He is accused of financial misappropriation by the so-called Special Criminal Court. The French Cameroun political elite has been held in pre-trial detention since January 5 at the Kondengui Maximum Security Prison.
This week in Yaounde, pro Biya state prosecutors questioned Jean Claude Atanga Bikoe the general manager of a CPDM creation known as Road Fund dedicated to the financing of road maintenance and direct payment to private companies for services provided under contracts awarded after competitive bidding.
Cameroon Intelligence Report correspondent covering the Special Criminal Court reported that Jean Claude Atanga Bikoe was arrested on the basis of several damning reports which is still to reveal the exact amount stolen by the GM.
The pro Biya regime judges also accused the former GM of complicity in the misappropriation of public property, forgery and use of forgeries in public writing, in the context of the financial management of the Road Fund.
The presidential decree that created the Road Fund as a public administrative establishment in 1996 stipulates that its general manager ensures its daily management by collecting and transferring financial resources into the Fund’s bank accounts or public treasury. Hon. Jean Claude Atanga Bikoe was installed at the head of the Road Fund in 2012.
Jean Claude Atanga Bikoe’s arrest comes in the wake of the presidential speech at the end of the year. The 88-year old Paul Biya announced, among other things, the resumption of the fight against misappropriation of public funds.
Depicting the Special Criminal Court established to prosecute alleged corrupt government officials and the several Alibabas responsible for pilfering from the public treasury as President Biya’s court is no misnomer. Cameroon Concord News Group calls it the President’s court because it is one instrument of power through which Biya is reining in on perceived opponents from within his CPDM power conduit.
An attribute of a genuine court is the fairness of the trial proceedings in cases which are brought before the court for trial. It is not the number of convictions entered against accused. A court is legitimate and recognized as such because of its exercise of judicial, executive, legislative and administrative independence. A court that is independent must be accessible to all citizens after all, is equality before the law, not a constitutionally protected value? The Special Criminal Court is lacking in these attributes of impartiality, judicial independence and accessibility. It is perceived more as President Biya’s Court than a Court of Justice.
Establishing this court was President Biya’s way of saving himself the embarrassment of being humiliated during his perennial trips abroad as the President of the most corrupt country in the world. This ranking of the country as the most corrupt or one of the most corrupt countries had a potential to hamper President Biya’s personal pecuniary interests far from the borders of Cameroon. There was therefore a personal interest need to establish the court. Another personal interest need was to avail himself of a legal tool under his direct control to consolidate absolute power, blackmail potential rebels and competitors within the system and to stifle any form of institutional opposition. He perceived the court as a tool with which to whitewash his more than thirty-eight years of corrupt governance and the rape of the economy.
With the war against Boko Haram and the war in Southern Cameroons, the fight against corruption using the Special Criminal Court has afforded Paul Biya justification contest in the next institutionally flawed elections in order to eternalize power purportedly to direct the war against so-called terror and the war against corruption. True to the name the President’s Court, the President has exclusive preserve in referring cases to the Special Court and the power to terminate them. He decides who will be arrested, who will be investigated and who will serve time and who will not.
In one instance, he ordered a detained late Minister Bapes Bapes released from remand custody at Kondengui when a warrant was issued for his arrest without the presidential fiat.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with files from Rita Akana