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Why Corruption Is Endemic In MINEPDED 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
 
Results of a study on the evaluation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, abbreviated in French as SNLCC, in the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, MINEPDED, has revealed that poverty and misery are the main causes of corruption in that Ministry.
Presenting a report at a validation workshop in Yaounde on August 1, 2014, Dr. Marius Talla, a consultant who was assisted in the study by Josias Sipehouo and Herve Ntamack, said the document has a national scope, but with emphasis laid on the Centre, Littoral and East Regions. He said most of the projects which warrant the inspection and control of MINEPDED are found in the three regions.
He stated that investigations that led to the report were conducted within the ranks of NGOs operating in the forest and environment sector, MINEPDED approved structures working on environmental and social impact/audit assessment studies, enterprises being environmentally inspected and controlled by MINEPDED, partners of development, as well as personnel of that Ministry.
Aside poverty and misery, Dr. Marius Talla also outlined low salaries of workers; heavy and slow administrative machinery; poor understanding of the procedures and the law; quick and illicit acquisition of riches; impunity and the entrenchment of culture of easygoing, instead of hard work; extortion by public service agents; complacency during controls; under the table deals; abusive and fraudulent use of wood exploitation licenses; payments in cash during controls; as some of the practices leading to corruption in MINEPDED. 
Adding that respondents of the study believe that external services are less exposed to corruption than the central services, Talla said retention of information and documents, taking care by enterprises of members of control and inspection teams, intimidation, conniving with dishonest users, are also some of the acts promoting corruption.
The consultant outlined ways by which corrupt practices are manifested to include influence peddling; gifts and payment of undue tips; deliberate destruction of incriminating documents; abuse of power; fraud of all sorts; favouritism; embezzlement of resources; payment of undue commissions; and more.
Noting that the environment sector is classified as one of the priorities in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, the Secretary General in MINEPDED, Patrick Akwa Kum Bong, said the goal of the fight is to ensure that by 2015, Cameroon becomes a country, where integrity is a valuable capital to all citizens; economic growth based on work well done and the fruits equitably distributed.
He maintained that the strategic objective of the SNLCC in the environment sector is to improve on environmental governance with transparency being the key and reducing the intensity of the phenomenon by 2015. “Our actions and efforts in matters of protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable development as oriented, is on such basis of emergence that our citizen responsibilities are based,” he told his collaborators.
Akwa said the study was aimed at identifying areas where pockets of resistances against efforts to stem corruption in MINEPDED still exist as well as revisit the actions and results obtained so far in order to reinforce the strategy and pave a way for horizon 2020. 
Talking to the press later, the Secretary General admitted that when results of an independent study are presented as the consultant did, revelations in areas least expected to be corrupt are rather startling. He also acknowledge that poverty and societal miseries are at the base of corrupt practices, adding that pressure from members of the public on administrators to resolve their numerous problems also fuels corruption. Meanwhile, the report also identifies outburst of administrators in charge forest taxes during controls; lack of visibility, coordination and synergy between the anti-corruption initiatives and the poor technical capacity of forest controllers as some of the difficulties stalling the work of the SNLCC. Lack of denunciation mechanisms as well as protective measures; absence of manual of procedure and norms on the functioning of MINEPDED; low budgetary allocations to controllers; insufficient motivation and ignorance of actors in the environment sector, also constitute some of the issues to be addressed.

 

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