Afrique : histoire, economie, politique

Nouvelles en anglais 98-99

YAOUNDE, April 8 1998 (Reuters) - Cameroon has put state sugar company CAMSUCO
up for sale as part of a privatisation programme and is looking for a
strategic foreign investor to buy a majority stake.

Officials said on Wednesday that the state was offering a 65 percent stake
in the company to a single company or consortium as part of an
international tender and 25 percent to Cameroonian companies.

The state would retain 10 percent of the company, which was set up in 1975
and has plantations and a refinery that can also make sugar cubes.

The state currently owns 98 percent of CAMSUCO, while other public
institutions hold the rest. The company has share capital valued at
1,286,406,076 CFA ($2.1 million).

CAMSUCO is an agro-industrial complex with 16,000 hectares (39,500 acres)
of land, of which 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) are dedicated to sugar
cane cultivation.

The refinery has an installed capacity of 50,000 tonnes a year, which could
be raised to 80,000 tonnes.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) 13/04/98 Renewed fighting along a disputed section of
Cameroon's border with Nigeria has killed at least 18 people, a newspaper
reported Monday.

Clashes between Nigerian and Cameroonian troops in the oil-rich Bakassi
peninsula broke out Friday and continued through the weekend, the
independent French-language Daily reported, quoting unnamed government and
military officials.

At least two victims were soldiers from Cameroon, the report said.
Civilians from Nigeria and Cameroon were among the others killed.

The fighting could not be independently confirmed. In March, Nigeria
accused Cameroon of attacking unarmed villagers in the disputed section of
the peninsula.

Both sides claim sovereignty over the Bakassi peninsula in the Gulf of
Guinea. At least 87 people have been killed in sporadic clashes since 1994.

YAOUNDE, April 14 (Reuters) - A Cameroon appeals court on Tuesday upheld a
guilty verdict against local publisher Pius Njawe but reduced his sentence
for writing a story about President Paul Biya's health, judicial sources

The court in the port city of Douala slashed the jail term from two years
to a year and the fine from 500,000 CFA francs ($826) to 300,000 CFA
($496), they said.

Lawyers for Njawe, who has already spent three months in prison, said they
would further appeal to a higher court.

Njawe, a leading pro-democracy campaigner, was charged after his Messager
newspaper published a story suggesting Biya, 64, had a heart problem during
Cameroon's soccer cup final last December 21.

For unexplained reasons, Biya had over-stayed the half-time break,
reappearing from the presidential lounge just before the final whistle.

Le Messager quoted an unnamed state house source as saying Biya's doctor
had been rushed to the lounge.

Njawe was one of the campaigners who pressured Biya, in power since 1982,
to accept multi-party rule with the first pluralist elections in 1992.

Biya was elected to a fresh term of seven years in a vote last October 12
boycotted by the main opposition over alleged bias. Njawe has been detained
on several occasions in the past.

Despite the reduced sentence, a spokesman for the Paris-based press
watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontieres, said the group was outraged by the
verdict. He said it amounted to ``blackmail of the press'' in Cameroon.

``This conviction shows the Biya regime's inability to accept the slightest
criticism and the slightest difference of opinion,'' the spokesman added.

The group had equally condemned the lower court's verdict, noting that the
newspaper had published a denial of the report.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) An appeals court in Cameroon reduced an opposition
newspaper publisher's jail term from two years to one Tuesday but rejected
his bid to overturn his conviction.

Pius Njawe, publisher of the weekly French-language Messenger, was
sentenced to jail and fined earlier this year for erroneously reporting
that Cameroon's head of state Paul Biya had heart problems.

The judge took only moments Tuesday to uphold Njawe's conviction and gave
little explanation for his ruling, but he did reduce Njawe's fine from $800
to $500.

Opposition political leaders and foreign diplomats have been pressing for
Njawe's release.

Last year the Supreme Court of Cameroon ordered Njawe's early release from
prison on another charge. He had been sentenced to six months in prison for
libeling Biya and the National Assembly.

His publication's relentless criticism of Biya has resulted in frequent
fines and libel cases.

Cameroon has been cracking down on the opposition press in recent months. A
local court sentenced another opposition newspaper publisher to three years
in prison for libel.

Severin Tchounke, publisher and editor of the independent newspaper
L'Expression, was also given a $100 fine.

     YAOUNDE, Sept 25 1998  (Reuters) - Cameroon's government reacted
angrily on Friday against a report classifying the Central
African state as the most corrupt country in the world.
     Cameroon came bottom out of 85 countries surveyed by
corruption watchdog Transparency International for its 1998
Corruption Perception Index which came out on September 22.
     ``The Cameroon government condemns strongly the arrogance of
certain bodies that are in the pay of neocolonial clusters of
people at work to impede the progress of our countries instead
of supporting efforts and sacrifices made by our peoples,'' the
government said in a statement read out on state radio.
     The statement, issued by the presidency, described the
report as a publicity stunt intended to denigrate Cameroon and
discourage investors.
     Cameroon has taken action over the past decades against
corruption, including legal measures against dishonest civil
servants, according to the statement, which cast doubt on
Transparency International's competence and impartiality.
     ``Transparency International is nothing but a budding
organisation in quest of fame and credibility, whose competence
and impartiality are still to be established,'' it said.
     It said there were no universally tested criteria to
evaluate in a precise manner the level of corruption in any
given country, let alone classify them.
     Modelled on the human rights group Amnesty International,
Berlin-based Transparency International is a voluntary group of
government officials, development experts and businessmen.
     Founded in 1993 by a former East Africa World Bank director,
the group's aim is to fight corruption through providing better
information on the problem around the world.

Janvier 1999 : CAMEROON President Paul Biya has set out to eradicate corruption in his country, singled out as the most corrupt in the world.
In his New Year address, Biya denounced greed and embezzlement, saying they "have become the basic behaviour of many of our compatriots, who use cheating, fraud and conning."

The Germany-based Transparency International last year rated Cameroon as the most corrupt country in the world.

Biya challenged the country's judges to "enforce the laws of our society," saying there were many examples to show that the law was not being enforced as it should.

He also called on security forces to double their efforts to "fully regain the confidence of citizens by stopping the violation of citizens' rights and corruption."

"I am relying on the police in general and the younger generation of police officers in particular to correct the situation and become an elite corps," he added.

Biya said the security of citizens, maintenance and promotion of good neighbourliness would be among priorities of the government in 1999.

"Cameroon is a peaceful country because it knows that peace at its borders is a prerequisite for its development," the president said.

"In our dispute with Nigeria (over the Bakassi peninsula), we have always given priority to a solution on the basis of international law. That is why we have submitted our case to the International Court of Justice whose decision we are awaiting with confidence," he said.

Biya added that Cameroon would collaborate with the UN permanent committee and the OAU to settle conflicts in Central Africa.

On the economic front, he said Cameroon had experienced "a period which was generally conducive to the implementation of the national recovery policy."

He reported that Cameroon's industrial and oil production was on the rise and its balance of trade was on a surplus surge with a satisfactory rate of import cover.

He estimated the country 's growth rate for 1999 to be about 5 percent and said inflation would remain below 3 per cent.

Biya regretted that the population did not benefit from the fruits of growth, adding: "Too many Camroonians are still unemployed, have difficulty getting health care or sending their children to school."

Afrique : histoire, economie, politique

Contenant et contenus conçus et réalisés par Olivier Bain; tirés de l'oubli, toilettés et remis en ligne par Jean-Marc Liotier