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Camair Affair: Y.M Fotso Fires Back At Hon. Oyono 

By Bouddih Adams

Fotso 1Imprisoned former General Manager of Cameroon Airlines, CAMAIR, Yves Michel Fotso, has fired back at Hon. Martin Oyono, in a reply to an opinion published in Emergence newspaper by the MP from the Ocean Division, accusing him, Fotso, of mismanaging the defunct national carrier.

Fotso opens his fiery treatise, stating: “It is with special attention that I have read your article titled ‘Governance and CAMAIR-CO, The Choice of Healing or Infusion?”

In the rubric “OPINION” of the daily newspaper, Emergence, No. 808 of Monday, August 8, 2016 section in which you have several times mentioned my name as a former leader of the Cameroon Airlines examples of mismanagement.”

“Now, since you have been the only MP among the 160 of the CPDM in the Chamber of the National Assembly; to have the courage to vote according to your conscience and not simply discipline, [the] bill on the reform of the Penal Code, recently presented by the Government and subsequently the Head of State has given you reason, you have become, to the public on the media and political scene, a reference as an objective and sincere personality; that is to say, henceforth, your voice is taking in account and so, what you say is immediately assumed to be true.

“Therefore, being convinced that it’s simply because you have been misinformed, that you have brought these negative judgments about my past management of the Cameroon Airlines; judgments which, however, cannot withstand a documented analysis, contextual and detailed mandate which was mine at the head of Cameroon Airlines…”

Talking about the comparison between CAMAIR and CAMAIR-Co managements under Fotso and Nana Sandjo, Fotso maintains: “In the offending article,” … “you have pointed at five main aspects.”

Destination, Use Of Enormous Resources Paid By The State

Fotso writes: “From where I stand, I cannot claim to know neither the amount nor the destination of subsidies currently paid by the State to CAMAIR-CO. However, there can be no comparison on this point, since, from June 2000 to November 2003; I confirm that the Cameroon Airlines did not receive any subsidy, whereas, according to your statements, Camair-Co continues to do so.”

Government’s Debt to Camair-Co

As to the first point above, you have assimilated this debt problem of the State to Camair-Co to one of the State to Cameroon Airlines under the leadership of Yves Michel FOTSO.

It is obvious I cannot comment on either the current debt of Camair-Co, or its debt to the State because I do not even know if this company has, since it started operating in 2011 till date, an accountant and whether its accounts have ever been audited and certified by a statutory sworn statements.

However, concerning the Cameroon Airlines which I led, let me tell you that when I was appointed, the accounts of my predecessors had never been audited, nor certified by an external auditor, leaving a blur on the accounts.

“In the contrary, as a good manager, I immediately, with the approval of my Board of Directors, to catch up and restore the financial years … When I took office, the total debt of the company was FCFA 72 billion, and at the date of my departure it had been reduced to FCFA 38 billion, whereas with more aircraft rental, the important charges should increase operating losses and increased the debt, but this has not been the case due to the fact that none of the contracts signed under my management was with a bank guarantee or endorsement of the State and that none of the assets of the company have been mortgaged or alienated during my mandate.

“You will understand easily, as Secretary of the Commission for Production and Trade of the National Assembly , with a claim, the only State “client” , equivalent to nearly 40 percent of its turnover, it was impractical to divert non-existent funds, especially as suppliers and salaries were paid precisely, thanks to the advances made by the companies of the Group FOTSO through my personal guarantee from banks and suppliers.”

On Acute Shortage of Aircraft

“Allow me also to say that it is difficult to compare, objectively, the operation of CAMAIR-Co that has three airplanes freely made available by the State, the owner, and the one of Cameroon Airlines from 2000 to 2003 which all eight operating airplanes were on lease or rent/sale, a Boeing 747-300, two Boeing 767, three Boieng 757 including a full freighter, a Boeing 737 and a Beechcraft 1900.

When you will discover how our National Company has been requested and used around the world, you will see that: The flag of Cameroon has never floated as high as during the period from mid 2001 to mid-2003.

The Boeing 767-200, upon entering the fleet in July 2001 till summer 2003, when it experienced a failure of one of its engines, made 7,463 hours of flights, carried more than 65,000 passengers and, especially, made for others, flights to such prestigious destinations as France, the Caribbean, South Africa and Saudi Arabia,” he cites as example among other exploits under his mandate.

