Anglophone Crisis: B’da Court of First Instance Postpone Case Against Bishops

The Arch Bishop of the Bamenda Arch Diocese, His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda  Mgr. Micheal Bibi, the Bishop of Kumbo, Mgr.George Nkuo the Principals of Our Lady of Lourdes and Sacred Heart Mankon, and the principal of Saint Bedes College Ashing Kom were due to appear before the Court of First Instance Bamenda on Friday May 21, 2017 to answer charges on seven counts brought against them by a group of parents under the canopy of the Consortium of Parents whose children attend various mission institutions.

The Bishops and Principals were charged amongst others for failing to ask parents to send their children back to school or cause the deposit of school fees paid into an escrow account despite a notice served them,  for signing a joint communiqué on February 9th 2017 in concertation with others to the effect that the non-resumption of schools is as a result of an unresolved political problem, for having cause the non-payment of salaries of teachers in mission schools for some months now, thus depriving the state of the necessary tax deductions, for refusing to teach, feed and accommodate students after collecting fees, refuse to refund school fees collected, spread false information liable to injure public authorities and is claiming the sum of 150 billion as special and general damages .

Both parties were to appear in court on Friday April 21, at the Bamenda Court of First Instance Up Station, but in a swift turn of events, the Court of First Instance on Wednesday April 19 suspended the hearing to the 5th of June 2017, on the ground that the judicial family was to participate in the removal of the corpse of Magistrate Kilbat Noel from the Bamenda regional hospital mortuary on that same day.

The Bishops responded promptly, with the Arch Bishop announcing in Church on Wednesday April 21 during a priestly ordination ceremony that “justice delayed is justice denied” and expressed his wish to have his day in court as we hear here saying once summoned to court, there are only two out comes, either you are acquitted or convicted.

Before the Bishop’s pronouncement in Church, the Archdiocesan Parent Teachers’ Association ADPTA issued a press release on Tuesday April 18 stating that “ ADPTA is a well structured association with representation from nursery through secondary to high school. Hence, the said individuals to the best of our knowledge are not members of any of our schools’ PTA and as such cannot talk on behalf of the PTA at any level. More ever in our structures there is nothing like a consortium of Parents”

Meanwhile retired Col. Tamambang Simon Che has issued a disclaimer contained in a radio announcement to some media houses in Bamenda starting that “ I retired col. Tamambang Simon Nche of Mankon wish to state publicly and categorically that I am not connected in any way to the so-called consortium of parents” he goes further to state that “ I have NEVER contacted any lawyer or Bailiff to bring court action against the above mentioned servants of God”

His lawyer, Barrister Khan Muluh Jude of Muluh & Partners Law Firm Douala have also issued a statement distancing Ret. Col. Tamambang from the law suit and has warned any media organ or individual propagating such information that they are doing so at their own peril.

This move to push backward the hearing averted a massive turnout that was anticipated at the court yard to accompany the men of God to answer these charges. The question many people in Bamenda are yet to find a satisfactory answer to is who is actually behind this summon as the Ret. Col. Tamambang has completely distant himself from its. For the co-respondent, Lt. Col. Terence Sama, he is yet to offer any statement as to the part he has in all these.

Meanwhile, the Bishops of Buea, Mamfe, and Kumba, and the Moderator of the PCC are also due to appear at the Buea Court of First Instance on Monday April 24 in a similar suit brought against them. Thousands of Christians Bamenda Online gathered have been mobilizing to accompany them to the court session.

By Abongwa Fozo

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