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Camairgate: Yves Michel Fotso trial suspended

Phase I of the trial of the former General Manager of the defunct national carrier has been suspended while awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court. The Special Criminal Court, SCC in Yaounde on August 4, 2015, accepted to suspend proceedings in Phase I of the two trials involving Yves Michel Fotso, the former General Manager of Cameroon Airlines, Camair, the defunct national carrier. Yves Michel Fotso is accused of embezzling FCFA 18.9 billion between 2000 and 2002. 

The suit, filed by Camair’s Liquidation Committee and the State of Cameroon, concerns FCFA 4 billion, FCFA 4.6 billion, and FCFA 8.9 billion, all compensation for the famous Boeing 747 ‘Combi’ aircraft as well as FCFA 1.4 billion, being the worth of the aircraft’s wreckage. By making the ruling, Mr. Justice Moukoury Francis, the lead judge in the trial, agreed with the submission made on July 16, 2015 by Barrister Achet Najnijni, counsel for Fotso.

In his written submission, copies of which were distributed to court officials, the lawyer reminded the court that the matter under consideration was last June appealed at the Supreme Court on the grounds of violations of the rights of the accused according to Article 473 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He recalled that the court last month rejected Fotso’s request to have charges against him dropped since he had already started reimbursing the amount he was accused of embezzling.

Consequently, Barrister Achet argued that while waiting for a specialised unit of the Supreme Court to rule on the appeal within a specific time frame, it was but normal for the SCC to suspend proceedings on the matter. After consulting briefly with colleagues, the leader of the trial team, Mr. Justice Moukoury Francis, and Mr. Justice Michel Onana and Mr. Justice Nyassa, adjourned the matter to July 29, 2015, at the request of the prosecution. When hearing resumed on July 29, 2015, both the Advocate General and counsel for the State, had no objection to Barrister Achet’s earlier submission.

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