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Kribi Seaport Racket: More Regime Bigwigs Expected In Kondengui 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

President Paul Biya

President Paul Biya

The Special Criminal Court is bent on prosecuting those who embezzled funds that were meant to indemnify persons affected by the Kribi Seaport construction.

The Post learnt that many of those to stand trial are mostly bigwigs of the regime.

They are said to have fraudulently acquire land certificates around the seaport just to get money from the State.

Thus, a huge chunk of the FCFA 38 billion disbursed for the compensation of the local people whose lands and properties were destroyed went into private pockets.

Some administrative officials and bigwigs of the regime allegedly embezzled State funds through various shady deals.

It is reported that many people who had nothing to do with the lands at Kribi got “manna” from the State treasury.

Since September, one of the Examining Magistrate at the Special Criminal Court, Justice Blaise Wo’ominko, has been busy interrogating suspects.

Most of them, court sources say, will answer charges of embezzlement and complicity in the embezzlement of public funds.

Some of the people suspected to have reaped huge sums include the former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Marafa Hamidou Yaya and the erstwhile General Manager of CRTV, Prof. Garvais Mendo Ze.

Both officials are already languishing at the Kondengui prison for embezzlement of public funds during their tenure. Observers are shocked that the name of a well known man of God features prominently on the list.

Marafa’s name features prominently on the list of the beneficiaries of indemnities that was published on November 30, 2010.

The Post learnt that President Biya is bent on seeing that justice is fully rendered on the issue.

Sources reveal that the local people were cheated in the payment of indemnities just because the bigwigs had to line their pockets.

If everything was going on well, President Biya would inaugurate the Kribi Deep Seaport before the end of this month.

One local politician in Kribi is said to have petitioned the President, telling him that the local people were seething with rage because they were not compensated.

The Kribi Deep Seaport embezzlement scam was blown-open recently when some 14 suspects were arrested and detained at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde.

The suspects that include Divisional Officers, DOs and officials of States Property and Land Tenure are charged with the embezzlement of FCFA 4 billion allocated for the payment of indemnities to people displaced during the construction of the seaport.

State property and Land Tenure officials are facing charges for issuing fictitious land certificates to some big shots just to enable them embezzle public funds.

One of the suspects is the former SDO for Ocean Division, Jean Francois Villon.

He was enjoying his retirement before his arrest on April 26. The DO of Zoetele in the Dja and Lobo Division of the South Region is equally in jail.

Placide Kuntz Ndobo was the second Assistant SDO for Ocean Division at the time of the racket in 2010.

The dragnet of the law also closed up on one Joseph Eyebe, who was the second SDO for Ocean Division at that time. Before his arrest, he was the DO for Bangante in the Nde Division of the West Region.

The suspects are being accused of participating in one way or the other in the embezzlement of public funds in the payment of indemnities in Kribi.

The crux of the matter, according to sources in Kribi, is that since 2010, the people of Bongale, Mboro and Lolabe at the seaport area have been protesting.

They have been crying out against the non-payment of their indemnities even though money was disbursed from the State treasury for the purpose.

It was in the wake of such allegations that President Biya ordered the Judicial Police and secret services to investigate the matter.

The police went into action and arrested 25 people.

After grilling each and every one of them, they sent 14 suspects for pre-trail detention at the Kondengui prison while 11 others were freed.

The police reportedly uncovered many rackets wherein some officials fraudulently acquired land just to turn around and grab money from Government.

The Post learnt that as soon as the Kribi Deep Seaport site was indentified, many State officials used their relatives and friends to acquire land in the area in anticipation.

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