Albatross Affair: Co-Accused Implicates Marafa and Mebe Ngo’o in Court

Mebe-Ngoo Marafa-fotso

By Ze Ekanga

 

The ongoing legal battle against regime barons accused of embezzling funds destined for the purchase of a presidential jet in 2004 has received a jiggle with a new testimony nailing Marafa Hamidou Yaya, the recently ousted Territorial Administration minister and Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, the current Defense minister.

 

 

In an emotionally-charged statement delivered before a fully assembled Mfoundi High Court last Tuesday, Hubert Otele Essomba, the financial analyst accused alongside Jean marie Atangana Mebara in the Albatross Affair demonstrated in court that Marafa Hamidou Yaya, then secretary general at the Presidency of the Republic, connived with Yves Michel Fotso, then general manager of CAMAIR to pull a deal that led to the embezzlement of 27 million dollars.

 

 

Otele Essomba also vehemently emphasised an earlier deposition that that Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, then director of the Civil Cabinet at the Presidency, was actively involved in inflating the bills of aircrafts chatered for the President’s journeys as well as the air fares of staff of the Civil Cabinet.

 

In an even more alarming revelation on the matter, Otele Essomba declared under oath that the three men met in a “secret meeting” at Marafa’s lakeside residence during the early days of the investigation to “conceal evidence on the matter and divert investigations” towards other targets.

 

Notably, Otele told the court, the goal of the meeting was to sidetrack attention from a 2008 statement made by Yves Michel Fotso to judicial police investigators that could directly implicate Marafa and Mebe Ngo’o. “That is how the matter was hanged on my head,” Otele who served as deputy general manager of Aircraft Portfolio Management, the outfit that led the technical acquisition of the Albatross said in court. “I am only a victim of a conspiracy by these men.”

 

Brandishing numerous signed documents in court, Otele whose financial expertise has often been attested by peers demonstrated how Yves Michel Fotso used 9 ‘shielded’ companies scattered across the world in a smokescreen operation ordering payments and moving money from one account to another all in the name of purchase of the Presidential jet.

 

The companies cited by Otele included GIA, BET Limited, AviProFinance based in Geneva, PCM, Rotwell based in London, TII based in Geneva, Shanmunga based in Singapore and TMG which eventually replaced GIA. “They were paraded as service providers to CAMAIR but they were actually serving the interests of Fotso,” Otele divulged.

 

During the session, Otele made a self-vindication attempt citing a 2011 ordinance by the examining magistrate on the matter in which his role in the matter was established as having intervened only after the real transactions had been done.

 

Although this is not the first time serving high profile personalities are cited ever since the start of the Albatross proceedings, this latest scenario implicating Marafa Hamidou Yaya and Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o is causing a stir. While public anticipation that the once powerful MINATD boss who made a humiliating exit from government would eventually be arrested and arraigned before the court on charges of

embezzlement, many observers had likewise foretold the end for Mebe Ngo’o. Otele Essomba’s testimony in court has left more avenues open for possible legal action against the two men.

 

Before becoming Defense minister, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o served as delegate general for national security, a post he assumed after serving as director of the Civil Cabinet at the Presidency. He is one of the very few current members of government from President Paul Biya’s Beti clan to have served in these sensitive positions, earning the reputation of an untouchable.

 

Marafa Hamidou Yaya for his part served as secretary general at the Presidency before being appointed MINATD boss on the day municipal and legislation polls were canceled in June 2002. He served for 9 years organizing and delivering victory to the CPDM in two legislative and municipal elections and securing a 7-year mandate for President Biya in 2004 Presidential elections.

 

His instrumental role in the decentralization process in the country and the setting up of ELECAM, the elections management organ gave the public reason to see Marafa as an infallible asset to the regime. Some Western diplomats even touted him as a possible replacement for Mr Biya.

Source: The Post

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