“All the financial rackets, including the cutting of percentages during payments of bills by government, take place at the Ministry of Finance,” one member of the coalition, Alphonse Ngo Issi told The Post, during a meeting at the Headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC, in Yaounde recently. He said the racket of a 30 percent cut before the payment of bills, has become so common that treasury officials were using it as a right to enrich themselves at the expense of businesspeople.
Recently police arrested a ‘middleman’ in Yaounde who was asking for 30 percent of some FCFA 600 million allocated as last year’s state subvention to the Upper Noun Valley Development Authority, UNDVA, Ndop. The man revealed that he was playing middleman to many officials in the Ministry of Finance.
Another member of the anti-corruption coalition, Fon Nsoh, said the Treasury, the Taxation, and the Customs departments reek of corruption. He said many of those working in these departments are amassing wealth, at the expense of the state economy through acts of corruption.
It was against this background that CONAC organised a two-day seminar in Yaounde that brought together officials from the Treasury, Taxation and Customs Departments of the Ministry of Finance.
The workshop that ended July 27, enabled participants to diagnose the endemic level of corruption in the public finance sector and propose strategies to fight the cankerworm that has reportedly stalled Cameroon’s development efforts for many decades.
Speaking at the opening of the occasion, at the Yaounde Mansel Hotel, July 26, the Vice Chairman of CONAC, Rev. Dieudonne Massi Gams, said the workshop falls within CONAC’s ongoing bid to elaborate the national strategy for the fight against corruption in Cameroon.
He said, by organising the workshop that brings together the various actors in the public finance sector, CONAC was seeking to attack the disease in its very nerve centre. The CONAC boss said the treasury, the customs and the taxation departments, constitute the pillars of the Cameroonian economy and must be steered out of the murky waters of corruption.
He urged participants to do a proper diagnosis of corruption and propose various strategies of preventing and fighting it. He said CONAC was diagnosing corruption without pointing accusing fingers at anybody, but observed that the strategy to fight the social scourge will include preventive measures like sensitisation, education as well as dissuasive measures like sanctions.
To him, corruption has not only slowed down the country’s development, but has also left a deep scar on the national economy. He said no Cameroonian will move with his head high if Cameroon is identified everywhere as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The representative of the Prime Minister said government would not lie on its laurels until corruption is completely laid to rest. He said the workshop was the 5th in a series 17, aimed at elaborating a national strategy for the fight against corruption, with the help of development partners led by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
Participants rose from the workshop with recommendations that would be their contribution to the National Strategy for the Fight against Corruption in Cameroon.
By Yerima Kini Nsom|Friday, July 30, 2010|thepostwebedition|
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