Ever since it’s creation in March 2006 by Presidential decree with the mandate to fight corruption and embezzlement of public funds, the country’s anti-corruption agency CONAC which is suppose to be one of the busiest anti-corruption agencies in the world given the decree of corruption in the country has been in the spotlight -but for all the wrong reasons
The body incharge of ensuring a corrupt free Cameroon has come under scrutiny from critics for its selective investigations, incompetence and ironically corruption within its ranks
The head of CONAC, Rev Dieudonne Massi Gams has always insisted that his agancy which doesn’t have the mandate to persecute is doing its best efforts even though it seems those efforts rest in their annual reports which government then decides which one to implement or not
But amdits the shortcomings of the text creating arguably the most important agency in the country, CONAC isn’t helping its own course, and its mode of operating only adds firepower in the hands of its critics.
Despite massive sensitizations and about the need for people to report cases of corruption to the agency, TeboPost finds out CONAC is so poorly equipped to fight corruption in modern day Cameroon
A three minutes phone call this reporter had with a member of the CONAC team today Monday Movember 11th 2019 reveals the gross incompetence of the agency to ensure safety of witnesses who might be willing to come forth to testify.
A Staff member showed text book expample of bad customer service and put into question the competence of some staffers and agencies’ ability to rid out corruption in Cameroon
Following a lead from a lady (whose name and nationality TeboPost is withholding for security reasons) who claims to have knowledge about a supposed 15.3 million USD theft by a former Cameroon ministers, with knowledge on where the money is kept and when the plans to remove it from the country, this reporter tried reaching CONAC for days in order to hook them up with the witness.
Their mobile and fixed lines were not passing for the better part of Friday throughout weeknends as time the witness says was running out
When this reporter finally gets to CONAC through the number 6 58 26 26 82 on Monday November 11th 2019 at 11:18 the feedback was not only discouraging but offers a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the agency and how poorly equipped they are to fight corruption
After introducing myself, this reporter explained the situation and tried to inquire if the agency could setup an urgent and secure means of communication with the Zambian lady to get the necessary evidences and hear her testimonial about the supposed stolen fund.
The lady who was in no urgency refused to tell this reporter her name but rather insists she is CONAC saying the agency cannot make any special arrangement for any weakness because according to her, it goes against their agency’s policies
Pressed on why an anti-corruption agency can’t ensure a witness feels safe enough to give incriminating details worth over USD 15 million which is about to be taken out of the country? The lady replied in a rude and unprofessional tone “ if she cannot tell us like this then let her leave it “ shocking and disbelieving as it may sound this reporter insisted given the importance of the of the subject matter and it’s urgency.
Let her leave it? This reporter ask again and she replied “ yes other!people have been given us information through this means so why can’t she” she replied
This reporter added , she can’t because she is scared that her phone might be tapped or something, I don’t Knowe her dealings with the said ministers and how she got hold of the information but it will be important you get to hear from her Madame, then the lady replied “ why is she scared” if she is scared th let her leave it”
But I didn’t stop asking
Madame I have introduced myself to you and where I work, please can I know who are my talking to? “Why do you want to know my name”she asked
Me: just so I can tell the lady Mrs. Say Glory from CONAC says they can’t arrange for a secured call say though WhatsApp with you as it is against their policy
The lady: I can’t tell u my name, I am CONAC and I’m the only one who uses this number.
Me: No Madame I know you are working for CONAC but you aren’t CONAC, administrative protocol demands you atleast introduce yourself, name and desk when taking calls on behalf of your company
Lady: if you insist on knowing my name then you have call app or download it and you will see my name
Me: Really? Madame! I have to download an app just to know your name
Lady: have a nice day
End of call
The late morning phone calls between this reporter and staff member at CONAC reveals appualing neglect of security measures necessary to build confidence on the part of any person willing to come forward with a helpful information.
The unprofessional approach and zero customer service exhibited by the staff is replica of what obtains within our very corrupt government structures and brings into serious questions about the credibility and competence of CONAC to fight corruption
If an Agency charged to fight corruption can neglect with so much unprofesionalism and nonchalance a lead worth tens of millions of US dollars of stolen wealth in an improvereished country, then one really begins to wonder the fate of Cameroonians in CONAC’s erra