Cameroonian corruption fighter Paul Eric Kingue is free!

Cameroonian corruption fighter Paul Eric Kingue is free!

In a huge victory for corruption fighters everywhere and Cameroon in particular, Paul Eric Kingue was released from prison after more than seven years of unlawful imprisonment. His crime: denouncing a French-owned banana producing company for alleged tax fraud and human rights abuses. Read the full story.

In 2007 Kingue accused the Cameroon-based branch of French banana producer Plantations du Haut Penja of tax fraud. After demonstrations in Njombe-Penja, the district in West Cameroon where he was elected mayor, Kingue was arrested in February 2008 and charged with orchestrating the protests.

His case came to the attention of Transparency International Cameroon‘s Anti-Corruption Legal Advice Centre while he was in prison. Numerous human rights organisations and other international organisations have been pushing for this freedom since his imprisonment. Transparency International Cameroon published a report last year backing his accusations and highlighting how his prosecution was completely flawed and appeared to be in retaliation his accusations.  

In a statement pressing for his freedom three weeks ago José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International said this: “Why is this brave corruption fighter who dares to hold the powerful to account being treated like a criminal? The Cameroonian judiciary should release this important and vital advocate for workers’ and people’s rights immediately.”

The Supreme Court in Yaoundé decided on 16 July to release him after about seven years of incarceration in the Nkongsamba and Douala prisons.

In August last year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention published an opinion stating that a number of procedural guarantees were not applied in Kingue’s case, questioning the independence of the judiciary and obliging the government to ensure the release and compensation of Kingue.

As a result of this the public prosecutor dropped the charges against him early this year. In the last hearing that took place on 18 June, Kingue was supposed to be released. But the judge adjourned the case on what can only be described as a technicality, finally releasing him a month later.

Transparency International Cameroon, through its Anti-Corruption Legal Advice Centre, has been investigating allegations of bad business practices made against Plantations du Haut Penja, a company that runs a number of banana plantations in Njombé-Penja, a district in West Cameroon. PHP is owned by the French multinational Compagnie Fruitière.

It is alleged that PHP has not paid tax on its operations in Njombé-Penja, thereby depriving a poor region of much-needed funds for development. It is also alleged that PHP uses pesticides banned in Europe, causing damage to both the health of its workers and the land. The company denies all the allegations against it.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

Legally sanctioned lying: A moment of truth for the Czech Republic?

A court in Prague struck a blow to civil society in the Czech Republic on Friday, ruling in favour of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in a libel suit brought by TI Czech Republic.

Next week governments can take a step to close down secrecy jurisdictions. Will they?

National financial regulators attending the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary in Paris 16 – 21 February have the opportunity to significantly reduce money laundering, corruption and terror financing. They must not squander the opportunity.

Why don’t the victims of bribery share in the record-breaking Airbus settlement?

Last Friday, French, UK and US authorities announced that Airbus would pay record penalties for foreign bribery. Notably absent in the agreements are any plans to share the penalty payment with the countries where the company was paying bribes.

Nadie es perfecto

Los países con las puntuaciones más altas en el IPC, como Dinamarca, Suiza e Islandia, no son inmunes a la corrupción. Si bien el IPC muestra que los sectores públicos en estos países están entre los menos corruptos del mundo, la corrupción existe, especialmente en casos de lavado de dinero y otras formas de corrupción en el sector privado.

مشكلة في الأعلى

Переполох на верху

Страны с самым высоким рейтингом по ИВК, такие как Дания, Швейцария и Исландия, не защищены от коррупции. Хотя ИВК показывает, что государственный сектор в этих странах является одним из самых чистых в мире, коррупция все еще существует, особенно в случаях отмывания денег и другой коррупции в частном секторе.

Problèmes au sommet

Les pays les mieux classés sur l’IPC comme le Danemark, la Suisse et l’Islande ne sont pas à l’abri de la corruption. Bien que l’IPC montre que les secteurs publics de ces pays sont parmi les moins corrompus au monde, la corruption existe toujours, en particulier dans les cas de blanchiment d’argent et d’autres formes de corruption du secteur privé.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media