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(...) Corruption is a vice which is not specific to Cameroon, it is a global phenomenon, but we think a country like ours, which does not have enormous resources, will stand to benefit if we avoid wasting money and other funds. We are determined to go on and we have not only proceeded to arrest some replica officials who are today facing the law, but have also put in place a certain number of structures (...) _/ France 24, 31.10.07
 
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Document sans titre Présidence de la République du Cameroun
“There is a clear increase in the number of contributions”

Following is a summary of Cameroon’s 2015 Anti-corruption Status Report as delivered by the Vice-chairman of CONAC, Pr. François ANOUKAHA, during the official presentation ceremony of the Report on December 29, 2016 at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel.

It was a crowd pulling event that brought together people of virtually all walks of life.


Members of the Coordination Committee of CONAC were present at the Annual Report presentation ceremony.


“Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear invitees,
Just like in June last year when CONAC presented the 2014 Report on the anti-corruption status drive in Cameroon, on behalf of the entire editorial team of which I was in charge and whom I sincerely thank for the work done, I am honored to present to you the Report on the ant-corruption drive in Cameroon in 2015.
This presentation will start off by highlighting the methodology of the Report (I), followed by its content (II) and lastly the prospects arising therefrom (III).
I. METHODOLOGY
Copying from the previous Report, Cameroon’s 2015 Anti-Corruption Status Report was drafted following the participatory and inclusive approach which apart from CONAC, saw contributions from Control Institutions, Courts, Ministries, Public Administrative Establishments, State companies, semi-public and private sector enterprises, civil society organizations, religious communities, subsidized organs and private sector organizations.
Prior to work on drafting of this Report, CONAC organised two experience-sharing and capacity-building workshops in Mont Fébé Hotel, on August 3 and 4, 2016, to which stakeholders in the struggle to eradicate corruption were convened. The first workshop, which brought together 51 chairpersons of Anti-Corruption Units out of the 55 invited, making 92.72%, had the following objectives:
- Enhance collaboration between CONAC and already existing Anti-Corruption Units;
- Encourage creation of such Units within public administrative units which had not yet set up any;
- Substantially increase contributions from Anti-Corruption Units to this annual Report;
- Adopt a drafting outline for activity reports of Anti-corruption Units for better exploitation when drafting the Report on the state of the fight against corruption in Cameroon.
The second workshop which registered 51 participants out of the 58 initially invited, making 87.93%, targeted Religious Communities and officials of Civil Society Organisations who were members of the National Anti-Corruption Coalition (CNLCC). The objectives here were to:
- Enhance collaboration between CNLCC, religious authorities and CONAC;
- Encourage new membership in the CNLCC;
- Substantially increase contributions from members of CNLCC and religious authorities to the annual Report;
- Adopt a drafting outline for activity reports of CNLCC members and religious authorities for better exploitation when drafting the Report on the state of the fight against corruption in Cameroon
Two main resolutions were made at the end of the workshops:
The first was the adoption of two drafting outlines for activity reports (one for Anti-Corruption Units and the other for religious authorities and Civil Society) to be sent to CONAC for the drafting of the Cameroon’s Anti-Corruption Status Report.
These outlines were inspired by the PrECIS tool – that is Prevention, Education, Conditions, Incitement and Sanctions – drawn from the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
The setting up of the latest date for transmission of such reports to CONAC, Monday 05 September 2016, constituted the second resolution.
After these workshops, CONAC sent reminder letters to 103 administrative structures requesting their contributions to the 2015 Report, to which 59 responded favourably by sending their activity reports, making a contribution rate of 57.28%. These contributions are distributed as follows:
- Control Institutions: 01
- Regulatory Institutions: 03
- Courts: 04
- Ministries: 25
- Public Administrative Establishments, state-owned companies, semi-public and subsidised organs: 05
- Private Sector: 02
- Religious communities: 02
- Civil Society Organisations: 17
11 Administrations did not send in their contributions despite the fact that they sent representatives to these workshops, not even after telephone calls reminding them to do so. Such Ministries include:
- Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD);
- Ministry of Defence (MINDEF);
- Ministry of External Relations (MINREX);
- Ministry of Finance (MINFI);
- Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER)
- Ministry of State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure (MINDCAF);
- Ministry of Water Resources and Energy (MINEE);
- Ministry of Transport (MINTRANSPORTS);
- Ministry of Sports and Physical Education (MINSEP);
- Ministry of Social Affairs (MINAS).
- Ministry of Communication (MINCOM);

