26 December 2012

Cameroon: Olanguena Awono Pleads not Guilty

The second embezzlement case against the former Public Health Minister began yesterday in Yaounde before the Special Criminal Court.

The hearing of a new embezzlement case pitting the State of Cameroon represented by the Ministry of Public Health against the former Minister of Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono began yesterday, December 26, 2012 at the Special Criminal Court in Yaounde.

At 9:00 am yesterday, the atmosphere at the court premises was calm. The arrival of Olanguena Awono in a navy blue suit was preceded by the arrival of some close relations anxious to know what other accusations had been made against him. The slight delay of the college of judges and the prosecution was an opportunity for Urbain Olanguena Awono to concert with his lawyers. Then came the college of judges led by the Vice President of the court, Moukouri Francis and accompanied by Siewe Yvette and Mamar Paba Sale. Advocate Generals David Wesiheba and Jean-Claude Taghim sat for the legal department while the Ministry of Health, constituted as civil party, was represented by Soete Jean Claude Aimé and Julien Mpah Wanga. The two said the Ministry of Public Health has solicited the services of two more lawyers but who were absent yesterday.

According to the charge read by the court registrar, Urbain Olanguena Awono is accused of fraudulently obtaining the sum of FCFA 322 million between 2002 and 2006 within the framework of the management of programmes for the fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS, respectively. At the same time, he attempted to fraudulently obtain the sum of FCFA 60 million from the State which is contrary to Articles 74, 94 and 184 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty. No further questioning or claims were made. The case was adjourned to the 10th of January 2013, pending the presence of the lawyers of the Ministry of Public Health and the presentation of the list of witnesses by the defense lawyers.

The court session began at 9:25 am and ended at 9:50 am.

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