By Yerima Kini Nsom & Godfred Sackmu
A good number of Ministries are in the black books for refusing to collaborate with the National Anti-Corruption Commission, known by its French acronym, CONAC, in the fight against corruption.
The list of these Ministries is contained in Cameroon’s 2020 Anti-Corruption Status report which CONAC presented at the Yaounde Conference Centre on Thursday, September 23. They are: the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development; Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife; Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications; Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development; and Ministry of Secondary Education and Ministry of Higher Education. The report reveals that these Ministries have failed to submit their activity reports in the fight against corruption. In effect, this has drastically reduced the number of contributions received by CONAC from 98 in 2019 to 65 in 2020.
Speaking at the ceremony, CONAC’s Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Dieudonne Massi Gams, noted that the decline in the number of contributions received for the preparation of the 2020 report also results from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Compared with the 2019 edition, CONAC received a total of 98 contributions from external sources, but this number dropped to 65 in 2020, representing a decrease of 33 contributions in absolute terms and 33.67 percent in relative terms.
Rev. Dr. Massi Gams disclosed that CONAC received over 16,067 complaints in 2020.
Quoting the report, he said flagrant corruption offences were committed in some 19 (nineteen) Government institutions like Government Primary School Bobog I, Bot-Makak Subdivision, in the Nyong and Kelle Division; Office of the Sub-divisional Officer for Yaounde IV, in the Mfoundi Division; Yaounde City Council; Regional Delegation of Public Service and Administrative Reform for the Centre; and the Regional Delegation of Transport for the Adamaoua. Others include : Yaounde II Council; Yaounde VII Council; Littoral I Customs Sector; Cameroon Office du Baccalaureat; National Centre for the Development of Information Technology (CENADI); Government Bilingual High School Obala; in the Lekie Division; Government High School Ombessa; in the Mbam and Inoubou Division; Gynaeco-Obstetric and Paediatric Hospital, Douala; Ministry of Water Resources and Energy; Ministry of Housing and Urban Development; Ministry of Basic Education; Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training; and the Ministry of Transport.
The CONAC boss said some malpractices in the society have greatly contributed to the increased number of complaints.
“The 16,067 complaints in 2020 is as a result of the violations on public property and governance which entails corruption, embezzlement of public property, scamming, forgery, various forms of trafficking, financing of terrorism, swindling and various forms of fraud”, he stated.
CONAC has handled some cases that involve some institutions like the Ministry of Finance (MINFI); the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT); the Ministry of Public Works (MINTP); Cameroon Water Utilities (CAMWATER); the Autonomous Port of Douala (PAD); the National Social Insurance Fund (NSIF); the National Social Insurance Fund (NSIF); the Cameroon Shipyard and Industrial Engineering Ltd (CNIC); the University of Douala; Aeroport du Cameroun; the Electricity Development Corporation (EDC); the Douala I, Yaounde I, Yaounde IV, Ambam and Bamusso Councils; the National Procurement Centre for Essential Medicines and Medical Consumables (CENAME); the Ngaoundere City Council and the Special Criminal Court.
Over 145 persons were indicted for corruption, and 46 of these people were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms, ranging from ten years to life imprisonment. The procedures to follow the suspects costed the state over FCFA 480 million.
As concerns the 145 persons indicted for corruption in the above mentioned institutions, the State has incurred a financial loss of over sixteen billion, Rev. Dr. Dieudonné Massi Gams stated.
The over 16,067 complaints on corruption and related offences were in relation to a financial damage of over seventeen billion on the state of Cameroon, Massi Gams remarked.
The Chairperson lauded the efforts of some institutions like the Cameroon Employer’s Union (GICAM) for adopting a Code of Ethics for its members, and for setting up a Commission in charge of Corporate Governance, Ethics and Responsibility in their fight against corruption. He also lauded the initiatives of some Religious Denominations like the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission of the National Episcopal Council of Cameroon and the Integrity Club of the Protestant University of Central Africa (UPAC).
Concerning the implementation of the 2020 anti-corruption plans nationwide, the East Region stands tall with the highest implementation rate with 57.1 percent, though only 42.09 percent of the plans were implemented, with the exception of the Northwest Region. The Southwest Region, on the contrary, has the lowest implementation rate of 31.66 percent.
To fight against corruption, Massi Gams urged all public and semi-public administrations, all citizens to strive to effectively implement the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and to ensure that integrity education is recognised as an essential human value for the construction of a corruption-free society, based on the religious pillars.