Cameroon’s Justice System:   Amougou Belinga’s fate hangs in the balance 0

Interest in the Martinez Zogo murder case will not be dying down anytime soon despite some delays due to lack of evidence against the country’s justice minister, Laurent Esso, linking him to the murder.

After hearing the defendants and examining the reports of the commission of inquiry, the government commissioner this week felt that there was not enough evidence to send Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga and other co-accused to the Yaoundé Maximum Security Prison known as Kondengui.

On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, the Yaoundé military court spent about ten hours to question about thirty people arrested in connection with the kidnapping of the whistleblower and journalist, Martinez Zogo, following his barbaric murder on January 17, 2023.

In order for justice to be served, the country’s president, Paul Biya, set up a commission of inquiry comprising police and gendarme officers which has arrested and interviewed for nearly three weeks, about thirty suspects at the Secretariat of State for Defense (SED).

Transferred to the military court for the first time in the early afternoon of Tuesday, February 14, the defendants were on their way to Kondengui when the government commissioner decided to send them back to the SED.

We had already made arrangements to receive them at Kondengui (the Yaoundé neighborhood which houses the central and secondary prisons). But we also knew that the military prosecutor could decide to release them or ask that they be returned to the SED for further investigation. He chose the latter option because the reports indicate that there is something missing to place the defendants under arrest. This case is very complicated, with pressure coming from all sides,” commented a source close to the case.

To date, the influential businessman, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, CEO of the media group, Anecdote, and alleged mastermind of the murder of Martinez Zogo, is spending his second week in custody at the SED.

On the other hand, some of his close collaborators, including Mr. Boulemou, Melanie Bibanga, Rose Olgane, and Ines Belinga were released on Monday, February 13, 2023 for undisclosed reasons.

Ivana Essomba, the wife of Bruno Bidjang, the General Manager of the Anecdote Group, is also breathing the air of freedom. They all spent four days at the SED.

 During their brief stay at the SED, they were interviewed in relation to the Martinez Zogo murder case.

During the various hearings, Colonel Raymond Etoundi Nsoe, head of security and father-in-law of Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga had, according to Equinoxe television, confirmed the statement made against the Vision 4 CEO by Lieutenant Colonel Justin Danwe, the Director of Operations at the Directorate General of External Research (DGRE).

 Cameroon Concord News learned that Colonel Raymond Etoundi Nsoe had confessed that the money wired into his account by Amougou Belinga was intended to pay off those who murdered   Martinez Zogo.

This testimony underscores that the media mogul played a key role in Mr. Zogo’s murder. But the latter has denied his involvement in this heinous crime since his arrest.

The tragic-comedy is still playing out and the public is growing very impatient with the manner in which the investigation is progressing.

By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai