Charles Metouck Trial – Court Maintains Charges Against Accused

Barrister Simon Serge Kack Kack had pleaded that the case against Tiako Etienne be withdrawn after he reportedly reimbursed embezzled money.

The Special Criminal Court, SCC, sitting in Yaounde, on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, refused to drop charges against one of those accused of embezzling money from the National Oil Refinery, SONARA. Presided by the President of SCC, Justice Yap Abdou, alongside Justices Nyassa and Nina Galina, with Justices Tagiyin and Adebada as Aocates General, the second hearing entailed listening to the plea of one of the counsel for the defence.

The counsel for Edinguele Edinguele Jean Joule, Barrister Simon Serge Kack Kack, argued that charges against Tiako Etienne be dropped after he reportedly reimbursed the FCFA 108 million he is accused of embezzling over a year ago. While also asking for the annulment of the warrant against Edinguele Edinguele who is in provisional detention, Barrister Kack Kack alleged that there was an error in procedure because some of the accused now face charges different from what they were initially accused of.

Responding to the plea, the Aocate General said the Examining Magistrate only looked at the merit of the case, and that it was not his place to qualify charges. After some moments of discussions among the judges, Mr. Justice Yap Abdou recalled that withdrawing charges after an accused had reimbursed the money they embezzled was only possible upon the demand of the Aocate General and at the request of the Minister of Justice. Thus, it was not the place of the SCC to withdraw charges against any accused.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the court received the list of defence witnesses. The trial was adjourned to March 26, 2015, for questioning of defence witnesses. Meanwhile, Albert Leacuteonard Dikoumeacute, a finance official at SONARA, appeared in court for the first time. He is accused of illegally retaining FCFA 406 million, being Value Added Tax and Income Tax returns. He is alleged to have committed the crime alongside Charles Metouck, the former SONARA General Manager.

The case against Charles Metouck and former SONARA staffers, Ngalle Mouelle Noeacute, Edinguele Edinguele Jean Joule, Dikoume Albert Leacuteonard and Tiako Etienne, began on February 18, 2015. The five stand accused of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of over FCFA 108 million. The amount was reportedly fraudulently retained from the signing by SONARA of a contract with a private company. Meanwhile, over FCFA 406 million, being taxes due to the State, was allegedly fraudulently retained by some of the accused.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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