The General Manager (GM) of the Cameroon Railway Company, (CAMRAIL), Didier Vandenbon and the Board Chair of the company, Hon Hamadou Sali, have finally paid the price for the Eseka train accident.
The duo was fired during an extraordinary Board meeting that held on June 9. After the meeting, CAMRAIL issued a press release, attributing their sacking to the Eseka train accident that occurred on August 21, 2016, leaving scores of passengers dead and hundred others injured.
It would be recalled that when the accident occurred, CAMRAIL officials in a desperate attempts to divert culpability for the accident, went on air, debunking all the reports concerning the accident.
Even the Board Chair, Hon Sali, read a statement claiming the company was not in any way responsible for the incident.
On the issue that the train was overstrained with about five extra coaches, which were also overloaded with passengers, some media organs focused their blame solely on the Minister of Transport, Edgard Alain MebeNgo’o, who was accused of having asked the CAMRAIL officials in Yaoundé to look for ways to transport the passengers to Douala, who had flooded the railway station, following the collapse of the culvert on the Douala-Yaoundé High Way.
The Commission of Inquiry, headed by Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, that was tasked to probe into the cause of the accident, after several waves of public criticism, made public the results of its inquiry, through a communiqué which the Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic issued on May 21, 2017, nine months after the crash.
In the Commission’s report, CAMRAIL was indicted for the train crash due to: “overloading, undue extension of the rake and defective brakes systems.
In the face of Government’s public indictment and the exposure of the grave faults that were committed by CAMRAIL officials, which led to the train crash, there was no way that the French group, Bolloré, could let the GM Vandenbon to continue.
The CAMRAIL Board Chair, Hon Hamadou Sali (Cameroonian) and the General Manager Vandenbon (French) were politely sacked by asking them to resign.
Meanwhile, new officials have been appointed to head the company. Senior Civil Administrator, Aboubaka Abbo, who works at the Prime Minister’s Office in Yaoundé, was appointed as the new Board Chair of CAMRAIL, while French born, Jean Pierre Morel, was appointed new General Manager.
Gilbert Nkana Pondy and Michel Ossock, were respectively appointed 1st and 2nd Deputy General Managers.