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Biya Being Tricked Into Selling Camair-Co, Other Parastals 


By Joe Dinga Pefok

A secret memo prepared by a Board Member of the Cameroon Airlines Corporation, Camair-Co, Marcel René Doung via the Deputy Secretary General at the Presidency, Séraphin Magloire Fouda, to the Head of State has exposed how some Government officials manipulate the Head of State to order the sale of state owned companies to their friends and business partners.

The memo and other documents made available to The Post also show how some close collaborators of the President manipulate him into sacking certain Directors of state-owned corporations, ostensibly to position their relatives and tribesmen.

One such memo addressed to Biya concerning the management of Camair-Co was intercepted after negotiations had reached an advanced stage for Camair-Co to be granted FCFA 30 billion loan by ECOBANK to implement its new business plan.

Going by the memo, the mafia is out to plant their own men at the airline company, who would in turn, “manage” the FCFA 30 billion.
Doung, a pilot, is also a senior official at the Ministry of Transport.
He used the headed paper of that Ministry for the memo, in alleged complicity with his Minister and certain top officials.

Sources at this Ministry hold that the memo was the outcome of a number of secret meetings that members of the network held in Yaounde. It was received by the Deputy Secretary General at the Presidency, Séraphin Magloire Fouda, a blood relation of Doung.

Dated March 30, 2015, and titled, ‘Situation de Camair-Co’, the Deputy Secretary General reportedly made an elaborate analysis of the Doung memo, for the attention of the Head of State.

Camair-Co In A State Of Non-Declared Bankruptcy

In the note proper, Fouda painted a bleak picture of Camair-Co, alluding to the company as being
is in a state of non-declared bankruptcy.

The memo points out inter alia that Camair-Co has in its four years of operation lost over FCFA 30 billion;
that monthly revenue stands at FCFA 2 billion, while expenditure is FCFA 4 billion.

That as at December 31, 2014, Camair-Co debts stood at FCFA 33.2 billion; that Camair-Co is over-staffed, with the current General Manager, GM, Jean Paul Nana Sandjo, having recruited 220 workers in the last six months, saturating the company’s workforce, which till date operates only three aircrafts.
According to him, the international recommendation is a ratio of 83 workers to one aircraft, but that Camair-Co is over staffed with 471 workers.

The Deputy Secretary General allegedly dismissed the business plan that was drawn up by the management of Camair-Co and adopted by the Board of Administrators of the company, to re-launch the airline company. Visaed by the Presidency, the plan was meant to stop Camair-Co’s dependency on State subventions by directly borrowing FCFA 30 billion from Ecobank, and repaying installmentally.
Camair-Co was to use a bulk of the FCFA 30 billion to buy four aircraft, including big planes for long haul flights.

Proposal For Privatisation

Giving vent to Doung’s memo, Fouda noted to the Head of State that the BOD and administration of Camair-Co, are secretly planning to buy some very old aircraft that the defunct Cameroon Airlines used to take on lease 20 years back.

Fouda reportedly alleged to Mr. Biya that Camair-Co, was creating irrelevant positions and appointing incompetent persons to posts of responsibility and that the company was disrespecting international safety and security norms, adding that the current management team is the fourth since Camair-Co’s creation, but that nothing was working.
The only way out, Fouda advised was to privatise the national carrier, but that before this is done, the State should provide cash for a profound one year restructuring programme, to make the company attractive to buyers.

Fouda supported Doung’s proposal for the selection of one of the airway companies in the Gulf, to buy majority of shares in Camair-Co, and become the strategic partner of the State of Cameroon in the company. The three airways include; Emirates, Ethihad, and Quater Airways.

The Deputy Secretary General also proposed that President Biya should order the Supreme State Control, the Secret Service and the Delegation of National Security to investigate Camair-Co.

Proposal To Create New Airlines

He, however, left out certain views and proposals which were duly expressed in the secret memo.
Doung for example claimed that the current Board Chair, the GM and DGM of the airline have shown their limits and that their management is catastrophic for the company. Doung called for a massive layoff of workers, arguing that Camiar-Co does not need more than 200 workers.

He also proposed that Camair-Co could continue functioning, but limited to long haul flights or another airline company be created by a public-private sector partnership to handle domestic and flights to countries of the Central African Sub-Region and Nigeria.

Without explaining the reasons for his choice, Doung strongly recommended that the Government should take a private leasing company in France, EQUA-2C, as the Strategic Partner of the State of Cameroon to create the new airline company.

Gross Manipulation

Fortunately for Camair-Co, the current Board Chair of the company, Edouard Akame Mfoumou, a former Minister of Defence and an old insider at the Presidency is said to have stumbled on the secret memo before it got to the President.

In his own correspondence dated April 6, 2015 and also addressed to the President of the Republic, Mfoumou gave a point-by-point response to the issues and allegations which Fouda raised in his secret memo.

He dismissed the allegations as nothing but gross manipulation of figures and facts for selfish ends.
(“La nécessaire restitution de la vérité m’oblige à souligner avec force, qu’il s’agit d’une grossière tentative de manipulation des faits et des chiffre à des fins inavouées»).

On the financial situation of Camair-Co, he admitted that “it is bad”, considering that the company makes a monthly revenue of FCFA 2.5 billion (not FCFA 2 million as claimed by Fouda and Doung), and spends about FCFA 4 billion.

He also admitted that as by December 31, 2014, the total debts of Camair-Co was FCFA 30 billion but added that a bulk of the expenditure, is money either paid or due to be paid to suppliers and other contractors of the company.
On the monthly income lower than monthly revenue, Mfoumou argued that the situation could not have been different for an airline company that is operating with only three aircraft, for domestic, regional and intercontinental flights.

Moreover, Camair-Co owns only one plane, as two of the aircraft were taken on lease with money regularly paid to the American owners.

New Business

In the face of this situation, Mfoumou argued, the GM and his team elaborated a new business plan for the company, which was submitted to the BOD and was well appreciated and unanimously adopted by the members, including Doung, the author of the controversial memo.
He said the business plan was also submitted to the Presidency and received its visa.
The Board Chair said going by the new business plan, Camair-Co could move from operating three aircraft to nine by year’s end.

The aircraft include two Chinese MA 60, recently handed over to the company by Government. It is stated in the business plan that from the FCFA 30 billion loan being negotiated, CAMAIR-CO will buy two aircrafts in August, and two in October.

The Board Chair admitted to the overstaffing of the company are which he blamed on recruitments that were done without consideration for competence at the start. Mfoumou said laying off of Cameroonians was not the right thing to do.

He defended the recruitment of 220 new workers by Sandjo in the last six months.
According to him, the 220 persons are all former workers of the defunct Cameroon Airlines, who already have the experience that Camair-Co needs for optimal performance and clearly features in the new business plan.

Grounding Of Camair-Co Aircrafts By CCAA

Another issue which the Board Chair raised was the recent grounding of the company’s aircrafts by the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, CCAA, headed by Pierre Tankam and which Camair-Co leased from an American Company in 2013, for alleged non respect of security advice.
He noted that after jointly conducting the verifications with all the stakeholders, no single evidence was found to justify the allegation that was made by CCAA, and so the planes were released, but not before Camair-Co had suffered enormous financial losses.

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