The gymnasium of the Omnisport stadium in Yaoundé will host from November 17 to 20, 2021 an evangelization campaign that aims to rearm morally the youth and children through the word of God to avoid falling into vice. In addition to this component, the Kabowd convention will offer free health care to the populations of Yaoundé and its surroundings.
James Mouangue Kobila, President of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission, CHRC, said, chairs and members of the three sub-commissions have been tasked to elaborate their respective roadmaps to promote, protect and prevent torture.
He made the revelation during the closing ceremony of the induction workshop of the members and staff of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission, last May 28.
“The recommendations relating to the sub-commissions are for them to prepare their roadmap of actions. So I have already committed them to do it and they have started doing it. Now they have new skill, they are equipped to go further with this task and to end it up in the next few days,” said Kobila.
Going by Namizata Meite Sangare, President National Human Rights Commission for Côte d’Ivoire, she schooled both members and staff on how to promote and protect the peoples rights.
“During this workshop, among other things, I emphasized what we call in our jargon the ‘heart of our job,’ which is the promotion and protection of human rights. I reviewed the aspects of the promotion of human rights, because the institute in its mandate must make the people know their rights so that these people can rightfully claim their rights. I also emphasized on the protection of human rights, indicating the protection system that has been put in place by the Cameroonian state. The sub-regional system at the level of CEMAC, the continental system at the level of Africa and then the universal system because what you must remember is that in terms of human rights, the state has only obligations, we call them verbal rights,” she stated.
To her, the state has the obligations to promote, protect and defend reason why, the government has set up an institution that will help it in this regal role to promote the rights of the people. “An example of promotion is, the Cameroonian government has adopted a legislation to make school compulsory, but who should promote this? Well, the CHRC is there to help the state promote all these provisions that have been taken in favor of our populations. It is necessary to let our populations know that if they are violated in their rights, there is a provision that protects them,” Namizata emphasised.
Chief Dr. Jean Marc Ngalle Mbondjo, specialist in general surgery, traditional ruler, and commissioner at CHRC, said they were schooled not only on national but international dimensions of human rights as several thematics were discussed. He pledged to transmit the knowledge to his colleagues.
“I learned, I will transmit it to my colleagues because it is the order of doctors who designed me to come here. What I retained is that this is an international marriage and with the advent of ICT, what is done in Cameroon is known throughout the world in real time and vice versa. Our role is to be the one who launches the alert or the one who often comes to do the thinking,” he said.
He went further to admit that, he has been transformed as a result of the four-day workshop aimed at equipping commissioners and staff on the promotion and protection of human rights as well as the prevention of torture.
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, UNODA, has set up a special fund geared towards fighting the illegal circulation of small arms and light weapons from a human security perspectives.
The information was revealed during an audience granted to UNODA Director, Anselme Nahmtante Yabouri, by the President of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission, CHRC, James Mouangue Kobila, on May 21, in Yaounde. This falls within the framework of the implementation of the SALIENT, the saving lives entity project, to identify measures through which the Illicit flow of weapons could be tackled.
According to UNODA Director, Anselme Nahmtante Yabouri, they are in Cameroon within “the framework of a new mechanism that is set up by the UN Secretary General which is the special fund to fight against the illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons from a human security perspectives. Which means that, they fight from the classical angle and also taking into account the needs of the local population in terms of development and protection as well. So, we are here in Cameroon because, Cameroon is one of the two pilot countries that have been selected in the framework of this mechanism.”
Being selected for its remarkable cooperation with the UN disarmament office, Cameroon has been selected for the implementation of the said project. “So these funds are being put in place and two countries have been selected at the global level to serve as pilot countries, namely Jamaica in the Americas and Cameroon in Africa. And Cameroon was selected because of the very good relations, the very good cooperation that the office of disarmament affairs has with the Ministry of External Affairs of Cameroon,” Anselme Nahmtante stated.
Enlightening the press on the method of operation in the fight against the Illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons, UNODA Director said that, the fight will basically be from a classic technical approach, while adopting new approaches that will consider populace protection as well as the development dividend.
Expatiating on their mission to Cameroon, he said, “we are here for a kind of preliminary evaluation, to collect the viewpoint of the government authorities of Cameroon about the problematic of illicit flow of small arms and light weapons and how they think the issue can be addressed in the framework of this project. So, as part of our tour, we are meeting a number of government officials and we are here today to meet with the Preside t of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission, CHRC.”
“We had a very good exchange, he shared with us the activities of his institution, the successes achieved so far, a number of challenges and entry points that according to him we can consider for the elaboration and the implementation of this project,” he added.
