Human Right Watch, HRW has urged the International Monetary Fund, IMF to ask the Government of Cameroon to ensure independent and credible enquiry on the management of COVID-19 funds before approving a third loan.
In a report dated April 23, HRW says without a credible and independent enquiry, the IMF risks falling for check-the-box exercises which might not reach the goal for which the disbursement is intended.
“IMF assistance is crucial to support people whose livelihoods have been affected, especially the almost 90 percent of workers who are employed in the informal sector. But transparent and accountable governance is key to the success of the program…” Part of the report reads.
It has praised the desire for accountability on the management of the previous loan showcased by both the Government of Cameroon and the IMF.
“The sudden desire to account for Covid-19 money is a positive sign that the IMF and Cameroonian government are paying greater attention to transparency and accountability as they negotiate a third loan since the start of the pandemic” said Sarah Saadoun, senior business and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
In effect, after the IMF asked for probe into the management of the funds prior to a third disbursement, the Government reacted promptly by demanding an audit.
Following the results of the audit, the Head of State asked for a judiciary inquiry to be opened for those responsible for misappropriation to account for it.
As such, to make sure that the possible third disbursement is used in all transparency, HRW has urged the IMF to oblige the Government of Cameroon to;
- Publish the Chambre de Comptes’ report investigation into Covid-19 spending;
- Take concrete steps to ensure the independence of the judicial inquiry;
- Engage an independent auditor and make publication of its report a later benchmark in the program;
- Commit to specific corruption prevention measures, including improving accessibility and quality of public procurement information and making management of the Health Solidarity Fund transparent and rule-based.