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Where is CONAC’s Banner Without Stain? 

By Charlie Ndi Chia

‘The Star’ newspaper raised the issue in its edition of Monday, October 12, 2015, and was understandably bitter with the National Anti-corruption Commission, CONAC, for pussyfooting on the issue of the criminal land-grabbing that has at once, compromised the cultural interests of the people of Fako and brazenly diminished their collective dignity.

Beginning last year, the media brought out incontrovertible evidence of local administrators cajoling certain gullible, albeit, condescending traditional rulers and corrupt civil servants, to senselessly decimate ancestral lands, throwing the Aboriginal owners out in the cold…with a devil-may-care impunity for that matter.

The media published well documented evidence of “five star” thieving administrators that had between them, over time, thieved thousands of hectares of land, surrendered by the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, to indigenous Bakweri villages. Cast iron evidence was established, through investigative reporting, of certain philandering nouveau Chiefs and ‘kindergarten’ Mayors, who gave out common land for filthy lucre and which proceeds were used in purchasing flashy cars, frolicking with women of easy virtue and other such debauch acts.

The National Human Rights Commission and Freedoms, NHRCF, is also known to have lent its voice of protest against the alarming rate at which Fako native lands were systematically being grabbed and traded off, as though the lands in question were going out of fashion. Even as we write, the courts are yet to dispose of pending cases of lands that were reportedly brazenly carved away by unrepentant grabbers.

Naturally, very naturally, CONAC had to step in, ostensibly to investigate and ultimately establish such prima-facie evidence as would have guilty perpetrators of land-grabbing regurgitate their loot and as a matter of justice, be decently shamed and punished. It is trite knowledge that the anti-corruption body has a track record of exposing corruption in high places. The records are there for all to see, even if discretional and selective prosecution at the whims of the President of the Republic has often frustrated the anti-corruption commission’s verve to serve the common interest, without recourse to whose ox is gored.

However, in the case of Fako land-grabbing and the intricate cobweb of palpable selective justice, it is feared that CONAC’s potential clean banner notwithstanding, its legal web is beginning to be threadbare if you will. With apparent “five star” criminal grabbers, ostensibly providing but selective oxygen for the anti-corruption body, the CONAC cobweb, it would appear, can only trap the small flies and weevils, while the powerful bees and the hornets are brazenly, tactfully sailing through to enjoy their cheap loot in the long run.

This is not fair. This is not good news, coming as it were, from our own very trusted CONAC, that is being seen now as inadvertently laying an ambush of sorts against the very yearning of a hapless people that have been looking up to it for the elusive legal succour. Lest we forget, let it be stated here that two resourceful Reporters of The Post newspaper recently won the British High Commission ‘Best Investigative Reporterof the Year’ award and that the award was informed by the thorough investigative work the paper carried out on this land-grabbing syndrome.

As a newspaper, we would not want our hard fought crusade for justice and credibility to slip away like a pack of chicken nuggets, for the simple fact that CONAC was, or is conveniently pussyfooting.

Modesty aside, we expected our investigative efforts to have provided the vim, the strong framework on which the solid structures of CONAC’s intelligence are built. Reason why we go with our sister newspaper, (The Star) that journalists ought to have constituted part of the guiding light; why not, the reference point for CONAC’s business, when its members held court in Buea and Limbe last week.

Terms of reference ought to have been published, with members of the public invited to testify at what should have been an inquest. In other words, crusaders like Ikomi Ngongi and co, who have been making both a moral and legal case against Bakweri land theft, ought to have been invited to the CONAC meetings to present memoranda and throw light on issues that land-grabbers naturally want to put in the back burner. This is the beauty of probity and CONAC knows it. It cannot be the carrot and stick approach of victimizing patriots like the policewoman, Dina Essoka who blew the sharp whistle for land thieves to drop their loot when it most mattered.

It is not the still-born missions of coming to reluctantly reinstate her in the wrong office without apology that shall wear off the sting of the embarrassingly obnoxious justice procedure that put her out of office in the first place.

Mr. Biya is either fighting corruption or merely being chicane. Half measures and other forms of official ambivalence have never laid the monster of corruption to rest anywhere in this world.
Where is CONAC’s banner without stain?

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