Marafa’s 3rd Letter (to Cameroonians)

  Ever since my imprisonment, Cameroonians are wondering why I have been vocal only on issues that are not related to that for which I am supposedly being detained. Indeed, on 16 April 2012, replying to a summons from the examining magistrate of the Mfoundi High Court to be heard on the matter “the people of Cameroon and the State of Cameroon against Atangana Mebara Jean –Marie, Otele Essomba Hubert, Mendouga Jerome, Fotso Yves Michel and others. (C.f. appendix No. 1), I was detained on the vague accusation “misappropriation of public funds with coaction and complicity (C.f. appendix No.2).

 

 I neither know when this misappropriation took place, what it is about, what the amount in question is, who the principal accused is and who his/her accomplices are.

 

 I presume this has to do with the purchase of the plane of the president of the Republic for which the examining magistrate was instructed to impute an act of dishonesty to me and for which he had issued a ruling of disjoinder of proceedings in January 2010 and which I got wind of for it was on the internet and published in its entirety by the local press.

 

 If my incarceration is indeed related to that, then I am solemnly reiterating my innocence in spite of the “likelihood” of the situation that I can remember was put together to benefit the cause and  is attributable to logic.

 

 I am reiterating that when investigations on the acquisition of the presidential plane were opened and when the different actors had been heard, I am the one who, prompted by my conscience, through a note dated 7 May 2008, requested the president to let me be heard by the competent authorities on this case so that I can contribute to establishing the truth. That is how I was interrogated by the judicial police on 15 July 2008. Till date, that was the only time I was asked any question on this matter.

 

 At the stage where we are, Cameroonians indeed have the right to know the whole truth on this unfortunate BBJ-II affaire, through a transparent and just trial, the only way to put an end to the imbroglio and all misunderstandings woven around this case, and consciously, it seems.

 

I.    The choice of GIA International

 

 The main national actors involved in the acquisition of the BBJ-II (Boeing 737-800) were: the president of the Republic, the secretary general at the presidency of the Republic (that I was), the minister in charge of the economy and finance, the head of the president’s (etat major particulier du president de la Republique) and the Administrative Director of Cameroon Airlines (Camair).

 

 From information we all had, none of us objected to Camair concluding a deal with GIA INTERNATIONAL with respect to the acquisition of this plane. The multinational, “the Boeing Company” didn’t hesitate either to conclude and sign a contract with GIA INTERNATIONAL.

 

II.    Payment of GIA INTERNATIONAL

 

 In the course of our different meetings on this matter, we arrived at two (2) conclusions:

 

 1.    The contract to bind CAMAIR and GIA INTERNATIONAL had three (3) sections:

 2.   

 –    The construction of the aircraft by the Boeing Company;

 –    Configuring and decorating the plane’s interior by the “JET AVIATION COMPANY” located in Switzerland chosen by the senior security staff of the president of the Republic;

 –    And the support systems (communication and safety equipment, antimissile protection system especially).

 GIA INTERNATIONAL had to receive a “security deposit” of thirty one (31) million dollars to enable it raise funding for all the operations amounting to a total of seventy two (72) million dollars and to supply the BBJ-II ready to use. The duration for reimbursements was arranged to cover a period of ten (10) years.

 

 The thirty one (31) million dollar “security deposit” was supposed to be paid through issuing a “stand-by letter of credit” to GIA INTERNATIONAL which was, thanks to this guarantee and the pledging of the plane, responsible for the raising of funding at the international market. This deal was advantageous to our country in that excessive initial risk was avoided as that sum the State was committing itself to pay was neither liberated nor transferred in advance to GIA BINTERNATIONAL.

 

 The minister in charge of the economy and finance was opposed to issuing a “stand-by letter of credit” and said that he would, when time comes find other ways of paying the “security deposit” to GIA INTERNATIONAL.

 

 The minister in charge of the economy and finance was the person in charge of the management of the State treasury.  I neither doubted his declaration nor could I give him instructions on this matter.

 

 Regarding my position as chairman of the board of directors of the National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH), it is appropriate for me to indicate here that my duties did not provide me with the latitude to meddle in the management of oil revenues meant to finance the State budget managed by the minister in charge of the economy and finance.

 

 Besides, it is for this reason that I never invited the Managing Director of the National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH) to any meeting to discuss any finances, neither for the matter in hand, neither for any other matter during my tenure of office as secretary general at the presidency of the Republic.

 

 I was informed, about fifteen days after our meeting on the acquisition of the BBJ-II, by the Managing Director of CAMAIR, and to my great surprise, that the thirty one (31) million dollars had been paid directly into the account of GIA INTERNATIONAL in the U.S.A. by the minister in charge of the economy and finance.

 

III.    Continuation of the procedure

 When I left my office as secretary general at the presidency of the Republic on 24 August 2002, BBJ-II had been constructed by Boeing and the contract to configure and decorate the interior of the plane had been concluded and signed by JET AVIATION. It is important to note that this Swiss company had not hesitated to conclude and sign a contract with GIA INTERNATIONAL.

 

 It would seem that after I left as secretary general at the presidency of the Republic, as per the letter from Boeing dated 4 September 2003, to the Cameroon Ambassador to Washington, expressing surprise and embarrassment (c.f. appendix No. 3), it was decided to acquiring a Boeing 767-300 VIP instead of the BBJ-II (737-800). It would seem that while awaiting the construction of this new aircraft, a second hand 767-200 plane was hired; it would seem this is the plane that was christened “The Albatros”.

 

 Because of this, the contract between CAMAIR and GIA INTERNATIONAL was cancelled and our country engaged judicial proceedings against GIA INTERNATIONAL in the U.S.A. These proceedings culminated in in a judgment passed in August 2006 in Portland, Oregon, through which Cameroon was compensated.

 

 Given all that has been mentioned above, I am bugged by the following questions:

 

 –    Why did the minister in charge of the economy and finance choose to transfer GIA INTERNATIONAL’s money instead of opting for the secured “stand-by letter of credit” solution proposed?

 

 –    Who took the decision to make the National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH) pay the thirty one (31) million dollars?

 

 –    Why the decision to acquire a Boeing 767-300 instead of the BBJ-II (Boieng 737-800) already constructed?

    

 The answers to these questions would enable Cameroonians to be edified and shall vindicate me from what is imputed to me.

 

 Hence, more than any other person, I vehemently demand a transparent and just trial if it is for this matter that I am being detained so that the full responsibility for this be established, and if  need be,  the honour and dignity of those unjustly incriminated be reinstated.

 

TRANSLATION FROM FRENCH TO ENGLISH: The Post

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