Diaspora Cameroonians Sue Biya For Embezzlement Of Public Funds
February 2, 2010

By Our Political Affairs Correspondent in Yaounde

It may end up becoming a typical case of the hunter becoming the hunted. For, as President Paul Biya accelerates criminal investigations and court actions against alleged embezzlers of public funds here at home, some Cameroonians living in the Diaspora have brought court action against him for alleged misappropriation of public funds. The Cameroonians, under the auspices of and association of Cameroonians living in France named the Council of Cameroonians in the Disapora (CCD) filed the action in a Paris court Tuesday February 2, 2010.

It would be recalled that within the past two years, several non-governmental organisations such as Transparency International filed such court actions against Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and the late Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. However, as concerns these three leaders, a Paris court, presided over by Justice Françoise Desset threw out the cases ruling that the non-governmental organisations had no locus standi in filing the suits because they stood to lose nothing by the alleged embezzlement of public funds by the said heads of state.

As concerns the case filed against President Paul Biya of Cameroon, the Council of Cameroonians in the Diaspora (CCD)’s president Robert Waffo-Wanto says this action has been brought by Cameroonians who have been affected by the Biya embezzlement and not by non-governmental organisations.

According to the Council of Cameroonians in the Diaspora, the wealth acquired by Biya in France since he became Cameroon’s head of state in 1982 could amount to several billion FCFA, the French language newspaper Mutations reveals.

“If an investigation were ordered in France, it would be able to determine what Biya who lives in opulence with his family while poverty has continued to increase in Cameroon really owns by way of assets”, declared CCD’s Vice President Celestin Djamen, quoted by the French News Agency (AFP).

It is expected that a Paris State Prosecutor would on the strength of the filed suit either order an investigation into President Biya’s assets or file away the suit as a non-event. Whilst the Paris State Prosecutor takes his time in deciding on the fate of the suit, Cameroonians await this decision with a lot of anxiety.