Fight Against Corruption : Strides, Challenges, Prospects
An information and exchange forum that held at the National Assembly yesterday November 16, 2023 witnessed actors presenting measures on how the cankerworm is being combatted.
Cameroon, in its fight against corruption, has reforms that check the phenomenon. Despite the challenges, the fight continues. It is within this framework that the Parliamentary Network for the Fight Against Corruption organised an information an exchange forum at the National Assembly on November 16, 2023 that brought together stakeholders involved in eradicating the ill from the society. The special plenary sitting was chaired by the Senior Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hilarion Etong, who said corruption is a phenomenon that is sending its claws in all sectors, and stands against the development of the State. As a result, cabinet Ministers and other personalities ranking as such took to the rostrum to explain the strides covered, challenges and prospects in the fight against corruption.
The President of the network, Hon. Essomba Bengono said the session was in response to the prescriptions of the Head of State during his address to the nation on December 31, 2022 on corruption and the duties of the National Assembly on the control of government action.
The Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Laurent Esso, in his presentation on the repressive measures against corruption related offenses, said as at September 30, 2023, they had deposited at the State treasury FCFA nine billion, 637 million as dues from legal fees and other recovery after the passing of a judgement by a Court. The Ministry of Justice in itself, the Minister of State stated, belongs to the executive and not judicial arm of government, and thus repression is solely the responsibility of Courts. The Minister of State added that the courts only pass judgements on what is punishable by the law and not what is circulated by the social media or the press. As per the sanctions, he said a prison term of five to 10 years is previewed for those found guilty of syphoning State funds between FCFA 200, 000 to two million and one to five years for amounts below FCFA 200,000. In relation to the embezzlement of public funds or property, Laurent Esso said the Penal Code provides for a life imprisonment if the evaluated amount is more than FCFA 500,000, and then 15 to 20 years imprisonment when the estimated value is more than FCFA 100,000. On long detention periods, he explained that provisional detention is obligatory when a crime is concerned. Some organs of repression as cited by the Minister of State include the Special Criminal Court (when the alleged syphoned amount is more than FCFA 50 million), Court of First Instance (less than FCFA 100,000), Military Tribunal (less than 50 million) and the High Court.
In their presentations, the Chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Rev. Dr. Dieudonné Massi Gams, the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of the Supreme State Audit Office Mbah Acha Rose, and a representative of the National Agency for Financial Investigation, all presented what is being done in their respective domains. The CONAC Chairperson dwelt on the principal elements in favour of an anti-corruption law in Cameroon. To him, the law, which other countries such as Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya and Ghana already have, will give more powers to the institution as the corruption police.
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