By Richard Nde Lajong
The Bureau of the National Assembly which claims it has lined up an undisclosed number of Members of Parliament to be stripped of their parliamentary immunity rounded up a seventy-five minutes session with just one file having been examined.
Their excuse was that an adjournment was prompted by what they described as files containing very crucial issues.
The 23-man bureau met yesterday Tuesday 14 July 2009 in an extra-ordinary meeting to scrutinise the files forwarded to the National Assembly by the Minister of Justice, Amadou Ali. The session was chaired by House Speaker, Cavaye Yeguie Djibril
Yesterday’s session is reported to have sent jitters among some MPs about whom rumours of imminent lifting of Parliamentary immunity had been circulating.
Briefing the press after the meeting, Hon. Cyprian Awudu Mbaya and Hon. Theophile Baoro, Assembly Questor and Vice President respectively, said the meeting was a very serious one. It had just one item on the agenda, the lifting of the immunity of some parliamentarians, they said.
Both men said because of the crucial nature of the files, the bureau decided to adjourn the meeting to a later date to enable the bureau members have a proper study of the files and carry out their own investigations.
But Eden gathered around the corridors of the Glass House that the meeting was adjourned to August 2009.
Hon. Cyprian Awudu Mbaya and Hon.
Theophile Baoro refused to declare the number or the identity of the Parliamentarians when quizzed by journalists. They simply said there were many of them.
Eden also gathered from independent inside sources that only one file was scrutinised by the bureau members and it had to do with the former Minister of Public Works, Dieudonné Ambassa Zang who is the Member of Parliament for the Mefou and Afamba in the Centre Region, over allegations of misappropriating over FCFA 8 billion meant for rehabilitation work over the Rivers Wouri and Sanaga.
An MP who spoke to Eden on condition of anonymity said it was just a plot masterminded by some top Sawa elite who think they are being marginalised in government. Our source equally said the whole plot is centered on the fact that Ambassa Zang, while serving as Minister of Public Works, dismissed a certain Pokossi who was the Director of General Administration under him. The Director of General Administration, it is alleged, siphoned some Public Works equipment to his residence and some guards who witnessed the act reported to the Minister.
The said was Pokossi was allegedly queried and was dismissed three weeks later. The matter was then reported to Laurent Esso, himself, a Sawa elite, who decided to collaborate with his tribesman, Etame Massoma who heads the anti-corruption unit.
Two commissions were therefore set up and concerning the rehabilitations of the bridge over the Rivers Wouri and Sanaga at Ebebda, the commission’s report in March 2006 from the Supreme State Control states that work realised on the bridges stood at FCFA 1.092.713.096 (one billion and ninety two million, seven hundred and thirteen thousands and ninety-six francs) compared to the FCFA 8.3 billion earmarked for the two projects, Rivers Wouri and Sanaga.
Hon. Ambassa Zang is quoted in a French language daily as saying that work over the River Sanaga was signed in 2005 after he had left government. Dieudonné Ambassa Zang was Minister of Public Works from 24 August 2002 to 8 December 2004.
Tuesday’s extra-ordinary bureau meeting therefore seems to have confirmed speculations that immunities of some MPs were to be lifted in the meeting. Though Hons. Cyprian Awudu Mbaya and Theophile Baoro maintained in a press briefing after the meeting that the files involved several MPs, an independent source disclosed that only the file of Hon. Ambassa Zang was being scrutinised.