Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cameroon: Is Government planning to transfer jailed ex-minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya to notorious Yoko Prison?

Defense Counsel Says Authorities now view him as threat to Biya regime each time he publishes a letter.

Marafa(holding file) and Lawyer (Professor)Kale from a court hearing/AFP
By Christopher Ambe
 Persistent rumors are circulating especially in Yaoundé and the northern regions of Cameroon, that Government is planning to move Cameroon's most celebrated prisoner, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, to the notorious Yoko prison in the Centre Region of Cameroon where former President Ahmadou  Ahidjo used to dump  political dissidents.

Marafa, who was said to be a presidential hopeful and former senior minister, was recently sentenced to a 25-year jail term on embezzlement charges related to the botched purchase of a presidential jet in 2004.  He was sentenced along side Yves Michel Fotso, former Managing-director of the defunct state air transport company CAMAIR, which played a crucial role in the jet purchase. 

The Mfoundi Court found the two guilty of embezzling 24 billion CFA francs ($47.52m) that was meant for the purchase of the presidential plane. But the Defense has appealed against the judgement, described by some critics as a travesty of justice 

"I am very disappointed with the judgment but not surprised because this all has been politicized. But I will file an appeal against my conviction because I am not guilty," Mr Mafara had told reporters after the judgment.
In fact, Mr.Marafa was Minister of Territorial Administration until President Paul Biya fired him in a December 2011 cabinet reshuffle and got him arrested last April 16.

Mr Marafa was widely believed to harbor ambitions to succeed 79-year-old President Biya.

 Should Mr Marafa be moved again from SED where he is currently serving the prison term, it will confirm what Mr.Marafa's American –trained lawyer, Professor Ndiva Kofele Kale, has been saying since this affair erupted, that his client is a prisoner of conscience.

Bombarded with the rumor, The Recorder contacted Barrister Kale who had just come out from SED to see his client, for confirmation.

Hear what the Barrister, Professor Kale said:
"Authorities continue to view my client as a threat to the regime each time he publishes a letter that exposes its nasty underbelly. His recent riposte to the fiction concocted by the so-called anti-corruption agency, CONAC, regarding Marafa's alleged role in the illegal land speculation in Kribi, which appeared in the Friday, December 15 edition of Mutations must have sent out shock waves." 

 It would be recalled that Marafa's transfer from Kondengui Prison where he was on pre-trial detention to the SED lock up came after persistent rumors.

Political pundits believe that the new rumors foreshadow another transfer, perhaps banishment is the better word, of Mr. Marafa to remote Yoko unless Government decides otherwise.  

 “Because  he a good source to the press about the behind-the -scene dealings of  the Biya Regime, the Government may likely want to put him in an “ Out of sight, out of mind” position by contemplating his transfer to the remote and notorious Yoko.

Many people are of the opinion that the several sensitive and revealing letters about secret dealings by the Government published by ex-minister Marafa have shaken the foundation of the Biya régime, which has been battling with corruption now for many years with little success.

 Mr.Biya, who has been in power since 1982, launched "Operation Sparrow Hawk" in 2006 to combat corruption

No comments: