Cameroon – Special Criminal Court: Yves Michel Fotso Sentenced To Life Imprisonment

He was accused of embezzling 32 Billion FCFA belonging to the defunct national carrier, Cameroon Airlines, Camair, when he was General Manager.
The Yaounde-based Special Criminal Court, SCC, on Monday, April 25, 2016, sentenced Yves Michel Fotso to life imprisonment for embezzling 32.4 Billion FCFA during his tenure as General Manager of the defunct national carrier, Cameroon Airlines, Camair. The ruling was for the second of two matters for which Fotso is standing trial at the SCC. Fotso was also fined 19 Billion FCFA for the financial losses caused Camair as a result of the embezzlement. Also, money in about 15 frozen Fotso bank accounts was confiscated. The ruling, just like recent court sittings, took place in the absence of Yves Michel Fotso and all his five counsel. The lawyers wrote to the court last February to announce their withdrawal from the trial, alleging unfair hearing. Their decision came after Fotso wrote to the SCC to announce that he will no longer appear in court because the trial was being conducted in a biased manner. The judgement was delivered by a trial team headed by Mrs. Justice Virginie Eloundou, assisted by Mrs. Justice Siewe Yvette and Mrs. Justice Hayatou Zakiatou. The Advocates General were Mr. Justice Tagim and Mr. Justice Omam Fils. Earlier, after declaring Yves Michel Fotso guilty of embezzlement, Advocate General Omam Fils asked for the maximum jail term for the accused and the confiscation of his seized property and frozen bank accounts. Counsel for the State, Barrister Sama Francis Asanga, supported the position of Mr. Justice Omam Fils, but also requested commensurate losses for his client caused by the embezzlement. Barrister Ngongo Ottou, lawyer for Camair Liquidation, asked for losses equivalent to 6 per cent annual interest on the embezzled amount of 34.4 Billion from 2010 to 2016. He also demanded 500 Million FCFA as cost for moral losses caused the Camair Liquidation Committee. Prior to Monday’s sentence, Yves Michel Fotso was already serving a 25-year jail term for alongside others, embezzling about 21 Billion FCFA meant for the purchase of a presidential aircraft, the Bbjet 2. They were sentenced on September 12, 2012 by the Mfoundi High Court in Yaounde.

Kimeng Hilton NDUKONG

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