Doctoring the Spin Doctors. By Ntemfac Nchwete Ofege

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In June this year, a French and Catholic outfit, CCFD, published a disquieting document to the effect that Mr. Paul Biya, erstwhile president of La Republique du Cameroun, may have stolen 46 billion FCFA from the country. Since that publication, the Biya regime has wheeled out militants, universitydons, sociologists, political thugs, political touts, pseudo-intellectuals, medical doctors, witch doctors, etc, to demonize and exorcise all who talkabout the issue. Now comes another report that Mr. Biya incinerated circa 1.000.000.000FCFA in three weeks of vacation, bringing the tally to 47 billion! Out come the militants, university dons, sociologists, political thugs, political touts, pseudo-intellectuals, medical doctors, witch doctors, etc, again. Media Strategist, Ntemfac Nchwete Ofege starts telling these tatterdemalion hellcats what is who… Curioser and curioser. A French newspaper says that for his latest ‘private stay’ at the Hermitage and Royal hotels in La Baule, France, Mr. Paul BIYA, President of Cameroun, and his retinue of some 43 happy-go-lucky souls, incinerated 27.000.000fcfa a day on choice items like lodging, feeding, shopping, manicure, pedicure, massage, what have you. The newspaper report, taken up by two other major French newspapers, stated clearly that for his circa three week stay in France, Paul Biya and his merry men used up some 600.000.000fcfa! The Biya government itself announced that Mr. Biya actually spent only 1.000.000.000fcfa for his vacation, but that part of the bill was picked up by ‘friends’likethe very French Bolloré Group. Now Bolloré is this offending French offender (investigated and actually found guilty in France for scams) to whom Mr. Biya traded off Cameroun’s railway Corporation, REGIFERCAM, the container terminal of the Douala Port, investments in agro-industries, etc. for a token sum. If these officials of Mr Biya’s entourage are correct, Bolloré picked up the tab as a matter of saying, thank you, Mr. President for the gift of key portions of Cameroun’s economy. Some local newspapers even refer to Bolloré as the vice president of Cameroon. Incidentally, while Mr. Biya and Co. were winning and dinning on Bolloré ‘s money, some Regifercam staff, protesting years of slave labour under the new slave drive Bolloré, pulled out rails in Yaounde and its environs. The result was a series of train accidents in which at least 05 Camerounians lost their lives and over 300 were wounded. Actually, the French Journalists who leaked out the figures of Mr. Biya’s expenses at La Baule were off the mark. They forgot the price tag of a private jet waiting for Mr. Biya at the nearest airport. An airline expert has just revealed to me that that plane was leased at the astronomical 300.000.000fcfa a day! That means that for his current private trip abroad Mr. Biya could have squandered anything between 1.000.000.000fcfa and 3.000.000.000fcfa! Work out the figure of all previous private visits abroad by this gentleman since 1982 and you only just begin to get the sorry picture. Mr. Biya blew away 1 billion in three weeks and now his administration has just obtained a 50 billion FCFA loan from the IMF. One tends not to be sympathetic with the screams from French newspapers that Mr. Biya had incinerated circa 1 billion FCFA whereas the French government had pledged aid of 350 billion FCFA to Cameroon over 05 years. The French have maintained Mr. Biya in power anyway and French hotels benefited from the steal. This leads me kindly to Issa Bakary Tchiroma. Mr. Biya’s latest spin doctor. Now another term for spin doctor is shit-shiner. Never in the life of me did I imagine that a man, one of God’s creatures would opt to be a shit shiner. Except, of course, Mr. Tchiroma is of his father….. Mr. Bakary told the BBC’s Focus on Africa prgramme the reports were an attempt to “destabilise” the country. “Isn’t he free to make a good use of his money?” the minister asked. “Does he have to give the account of the way that he’s using this money to journalists in Paris or here?” Whaaaat!!!!!! His money? And, I fail to see the correlation between denouncing a spendthrift president and the stability of Cameroon. Yet another minister, Biyiti bi Essam defended Mr, Biya’s right to his vacation in two newspapers (Cameroon Tribune and Le Jour) as if that right was at issue. Now let us work out the implication of the cash as squandered by Mr. Biya. The government of Cameroun constructs a classroom for 10.000.000fcfa. Given that Mr. Biya’s latest vacation costs 1.000.000.000fcfa according to the presidency the government could have constructed 1000 classrooms with this loot. At ten classrooms (plus offices) per school, government could have erected 100 schools. I bet that government could have erected at least 300 schools with the total amount wasted by Mr. Biya in his latest extravaganza. It is a fine irony that while the president squandered state funds a mud block wall in an equally makeshift government school in Balepipi, West region collapsed killing two children one four the other five-year old. When the CCFD, a French cum Catholic watchdog, published a document suggesting that Mr. Biya may have stolen some 46.000.000.000fcfs from Cameroon Mr. Tchiroma, the shit-shiner, shouted from the rooftop that those who publishing this information