The Supreme Court, sitting in Yaoundé, on May 18, slashed the jail terms of Marafa Hamidou Yaya alongside Yves Michel Fotso. Originally, Marafa and Fotso were each slammed 25 years behind bars in 2012. With the new ruling, their jail terms were readjusted to 20 years each.
Also, a banker and assistant CEO of the Fotso-owned Commercial Bank of Cameroon, CBC, Julienne Kounda, who had been jailed alongside Marafa anf Fotso, was acquitted after serving four years of the 10 years she was originally given.
The former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation and one-time Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Marafa, and the former General Manager of Cameroon Airlines, CAMAIR and former General Manager of Commercial Bank of Cameroon, Fotso, were charged with the embezzlement of funds meant for the purchase of a Presidential plane, BBJ.
During Wednesday’s Supreme Court session, Marafa is said to have maintained a calm disposition; moving into and out of the court, while Fotso reportedly looked tense; drinking mineral water oftentimes than deemed necessary by onlookers.
As of now, they will have to serve 16 years considering that they have already spent about four years in prison, they have remaining sentences of 16 years each.
After Wednesday’s session of the highest court of the land, both Marafa and Fotso described the ruling as a “travesty of justice.”
Marafa, Fotso and his CBC collaborators were sentenced on September 22, 2012, after a marathon session of the Mfoundi High Court. The Court, in the case of “The Government of Cameroon vs. Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Fotso Michel Yves, Kounda Julienne, Sandjon Geneviève, Chapuis Jean-Louis, Assene Nkou,” were slammed various heavy sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years.
Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Yves Michel Fotso and Jean-Marie Assene Nkou got 25 years each; Jean-Marie Chapuis, former CEO of the Fotso-owned CBC and his collaborator, Genevieve Sandjon, got 15 years each; while Julienne Kounda, former Assistant CEO of CBC got 10 years.
They were asked to jointly pay FCFA 21 billion ($42 million) in damages and interest to the State, plus more than FCFA 1 billion ($2 million) in costs.