Martinez Zogo Affair: Dismissal of two judges has opened up debates about poor delivery of justice 0

Two prominent judges of the Military Tribunal have been removed by the 91-year-old President Biya in a move described by many as an unexpected blow to the reputation of the judiciary.

The dismissal of the two Francophone judges in Yaoundé has sparked fierce debates around the conditions under which judges’ work.

The Biya decision to sack the judges caught the attention of the media because both were involved in the Martinez Zogo murder case.

Cameroon Intelligence Report gathered that Biya fired Colonel Sipa Didier Dongmo, the Director of Military Justice and Lieutenant Colonel Sikati II Kamwo Florent Aimé the investigating judge at the Yaoundé Military Court after it was revealed that they received bribes from members of the gang that murdered journalist Martinez Zogo. Both men were replaced by Colonel Djiofack Sylvestre Pascal and magistrate Lieutenant-Colonel Nzie Pierrot Narcisse respectively.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sikati, the investigating judge at the Yaoundé military court as he then was, signed a decision ordering the release of business tycoon Jean Pierre Amougou and the disgraced spy Chief Maxime Eko EKo. But less than 24 hours later, the same judge made public another decision denying the release of Amougou Belinga and Maxime Eko Eko.

Moving the goal posts is not illegal in Cameroon but doing so in a matter that involves the Beti-Bulu ruling clan is considered a serious act of misconduct that undermines public confidence in the judiciary. Dismissal was seen as a necessary punishment for the two military judges whose love for money raised questions about their impartiality.

There is no appeal within Cameroon’s disciplinary procedure or a judicial review challenge when President gives you a P45.

It is also not known whether any of the two Francophone judges have disputed Biya’s claim.

By Staff man Alain Tabot-Tanyi