The Limbe Court of First Instance has begun hearing the case pitting the ex-General Manager of the National Oil Refinery Corporation, SONARA, Charles Metouck and the State of Cameroon. The former SONARA GM appeared in court on Friday, February 22, 2013 following his arrest and detention at the Buea Judicial Police earlier in the week.
The former SONARA GM was charged with seven counts including the use of a fake document to gain access into SONARA GM's office, signing a document on February 18, 2013 which cited payment undertaken after official notice of his replacement, signing a document permitting the payment of a bill to one of SONARA's contractors, GREMCORE, destruction of documents belonging to SONARA without just cause, retention of keys of SONARA GM's office without just cause and retention of the official batch of SONARA GM which ought to have been remitted after handing over on February 15, 2013.
Charles Metouck was charged alongside the Litigation Officer of SONARA, Jean Jules Ediguele Ediguele. Five other aides who were also arrested and detained were granted bail by the State Counsel and are now serving as witnesses. Charles Metouck however pleaded not guilty.
The Court appearance which principally was to identify the accused and officially state his charges, was adjourned to Friday, March 1, 2013 by the presiding judge, Magistrate Tatsi Theophilus. The Defense Counsel pleaded for their client to be released on bail, but it was rejected.
It should be recalled that Charles Metouck was replaced as the General Manager of SONARA on 15 February following instructions from the Head of State, President Paul Biya. His successor, Ibrahim Talba Malla, was immediately installed by the Minister of Water and Energy, Dr. Basile Atangana Kouna after an emergency board meeting held in Limbe.