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Greed For Car Allowance Divides Parliament 

By Yerima Kini Nsomparliament

The National Assembly seems to be a greed-driven struggle for wealth rather than law making as MPs have picked up a quarrel with their colleagues in the bureau over colossal sums of car allowance.
Members of the Assembly have not been able to come to an agreement over circa FCFA 600 million President Biya allocated for MPs to repair their cars.

A CPDM MP who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity said: “The greed manifested by bureau members is beyond human understanding. We are making sure that justice is done on the issue.”
The MPs are angry that the FCFA 600 million meant for all of them is ending up in the pockets of 29 people who include bureau members and officials of the two parliamentary groups.

Besides threatening to boycott plenary sittings, some 103 MPs have forwarded a strongly worded letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, asking him for their own share of the money.

The Post learnt that many MPs were divided over sending a letter to the Speaker, saying the issue can only be resolved by the Head of State.

The letter itself seems not to have yielded any dividend as the Speaker has remained mute.
From the FCFA 600 million, The Post learnt, each MP is supposed to have 30 percent of the car allowances they received at the beginning of their mandate in 2013.

But ordinary MPs are seething with anger that the 23 members of the bureau and officials of the SDF and CPDM parliamentary groups simply shared the money among themselves and sealed their lips.

MPs, who are not bureau members, are expected to have FCFA 3 million each from the amount which is 30 percent of the car allowance of FCFA 10 million each, which they received at the beginning of their mandate.
Spillover
The wave of bitterness at the Parliament is a spillover from the beginning of the current mandate.
Bureau members had adopted a decision to share huge car allowances among themselves. By dint of the decision, the House Speaker takes home a car allowance of FCFA 80 million for the mandate. The Senior Vice President pockets FCFA 65 million, while the five vice presidents bag FCFA 60 million each. By that same taken, the four questors have FCFA 50 million each for the car allowance. The twelve secretaries line their pockets with FCFA 50 million each.

It is worth nothing that officials of parliamentary groups, notably the group leader, the vice group leader and the secretary are treated as members of the bureau of the National Assembly. In this respect, the group leader who has the rank of the vice president of the bureau takes home FCFA 60 million.
The vice group leaders who have the rank of questors have a car allowance of FCFA 50 million each, while the secretaries of the parliamentary group in the same ranks with secretaries of the bureau, have FCFA 50 million each.

That is why it is a total of 29 members that are said to be discretely sharing the FCFA 600 million among themselves. These allowances, keep members of the bureau at a safe distance from the poverty-stricken ordinary MPs, who take home only FCFA 10 million each for the car allowance.
One of the ordinary MPs told The Post that the FCFA 10 million is not enough because they can only use it to buy overused poor quality cars in Europe.

“Members of the bureau are MPs like us. But they are behaving as if they wrote examinations to be where they are. Let me tell you that these people do 97 percent of contracts at the National Assembly. They are the ones who go on almost all the juicy missions abroad. This means that a huge chunk of the National Assembly budget goes into their pockets,” one MP lamented.

He said even though they receive huge sums for car allowances at the beginning of the mandate, many bureau members simply pocketed the money and used the budget of the National Assembly to buy service cars for themselves.

“This explains why their cars are matriculated AN, meaning National Assembly. Take note that at the end of the mandate they will simply auction the cars to themselves and their family members and friends,” he said.
Meanwhile, one member of the bureau dismissed the grievances of the ordinary MPs as smacks of sheer jealousy.

“Members of the bureau work permanently at the National Assembly. We need to be comfortable,” he said. To him, it is reasonable that ordinary MPs hold their peace and keep their calm and wait for their turn because not every MP can be a member of the bureau at the same time,” said the MP.

Observers hold that the protracted bickering over money at the National Assembly is a pointer to one thing; MPs trample over “party discipline” when it comes to making personal gains.

The CPDM and the opposition MPs in the bureau are in harmony against the opposition and CPDM colleagues who are ordinary MPs. Yet, the CPDM and opposition MPs usually disagree over issues of national interest in the name of “party discipline”.

It was also in the name of party discipline that the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPDM, Jean Nkuete, warned CPDM MPs last week not to make any public pronouncements on issues ailing the nation.

The Post learnt that the CPDM for the Mbam and Inoubou constituency in the Centre Region, Hon. Peter William Mandio, who criticized two members of government in newspapers, was seriously scolded at the Central Committee meeting last week.

The MP had written an open letter calling on the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, to resign on account of the recent medical scandals in the country.
He also criticized the Minister of Water and Energy for the epileptic power supply in the country.

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