By Kini Nsom and Christopher Jator Njechu
Former Public Service and Administrative Reforms Minister and Chairman of the Opposition Alliance for Democracy and Development, ADD, Haman Garga Adji, collapsed at the Supreme Court in Yaounde May 30, as he was being sworn-in as one of the members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, NACC.
Garga who stood for close to an hour, among other colleagues of the eleven-man commission during the period they waited to take the oath of office, buckled under and remained silent for a few moments, thereby causing panic in the hall.
He recovered five minutes later thanks to the urgent services of his personal doctors who were also present at the event. Though attempts by The Post to get the doctors explain the cause of the malaise ended futile, observers attributed the collapse to the fact the hall suddenly became air-tight with so many people that jammed the one thousand-capacity hall.
It was also stated that Garga's collapse was the logical consequence of fatigue, resulting from the long standing during the oath taking exercise.From every indication, the eleven-man anti-corruption team are mostly men who are at their advanced ages. Commentators say the Head of State needed people who will work on wisdom.
The President of the Supreme Court, Justice Alexis Dipanda Mouelle, presided over the swearing ceremony in the presence of the Prime Minister, Chief Ephraim Inoni and some members of government.
The Commission, headed by Paul Tessa, ex-Minister, Ex-Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic and current Board Chairman of SOPECAM was commissioned to gather information, investigate and study cases of corruption.
The NACC members were also charged with identifying corruption,
initiate inquiries on all cases of corruption and fraud made known to
them and or proposals to relevant authorities.
The Commission, which was created on March 11, 2006, and whose members were named May 15, 2007, by the Head of State, have a three-year term of office, renewable once.
They are expected to animate the structure which has been given independence and legal powers under the patronage of the President of the Republic. The members, drawn from all walks of life, including ex-members of government, a former governor, religious leaders, an ex-police Commissioner, diplomats, writers and administrators, are people of high standing, discretion, experience and humility.
They include: Paul Tessa (President), Dieudonne Massi Gams (Vice-President), Hamadjoda Adjoudji, Emilien Jerome Abondo, Garga Haman Adji, Patrice Ndedi Penda, Njami Nwandi Simon Bolivar, Moustapha Moussa, Fon Fosi Yakum-Ntaw, Magloire Nguiamba and Amos Ngongi Namanga.
The State Prosecutor at the Supreme Court triggered the start of the event when he delivered a lecture on corruption. He said countries that are more exposed to corruption are fragile and lag behind in terms of socio-economic development. According to him, Cameroon pledged its commitment to fight the scourge because it has ratified the United Nations and the African Union Conventions for the fight against corruption.
He said corruption in Cameroon is a persistent issue which has been given many names by its perpetrators. According to him, the perpetration of this cankerworm is mostly by people in positions of responsibility.
The Commission members were given enormous responsibility given that corruption has remained as an underlying scourge in the country despite the much trumpeted government's political will to lay it to rest.
According to the international anti-corruption NGO, Transparency International, corruption is still deep-seated in the fabric of the Cameroonian society. It was stated that almost half of the country's budget slips into private pockets through various acts of corruption.