A court in Cameroon has jailed for life the former head of the defunct national carrier Camair, Yves Michel Fotso, on conviction of embezzling almost US$56 million.
Fotso, already sentenced to 25 years behind bars in a separate graft case, “took the rap for life,” said a source close to the Special Criminal Tribunal, set up in the central African country to try major corruption cases.
The judges “found Mr Fotso guilty of embezzling 32.4 billion CFA francs” when he was chief executive of the airline, whose full name was Cameroon Airlines, from 2000 to 2003.
Fotso created three front companies to rent aircraft to the airline when the planes had already been purchased outright with public funds.
The pair were found guilty of embezzling US$29 million that Cameroon paid in 2001 for a presidential plane in a deal that fell through.
Fotso became a target of the “Sparrowhawk” anti-corruption campaign launched in 2006 under strong pressure from Cameroon’s foreign donor partners. A large number of people, including other heads of state-owned firms and former government ministers, have been arrested.
The Cameroonian government put Camair into liquidation in 2005, before launching Camair-Co, which is also confronted with serious financial great difficulties.