This deplorable situation is either because Institutions have not yet formerly set up Anti-Corruption Units or because of lethargy where such Units exist. It should be said here that the fight against corruption to which the Head of State is highly committed is not optional. Hence, its implementation is imperative in every segment of the Cameroonian society.
Nevertheless, there is a clear increase in the number of contributions, as compared to those for the 2014 Report which highlighted the activities carried out by the following 38 structures:
- 01 Control Institution;
- 02 Regulatory Institutions;
- 04 Courts;
- 26 Ministries;
- 01 Private sector organisation;
- 04 Civil Society Organisations;
The difference is an increase by 19 contributors in absolute terms, making 32.2% in relative terms. As such, the 2015 Report is more voluminous (379 pages) than the 2014 Report (232 pages), making an increase of 147 pages. For the first time we note contributions from Public Administrative Establishments (EPA), State companies, semi-public and other subsidised organs.
We equally note that CONAC received only 04 contributions from Civil Society Organisations within the framework of the 2014 Report, whereas the 2015 Report witnessed contributions from 17 member associations of the National Anti-Corruption Coalition, to which should be added the contributions of 02 Religious Communities.
CONAC wishes that this collaboration with EPAs, Civil Society Organisations, and the Private Sector continue in the next editions of Reports. We will also like to dedicate part of this document to Regional and Local Authorities (RLA) that receive yearly transfer of powers and resources.

