28 July 2014

Cameroon: Issah Ahmed to Give Evidence On Oath

Hearing in the case opposing the State of Cameroon (Bafia council, in the Centre Region) against the former mayor of the Bafia Council, Issah alias Issah Ahmed could not proceed last July 24 at the Special Criminal Court in Yaounde because the counsel of the accused asked for an adjournment of the case to permit his client have time to legalise exhibits which he will use to give as evidence in defending his case. The head of the panel of judges hearing the case, Mrs Justice Yvette Siewe adjourned the case to August 18, 2014 to give time for the defence to legalise his exhibits in the case.

Last Thursday August 24 at the Special Criminal Court, when the case against Issah was called up, he immediately indicated his presence and moved into the defendant dock. The court, in an earlier session, had heard the witnesses of the Legal Department, the submissions of the Legal Department and found that there is evidence to warrant the accused to be put to his defence.

According to section 366 article 1, A, B and C, of the Criminal Procedure Code, if the court finds that there is evidence to warrant the accused to be put to his defence, it shall put the following options to him, that he may make a statement in his defence not on oath, he may say nothing or that he may give evidence on oath as a witness. Issah opted to give evidence on oath as a witness. But during the court session, Issah's counsel asked for an adjournment to enable him legalise his exhibits which will permit the court to accept them in hearing.

Speaking on behalf of the Legal Department, Advocate General, David Wesiheba did not object the request of the defence counsel but reminded the court that the time required to hear the case was running out and only one month was left. The presiding judge together with Mr Justice René Lucien Eyango and Mr Justice Mamar Paba Sale adjourned the case to August 18.

Information culled from the Committal Order bringing Issah in front of the Special Criminal Court indicate that he is alleged to have embezzled some FCFA 284 466 664 from the Bafia Council when he was mayor. Statistically, it is said that Issah misused over FCFA nine million meant to pay youths who were holiday workers at the council, FCFA 32 million allocated for the payment of temporary workers in the council, FCFA six million as mission fees for missions as well as misappropriating over FCFA 86 million for the construction of a Primary School at Tamboro in Bafia.

Figures further reveal that Issah also misappropriated some FCFA 95 million for the construction of a port at Guen in Bafia, over FCFA four million as tax collected for local products as well as some FCFA 32 million as tax collected from markets. It is also revealed that the former mayor collected council money worth over FCFA 24 million from a bank in Bafia and used for his private needs.

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