Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cameroon: Jailed Ex-minister Marafa wins criminal matter against him

Ex-minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya

By Christopher Ambe 

When the Mfoundi High Court last September slammed Cameron ex-minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya a 25 year-prison term for embezzling $29 million dollars with others, money which was meant for the purchase of a presidential jet, Mr. Marafa reacted, “I am disappointed but not beaten," He described himself as a victim of “slanderous accusations”.

And, his defense team led by American-trained lawyer and professor of law ,Ndiva kofele kale,filed an appeal against the judgment.

 Simultaneously, as the Marafa trial in connection with the botched presidential plane was going on, another criminal action was initiated against him by a certain convicted murderer called Mr.Bessong, who alleged that while serving as Minister of Territorial Administration, Mr. Marafa had defamed him.

But in what looked like the genesis of   Marafa’s victories in his legal battles, the President of the Yaound√© Court of First Instance, January 8, threw out the criminal defamation action brought against Mr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya by the convicted murderer Bessong on grounds that the matter was time-barred.

Government lawyers representing Bessong had tried to use this case which grew out of the unfortunate rioting in 2008 in protest of rising cost of living to embarrass Mr. Marafa; but the spirited ex- minister maintained his calm while his defense counsel assured him of victory over the matter.

The Marafa Defense, which  has  described their client’s sentencing to 25 years in prison as a travesty of justice , is  hopeful  that it would-everything being equal, cause the Appeals Court to  annul the judgment of the lower court that slammed Mr. Marafa and co  to 25 years in prison.

It would be recalled that while delivering judgment in the Marafa embezzlement case, the presiding judge of the Mfoundi High Court had noted:

“Investigations show that the 24 billion CFA francs ... for the purchase of the aircraft were diverted by Yves Michel Fotso for personal interests."
 “Fotso was at the time director general of the CBC bank in which funds for the purchase of the plane were deposited.
"The investigations also show that his friend and then secretary-general at the presidency Hamidou Marafa Yaya was well aware of the money being used for personal interest but failed to use his position as a senior administrative officer to prevent the diversion of the money," the judge said,sentencing.
"The court therefore is very certain that he too [ Hamidou Yaya] was involved in the entire process," he said.

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