Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o affair: Former Minister of Defense sentenced to 30 years in jail 0

The Special Criminal Court sentenced former minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o to thirty years in jail for engaging in massive fraud during his time at the head of the defense ministry.

The Francophone Beti Ewondo political figure was charged with organizing, directing and engaging in criminal activity. The Special Criminal Court jury dominated by judges from his Beti tribal extraction announced that the list of offenses included embezzlement of public funds, specifically the over-invoicing of public contracts to the tune of 23 billion CFA francs, money laundering, bribery and taking an interest in an anti Biya act.

The Mebe Ngo’o imprisonment did not trigger any mixed political feeling and thoughts in Yaoundé the nation’s capital. A co-accused, Bernadette Mebe Ngo’o who continues to moonlight as the wife of the former Minister of Defense was also sentenced to ten years in prison for complicity in the embezzlement of 5 billion CFA francs and money laundering.

Lieutenant-Colonel Elie Ghislain Mboutou and Maxime Léonard Mbangue each received 25 years in prison. They were also found guilty of embezzlement of public funds, money laundering and corruption.

By some strange happenstance, one of the defendants, Victor Emmanuel Menye, received nine years in prison. Initially, prosecutors at the Special Criminal Court had requested life imprisonment.

The so-called Biya’s next-of-kin was found not guilty concerning suspicion of embezzlement in the purchase of helicopters and patrol boats in China.

Mebe Ngo’o’s lawyers say he remains a political prisoner.

By Rita Akana in Yaoundé