Olanguena Gets 20 More Years In Jail


The Special Criminal Court in Yaounde has slammed a 20-year jail term on the erstwhile Minister for Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Owona, for embezzling public funds. The judgement came in the wake of a recent verdict in which the same court slammed a 13-year sentence on Olanguena for embezzling FCFA 322 million of the tax payer’s money. The former Health Minister now bags 35 years in the slammer.

The sentence was the main substance of the judgement the court delivered on August 12, handed down by Justice Francis Claude Makouri. The Judge said the court found the former Minister guilty of lining his private pockets with FCFA 80 million. The court acquitted five collaborators of the ex-Minister who had been languishing in pre-trial detention at the Kondengui Prison for five years.

They are; the formal Coordinator of the Southwest Regional AIDS Control Committee, Dr. Rose Chia, the erstwhile Permanent Secretary of the National AIDS Control Committee, Dr. Maurice Feuzeu, the Permanent Secretary for the Fight Against Tobacco, Dr. Hubert Wang, and Dr. Raphael Okala, who was Permanent Secretary of the National  Malaria Control Committee.

 The court said they were not guilty of embezzling public funds as earlier charged. They breathed the air of freedom for the first time in five years.

Olanguena was given a second jail term for embezzling FCFA 80 million through a fake contact.

 According to the judgement, he awarded a fake contract to a certain company, Vision Sarl.Going by the terms of the contract, the company was expected to distribute mosquito nets under the auspices of the National Malaria Control Committee.

The court observed that Olanguena violated the procedure for the award of contracts, so as to benefit from the shady deal. The General Manager of Vision Sarl, Soue Mbella, who was accused of complicity to the embezzlement of State funds, is on the run. The court sentenced him in absentia to a life jail term. One Timothée Onana Belibi, who was an accountant at the Minister of Public Health’s cabinet before his arrest, bagged 10 years on account of his complicity to the embezzlement of public funds. 

In an earlier judgement recently, the court slammed a 15-year jail term on Olanguena for embezzling FCFA 322 million and the attempted embezzlement of FCFA 60 million of State funds. Going by the court, the amount was money the World Bank, the Global Fund and the Government of Cameroon provided for the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Olanguena was also accused of swindling FCFA 200 million, which was the very essence of a contract he signed with the National Association of Social Marketing, ACMS. The court had found Olanguena wanting for misusing FCFA 122 million allocated for the production of sensitisation gadgets. He was equally found guilty of awarding contracts to some NGOs and associations without respecting the established procedures in the award of contracts.

  By Yerima Kini Nsom


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