Daily Archives: May 16, 2013
Brenda YUFEH NCHEWNANG-NGASSA
The first accused was acquitted by the Special Criminal Court yesterday 16 May.
Charles Etah Njoh, second accused in the case between the State of Cameroon against Marcus Ndumbe Mbessa, Charles Etah Njoh, and the enterprise “Njoh and Sons Distribution” was found guilty by the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in Yaounde, yesterday May 16, 2013 for attempting to misappropriate public funds worth FCFA 50,445,699 meant for the rehabilitation of a road between Bechati and Wabane in Lebialem Division of the South West Region.
While reading the judgement, the Head of the panel of Judges hearing the case, Mr Justice Bea Abednego Kala said Charles Etah Njoh was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment while the first accused, Marcus Ndumbe Mbessa was acquitted because he had previously been tried and convicted by the Court of First Instance in Menji, Lebialem in respect of the same offense which is the principle of autrefois convicted raised by his counsel and upheld by the court. Thus, it would have been unjust to convict him again. Immediately the court’s judgement was read, two warrants of imprisonment were issued for Charles Etah Njoh. One for the principle sentence of 15 years and the other if he does not pay the charges of over FCFA one million taxed against him.
Representing the Legal Department, Advocate Generals Richard Wanki and David Wesiheba submitted that the provisions of section 184 sub (1) A as read with 94 sub 1 of the Penal Code should be applicable because it indicates that when someone is found guilty of embezzling public funds or attempting to embezzle public funds with amount above half a million, he should be sentenced to life imprisonment. The Advocate Generals further stressed that sub section 4 of the law provides that on the finding of mitigating circumstances by the court, the sentence can never be reduced to less than 10 years and cannot be suspended. The Legal Department also urged the court to impose the forfeitures listed in Section 30 of the Penal Code be applied to the accused for 10 years. According to Section 30 of the Penal Code, Etah Njoh will be removed and excluded from any public service, employment or office. He will be incapable to be a juror, assessor, expert, referee or sworn expert, among others.
The submissions were upheld by the court and applied accordingly. In addition, the proceeding of the court was taxed at FCFA 1,196,316. The accused was ordered to pay the money into the public treasury, if not he will serve an additional term of two years imprisonment.
The counsel for Charles Etah Njoh pleaded the court to have mercy on his client and find mitigating circumstance in his favour. Since Etah Njoh had no other criminal record and given his status as the head of a large family, Mr Justice Bea Abednego Kala and the panel of other judges made up of Mrs Justice Hayatou Zakiyatou and Mr Justice Mathias Nyoh took the cry of Etah Njoh’s counsel into consideration before arriving at the 15- year jail term.
With the court’s final decision on the case, the President of the court said if any party is not satisfied with the judgment, they have until 48 hours to appeal against the decision.
At least six people have been injured and learning halted following a second spate of unrest in less than four months at state University of Buea in southwest Cameroon.
The striking students also damaged at least three vehicles belonging to the institution, according to an official who asked not to be named because he is not the university’s spokesman.
Among the injured were campus security guards.
The students were demanding that the charges against 12 of their leaders before a Buea court be dropped.
They also want fresh first semester examinations set for the suspects who were rounded up during the examinations period.
The 12 students were charged for holding the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Nalova Lyonga, hostage for over three hours in her car on the campus during a strike in February.
According to a Saturday press release by the University of Buea Students Union (UBSU), the students also want the institution to fund their union and let them elect new leaders before May 20..
The latest strike comes after talks ended in a deadlock on two occasions.
The Vice-Chancellor rejected the demands at a meeting on Monday.
Security forces are reported to have forced their way through barricades mounted by the students and dispersed them with tear gas.
Mourners at a funeral in Zimbabwe were stunned when the dead man woke up as they filed by his coffin, state media reported today.
Brighton Dama Zanthe, 34, was being laid to rest inside a coffin last Monday after he apparently died at his home following a long illness.
The transport worker’s grieving family covered his body with blankets and made arrangements to transfer him to a local mortuary, according to a report in the Herald newspaper.
But the next day Mr Zanthe’s friends and relatives scattered in disbelief when he started moving as they filed past to say their emotional goodbyes.
‘Resurrected’: The ‘deceased’ was being laid to rest in a coffin after apparently dying from a long illness when he woke up in the middle of his own funeral
The dead man’s boss Lot Gaka told the Herald of the moment he realised his employee was still alive.
He said: ‘I was the first to notice Zanthe’s moving legs as I was in the queue to view his body. This shocked me.
‘At first I could not believe my eyes but later realised that there was indeed some movements on the body as other mourners retreated in disbelief.’
Mr Gaka, who runs a bus company in the midlands city of Gweru, told the newspaper Mr Zanthe had been persistently unwell before his ‘death’ last week.
He told how he visited the family’s home to offer support when his employee’s wife called to say he had passed away.
He said: ‘Zanthe had been on sick leave for some time and everyone at work was aware that he was critical.
‘We would visit him at his home.
‘I was not surprised when I received a call from Zanthe’s wife on Monday night last week saying that her husband had died.’
He added: ‘I visited two local funeral parlours for quotations before I drove to Zanthe’s house so that we could take the body to the mortuary.
‘Zanthe’s body had already been put in a coffin and people were preparing to conduct a body viewing procession so that his body could be taken to a mortuary.
‘It was during the body viewing procession that he “resurrected”.’
Another witness told the state-controlled newspaper how the family desperately pulled blankets off Mr Zanthe’s body to try to revive him after realising he was still alive.
He said: ‘Gaka later removed some blankets from Zanthe’s body after we noticed some movements and this was when we all realised that there was still life.
‘We then called an ambulance which came within seven minutes.
‘It’s really a miracle and most people are still in disbelief.’
The Herald, which is owned by Zimbabwe’s government, reported that Mr Zanthe spent two days on life support after being rushed to the Gweru Provincial Hospital following the incident.
He was discharged last week and has since returned home.
The shaken family man told the newspaper he had only a hazy recollection of the event.
He said: ‘This issue can be best told by people who came to my house to attend my funeral.
‘I don’t know what happened and I only remember being on a life support system in hospital.’
He added: ‘Everything is history to me.
‘What I can only confirm is that people gathered at my house to mourn but I was given another chance and I am alive. I feel okay now.’