The former Minister of Defence was found guilty of embezzling 23.9 billion CFA francs for overpricing contracts.
The top official who was just condemned drags with him his wife, who had managed 113 contracts under this ministerial department via the company Limousines Prestige Services, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for complicity in the misappropriation of public funds for about 5 billion CFA francs.
After nearly four years of proceedings before the Special Criminal Court (SCC), the verdict in the case of Mebe Ngo’o and Co. against the State of Cameroon fell late yesterday, January 31, 2022. The former Minister Delegate at the Presidency of the Republic in charge of Defence (Mindef) was sentenced to 25 years in prison for embezzlement of public funds for a cumulative amount of a little over 23.9 billion CFA francs for overcharging contracts for the acquisition of military equipment and materials between 2012 and 2015.
He was also found guilty of serious money laundering. On the other hand, the court exonerated him, for facts not established, of the embezzlement of 196.8 billion CFA francs in the framework of a financing agreement signed between the State of Cameroon and the Chinese company Poly-Technologies Inc. for the delivery of military equipment, embezzlement of 20.374 billion CFA francs through allegedly over-invoiced and fictitious special contracts and two decisions to release funds without employment documents, corruption, etc.
His wife, Bernadette Minla’a Nkoulou, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for complicity in the embezzlement of 5 billion CFA francs in the context of various services offered to Mindef. Under the leadership of her husband at the head of this ministerial department, his company Limousines Prestige Services (LPS) had won 113 contracts. The prosecution suspected that some of these services had not been delivered. While waiting for the final judgment in this case – the couple will appeal against this judgment – and unless another trial is opened against her, Bernadette Mebe Ngo’o, who has already served nearly four years in prison, is guaranteed to regain her freedom in 2029.
The least severe sanction (9 years) is imposed on Victor Menye, former deputy general manager of the Société Camerounaise de Banque, for complicity in money laundering of an amount of about 5 billion CFA francs. The latter was found not guilty of ‘complicity in the embezzlement of the total sum of 18.699 billion CFA francs’, another charge brought against him during the investigation.