Embezzlement: Cameroon authorities drag Pamol and CDC managers to court

(Business in Cameroon) - Pamol Plantations PLC and CDC, the main victims of the anglophone crisis ongoing since late 2016, are the target of misappropriation investigations. This is at least what the summonses sent to the general managers of those two state firms and some of their collaborators hint at. 

According to the summonses, which was leaked on social media, Ngoni Njie Franklin Ikome (general manager of CDC since December 2012) and Solomon Mbile Tapea (general manager of Pamol since October 2020) are respectively expected to appear on February 15 and 17, 2022 before investigators of the Special Criminal Court in Cameroon, over a public fund misappropriation case. 

The summons state that those two executives are considered ‘suspects’ in the embezzlement investigation ongoing since May 2021. 

For the time being, there are no further details about the investigation. However, in recent years, CDC and Pamol have received significant financial support from the State of Cameroon. These financial supports were provided after the restructuring process initiated by Pamol Plantations PLC. The funds were provided to help those two agro-industries deal with the difficulties that ensued from the ongoing separatist crisis in the Anglophone regions, especially in the South-West where they have a banana, rubber, and oil palm plantations (Ed.note: Pamol exploits only oil palm plantations).  

Performance contract 

In 2019 for instance, a Presidential decree allocated XAF9.5 billion to Pamol Plantations in the framework of a performance contract the company signed in 2015 with its majority shareholder, the state.  According to the CTR - Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Para public Sector Enterprises- as of end-2020, some XAF5.2 billion had effectively been released to the company’s accounts. In its 2020 report on state and parastatal firms’ performance, the CTR informs that Pamol failed to achieve the performance target set in the contract and that the performance will soon be audited. 

As far as CDC is concerned, in January 2019, its general manager estimated that the company needed XAF29 billion to recover from the impacts of the anglophone crisis that had claimed the lives of at least 16 company employees. After this plea to the government, CDC received some XAF3.5 billion subsidy from the state to pay salary arrears, the CTR indicates in the 2020 report.

This investigation is revealed just weeks after the Head of State’s end-of-year address to the nation implicitly announcing the forthcoming resumption in the hunt launched in 2016 against crooked public managers. In the framework of that anti-corruption operation dubbed "Epervier", several ministers and general managers were arrested, tried, and jailed. 

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