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Police Recruitment: 20 Candidates Detained For Possessing Fake Non-conviction Certificates 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

Some 20 candidates for police recruitment are in pre-trial detention at the Centre Regional Delegation of Judicial Police in Yaounde for possessing fake non-conviction certificates.The 20, including some Anglophones, were arrested at the National Higher Police School in Yaounde within the week as they were about submitting their application files to sit for the recently launched public examinations for recruitment into the various categories of the police force.

When The Post visited the Centre Regional Judicial Police premises on January 23, Barrister Christopher Ndong Nveh of the CNN and Partners Law Firm along with a group of parents, were seen shuttling between the police station, the Ministry of Justice and Keeper of Seals, MINJUSTICE, and the office of the State Counsel in attempts to release some of the people. Barrister Ndong confirmed over the weekend that the Anglophone students were picked up as they were about submitting their files. He said, by law, Anglophones who were delivered in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of the country and resident in Yaounde, have a special centre in MINJUSTICE where they could apply for and procure non-conviction certificates. 

He said, Sama Paul and Clinton Nkimih Nkwembong, whom he was intervening for, are just two of the close to 20 accused Anglophones that are languishing in pre-trial detention. “These Anglophones took advantage of the special centre attributed to them by the law to establish their certificates of non-conviction and for police officers to argue, in addition to accusations of its fakeness that they must have gone back to their regions of origin, smacks of gross ignorance of the law. I consider this as a demonstration of one of the facets of hatred for fellow Anglophone Cameroonians,” Barrister Ndong stated. He, however, revealed that, while at the police station, he gathered from the officer in charge, Commissioner Evina that the Delegate General of National Security, Martin Mbarga Nguele, got information that a network for the issuance of fake documents to candidates for the police examination has been set up. He said it was on the basis of instructions from the police boss that Anglophones in possession of such suspect documents are being arrested. 

Barrister Ndong talked of a man who was caught with a big bag of official documents such as certificates of non-conviction, medical and birth certificates and many others with forged signatures of officials and fake fiscal stamps affixed on them. He said the suspect, who was being grilled, said he collects as much as FCFA 7,000 to deliver a ‘fake’ non-conviction certificate, whereas the official cost of that document in MINJUSTICE is FCFA 2,200. Ndong narrated the ordeal they went through in an attempt to get Sama and Nkimih freed.

“I decided to collect the non-conviction certificates of the two to cross-check their authenticity with Magistrate Haman Bouba who had endorsed it. The magistrate confirmed that the documents in question presented by the two candidates were authentic. When we went back to the Judicial Police, the Commissioner refused to release my clients arguing that he can only receive instructions to do so from the Delegate General of National Security.

“The Police Commissioner said he had sent his boys to the courts to verify the authenticity of the documents, maintaining that the detained Anglophones can only be released if the authenticity is confirmed. Those whose documents will be identified as fake will be taken to Court,” the Barrister related to The Post. Barrister Ndong added that in their efforts to free his clients, they went as far as meeting the Secretary General in MINJUSTICE, Justice Gwamesia, who, coincidently, was with the Director of Penal Affairs in that Ministry.

“The Director called Magistrate Haman who confirmed the authenticity of the document. Haman was, in turn, asked to call the State Counsel who, in turn, also called the judicial police requesting for the immediate release of the boys. “After all these steps, we went back to the police station but the Commissioner again refused to release the boys maintaining that the police officers assigned are still investigating the matter. Sama and Nkimih, as well as close to 20 other Anglophones are suffering under police custody for a crime they did not commit,” Ndong stated. 

Reacting to the fact that those accused may truly have been caught in possession of fake documents, Ndong and a personnel working at the Court in Yaounde both quickly shifted the blame to the doorsteps of administration. “Government is aware that the corridors of the Courts are infested with crooks who lure and issue fake documents to good intentioned Cameroonians seeking services. “They are not only found at the premises of the Court, but they also take up positions in front of diplomatic missions and many other Government institutions, duping unsuspected Cameroonians. After all, when they are arrested, you see them the next day on the streets doing the same dirty job,” Barrister Ndong lamented. 

According to him, the detained Anglophones are going through physical, psychological and moral torture. “This is a gross violation of the basic principles of fundamental human rights. If in the end it is established that the documents of our clients are genuine, then, we will sue the Government of Cameroon for specific and general damages,” Barrister Ndong told The Post.

Meanwhile, a source at the Yaounde Legal Department explained that Anglophones who have a right to procure non-conviction certificates from MINJUSTICE are those who were born in the Northwest and Southwest Regions as well as Cameroonians who were born out of the country but who are all resident in Yaounde.

“Anglophones born in other regions other than Northwest and Southwest must go back and procure their non-conviction certificates from those regions, while those born in Yaounde must only get them from the Court of First Instance Yaounde and not from the special centre in MINJUSTICE,” the source stated.

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