Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute,SGPR Ngoh lock,Key issues

Cameroon’s PM Ngute, SGPR Ngoh lock horns on key issues: Report

Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute and Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, secretary-general at the president’s office (SGPR), appear to be crossing swords over the recent scandal of mismanagement of funds from a $338 million national COVID-19 response plan.

Last month, Cameroon’s Audit Chamber of the Supreme Court unveiledsome discrepancies in reports of public health and scientific research ministries related to the allocation and management of COVID-19 funds in the country. Notably, the scandal has intensified the tensions between the two officials, amid existing disagreements.

The two officials have been experiencing disagreements on key issues since August 2019 when Ngoh hit out at the prime minister for inviting names of directors general of companies and public institutions from ministers in order to replace them with those who reached their term-end.

“The power to appoint the social organs of said structures falls within the exclusive competence of the President of the Republic,” the secretary-general wrote in a letter directed at the prime minister.

The second conflict took place as both leaders made efforts to exert their influence in peace talks to resolve the Anglophone crisis. While trying to push for peace talks between the Cameroonian government and Anglophone leader Ayuk Tabe and his supporter, the two men reportedly clashed with each other on various topics. While on one hand, the President’s secretary-general was promoting a Swiss mediation initiative, the prime minister led direct discussions with Anglophone leaders with the help of Léopold Maxime Eko Eko, head of the special services.

Interestingly, Ngoh Ngoh has previously faced scrutiny over the management of funds during the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). The SGPR was tasked with heading the AFCON project in 2018. However, reports of corruption charges and unfinished construction projects raised several fingers at Ngoh Ngoh which resulted in the country losing its 2019 rights for hosting the football games.

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After the appointment of Paul Biya as Cameroon’s President, FerdinandNgoh Ngoh has become highly influential in the Republic’s politics. He has been intervening in sensitive national matters in recent times, something that is evidently not appreciated by Prime Minister Ngute.

Meanwhile, Cameroon’s opposition parties, rights groups, and local media have called on the government to release findings of its investigation into the misappropriation of COVID-19 funding. Various ministers and senior officials have been questioned in relation to the probe. In March, Human Rights Watch urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure that Cameroon conducts an independent and credible inquiry on the mishandling of the COVID-19 before issuing another loan to the central African nation.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak, IMF has granted two emergency loans of $382 million to Cameroon to support the African state’s efforts to combat the pandemic crisis.