The trial of four suspects accused of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of FCFA 350 Million from the Douala Port Authority, PAD, at the Yaounde-based Special Criminal Court, SCC, is gradually drawing to a close. Hearing on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, focused on the submissions of the prosecution and civil claimant, the State.
The trial team was led by Mr. Justice Yap Abdou, the President of SCC, and Justices Moukoury Francis Claude Michel and Awoung with Tchoussi as Aocate General. Taking the floor, Aocate General Tchoussi presented his case by demonstrating how Konguep Jeacutereacutemie, Astadicko epouse Daouda Mohamadou, Ewang Joseph Marie and Ngayene Rosalie epouse Okala, connived to illegally transfer FCFA 350 million out of PAD’s funds.
The money moved into BICEC bank accounts of Konguep Tchale Jeremie Ernest, PAD’s former taxation official. The matter was adjourned to July 7, 2015 for counsel for the defence to make their submissions. The suspects were picked up in May 2014 after a staff of the Douala Port Authority tipped management on suspicious bank transfers going on.
In the sitting of on February 3, 2015, the court listened to the testimonies of two witnesses for the Douala Port Authority. Meka Endomo Michel, then Service Head for Finance at PAD and Mandak Jean Oscar, then Head of General Accounting at the same institution. Leading Meka Endomo Michel in examination by the lead Counsel for PAD, Barrister Pousse Dominque Ediki, the witness narrated how at one point between 2011 and 2013, his Director and one of the accused, Astadicko Daouada Mohamadou, hindered him from doing his work. This he claimed, started when Astadicko, as Director of Administration and Finance, began modifying the financial statements he submitted.
He said this was sequel to his Internet access to PAD’s bank accounts being blocked reportedly on instructions by his management. From thence, Meka Endomo said he had little control over what was happening with his financial statements afterwards since he was kept in the dark about PAD’s transactions with banks. He admitted that the relationship between him and Mrs Astadicko Daouada Mohamadou was not at its best, but there was nothing he could do as a subordinate. Cross-examined by some of the accused and their counsel, Meka Endomo Michel admitted that he could not say how much the Douala Port Authority had as balance as at the end of 2012 or if PAD paid taxes in December 2012, because he could no longer communicate with banks.
Taking the floor later, Justice Yap Abdou expressed great disappointment at the levity with which public money was handled in the Douala Port Authority. He said it was inadmissible for a financial official like Meka Endomo Michel to claim that he only discovered six months later that over FCFA 300 million was illegally transferred into BICEC bank accounts of Konguep Tchale Jeremie Ernest, PAD’s former taxation official. He said it was better for Meka to resign instead of staying put with the excuse that he was being hindered from doing his work.
Source : Cameroon Tribune