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Ex-SONARA Boss Slammed 15-Year Sentence for Corruption 

By Basil Afoni

Charles-Metouck

Former SONARA GM Charles Metouk is paying the price for corrupt practices

 

Charles Metouk, former General Manager of the National Oil Refinery, SONARA, has been found guilty by the Special Criminal Court and slammed a 15-year sentence for embezzlement of public funds.

The verdict, handed down on Wednesday, October 21, was the culmination of a nearly two-year long trial. The former top executive of Cameroon’s lone state-owned refinery was convicted alongside one other co-defendant. Jean Jules Edinguele, a former top official at SONARA was handed down a 12-year jail term. The court found two co-defendants, Leonard Dikoumé and Ngallé Mouelle, not guilty.

Metouck and former SONARA officials, Noé Ngalle Mouelle, Jean Jules Edinguele Edinguele, Albert Léonard Dikoume and Etienne Tiako, were accused of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of over FCFA 108 million. The amount was reportedly fraudulently retained from the signing of a contract by SONARA with a private company.

The other accused, Etienne Tiako, was let off the hook on April 22, 2015, after paying the amount he was accused of embezzling.

After being sacked in February 2013, Metouck was arrested on February 18, 2013 and charged on seven counts, including the use of a fake document to gain access to SONARA GM‘s office, signing a document on February 18, 2013 which cited payment undertaken after official notice of his replacement, signing a document permitting the payment of a bill to one of SONARA’s contractors, GREMCORE, destruction of documents belonging to SONARA without just cause, retention of keys of SONARA GM’s office without just cause and retention of the official badge of SONARA GM which ought to have been remitted after handing over on February 15, 2013.

With regards to the charge of destruction of company documents, on April 24, 2013, Metouck was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of FCFA 2 million.

The 65-year-old chemical engineer led SONARA for 11 years before being sacked on February 15, 2013, and replaced by the current General Manager, Ibrahim Talba Malla.

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