Cameroon Investigates Missing $335 Million in COVID Funds

YAOUNDÉ VOA | Cameroon rights groups, opposition parties and local media are asking the government to publish its findings after most of a $335 million loan from the IMF could not be accounted for. At least 15 officials have appeared before commissions of investigation.

A government statement read on Cameroon state media Monday calls on civilians to remain calm as investigations on missing funds continue. The statement from government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi states that justice will take its course.

The statement comes after Cameroon rights groups and opposition asked the government to explain what happened to about $335 million loaned by the International Monetary Fund to fight COVID-19.

Cameroon says within the past week, 15 ministers have appeared at the audit bench of the Supreme Court and a special criminal tribunal to account for the funds.

Joseph Lavoisier Tsapy is legal adviser to the opposition Social Democratic Front Party and a member of the Cameroon Human Rights League.

Tsapy says the Cameroon Special Criminal Tribunal should have ordered their arrest after the audit bench of the Supreme Court found out that some ministers stole COVID-19 funds. He says the money should have been invested to save lives and assist suffering people. He says he wants to make it clear that government ministers in Cameroon do not have immunity like lawmakers.

In June 2020, SDF lawmakers complained that the awarding of COVID-19 contracts did not respect procurement procedures and gave room for massive corruption.

Local media like Equinox Radio and TV, Roya FM reported gross cases of embezzlement.

In one case, the Ministry of Scientific Research received $9 million to produce the drug chloroquine. The ministry instead bought chloroquine amounting to 30 percent of the funds from China.

Other cases involve overbilling and failure to render services or provide supplies after payment.

André Luther Meka speaks for the ruling CPDM party, to which all of the ministers called up for questioning belong.

Meka says Cameroonians should stop asking for ministers to either be punished or to refund COVID-19 funds. He says Cameroon considers all suspects innocent until found guilty by the law courts. He says Cameroon President Paul Biya has a strong political will to punish everyone who has either mismanaged, embezzled or siphoned state money.

Angelbert Lebong is a member of the Cameroon Civil Society. He says President Biya should explain to the Cameroonian people how his government has managed the COVID-19 funds.

He says Biya should for once speak out against embezzlement and publicly condemn his collaborators who have stolen COVID-19 funds. He says Cameroon has more serious life-threatening issues to handle than the heavily publicized receptions Biya gives diplomats in his office.

Last month, Human Rights Watch urged the IMF to ask Cameroon to ensure independent and credible enquiry on the management of COVID-19 funds before approving a third loan.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon in March 2020, the IMF has approved two emergency loans to the central African state totaling $382 million.

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  1. For ever young

    Why others Africa countries like Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia, Rwanda etc are developing their countries multi million dollars projects to benefit the livelihood of their citizens, d is good for nothing corrupt regime of the despotic Paul Biya continues stealing money from Cameroonian , the money to help fight covid-19 ,heartless pigs in human flesh , I pray the vengeance of GoD befall all of them

  2. FOR EVER YOUNG, can you show me any product in the market produced in Ghana or Namibia? Apart from Rwanda that is investing in manufacturing industries, Ghana and Namibia are raw material producing countries without the smallest industry. We know that real economic growth is only possible through industrial construction. Building industries that can manufacture cloths, footwear, etc for export. Then using the export earnings to import more efficient high technology machinery to move up the value chain, therefore creating more skillfull and high paying jobs. An engineer working in a iron production plant or PETRO chemical industry earn five times the wages of someone working in a gold mine in KUMASI or okavango. Producing and exporting raw materials is specialising in poverty.

    • Bro that’s exactly what Ghanaians are doing. I Just came back from Ghana nine days ago where I have partnership with another Ghanaian brother and a Sierra Leonean brother in processing chocolate. This was inspired when President Addo announced to the Swiss and Germans Ghana will no longer be exploited by sales of raw unprocessed cocoa and coffee. There is a Jamaican from UK and an African American lady already in this business just last year. It is a great investment. Ghana’s GDP will top $75 billion this year. Ghana is doing very well in the manufacturing and industrial sector and a lot of cashflow is coming from Africans worldwide.
      Bah, I know the point you’re making but not Ghana. I am also investing in Zambia in poultry, beetroot and other vegetable farming with a Cameroonian bro.

      • LYONGA,,,,, I am talking about industry meaning manufacturing. Processing and export agriculture products should only be a small part of the economy. Look at how expensive housing is in Accra. It is because the country does not have a competitive manufacturing industry that will generate money to invest in building low cost houses. GHANA’S GDP is not even half the cize of Korean conglomerate Samsung. you see how far we are? For the rest I don’t know how you manage your investment in Zambia, but from my experience being on the spot is the only solution. Except you really have an exceptional person.

  3. it is a shame to be a cameroonian especially when you live abroad, the dictatorship regime of biya, cpdm party, has regressed the country into a shithole banana republic because nothing is working in that dirty country run by unpatriotic coconut heads whose job is to steal tax payers money, foreign loans, development funds into their private banks accounts abroad while the entire country is an embarrassingly undr develope darkness,with drunkards blacking out their poverty, high youths/ adult unemployment in the history of the regime,shacks cosmetic buildings around the capital, sewage quarters,one can understand while backlog youths for decades have decided to turn their back on a slum country run by demonic people who have no vision nor proud to of their own existance as human being

  4. Who is surprise at this type of behavior in Cameroon..
    A country governed by a very lazy tribe..
    The prsident himself is absent..Sleeping with his diapers in Etoudi and cant even think..He does not even understand how to manage Sangmalima not to talk of cameroon..
    When people like kamto come up with ideas, win elections, the foolish people say a bamileke cannot rule cameroon and are put in prison..When fru ndi wins election, the foolish people say an anglophone cannot govern cameroon..
    The country cameroon has been mismanaged, hijacked and taken to a very poor economy by people who only spend time have HOMOSEXUAL sex, drinking wine and dancing BIKUTSI..
    How can we clean the country from these lazy Folks who only think with their stomach?..
    The youths wake up before its too late..

  5. For ever young

    @Lyonga is well inform bout the economic situation in Ghana unlike @Bah Acho just like to argue the high price in housing in Accra is mostly driven by private developers who are cash in on the high demands of expatriate& diaspora population looking for accommodations, own a property in East legion 3 years ago and investment with Devtraco Plus limited thus well inform, in terms of direct investment in manufacturing and processing the Ghanaian economic has improved, infrastructure development roads network including farm to market roads , small and medium size enterprise

    • for ever young…how many manufacturing companies did you see in accra?recently i was there but saw absolutely nothing.even the infrastructure you are talking about is a disaster compared to say a small asian economy like bangladesh whose 2020 exports was 33 billion dollars.there is nothing like a modern clean well organised public transportation system im common charecteristic found in all inefficient raw material exporting economies is expenssive housing justified by nothing.for an economy to compete and outsell other manufacturing economies,cost of living must be very low starting with housing.if not companies will need to pay higher wages to sustain the high cost of living making it less competitive.the same goes for energy and water transportation,etc.