By Yerima Kini Nsom
The General Manager, GM, of the Cameroon Radio and Television, CRTV, Amadou Vamoulke, is in the heat of charges bordering on the embezzlement of public funds at the State broadcasting house.
It was for this reason that the CRTV boss was grilled for many hours at the Special Criminal Court on March 27.
According to sources at the Special Criminal Court, it was the second time that Vamoulke was their unwilling guest. The Examining Magistrate at the Court, Annie Sorelle Bahonoui, interrogated Vamoulke for the first time on February 27.
It was then that the Court declared that there was enough prima facie evidence for the former President of the Cameroon Union of Journalists, CUJ, to stand trial on alleged embezzlement of public funds.
The Post learnt that on that day, the Magistrate turned the interrogation heat on the journalist for two hours. After last Friday’s grilling, Court sources revealed, the CRTV boss asked for time to gather enough evidence to defend himself.
It is expected that when the CRTV GM next appears in Court, it will be the beginning of a full-blown trial of the man who took over from Prof. Gervais Mendo Ze in 2005.
Going by CRTV sources, Vamoulke was implicated by an ex-collaborator and erstwhile Director of the CRTV Marketing and Communication Agency, Antoinette Essomba. The woman that is already suffering pre-trial detention in Yaounde is said to have implicated Vamoulke by saying that he was the brain behind the disappearance of FCFA 1 billion from the advertising agency.
The Court now is accusing the CRTV boss of being an accomplice to the shady deals, overbilling and presentation of fake bills that caused the FCFA 1 billion to disappear.
The GM is being accused of fidgeting with State funds just like his predecessor, Mendo Ze, who is languishing in pre-trial detention at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde.
Before Vamoulke was summoned to the Special Criminal Court, 15 control missions had allegedly scanned through his management misdemeanours. It was equally reported that the CRTV board meeting tacitly took exception to his management style. In its 2009 annual report, The Post learnt, the Financial Committee of the outfit raised an alarm to the effect that there was a deficit of FCFA 15.450 billion in the house.
It was also reported that the GM lined his pockets with huge sums of money that he did not deserve. Accusing fingers were also turned at him for the shady award of certain contracts in the audio-visual house and that he signed mission orders that were not proper on behalf of the CRTV Board Chair.
In December 2006, a report of the Supreme State Audit indicted CRTV management for paying ghost workers. It was also reported that many ghost workers caused the State to lose huge sums of money. The CRTV boss is also accused of effecting expensive missions to Cotonou in Benin that were not important.
He is also accused of involving in an opaque deal wherein out of 14 transmitters ordered, only 4 were delivered. But CRTV paid up 66.7 percent of the price of the 14 earlier envisaged.
Besides the Supreme State Audit, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC, is said to have visited the CRTV Manager on such issues.
The Post made several attempts to get to Vamoulke in vain. Some of his close collaborators said he is gathering ample evidence to prove his innocence in Court. While the full trial is still to begin, observers hold that Vamoulke may be a victim of a mafia that wants him to quit the stage at CRTV.