were characters trying to destabilize Cameroun and steal the country’s vast mineral wealth, especially the newly discovered diamond fields. I fail to see the correlation between a high official accused of swiping public money and Cameroon’s mineral wealth. The ruling party then wheeled out a whole kyrie of pseudo-intellectuals, psychologists, sociologists, political thugs, etc to defend Mr. Biya. CDPM Secretary General, Rene Sadi, expressed the indignation of his militants. Mr. Sadi said the CPDM condemned the insidious manœuvres and disinformation which were intended to distract the Camerounese people from their forward march to economic, social and cultural development which march had recorded precious achievements in stability,, unity, democracy social justice and international expansion !” That bombast failed to address the critical issue. Did Mr. Biya spoil the Camerounese state by stealing money from SCB? Did he institute a procedure to skim away percentages from public and private companies? Ha Paul Biya swiped 46 billion from the state of Cameroon? At least 3.200.000.000 of this 46 billion can be accounted for. Messi Messi told us that Mr. Biya (via his defunct wife, Jeane Irene Biya) took out 3.200.000.000fcfa from the now dead SCB Bank (as a loan) to build for himself a country house in Mvomeka. That house was designed by Tunisian architect Cacoub, the very one who designed the current presidency. Did Mr. Biya pay back this ‘loan?’ If he did, where did he get the money to pay back? Name one civil servant who can obtain a 3.2 billion loan? So what is this Mullah, Tchiroma talking about? Learning from Mr. Biya’s example, all sort of government officials moved forcefully into SCB and other banks to offer themselves huge loans. Local newspapers have published the various swindlers lists of all regime couriers who dry-cleaned the banks. These people stole 150 billion from SCB alone. Have they paid back the money? Ngang. No sooner had the news about Mr. Biya’s extravaganza in France became public than Mr. Biya’s spin doctor, Tchiroma summoned the national press. Among other things, Mr. Biya told the press to be ‘patriotic’ by not publishing the facts. Mr. Biya should have thought about that before his wanton hussying. Secondly, who is the true patriot? The magnificent reporter who points out that in three weeks a president just incinerated enough to construct 100 schools or the president whose irresponsibility is so shouting? Who is the patriot between the reporter and the shit shiner who hands out gag orders? Mr. Tchiroma has no business telling the press not to go to town about Mr. Biya’s waste. Gregoire Owona, Mr Biya’s minister in charge of relations with the assemblies (yes, assemblies – West and East Cameroun Houses of Assembly) brings another sordid spin into this mess. Remember that Gregoire Owona’s name figures prominently on the 58-member strong swindlers list published by Kroll Associates. This list concerns people suspected of stealing public money. Grégoire Owona is number 48 on the list. Gregoire Owona said Mr. Biya had the right to spend all that money because he was not quite on vacation but he was actually working on very important files for the Camerounese people. Owona exhorted local newspapers not to join the French papers in destroying “our beautiful country. » Messrs Owona and Tchroma claim that newspapers that publish the Mr. Biya’s latest foible are tarnishing Cameroon’s image. Really? Who has greatly tarnished the country’s image between a spendthrift globe-trotting president and a minister who shuts down radio stations? Mr. Tchiroma also says that there is hope for Cameroun after the discovery of the largest diamond field in Mobilong, Yokaduma. Rubbish! There is enough selective amnesia here. The Korean company accredited with the Mobilong find thoroughly snookered the government of Cameroon by awarding itself 80% of the find leaving the government of Cameroun with only 10% and 10% to some private investors. As usual some Yaounde bureaucrats took bribes and let the Koreans off with murder. Citizen Journalist, Innocent Chia has just published the pitiful details about how exactly corrupt bureaucracts in Yaounde took bribes and traded off all the new mineral finds in Cameroon for a small fee. Chia writes, “Unfortunately, due to the failure of the Cameroon government to effectively streamline the mining code with other fiscal laws, foreign investors have successfully navigated the heavy and complex bureau-cratic machinery with the following scorecard: • Aluminum-Bauxite-Alumina Project: Hydromine Global Minerals GMBH Ltd, British Virgin Island (90%) – U.S Tax Shelter – “Build-Operate-Transfer” (BOT) government of Cameroon (10%)* • Cobalt-manganese-nickel Project: Geovic Ltd, Cayman Island (U.S tax shelter) – (60.5%) government of Cameroon (20%) four individuals (19.5%) • Diamond (CAPAM) Project: CNK Korea (80%) government of Cameroon (20%) • Gold (CAMINCO) Project: African Aura Resources, South Africa (90%) government of Cameroon (10%)* • Iron (Cam Iron) Project: Sundance Australia (90%) government of Cameroon (10%) • Uranium Project: Mega Uranium Canada*” The long and short of this wahala is simple. Listen, enough is enough. A warning to all these investors who are ripping off Cameroun though. These thieving contracts will be reviewed by the next administration.

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