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Presidency Orders Probe Of Diamond, Gold Sale

Posted by Admin on May 21st, 2010 and filed under Economie. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

By Yerima Kini Nsom| 20 May 2010 | The Post|

The Presidency of the Republic has ordered investigations into alleged embezzlement of resources accruing from the sale of diamond, gold and order geological resources in Cameroon. Following the order, a team of investigators from the Supreme State Audit is now quizzing those concerned and examining files to find out where huge sums of money from the mining sector have been going to.

The team of investigators led by a National Inspector, Madam Laurantine Ngwu, are hinging their findings on reports that the Director of Small Scale Mining Support and Promotion Framework Unit, known by its French acronym as CAPAM, Paul Gweth Ntep, and his collaborators might have been mismanaging funds accruing from the sale mining products.
Gweth Ntep is said to have heightened government’s suspicion when he wrote a controversial letter to the Minister of Mines and Technological Development on April 16, 2008.

In the letter, the CAPAM Director sought to give an account of his business trip to South Korea. He said he was in South Korea from March 11 to 16 and was unable to sell some 370 carats of diamond because Cameroon had not adhered to Kimberly procedure that allows countries to sell gold, diamond and other geological resources in the world market. The Director said he finally left the 370 carats of diamond with one Prof. Kim Wonsa of the University of Choungwang and returned to Cameroon.

Observers say it is curious that the Director of CAPAM is the one leading the team of those who are selling the country’s diamond and gold in the world market. A situation which they say is void of checks and balances. The authorities are equally worried that the FCFA 4.5 billion allocated for the CAPAM project, following its creation in July 2003, is being mismanaged.

In 2007, FCFA 246 million was disbursed to site managers in the various mining areas. This amount was increased to FCFA 400 million in 2008. But the site managers are said to be complaining that they have not received any subvention from CAPAM for the past four years.
In the heat of ongoing investigations, Gweth Ntep wrote a letter to site mangers, instructing them to jointly send him 15 kg of gold as soon as possible. The CAPAM boss claimed that he was acting on the instructions of hierarchy because government needed that amount of gold.

Dated April 12, 2010, the letter was sent to the site Managers of Bipindi, Lolodorf, Akom II and Mintom. The investigators are trying to know whether government ever made such a demand. The Supreme State Control probing team also shoulders the responsibility of throwing light on allegations that certain companies which are owned by people close to CAPAM officials have been winning CAPAM contracts. It reported that, quite often, such companies are involved in rackets wherein they are paid for contracts that have not been executed.

The Post learnt that such companies like ETS LEE and ETS GEORGY have been grabbing FCFA 4 million yearly from fake contracts offered by CAPAM. The same situation holds sway with ETS HISBISCUS and Soeurs REUNIES. Some of the contracts had to do with the buying of exploitation equipment for the local miners. It reported that following the sustained racket in the award of contracts many of the people in the mining sites are yet to receive their equipment.

There is panic in the Ministry of Mines and Technological Development, according to sources, given that the Presidency is bent on cracking down on the mafia that has been sustaining the racket at the expense of the state treasury. It is feared that many heads will roll as President Biya is said to be determined to do a clean sweep of embezzlers from the public service.
When The Post contacted the CAPAM boss by phone, he said he was too busy to react to the allegations which he dismissed as unfounded.

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