Wednesday, October 21, 2020
You are here: Home » Carousel » Lifanda’s Tale Of ‘Sinister Wednesdays’ And His Kondengui Trip Bookmark This Page

Lifanda’s Tale Of ‘Sinister Wednesdays’ And His Kondengui Trip 

By Francis Tim Mbom

It was on Wednesday, January 11, 2006, when Andrew Monjimba Motanga, present Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council and Chairman of the then Limbe Urban Council, marshalled 36 CPDM Councillors to pass a vote of ‘No Confidence’ on the then Government Delegate of the Limbe Urban Council, Samuel Ebiama Lifanda.

“We do sincerely and immensely disapprove of the Delegate’s management style. We, therefore, pass a vote of ‘No Confidence’ against the Government Delegate and call on the supervisory authority to investigate the Delegate,” wrote the fuming Councillors on that Wednesday, January 11, 2006.

Again, it was on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, that the former Government Delegate was conveniently admitted into the Kondengui Maximum Security Prison in Yaounde.

The Governor of the Southwest Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, who was then the SDO of Fako, in his capacity as supervisory authority of Councils in the Division, raised questions on the way the Government Delegate and his collaborators were managing the finances of the Council.

In one of the extra ordinary Council sessions, Okalia, in his opening remarks, stated that, while perusing through the draft budget document that had been prepared by Lifanda and his team, he discovered gaping and questionable financial holes in the way the Council’s revenues were being collected and managed.

The then SDO asked why there was an upsurge in the amount of money that had been earmarked as recurrent or consumption expenditure for the year 2005 when, in 2004; there was a significantly lower amount.

In the budget of 2004, he went on, the consumption or recurrent budget stood at FCFA 771.431 million, but in 2005, Lifanda decided to raise the consumption budget to FCFA 1.207 billion.

“What can explain such a sharp increase in the consumption expenditure at a time when the municipality is looking forward to hosting several giant projects,” Okalia questioned?

Given the dissatisfaction expressed by the SDO on behalf of the Government and that by the Councillors in their “No Confidence Vote”, Lifanda’s days at the Council apparently became numbered.

On February 26, 2009, Lifanda’s 13-year reign as Government Delegate of the defunct Limbe Urban Council came to an end when his maternal cousin, Motanga was appointed to succeed him.

Following Lifanda’s exit and coupled with the series of complaints against his stewardship at the Council, a team of sniffer dogs from the Supreme State Control were sent to Limbe to dig up facts in line with the several mismanagement accusations that had been levelled against him.

The Post gathered that investigations were carried out and focus was on how the Delegate managed the Council’s business between 2002 -2008.

Several files and other necessary evidence are said to have been carted to Yaounde.

Lifanda, Casimir Lyonga and Simon Priso Mokossa, who manned the Technical and Urban Development services of the Council were those indicted following the investigations that begun in September 2009.

The trio, who are presently at Kondengui, were repeatedly summoned to Yaounde and grilled on financial impropriety.

Lifanda Ordered To Pay FCFA 160 million

It was on another sombre Wednesday, June 13, 2012, when Lifanda, Priso and Casimir were summoned to Yaounde by the Supreme State Control.

After more than two years of investigations, the Supreme State Control found Lifanda and co-accused guilty of several counts of mismanagement of public funds.

One of the charges levelled against Lifanda was the fact that he could not explain how some millions were paid to a certain Douala-based firm for having sunk a water borehole at the Mukunda village, when the project was never executed.

On March 20, 2007, Lifanda, in his drive to salvage Mukunda village from its water problems, launched a borehole project. A certain Francis Ayuk and Dominique Crassous, who were said to be representing a Douala-based firm, were presented to the population and Lifanda said they were going to sink a 60 meter deep borehole in two months. But this project ended at the launching ceremony.

In all, the Supreme State Control found the trio guilty and ordered Lifanda to pay back FCFA 160 million. He was asked to pay an additional fine of FCFA 2 million.

Lifanda Appeals Against Payment

The former Government Delegate who disputed the financial claims levelled against him decided to appeal the verdict. An appeal was lodged to challenge the claims of the Supreme State Control.

As the legal battle ensued, Lifanda’s matter was forwarded to the Special Criminal Court for adjudication.

The Special Criminal Tribunal took exception to the fact that the trio had failed to pay the money demanded from them and decided to summon them to Yaounde.

The Court, The Post learnt, simply remanded them into custody at the Kondengui Prison for a period of six months, during which it will investigate their files before hearing commences.

Population In Mournful Mood

Sadness marked by drooping faces was the expression on the faces of those The Post talked to in Limbe after the arrest of Lifanda was confirmed.

This is because; Lifanda became the second high profile personality, after the former PM, Ephraim Inoni, to be taken into Kondengui by the same Biya Government, which they spent almost their entire lives serving.

The atmosphere at the Limbe City Council was that of sorrow in solidarity with Casimir, who is said to be a very hard working staff.

The Post learnt that after the Supreme State Control ordered the accused to pay back the stolen money in 2012, they began paying, but were compelled, for some reasons, to stop and wait for the verdict of Lifanda’s appeal case.

More Audit Visits, Motanga Summoned

Meantime, Lifanda’s summons to Yaounde came on the heels of yet another audit visit from Yaounde by officials of the Supreme State Audit.

Some sources who talked to The Post said the current Delegate, Motanga, was also summoned to answer or clarify certain issues in relation to the recent audit visit.

For one thing, it is more than a year today since an unknown gang broke into the Limbe City Council and made away with circa FCFA 30 million.

Since this incident, there has been no official statement about the theft from the Council. The then Senior State Council in Limbe, Magistrate James Eni Mokube, had told The Post that the Judicial Police were probing into the burglary