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CONAC Will Expose Corrupt Officials November 25 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

The National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC, will render public some corrupt officials on Wednesday, November 25.

The occasion will be the launching of the report on the state of the fight against corruption in Cameroon in 2013.

Sources at the CONAC headquarters in Yaounde say the report is a telling document that does not only expose acts of corruption, but also names and shames corrupt officials in the country.

The Special Criminal Court that is specialised in the prosecution of suspects who have allegedly embezzled State funds ranging from FCFA 50 million will be given a copy of the report.

The launching of the 2013 corruption report by CONAC is somewhat belated. In 2014, CONAC programmed the launching of the report for a particular date but quickly postponed the occasion indefinitely.
Although there was no official explanation as to why the ceremony was postponed, talk was rife that the presidency did not approve the launching of the report, allegedly because the presidency took exception to some of the names of State officials that featured in the report.

If such allegations were true, pundits hold, it will be a huge adulteration of Government’s political will to crush corruption that has stalled the country’s development for many decades.
In one of its reports, CONAC revealed that huge sums of the public investment budget, PIB, were going into private pockets through shady deals and other acts of corruption.

Some State officials who were indicted in the CONAC report for 2011, for having embezzled public funds, are still moving around freely. This gives the impression that some officials who have embezzled public funds are untouchables.

For one thing, experts say CONAC’s powers are extremely limited. The institution investigates corruption and submits reports to the Presidency of the Republic. This means that no matter the weight of evidence found against some officials, it cannot initiate prosecution.
CONAC is unlike the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria that has the powers to investigate and prosecute corruption suspects.

Observers hold that the limited powers of CONAC constitute an impediment to the fight against corruption in Cameroon. There are reports that some officials, whose names appeared in the CONAC report for 2011, are hurling death threats on CONAC officials.

After the launching of the 2011 report, the Chairman of CONAC, Rev. Dr. Dieudonné Massi Gams, was the target of character assassination in many newspapers. He was castigated for touching the untouchables in the corruption report.

Critics aver that without strong political will, the much-trumpeted fight against corruption in Cameroon will remain a play to the gallery and a piece of drama acted for the entertainment of the international community. In such a situation, not even the multiple anti-corruption institutions can be a demonstration of political will.

Besides CONAC, there is the National Financial Investigation Agency, the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court, the Special Criminal Court, the Supreme State Audit and the anti-corruption units in the various Government departments.

But corruption continues to strive on fertile grounds in the country.
Government, critics hold, could make all the difference if every corrupt official is made to face the music of the law. This also means restoring the aura of independence on the judiciary.