He states, particularly; “As revenue, thanks to the contribution of these aircraft, Cameroon Airlines has seen its turnover grow from 60 billion CFA francs in 2001 to 92 billion CFA francs in 2002, a memorable increase of almost 65 percent. This never happened in 30 years of existence of the company!!!

“It is not useless mentioning to your appreciation, Honourable Oyono, that it is only through receipts and the financial support of FOTSO Group companies as early as June 2001, all operational costs were gradually adjusted in the restart of activities of an impoverished company at the time of my appointment.

He cites six titles under which his management was profitable for Cameroon Airlines and Cameroon, namely; (a) In terms of financial revenues earned as I have demonstrated above; (b) the number of passengers carried (important for the valuation of the Company as part of its privatisation announced that time; (c) distribution of the image of Cameroon that saw its national flag float through airports in nearly all continents; (d) prestige and credibility of the company: (e) – On the social side with the regular payment of staff salaries and professional; (f) on the last of the management plan and good corporate governance.”

FOTSO to Nana Sandjo Cases Of Interest’s Conflicts

“As I said above, you are now qualified to be elected [one] whose moral and intellectual honesty suffer no contestation, that is why I cannot talk here of defamation I am convinced that your informants simply misled you because, I tell you out loud, ‘I’ll challenge anyone to provide proof that I have, at any time, of my management period of the Cameroon Airlines, the slightest advantages or benefit of any privilege by my position.

Quite the contrary, as you will discover when reading the claim of my legal rights unpaid till date and the minutes of my hearing by the Judicial Service Central Research of the National Gendarmerie dated February 5, 2014, on the instructions of Attorney General of TCS.

It is rather I who suffers financial losses to have managed with too much enthusiasm and passion the Cameroon Airlines.

In fact, if my management of the Cameroon Airlines was not exemplary, given the lack of resources available to me, no observer, informed of the operation of the company from 2000 to 2003 and knowing the conflictual relationships (in the interest of the company which I was responsible of) that I had handled with the Minister of Cameroon Airlines, the former Minister of transport, Mr. Joseph Tsanga Abanda and some time with AIR FRANCE, could dispute the intensity of the received message from a former minister and I quote: “Son, get here my sincere congratulations and encouragement for the great work you are trying to achieve at CAMAIR … you must know two things: (1) You have acquired the total support of honest Cameroonians, (2) The country will never forget that at a critical moment in its history, CAMAIR has seen someone named Michel FOTSO … Encouragements and take care.””

He cites another congratulatory letter addressed to him by the CEO of Air France, Jean-Cyrill Spinetta, whicht states; “It is with regret that I learn your departure from the Head of Cameroon Airlines,” and ends, “Be assured that, I finally kept good memories of the determination and the enthusiasm you have shown to lead Cameroon Airlines.”

On the element of ‘Successive managements, who have the audacity as in the case of Yves Michel Fotso according to our information to create structures that would become the company’s providers it was supposed to manage with neutrality and integrity … ”

Fotso holds: “You will agree with me, Hon. Oyono, after the above evidence, of my management as a good father of Cameroon Airlines; that this allegation structures that I would have created so they become providers of Cameroon Airlines that I ran, is misleading.

40 Months As CAMAIR CEO

“Indeed 40 months at the head of the Cameroon Airlines, about nine points of the complaint with civil party, Mr. Bekolo, Liquidator of CAMAIR, I signed only the payment order of one bill, that of Aircraft Incident Recovery on the April 6, 2001 and that on the prior written instruction of the Minister of Transport,” he quips, supporting his arguments with annexes.

“How then is it possible that Yves Michel Fotso who never signed or ordered payment of eight other documents of the complaint, be the only one to be accused in the alleged misappropriation case?

How, if indeed there has been misuse, Yves Michel Fotso could he have embezzled alone without any accomplice over 69 billion CFA?

How was it possible that the auditor, liquidator today, will either not notice the misappropriation of a colossal sum before certifying the accounts of his management?

“How I, Yves Michel Fotso alone, among nearly 1,300 agents, I could fool everyone, the Board of Directors, staff and the auditor, and divert more than 100 percent of the turnover of the years 2000-2001 of Cameroon Airlines and it is only ten years after that the former auditor became liquidator, is noticing?”

Fotso end the more than 10-page write-up, hoping it would background information of what was his management as Chief Executive Officer of the Cameroon Airlines from June 2000 to November 2003.

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