The Presidency of the Republic is in the murky waters of a scam in which some unscrupulous individuals have been using fake mission orders to facilitate the travel of some people abroad.
The racket that seems to have been going on for so long was uncovered at the Swiss Embassy recently. One official of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic, Gabriel Mbesse Ngojo, and one Alain Jean Claude Ngoulou, who claimed to have worked at the Presidency as private secretary to President Paul Biya’s junior sister, are languishing in pre-trial detention at the Kondengui prison over the matter.
Three other people, Vanessa Lynne Amougou Foe, Eveline Youmbisse and Yannick Nguedjo, who tried to use the racket to obtain visas from the Swiss Embassy in Yaounde, are also awaiting trial in prison.
Even though the scandal dates back to December 2015, it was only blown open when the Mfoundi High Court began hearing the suspects last September 27.
According to facts of the case, main accused person, Ngoulou, used the fake documents and applied for visas for himself at the Swiss Embassy and three of his “clients”.
Going by the persecution, the three “clients” had a deal to pay FCFA 3 millioin each to Ngoulou as soon as he obtained the visas for them.
Ngoulou had attached to the visa application he sent to the Swiss Embassy a collective fake mission order with a fake signature of the Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, on it.
A written note purportedly signed by the Secretary General at the Ministry of External Relations was also attached to the application.
After receiving the documents, consular officials at the Swiss Embassy insisted that they must have confirmation from the official who has been following up visas for the Presidency, Gabriel Mbesse Ngojo.
The latter who worked at the protocol service of the Presidency was in charge of following up visas for officials of the State House at the Swiss Embassy.
Instead of waiting for the Embassy to do its independent verification on the controversial mission orders, Ngonlou quickly went and convinced Mbesse Ngojo to accompany him to the Embassy and defend him. As soon as the duo arrived at the Embassy, police arrested them for using fake documents.
Going by the Examining Magistrate at the Mfoundi High Court, Ngoulou’s three clients were fully aware that the documents were fake and so avoided following up their visas themselves.
The Examining Magistrate, Justice Marthe Annie Onana, said Mbesse Ngojo was part of the racket because he accepted to go and defend the fake documents Ngoulou deposited at the Swiss Embassy.
During the investigations, The Post learnt, the Chief of State Protocol at the Presidency of the Republic, Simon Pierre Bikele, and the Technical Adviser at the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency, Oswalde Baboke, were also interrogated.
They reportedly rejected claims by Ngoulou that his “clients” were going on mission on behalf of the Presidency. The two officials said there was nothing at the Presidency like a collective mission order as Ngoulou claimed.
Taking the floor in court to defend himself, the main accused person, Ngoulou said he actually worked at the Presidency for over a decade.
He said he worked as private secretary to President Biya’s younger sister, Elizabeth Mekou Me Mvondo. During this period, he was the one responsible for obtaining visas for members of the Presidential family.
He admitted during cross-examination by the prosecutor that he used the position to enable many other people who were not members of the Presidential family to travel out of the country. Ngoulou said he only stopped working at the Presidency in 2010 because he was a victim of a cardiovascular attack.
The accused person said the Chief of the State Protocol and the Technical Adviser at the Civil Cabinet were wrong when they told the investigators that the collective mission order does not exist at the presidency When asked how he got the controversial mission orders, he said he got them with the help of the brother-in-law of the Secretary General at the Presidency, whose name he presented as Ngah Koumda. He said he got them at the price of FCFA 500.000
When asked if he verified to see if the mission orders were authentic, he said he was sure because Ngah Koumda is a serious person who works at the Presidency.
When the prosecution turned the heat on Mbesse Ngojo, he swore that he had not seen the documents. He said he only went to the Swiss Embassy because Ngoulou convinced him to go there.
As we went to press last evening, the other three accused persons were still being heard in court. The defense lawyer was also expected to make their submissions.
Talk is rife that when the court finally get into the crux many big heads who have been surreptitiously part of the racket, are going to hell at the presidency.
The racket is akin to a recent case at the National Assembly in which one worker forged the signature of the speaker and used it to recruit his family member and promoted some.