Lawyers for the former Director of Taxes made the request at the Special Criminal Court during the hearing of August 10, 2015.
Lawyers for Polycarpe Abah Abah, the former Director of Taxes and Finance Minister, on Monday August 10, 2015, succeeded in getting the trial team at the Yaounde Special Criminal Court, SCC, to request the Commercial Bank of Cameroon, CBC Bank to submit statements on four accounts opened between 1998 and 2005 by the accused and the Department of Taxes.
Arguing on behalf of colleagues, Barrister Jean Marie Nouga said the presentation of the detailed bank statements would help to determine if the accused made any illegal withdrawals as alleged or not. He said the same request for the presentation of the documents was made on several occasions in the past by other SCC officials, but it was never respected. The accounts are the three the former Director of Taxes opened in the name of his department for Value Added Tax, VAT recovery and other purposes; plus one in his name.
Barrister Nouga presented his arguments while questioning Ndifor Tikum Joseph, a prosecution witness under Cross Examination-in-Chief. Ndifor is an official with CBC Bank. In a bid to prove that the prosecution tampered with certain documents tendered as exhibits, Barrister Nouga presented copies of correspondence allegedly sent to CBC by Polycarpe Abah Abah, but which did not bear any sign of ever being received by the bank.
Ndifor Tikum Joseph agreed that any incoming correspondence is stamped “Received,” “Request Approved” after processing by the bank, among other official details. Moreover, Jean Marie Nouga argued that some of the photocopies of correspondence sent by SCC to the bank for endorsement as having originated from them was disowned.
Counsel for the civil claimants, Barrister Nchankou Njindam, while acknowledging that requesting bank statements was the right of customers, warned that asking for them now could unnecessarily prolong the trial. The leader of the trial team, Mr Justice Nyoh Matthias, after consulting with Mr Justice Tagiyin and Mr. Justice Adebada, announced that the Special Criminal Court will formally ask CBC Bank to submit statements on the four accounts. The matter was then adjourned to September 1, 2015. The Advocate General was Mr Justice Taguim.
Polycarpe Abah Abah first appeared at the SCC on Wednesday, February 18, 2015, charged with fraudulently obtaining landed property belonging to a cooperative and the State of Cameroon worth FCFA 1.8 billion. The crime was allegedly committed between 1998 and 2005 when he was Director of Taxes. The charges were lodged by Batock Dikanda Daniel, a former journalist and now parliamentarian, William Mandio and the Ministry of Finance. Abah Abah is already serving time at the Yaounde Secondary Prison for attempted jail break and embezzlement of other public funds.