News24

Cameroon ex-PM held in graft probe

2012-04-17 10:27

Yaounde - Police in Cameroon arrested former prime minister Inoni Ephraim on Monday as part of an investigation into corruption, one of his lawyers said.

"He has been placed in detention...," after having been questioned by an investigating magistrate, the lawyer, who asked not to be identified, told AFP.

A source at the court said Ephraim, who served as prime minister between 2004 and 2009, was suspected of having embezzled funds related to the bank account of Cameroon airline Camair.

Yves Michel Fotso and Paul Gamo Hamani, two former bosses of the airline, have already been detained and placed under formal investigation for embezzlement of public funds: Fotso in 2010 and Hamani in 2009.

The company ceased trading in 2008.

Ephraim's arrest comes as part of Operation Epervier (Sparrowhawk), an anti-corruption campaign launched in 2004.

That operation has already resulted in the arrest of several senior figures in Cameroon including former ministers and the heads of state-owned companies.

But Monday's arrest is the first time a former premier of the country has been detained.

In a part of a separate investigation Monday, former minister Marafa Amidou Yaya was also taking into custody as part of an investigation into the misuse of public funds that had been meant for the presidential airplane.

A report last November by Cameroon's National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) said that $62m in public funds had been lost or embezzled. Those figures came from an investigation CONAC conducted in 2009.