Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jerome Mendouga: The Scapegoat of Jungle Justice.


Jerome Medouga’s case is different. First it would seem there was lack of due process because as an ambassador he should have been given Diplomatic Immunity. Like Dr. Augustine Agbor (a reputable lawyer in the US) earlier pointed out that his arrest and detention lack due process. Whether we like him or not; there should be due process, or it is Jungle Justice.

It is alleged that the president wanted a brand new Boeing 747 which could carry 375 passengers for 720 millions. Lawyer Agbor had asked some pertinent questions. Why did the government need the embassy to serve as a middle person? Did they read the specifications and conditions as “buy as it is when buying the plane ”? Jerome Mendouga is not an aeronautic specialist to know about planes. Why did they rely on his expertise? He informed them according to his ability. One would need to prove that his information was actually misinformation and thus malicious.

Considering that the money left from Mebara and others before coming to the ambassador, one is not sure that he took all the 720 millions CFA. We all know how the process of contracts in Cameroon or the world over requires kickbacks. Why is he being judged in closed doors in the first place? This is not a martial court!

Politics aside, Jerome Mendouga is a good person, so he should be released. I know the president thinks that buying a bad plane that was pruned to mechanical failure was a tacit ploy to assassinate him in some plane disaster, but again, as usual it could just be the normal greed that blinded him rather than the desire to murder his good friend. As we are commending the justice system, we should not ignore the fact that his Diplomatic Immunity was shoved aside, that he is condemned even before being judged, and that the legal proceedings have been going behind closed doors. If Operation Sparrow Hawk is to instill transparency, then I don’t think this is one of them.

The fact that he worked indefatigably for CPDM does not make him a devil. Some opposants have embezzled much more than some people in CPDM. By the way; it is not everyone in the CPDM who lacks a conscience. What Mr. Mendouga did as Ambassador has nothing to do with this case. Moreso, some of the policies he implemented were right.

Why do you want to go back there when that same government is still in power if you filed for asylum because you were running away from the government that wants to kill you? Mendouga was a simple, soft spoken and loving person. I do plead with president Biya to believe that Jerome Mendouga was and is a scapegoat. If he dies in jail, it augurs very ill on Biya’s sense of loyalty, love, friendhsip and forgiveness.

Simply because you send your best friend to buy you a car, and he had a bad deal does not mean that he had a bad intention. Even if there is a specialist, it might go awry. A student of mine wanted to buy a car. He took a mechanic with him to the place. They bought a car with the sign “buy as it is”. They started the car and left the car lot. At the first stop light, the car stopped and did not start again. Would you say the mechanic had a bad intention? We cannot just trust a machine; even new machines malfunction at the first start.

This case is the same like giving a friend money to go to Italy to buy you suits. While in Milan, the money is stolen. You could suspect your friend hid the money and is telling a story that thieves stole the money. But when passersby say they saw a pickpocket snatch the wallet then you cannot blame the man. Boeing has not refused Mendouga and the rest paying some money but just not the amount given to them. There are no receipts indicating that Mendouga took 720 millions CFA though it is the amount originally disbursed to buy a presidential plane. So how is he being made the scapegoat?

People, knowing that we all sin we should not be quick to condemn others without due process. Let the rule of law be with due process. I don’t like false accusations and do believe even the worst criminals should be given their day in a fair and just court. Mendouga is not having a fair and just trial.
Until then, I hate kangaroo courts and jungle justice.
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