II – CONTENT
Cameroon’s 2015 Anti-Corruption Status Report is divided into five major parts.
Part One presents anti-corruption activities carried out by Control Institutions, which herein are considered in two categories: firstly, institutions with main mission to fight against corruption and similar offences such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Supreme State Audit Office and the National Agency for Financial Investigation, and secondly, Regulatory Institutions which only incidentally or indirectly deal with corruption-related offences. Activities of the Public Contracts Regulatory Board (ARMP, the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (ARSEL) and the National Communication Council (NCC) are herein presented.
Part Two of the 2015 Report echoes anti-corruption activities carried out by Courts, as the activities of the Budgetary and Financial Disciplinary Council, a Financial Disciplinary Jurisdiction, have been presented in Chapter Two of Part One. CONAC therefore had to present the activities carried out on the one hand by substantive courts, particularly the Special Criminal Court (SCC), and on the other hand by the Supreme Court, in this second part of the Report. Ever since its specialised section was created in 2012, this Supreme judicial body (the Supreme Court) plays a double role in fighting public funds embezzlement and related offences either as Information Control Bench, or as a body constituted to treat appeals against judgments from the SCC. The intense activities of the Audit Bench are equally worth highlighting.
Part Three of the Report highlights anti-corruption activities carried out by Ministries through annual activity reports from existing Ministerial Anti-Corruption Units. In some cases, these activities are carried out with a lot of difficulty by Service Control Inspections. The fervent appeal is for Ministries which have not yet set up such Units to do so and to allocate the necessary resources for their functioning.
As part of contributions to the 2015 Report, these activity reports sent to CONAC were inspired by the PRECIS tool drawn from Cameroon's National Anti-Corruption Strategy. The activities carried out during the year under reference were restored, with a few exceptions, around five strategic areas of intervention and presented in five synoptic tables, namely:
• Prevention activities are those intended to eliminate corruption opportunities inherent in the structural, legal, regulatory or organizational weaknesses on which corrupters and corrupt persons can rely to commit their crimes;
• Education activities are those aimed at changing mentalities, habits and attitudes;
• Activities of Conditions are those likely to make stakeholders of the sector or pillar less vulnerable to corruption;
• Incitement activities are aimed at developing resistance to the attractiveness of corruption by proposing new references that may inspire current and future generations and;
• Finally, Sanctions aim at dismantling and destroying corrupt networks by charging a very high cost to those guilty of corruption.
Part Four of the 2015 anti-corruption report traces the anti-corruption activities carried out by Public Administrative Establishments, Public and Semi-public enterprises and other subsidized organizations. In addition to special texts governing their operation, these structures are organized essentially by Cameroon law n° 99/016 of 22 December 1999 on the Special Statute of Public Institutions and Enterprises in the Public and Semi-public Sector. Actors of this broad category have not yet courageously embraced the fight against corruption. This is true both with regard to Public and Administrative Establishments, public and semi-public companies and other subsidized organizations. This explains why out of above one hundred existing structures, only 08 sent in their 2015 activity reports to CONAC.
Here again, the need to set up Anti-Corruption Units is imperative.
Finally, Part Five of the Report highlights the anti-corruption activities carried out by the Civil Society and the Private Sector. It should be noted that the private sector and civil society play a decisive role in the fight against corruption and related offences. Though without a strong coercive power in some cases, these social components play an undeniable role in the anti-corruption crusade by raising awareness among their members. From this standpoint, Civil Society Organizations, grouped together within the National Anti-Corruption Coalition as well as the Private Sector in its various groups, were very active in 2015. Activities of the private sector were buttressed by the Business Coalition Against Corruption (BCAC) and GICAM, while those of the Civil Society were beefed up by Religious Communities as well as 17 NGOs.
Cameroon’s 2015 Anti-Corruption Status Report ends up with two recommenda-tions, one to the State and non-State structures and the other to the competent public authorities.
III – Prospects
We note a fresh impetus driven by this Report, and each State or non-governmental Institution is expected to adhere to so that efforts can be combined to stamp out negative behaviours from our society and showcase the country’s accomplishments both nationally and internationally. This is the call made to us by the New Cameroon Penal Code.
May we remind here that on 27 June 2015, during the official publication of Cameroon’s 2014 Anti-Corruption Status Report in this hall, an overview was made on the proposed law to institute a new penal code in Cameroon, which law contained several provisions that could “boost” the anti-corruption crusade in our country. Today, it is no longer a proposed law, neither is it a draft; it has become a law, law no 2016/007 of 12 July 2016 which marks a decisive turning point in the anti-corruption drive in Cameroon. As a matter of fact, the new Penal Code internalises the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption of 31 October 2003, otherwise known as the Merida Convention, by introducing new offences and actors in our battery of laws.
Besides existing provisions, new offences include:
- Mismanagement of public funds in election matters (Section 123(3),
- Insider trading (Section 135(1),
- Prohibited employment (Section 136(1),
- Corruption in administrative competitive examinations and other examinations (Section 163(1),
- Money laundering through gaming and lotteries (Section 249(4),
- Corruption of Private Sector Employees (Section 312);
- Non-declaration of conflict of interest (Section 313(1), and
- Accounting irregularities (Section 314(1).
New actors include:
- Foreign or international civil servant or public employee (Section 134);
- Depositories of public authority (Section 312)
- Corporate bodies (Section 74(1)
Corruption therefore does not only concern civil servants or national workers, neither does it only concern natural persons. Generally, by considering the responsi-bilities of corporate bodies, with criminal responsibilities of employees, the legislator is in other words giving a strong stimulus to the fight against corruption in that the corrupt agent or the corrupter, in heavy corruption cases, is sometimes no other person than the close aid to the “master”. This provision enables easy arrest of and imputation of administrative sanctions on dubious agents in the public contracts process. Such sanctions have so far been meted out in great numbers.
Henceforth, belonging to some professions comes with very serious sanctions in case of involvement in any corruption offence. Such is the case with Magistrates, Judicial Police Officers, workers in anti-corruption institutions, heads of administrative units and every other sworn-in civil servant.
No-one is now spared. From the clarifications given by the Minister of State in charge of Justice and Keeper of the Seals after the promulgation of the Code (Cameroon Tribune of 15 July 2016, pages 6 to 9) we can say that the expected consecration of the two other corruption offences which the Merida Convention links to corruption have merely been postponed until conditions for their institution would have been met.
This will complete the internalisation process of the Merida Convention. However, the great wish should be to see Cameroon officially internalising the notion of related offences to corruption in order to fuse the prosecution system of all these offences.
Of course, this last and ultimate step should be taken while considering the two principles of presumption of innocence and non-retroactivity of criminal law as prescribed by international Conventions Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, Sections 11.1 et 11.2; International Pact on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, Sections 14.2 and 15) and in Cameroonian laws like the 18 January 1996 Constitution (Preamble as integral part of the Constitution, Section 65), the Criminal Procedure Code of 27 July 2005 (Section 8) and the Penal Code of 12 July 2016 (Section 3).
Bearing in mind the consistency in its provisions, the Cameroon Penal Code of 12 July 2016 has positioned Cameroon among forerunner countries involved in an effective fight against corruption. The expectation now is that these measures should rapidly reshape the perception Cameroonians and rating Agencies have on the issue of the fight against corruption in Cameroon.
Thank you for your kind attention. /”

06-01-2017

   
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