Cameroon’s ex-Defence minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o, often touted as as a possible successor to he long-serving President Paul Biya, has been remanded in prison over corruption allegations.
The Special Criminal Court in Yaoundé ordered that Mr Mebe Ngo'o be remanded at the Kondengui Maximum Security Prison while investigations continue into an alleged corruption and embezzlement case against him.
Mr Mebe Ngo’o, who had earlier been barred from leaving the country, was at the special criminal court on Tuesday for the second grilling in less than a month. Eye witnesses said he was in tears as he was being whisked from the court to prison.
The erstwhile former minister was being investigated for alleged bribery and corruption over the purchase of military equipment from Magforce, a company that sells a full range of military clothing, equipment and vehicles.
The amount of money involved in the deal has not yet been disclosed, but the Special Criminal Court only handles cases of embezzlement of public funds that range from $86,000 (FCFA50 million) upwards, according to the 2011 law creating it.
Two top military officers, Col Ghislain Victor Mboutou and Col Maxime Leonard Mbangue and Mr Victor Emmanuel Menye, an assistant General Manager of SCB bank, were also remanded with the former minister for their alleged involvement in the scandalous deal.
Also implicated in the faulty transactions are Mr Mebe Ngo’o’s wife Bernadette Mebe Ngo'o and their two sons, who were expected to appear before a prosecutor at the Special Criminal Court in the capital later on Wednesday.
Prior to his appointment as Defence minister in 2009, Mr Mebe Ngo’o served as Delegate-General for National Security (National Police Boss) for five years. After six years at the helm of the ministry of Defence, he was appointed Transport minister in 2015 in what critics described as a demotion.
The 62-year-old senior civil administrator has been jobless since his removal from government in 2017.
He joins many other former members of government either serving prison terms or in pre-trial detention at the Kondengui jail.