazz, wuna lef Ghana trankil….when I was in primary school Ghanaians were shoemakers and barbers in CMR. What happened?

      That’s how @Mpappe is planning too to run to Equatorial Guinea.

      No, we are ALL going nowhere!

      We have to fix our country. Ghana is not necessarily better than CMR in terms of beauty.

      Let’s us be man pikin and face our collective and organised chaos. It is either we change it, or we destroy it and have no country.

      It is very simple as that, the choice is OURS…

      • @ Zam-Zam but nobody is doing anything to change the situation in Cameroon. yeah when I was leaving Cameroon Ethiopians were begging on the streets and Ghanaians were shoemakers but where is Ghana and Ethiopia today compared to Cameroon? Ghana has had 12 presidents since their independence while Cameroon has only had 2. How do you expect Cameroon to progress? In order to progress you need change and Francophone Africa is too afraid especially Cameroonians to challenge the status quo. Even the military is afraid. In fact it was the military that saved Ghana under Jerry Rawlings. Where is the Cameroon military to safe Cameroon from this corrupt dictatorship? Until Francophone Cameroon develops balls, Franck Biya is going to take over from his dad Paul Biya and the same beat will go on.

      • @ZAMZAM:- do you know the difference between Ghana , Eq Guinea and Cameroon?..
        They dont talk, they go down to work..Cameroonians are the biggest noise makers in Africa..When I was in Promary school we did not help ghana, we did alot for somalia and EThiopia..Today almost all african countries can help cameroon..
        We have no roads, we have a bad govt and people who only think with their stomach..Thives are every where and have succeded in corrupting the next genaration..
        Ghana did a clean up with Rawlings by killing all the Thieves..
        EThiopia fought a heavy war to get the liberation they have now..
        A small uprising started with lawyers and teachers, all of you put your tails inside like NGONG Dogs , today we have a war, u Guys are only playing the blame game and nothing is changing..wehh

  4. These thieves have no shame or conscience! lrc is so broke that every penny is used to prop up this failed regime. Even a joggler has to take a break and the balls come falling down. Sooner than later for lrc to collapse chaos.

  5. This is common practice in this God forsaken country run by a group of Beti bandits. The same thing happened when the whole country rose to raise money for the national team. The then minister of communication konchu Koumeni claimed the money got missing. His pay today for his evil action is that he is on a wheel chair. His only remedy is confession. Why do people keep contributing to all these government scams? Stay away from the scams,better take your money,buy something and direct it to the people you want to help. You are a better manager than the Cameroon government. The government is made of rats with invisible tails. They will steal at any opportunity even their own lives would be stolen. That is how far they can go.

  6. surprised how many foreign donors play devils advocate, assisting genocide,dictatorship,ignorance at the level of corruption,bribery, embezllement that goes on in the cameroon regime, these foreign countries continue to pour wasted aid in a embezelling mesh regime which does not understand or practice anything humanitarian apart from self help into private pockets of individuals within the biya regime from the top to the bottom while the mass civilians are ignorantly des titude, voiceless, gullible because they do not know about any foreign aid given to help them, they blame foreign government for their suffering instead of their own yaounde government, if things have not changed in cameroon for over 40 years nothing will change because their politicians are taking advantage of the people

neque. commodo vel, Praesent libero. elit. mi,