ACCRA (Reuters) - Cameroon’s former finance and economy minister Polycarpe Abah Abah was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a special criminal court for embezzling 6 billion CFA francs ($11 million) to buy a string of houses and cars.
The court will seize 30 properties, eight vehicles and three tractors as well as bank accounts worth 26 million CFA francs from Abah Abah, who was convicted with three others including Pascal Manga, who was sentenced in absentia, said witnesses.
Abah Abah served as minister from 2004 to 2008 and before that headed the finance ministry’s tax department. He told journalists at the court late on Tuesday that the ruling was a “joke” and said he would appeal.
Abah Abah was arrested in 2008 under Operation Sparrowhawk, a drive launched by President Paul Biya’s government in 2006 to fight corruption. Cameroon ranks 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 corruption perceptions index.
The former general manager of the Credit Foncier du Cameroun, Joseph Edou, and his deputy Raphael Meke were each sentenced to 15 years in prison, while three others were acquitted.
The court ordered Abah Abah and Pascal Manga to repay 7.5 billion CFA francs.
$1 = 556.9300 CFA francs