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Cameroon National Identity Card Scandal: Former Director of Thales Security System accused of embezzling 175 million absent in court

They are accused of embezzling 175 million FCFA, being funds meant for the production of secured National Identity Cards and Residence Permits and Passports. The first hearing in the case between the State of Cameroon/the General Delegation for National Security (DGSN) against Jean Claude Fabre, former Director of Thales Security Systems and Gondang Marie, Director of Gomas, took place at the Special Criminal Court in Yaounde on December 21, 2015. Jean Claude Fabre and Gondong Marie are accused of embezzling 175,142,100 FCFA, being State funds. According to the Magistrate’s Committal Order, the crime was allegedly committed between 2011 and 2012. The offence is punishable under the law according to Articles 74, 96 and 184 of the Penal Code.

The hearing before a panel of judges led by Mrs. Justice Eloundou Virginie, assisted by Mr. Justice Nyoh Matthias and Mr. Justice Awoung, began with the verification of the prosecution and defence counsel. However, all two accused people were absent. Counsel for Fabre Jean Claude, Barrister Pierre-Alexis Bayebec, said his client is 85 years old and is sick. As a result, he could not appear in court. He pleaded with the court to adjourn the case to a later date to give his client time to recover and appear in court. The Presiding Judge then adjourned the matter to January 5, 2016. Thales Security System Cameroon signed a contract with Cameroon in 1995 as technical partners for the production of secured National Identity Cards and Resident Permits.

The sum of FCFA 175 million was paid to Thales by government in 2011. The money was meant for material needed to produce Identity Cards, Resident Permits and Passports. Investigations by the National Gendarmerie and the Police revealed that under the management of Jean Claude Fabre from 2006 to 2012, the company paid 175 million FCFA to Gondang Marie, who headed GOMAS, a Thales subsidiary. The operation was effected by Thales Security Systems through cheques worth 112 million FCFA and other payments worth FCFA 62 million. These transactions were allegedly on the instruction of Jean Claude Fabre, whereas GOMAS had neither supplied the equipment nor carried out any work. As a result of certain problems, especially the production of fake identity cards, passports etc, the General Delegation for National Security in 2014 ended the contract with Thales Security System.

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