11 November 2012

Cameroon: Olanguena Awono to Face New Charges

The former Minister of Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono who is undergoing trial for embezzlement will have to face new charges in court in the days ahead. Olanguena was accused recently of embezzling the sum of FCFA 200 million following a protocol agreement signed with the Cameroon Social Marketing Communication (ACMS), in violation of the rules and regulations of public contracts.

He is also charged with attempting to embezzle the sum of FCFA 60 million within the framework of the signing of the said protocol of agreement as well as the embezzlement of the sum of FCFA 122 million on the contract for the supply of equipment for sensitisation on malaria and HIV/AIDS with NGOs.

Consequently, a new warrant of arrest was served to the former minister. However, the new case against the former minister concerns charges which were formerly annulled by the Yaounde High Court, and were later confirmed by the Yaounde Appeal Court on March 12, 2012. It should be recalled that Olanguena and his aides are still waiting judgement on the embezzlement case. The judgement which was supposed to be delivered on October 16, 2012 is yet to be made public. Attempts to deliver judgement by the college of judges at the Mfoundi High Court were futile following the continuous absence of the prosecution and the accused.

According to sources at the court, the Mfoundi High Court was expected to transfer the case to the Special Criminal Court. Preparations are already underway for hearings of cases on corruption called "Operation Sparrow Hawk". The case, it is alleged, will start all over.

The former Minister of Public Health was arrested on March 31, 2008 with five of his former aides for embezzlement of State funds destined for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

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