By Ayah P Abine
At the beginning of the present parliamentary session in Cameroun, Hon Mbah Ndam Joseph of the opposition SDF tabled a draft resolution to probe the crash of CAMAIR (the country’s defunct airlines) Boeing 737 in 1995 and the alleged misappropriation of the funds destined for the compensation of the families of the deceased victims of the crash.
The Bill was considered properly before the House.
But when the Bill came up for debates in committee on the morning of June 13, 2012, at 9 o’clock, the ruling party’s members of the committee, who are four to one as against the Opposition, moved that the Bill be thrown out at the pleasure of the Emperor. Even as the Opposition MPs clearly demolished the flimsy arguments of the ruling party, the chairperson of the committee cut short the debates and put the motion to the vote with obvious results.
CPDM, the ruling party, has demonstrated just again that our parliament is a mere formality institution that works at the beck and call of the Emperor. It is inconceivable that the Chairmen’s Conference that is the body competent to judge whether or not a Bill is properly before the House so held but a committee of the House arrogates to itself a role that is not theirs as per the Standing Orders of the House.
Yet could it not have been otherwise given that, from every indication, three ministers and other high-ranking personalities of the ruling party were to be exposed during the probe. In Cameroon, it is a fact most notorious that belonging to the ruling party is tantamount to insuperable immunity till one falls from grace to grass. Ours is really a most advanced democracy! God save Cameroon but not Cameroun!
Below is the Draft Resolution by the SDF, the leading opposition party,which was tabled in Cameroon's Parliament ,but to the surprise of millions of citizens,it was rejected by the majority CPDM .
DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR THE CREATION OF A PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION OF INQUIRY IN RESPECT OF THE NON INDEMNISATION OF THE SEVENTY ONE (71) VICTIMS OF THE BOEING 737-200 (THE NYONG) THAT CRASHED IN DOUALA ON 03 DECEMBER 1995
The President of the National Assembly,
Honourable Joseph Mbah-Ndam and members of the Social Democratic Front Parliamentary Group (SDF), at the National Assembly;
HAVE THE HONOUR TO STATE AS FOLLOWS.
That in an open letter written by Minister of State, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, presently in prison custody, addressed to the President of the Republic and published in numerous newspapers, it emerges from the said letter that the seventy one (71) victims of the Boeing 737-200 belonging to the defunct CAMAIR which crashed on 03 December 1995 have never been indemnified despite the fact that the legal proceedings against TRANSNET-SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS resulted in the payment of a colossal sum of Thirty Two billion, Five Hundred Thousand (32,500,000,000) FCFA.
Indeed, it emerges from the said letter that in May 1994, written agreements had been entered into in Paris, France, by which TRANSNET-SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS undertook to ensure the maintenance of Boeing 737 and 747 belonging to the defunct CAMAIR;
That it is because of the corruption of certain Cameroonian authorities and workers of the defunct CAMAIR with the South African Company cited above, which resulted in failure and groos negligence in the execution of the said contracts, leading in consequence to the crash of the Boeing 737-200 baptised as “Le Nyong” in 1995 and occasioning the loss of human lives, the loss of the reactor of Boeing 747-200, in the course of a flight in Paris, France;
That this corruption was exposed by the follow-up Committee of the execution of the said contracts of maintenance created in consequence by arête (order) No 530/CAB/CAB/PR of 14 November 2000 rendering null and void the said contracts and the restitution of the sum of Thirty Two billion, Five Hundred Thousand (32,500,000,000) FCFA unjustly paid to the said South African Company without taking into account damages that were equally paid;
That the Follow-up Committee of the execution of the said contracts of maintenance had also as mission, inter alia, to commence legal proceedings against TRANSMET-SAA for and on behalf of CAMAIR and the state of Cameroon;
That after several years, he, (Marafa Hamidou Yaya) has been informed that the matter was heard and determined and TRANSNET-SAA found guilty and the state of Cameroon indemnified;
That he had at that time, proposed to the President of the Republic, to indemnify the seventy one (71) victims in the sum of 100,000,000 FCFA per victim, making a total of 7,100,000,000 FCFA and the rest of 25,500,000,000 FCFA plus the damages paid to the defunct CAMAIR;
That up to date neither the victims have been indemnified nor the sum of 25,500,000,000 FCFA plus the amount of the damages paid to the liquidators of the defunct CAMAIR whose ex-employees have never been paid their rights;
It is worthwhile emphasizing here that had these billions been paid to CAMAIR, it would not have gone into liquidation;
That curiously and to his great surprise the beneficiaries of this corruption that was the fundamental cause of these sad events, some years later, have been promoted and some to governmental functions;
It is for these Reasons That They Solicit, Most Respectfully, Mr President of the National Assembly;
Mindful of the Constitution, the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Cameroon, which provides in sections 14 (2), 29 and 35 the oversight of government action through, inter alia, the establishment of Parliamentary Commissions of Enquiry for specified subjects;
Mindful of the provisions of section 67 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly as amended by Laws No 93/001 of 16 June 1993 and 2002/005 of 02 December 2002, read in conjunction with Law no 91/029 of 16 December 1991 which specifies the procedure in this regard;
Hereby request in consequence, the establishment of a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry to investigate the said allegations and apportion responsibilities with a view to:
1. Indemnify the families of the seventy-one victims of the Boeing 737-200 crash of 03 December 1995
2. Pay back to the liquidator of the defuct CAMAIR the sum of 25,500,000,000 FCFA plus the damages that were recovered to enable him pay the rights of the ex-employees who up to date have not been paid;
3. Bring to book before the competent jurisdictions authors and accessories of these heinous acts that resulted in the loss of human lives, the destruction of public wealth and the embezzlement of public funds.
Yaounde 05 June 2012
Hon. Joseph Mbah-Ndam