Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cameroon OIC Buea 40 M Fcfa Embezzlement Scandal: Sacked Director, Others Contest Board’s Decision!

By Christopher Ambe
Four recently sacked officials of Cameroon Opportunities  Industrialization Centre (COIC ) Buea who were accused of embezzling a total of about 40 million Fcfa  being  money put at their disposal for the smooth running of the institution, have reportedly rubbished the decision of the  Board of Directors relieving them of their functions.
      COIC Buea, an affiliate of OIC International with headquarters in Philadelphia, USA, was established in 1986 as a non-profit, community-based skills training Program. COIC depends largely on Government subvention which stands at 150 million Fcfa yearly.
        In separate protest letters addressed to the Board Chairman of Cameroon OIC, Barrister Sam Ekontang Elad, dependable sources told The Recorder that, the sacked officials described as unfounded the allegations leveled against them- that they are embezzlers.
COIC  Board  Chair Barrister  Ekontang Elad,
      The sacked officials include Madam Clara Limunga Molua, who was Cameroon OIC Director for several years and was relieved of her functions, and ordered to reimburse within one month over 16 million Fcfa she reportedly embezzled or be prosecuted.
      The three others are Fritz Ikome Lyonga, former Finance Officer who was also accused of embezzling a little over 16 mFcfa; OIC Pavilion Accountant Mbua Michael Nganje, accused of pocketing 3.8 mFcfa and the OIC Pavilion Business Manager, Lucy Ndelly who reportedly swindled 3.8 m Fcfa.They were equally asked to reimburse the money within a month or be prosecuted
     The four were slammed the punitive sanctions following a recent Board of Directors’ meeting, which was rather chaired by Hon. Meoto Paul Njie, who is the Board’s vice -chair, even as Chairman Sam Ekontang Elad was present.
    The officials were punitively sanctioned based on the “findings” of an ad hoc committee headed by OIC Board member and retired military official, Commandant Ekeke Moses.
 The committee was charged with investigating into the financial management of the institution.
     The Recorder learned that, because of serious allegations of financial impropriety in the institution, which receives a yearly government subvention of 150 million Fcfa even the Board Chair was reportedly grilled by the Board’s own commission of inquiry, especially as he is the vote-holder.
    Ex-Director of COIC   Clara  Limunga Molua, for example, is quoted by our source  to have stated bluntly in her protest letter to the Board Chairman that, “ I wish to state without fear of contradiction that I have never embezzled any sum of money as alleged by your correspondence dated May 8,2015.”
    The disgraced officials, we learned, are at loss to understand how the Board could take sensitive decisions such as   sacking senior workers based on the findings of a commission of inquiry, yet those accused or affected are, despite request, denied access to the same report.
“This seems to be some mafia; if not, let them make public their findings so that the affected would see where and how they embezzled .Who is hiding what?” one COIC worker, who is an advocate of transparency, wondered.
     Our sources also wondered why C OIC board meetings held without an invitation extended to the director of the centre, who is very pivotal in the running of human resource development centre..
      The recorder gathered that the sacked officials are eager to lay hands on the findings of the commission of inquiry which nailed- particularly because the state auditors recently came twice to COIC on mission and they reportedly left satisfied.
     Upon receipt of the protest letters from the accused and sacked officials, the Board has reportedly told them that, the next board meeting will examine deeply their worries.
It should be noted that, the sacked officials have not had their employment contracts terminated but have simply been redeployed to lower positions in the same institution, which has had difficulty paying salaries on a monthly basis.
    COIC offers vocational/technical training in the following trades areas: Auto Mechanics/Motor Electricity * Building Construction * Hotel Catering & Management * Information & Communication Technology *Metal Fabrication, Welding and Spraying & Wood Work. It has graduated since inception at least 27,000 trainees.
(First published in The RECORDER Newspaper, Cameroon, of June 10, 2015)

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