A Cameroonian high court has charged the former administrator of now defunct Cameroon Airlines (CAMAIR) with embezzling 127 billion CFA francs, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Cameroon, which was named the world’s most corrupt country by watchdog Transparency International in the late 1990s, had been investigating Paul Ngamo Hamani under “Operation Sparrowhawk,” an anti-graft drive it launched in 2006.
Jackson Gnie Kamga, a lawyer representing Hamani, told journalists the case rests on charges of embezzling state aid, wrongfully selling land and property belonging to CAMAIR, and mismanaging money while heading the tax department.
The first charge relates to “the embezzlement of monthly subsidies paid by the state to CAMAIR,” Kamga told state radio.
Hamani was detained in the maximum security New Bell prison in port city Douala while awaiting trial.
Kamga did not say whether or not his client denied the charges.
Hamani was dismissed as provisional administrator of CAMAIR in March 2008. Before that he worked both at the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Department of Taxation.
Cameroon, the biggest economy in the six-nation central African CFA zone, said in November its budget for 2009 would be just under $4.5 billion.
Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) ranked Cameroon 141st out of 180 countries in its most recent Corruption Perceptions Index, making it one of world’s most corrupt.