Former Prime Minister and Chief of the Bakingili clan in Fako Division, South West Region, Inoni Ephraim who is being tried by the Special Criminal Court, SCC, for Embezzlement charges has been denied provisionary bail.
This was during hearings for the case pitting the State of Cameroon and Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara, Ephraim Inoni, Otélé Essomba and Kewin Wall, prosecuted for siphoning state funds of FCFA 1.4 billion and FCFA 287 million which held on Wednesday and Thursday March 7 at the SCC in Yaoundé. According to Barrister Eta Bessong Jr, one of the defence lawyers for Chief Inoni Ephraim, his client was remanded on May 7, 2012 and since it expired on November 7 same year it has never been renewed. Therefore his client should be granted bail, he said. But the prosecution held that the period of detention is six months and there is a possibility of extending to 12 months. "We are still in the legal margin," said the prosecutor. The defence lawyers criticized the heavy presence of security forces who occupied benches at the Special Criminal Court. Over 20 chiefs from Fako Division in the SW who have been in Yaoundé since the last court hearings were still in court to cheer up the Bakingili traditional ruler, Chief Inoni Ephraim. The erstwhile PM is expected to appear before the Special Criminal Court again on March 15. Thursday’s court hearing was dedicated to the cross examination of one of government’s witnesses, the former Finance Director of the National Hydrocarbons Company, SNH, after former Transport Minister, John B. Ndeh. Concerning the FCFA 278 million contract signed between Aircraft Portfolio Management and the Ministry of Transport, John B. Ndeh said he signed the contract after receiving instructions from his hierarchy, René Owona, the then Deputy Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic.