Court Trial Of SDO Opens February 20

Mezam SDO, Nguelle Nguelle Felix

Mezam SDO, Nguelle Nguelle Felix

 Hearing on criminal charges involving the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Mezam, Felix Nguelle Nguelle, in Fundong Magistrates Court, Northwest Region of Cameroon has been fixed for February 20. The SDO who was arraigned following allegations that he illegally sealed a place of worship was granted a FCFA 1 million self bail.

Nguelle Nguelle who pleaded not guilty to all the charges, had been arraigned alongside a co-accused person, one Sarkiri Usman, for allegedly destroying a lock of a mosque belonging to a certain Jibinn Danpullo Alhadj and Alahadji Danpullo in Old Town, Bamenda, some time in August 2013.

When the SDO entered the dock, followed by Sarkiri ,who was ferried in from Bamenda Prisons to Fundong, on the strength of a production warrant, the process of identification took several hours because of the objections raised by  Barrister Robert Fon, who argued that his client, Nguelle Nguelle, could not be tried in Fundong, for, according to him, the Court lacks competence and jurisdiction  on grounds that the alleged destruction of a lock was committed in Bamenda, not Fundong. 


The Defence Counsel equally posited that the Fundong Court lacks jurisdiction because, even if he at all committed the act, it should be the newly created Administrative Court that is fit to hear the matter. Lawyers for the complainant and the State Counsel argued that the matter before the Fundong court was a criminal as opposed to a civil matter and, as such, there was nothing like lack of jurisdiction.

At this juncture, the State Counsel produced a letter from the President of the Northwest Court of Appeal designating the Fundong Magistrates Court, presided at by Justice Mukete, to hear and determine the matter. The State Counsel equally tendered a forwarding note to back the official letter designating the Fundong Court to entertain the matter. It was admitted in evidence as Exhibit A1.

As to whether, the SDO, Nguelle Nguelle, in an attempt to solve the dispute before sealing the mosque, acted as SDO for Mezam or not, Justice Mukete said the point was first to identify and determine whether the persons standing trial before the court, are the same persons cited in the summons.

Consequently, in the ruling that followed, Justice Mukete, rubbished all the objections raised by Defence Counsel and overruled that his court has the jurisdiction to handle the matter. To ensure that the Administrator would present himself whenever the matter comes up, the SDO was allowed to bail himself in the sum of FCFA 1 million. The 2nd accused person, Sarkiri Usman, was granted bail in the sum of FCFA 2 million. The matter was adjourned to February 20.

By Chris Mbunwe