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Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Special Criminal Court: Ex-Consul Official Accused Of Embezzling 703 Million FCFA
The trial is drawing to a close at the Yaounde-based Special Criminal Court, SCC, of Genest née Mbala Ndono Lucie, a former accountant in the Cameroonian Consulate in Marseille, France.
She is accused variously of embezzling over 703.7 Million FCFA during her tenure in the diplomatic mission through undue expenses in Cameroon and France.
Hearing in the matter, which began on December 30, 2015, came up on Friday, June 10, 2016, with Mr. Justice Michel Jean Claude Onana as leader of the trial team. He was assisted by Mrs. Justice Jessie Zibi Nsoué and Mrs. Justice Zakiyatou Alioum; with Mr. Justice Edjisna Didier as Advocate General. Counsel for Mrs. Genest, who has never turned up for the trial because she remained in France after her replacement, is Barrister Atangana Ayissi; while Barrister Charles Tchakounté Patie is the leading counsel for the State as civil claimant.
When hearing resumed on Friday, Mr. Justice Edjisna Didier in his submission, revisited the alleged undue expenses carried out by the accused. He said a joint audit mission to Marseille from April 15-30, 2008, comprising representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Supreme State Audit Office, Ministry of External Relations and the General Delegation of External Research, made the discovery.
Edjisna Didier then called for the accused to be declared guilty of the charges after tendering a voluminous copy of the said audit report.
The audit team was led by Cornelius Chi Asafor from the Supreme State Audit Office. According to members, the money was embezzled through bank card withdrawals in Yaounde and Douala, double subscriptions to news publications and “fake money” (that is intended for use by the Consul, but never spent for the purpose). After first presenting a total of 345.8 Million FCFA allegedly embezzled by the former accountant, Cornelius Chi Asafor later added 357.9 Million FCFA, explaining that more facts had come to light.
In all, Genest née Mbala Ndono Lucie stands accused of embezzling over 703.7 Million FCFA in State funds during her 10-year tenure in the Cameroon Consulate in Marseille, France. The matter was later adjourned to June 24, 2016, for ruling.