Thus, UNODA provides substantive and organisational support for norm-setting in the area of disarmament. This is done through the work of the UN General Assembly and its First Committee, the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament and other bodies, but enforced in Africa by the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa.
Some Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, have urged policy makers to judicially retrospect the long-existing land tenure ordinance of 1974, reconsidering the cumbersome procedures thereby easing and paving the way for more women to access and own land in Cameroon.
These are some of the recommendations adopted by some SCOs during a town hall meeting organised and sponsored by Dignity Sisters Programme, DISIP. The meeting recently held under the theme ‘denying women land rights is violence against women’ took place at the Cameroon Baptist Convention Resource Centre in Yaounde.
The policy engagement event on women’s land rights in Cameroon was geared towards bringing policy makers, traditional leaders among other stakeholders promoting in one way or the other the inaccessibility of women to land, to look into the problems women are facing with respect to land acquisition.
According to Evelyn Lum, Coordinator of DISIP, there is need to push for policy change so as to enable women access land thereby bettering their living conditions. “The 1974 Land tenure ordinance is already obsolete and is no more practicable, so it needs to be changed. Another is that women should greatly be involved in the traditional councils because, it is in the traditional councils that all those laws are been taken.”
“Another one is the land procedures, the procedure for acquiring land certificate should be simplified for women,” she added while emphasising that, “it is because the procedure is cumbersome that some women from the very onset feel discourage to move on. So, if the procedure is a bit simple, I think it will encourage a lot of women to venture, for those who have land to be able to acquire land titles and have right and ownership.”
Going by the Representative from the Ministry of State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure, MINDCAF, the laws do not discriminate between man and woman even though the procedures to access and owning land in Cameroon is too cumbersome and costly. Though there exist numerous barriers preventing women from accessing land, the statistics has quite increased since 2010 till date.
Thus, going by the distribution of the number of land titles established by region and legal status of the applicant for the year 2020, the total number of land titles established revealed that, men own 10,031 while women on their part own 2596 land titles nationwide.
On his part, Dr. Sakah Bernard, trainer on conducting strategic advocacy said, women are on the disadvantage side. “It is not because the law doesn’t give equal rights and opportunities for women to acquire land titles or land, but it’s because our cultural norms, some of our religious beliefs and similar societal constraints prevent these women from successfully acquiring land titles.”
To him, the issue is at the level of bureaucratic bottlenecks that people have to go through to acquire these land titles. Also, some of these women who still want to acquire the land titles may give up along the way due to all the constraints compared to men.
Chief Masumbe Motia of Penja II, Batanga, Ndian Division of the Southwest region, the tradition of his land accord equally rights to both sex and thus, anyone capable of owning a land gets one. He further explained that, one can own a land by inheritance, buying as well as by distribution. And for this to happen, the applicant should provide a project on how to sustainably use the land.
“Women hold a Paramount place in our community and we do not sideline them according to our tradition and religion. They are stakeholders in all we do and with respect to land acquisition, no one can deprive them from buying land. Even the men have issues accessing lands easily because most of us are cattle rearers,” declared Halidou Abdoulaye, Muslim Community Leader.
Therefore, women’s poverty is directly related to the absence of economic opportunities and autonomy, lack of, land ownership and inheritance, lack and their minimal participation in the decision-making process. As such, women’s rights to land and productive resources is identified as a crucial element in ensuring women’s economic and social justice and achieving substantive equality.
Both members and staff of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission, CHRC, have been capacitated on how to effectively and efficiently promote and protect human rights as well as prevent torture in the country.
This was during the first induction workshop subsequent to the reorganisation of the human rights commission of 19 July, 2019 and the swearing in of the recently appointed officials. The four day workshop was therefore intended to empower members and staff with both Observatory and analytical skills so as to identify human rights violations and prevent torture.
“The aim is to prepare the members of the Human Rights Commission of Cameroon to exercise their function. It is about giving them training so that they can effectively and efficiently promote human rights in Cameroon. Protect human rights in Cameroon and above all act as a mechanism for the prevention of torture. We are very happy that the international and regional partners are going to combine their efforts for the realisation of this activity which is the first of half a dozen training sessions that should take place in the next two to two and a half months,” highlighted James Mouangue Kobila, CHRC President.
“What is important to understand is that every time a new national human rights institution is established, it is necessary to train the members because, most of the members who have been chosen by their guilds, such as lawyers, doctors, or journalists, do not have a general knowledge of human rights. Very often, as trade union experts, they have specialised knowledge in a specific area of human rights. Whereas human rights represent a continent of actions that must be grasped in its entirety,” he added.
Considering the complexity surrounding the concept of human rights, CHRC President averred that, “the state has understood that we cannot build a better society in our countries which are ever less communitarian and ever more individualistic, nor can we make democracy as part of daily life without rooting a human and people’s rights culture and the rule of law through effective functioning of the mechanisms and institutions that are its vectors and that ensure its defence.”
