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Supreme Court Reduces Marafa, Fotso Jail Terms 

By Bouddih Adams

The Supreme Court, sitting in Yaounde, May 18, reduced the prison terms of Marafa Hamidou Yaya and Yves Michel Fotso, from the 25 years they were each slammed in 2012, to 20 years each.

Meantime, a banker, Assistant CEO of the Fotso-owned Commercial Bank of Cameroon, CBC, Julienne Kounda, who had been slammed alongside them, was acquitted after serving four years of the 10 years she was sentenced to.

It would be recalled that the former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation and erstwhile Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Marafa, and the former General Manager of Cameroon Airlines, CAMAIR and erstwhile General Manager of Commercial Bank of Cameroon, Fotso, were charged with the embezzlement of funds meant for the purchase of a Presidential plane, BBJ.

During Wednesday’s Supreme Court session, Marafa maintained a calm disposition; moving into and out of the court from time-to-time, while Fotso looked tense; drinking mineral water oftentimes.
Given that they have already spent about four years in prison, they now have remaining sentences of 16 years each.

After Wednesday’s session of the highest court of the land, both Marafa and Fotso described the ruling as a “travesty of justice.”

Background

Marafa, Fotso and his CBC collaborators were sentenced on September 22, 2012, after a marathon session of the Mfoundi High Court. The Court, in the case of “The Government of Cameroon vs. Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Fotso Michel Yves, Kounda Julienne, Sandjon Geneviève, Chapuis Jean-Louis, Assene Nkou,” were slammed various heavy sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years.

Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Yves Michel Fotso and Jean-Marie Assene Nkou got 25 years each; Jean-Marie Chapuis, former CEO of the Fotso-owned CBC and his collaborator, Genevieve Sandjon, got 15 years each; while Julienne Kounda, former Assistant CEO of CBC got 10 years.

They were asked to jointly pay FCFA 21 billion ($42 million) in damages and interest to the State, plus more than FCFA 1 billion ($2 million) in costs.

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