This story is a true case of “Dog eat dog”, or the proverbial “what goes around, comes around”, and this can only happen in the corruption-infested country of La Republique du Cameroun.
Two weeks ago, a whistleblower in the Cameroun Ministry of Economy and Finance leaked a document indicating the disbursement of 120 million CFA FRS to a none existent Lebialem Cultural and Development Association (LECDA) in 2018. ABS has now learned that more money was doled out to the said association in subsequent years, but what the association did with the funds remains a mystery.
The funds were disbursed into a clandestine bank account in Yaoundé known only to one John Fongang and Paul Tasong, President and Secretary General respectively of the none existent Lebialem association. Bernad Foju, Cameron’s Member of Parliament for Lebialem, and one Boniface Nkobenahi, who worked at the Presidency in Cameroon until recently are also alleged to be part of the racket that knew of the disbursement of the funds and how it was used in the none existent association.
Pretending to still have control over the Southern Cameroons, Ambazonia, the Cameroun government released the funds into the coffers of the none existent association to be used to fund youths engaged in agriculture in Lebialem according to a statement that accompanied the funds from their Finance Ministry. The crux of the story is this, not a single frank from what became a yearly allocation disbursed to the association ever touched the hands of the people of Lebialem, apparently the reason why the whistleblower leaked the transaction.
As the document showing the funds disbursement made the rounds in social media, especially within the Lebialem community, anger, consternation, and outrage characterized reactions from the people. There are questions too that they demand answers for. Questions like ‘who created the said bank account in Yaounde into which the funds were being directed, and who are the signatories to the account? What was the money used for and by whom? So far, John Fogang and Paul Tassong who are directly indicted have remained silent. Phone calls to them remain unanswered, indeed, Fongang is reported to have shut down his number after a flurry of phone calls began pouring in. Paul Tassong has also not made a single statement about the allegations.
Three days ago, the story took another twist. A statement from Cameroon’s Supreme State Audit at the Presidency in Yaoundé, issued on January 3rd, among others, is inviting John Fongang and his culprits for an urgent audit. Paul Tasong isn’t mentioned in the summons, but Fongang and Boniface Nkobenahi are requested to show up. Lebialem people may finally get to know who took the millions adding up to over half a billion CFA FRS, and exactly what it was used for if at all it was used for anything.
The interesting angle to this story, which is where the fraud is, is the fact that the Lebialem Cultural and Development Association that received these funds doesn’t even exist. It exists only on paper. In fact, the last time the association functioned was 1997. ABS was told that the Association went under right after John Fongang became President in 1997. PauL Tasong became Secretary General. But besides the two, there are no other known executive members. In fact, Justice Fonkweh, a Judge of the Cameroon Supreme Court from Lebialem attempted several times to revive the association, but the duo of Paul Tasong and Fongang pushed back on the effort.
But this is the question, does the fact that fraud may have been busted here mean anything to the Yaoundé regime? Thieves are never caught in the Cameroon system. They are protected. They bribe their way to freedom. If anything, just like in all of the Southern Cameroons where the elite always want the people to believe they work and fight for them, this one is certainly just another case of the elite fighting for themselves and not for the people. It should serve as an eye-opener to Ambazonians. Cameroon cannot punish them because then, they will have no more agents or what is popularly known as “Black legs” to use to placate Ambazonia to end the war. But if they do punish them, that would have only resembled the other playbook of La Republique, use them and dump them. We hope Ambazonians open their eyes, learn the lesson, that the so-called elite who come to them telling them to stop the war are not for them, they come for their own gain.