Namizata Sangare, Chairperson of the HUMAN Rights Council for Côte d’Ivoire and representative of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, IOF, mentioned that, the said workshop is aimed at bringing human rights actors closer to the populace in a bid to ensure that their civil rights are respected and assured.
The four day gathering was mainly geared towards equipping newly sworn-in human rights commissioners and all other staff in promoting and protection people’s rights in Cameroon and prevent torture.
Members of Parliament, MPs, and the CONAC have called for the proper and efficient establishment of article 66 on the declaration of assets by introducing in the legislative corpus the idea of illegal and unjustified riches as a means to fight corruption in Cameroon as stipulated in the constitution.
This is one of the recommendations resulting from the plenary session on the progress of the fight against corruption in Cameron and the expectations of CONAC that took place at the Hemicycle of the National Assembly on Thursday April 8, in Yaounde.
“Effectively implement Article 66 of the Constitution on the declaration of assets. Introduce in the legislative corpus the concept of illicit and unjustified enrichment, which has the advantage of placing the burden of proof of ill-gotten gains on the accused and not on the prosecution,” MPS emphasised.
Also, there is need to strengthen the competencies and independence of the CONAC by, among other things, broadening its scope to include the private sector and the possibility of referring cases to the judicial authorities following findings. Thus, still at the Legislative and regulatory level, the finalisation of the draft text on the fight against corruption and its submission to Parliament is on the way.
Therefore, in view of the pervasiveness of corruption in the minds of Cameroonian citizens and its political, economic and social implications, deputies discussed on the issue of the fight against corruption and its obstacles to the implementation of the National Strategy to fight this major scourge that undermines the foundations of our society. So, after having followed the different interventions and the presentation of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC, they aim to establish independent and operational anti-corruption units within each administration.
Also, anti-corruption strategies and deploy deterrent mechanisms would be regularly evaluated, the establishment of an effective mechanism for the confiscation of ill-gotten gains and the recovery of illicit assets on a preventive and definitive basis will be efficient. Thus, there is need to establish incentives for the denunciation of cases of corruption and money laundering and adopt a mechanism for the protection of whistle blowers.
In this wise, establishing a real synergy of collaboration beyond the toll-free number between the services of the CONAC and the population in order to make the fight against corruption a citizen’s duty through sensitization, information and encouragement of all kinds will go a long way to fight the scourge.
“Introduce modules on corruption in the educational curricula starting from the primary cycle; identify the administrative nodes that favour corruption and simplify administrative procedures, even de materialise them, promote probity, ethics and deontology in the management of public affairs within administrations and the private sector; train and sensitise public officials and local elected representatives on the importance of the fight against corruption because of its negative impact on economic and social life and development,” were part of the adopted proposals.
In this light, strengthening anti-corruption prevention mechanism within administration through a reform of the missions of the anti-corruption units, organise regular information and awareness campaigns on the fight against corruption at the local, regional and national levels; revitalise Operation sparrow hawk and not limit it to cases of large-scale embezzlement, but to all cases, and give it more media coverage in order to raise awareness among all citizens will equally boost the fight against corruption in Cameroon.
Likewise, setting a ceiling for cash payments for all financial transactions in both the public and private sectors, as cash handling favours corruption and its untraceability, developing a mapping of potential corruption risks in all sectors and put in place monitoring and alert mechanisms to fight the ravaging corruption in the country.
An increase in the number of rapid-results initiatives in the fight against corruption within public and private institutions, introducing performance incentives in public administrations and decentralising the services of the CONAC to the regions will in one way or the other improve the fight.
Therefore, at the administrative level, there will be need to draw up a list of acts of corruption giving rise to administrative sanctions at the career level, without prejudice to disciplinary sanctions and legal proceedings, thus adopting a regulatory text to this effect will be paramount to speed up the combat.
CONAC Chairperson went further to highlight some of the progress recorded over the years in the fight against corruption in Cameron. “Actions through the Voie d’Intervention Rapide (AIR) (Rapid Intervention Channel) to establish and punish flagrant corruption offences upon denunciation by the victim population or third parties. Sectoral anti-corruption campaigns conducted during the harvest and marketing of cocoa, coffee, cotton, forests, etc. Anti-corruption caravans, aimed at raising awareness of the population in the fight against corruption. Hence the thematic caravans aimed at young people, women, public officials, the finance sector, politicians during elections, actors in the transport sector, etc.”
Still in line with CONAC’s progress in the battle, Dieudonné Massi Gams added that, the operations contest without corruption, for justice, transparency and equity in official contests and examinations such as the entrance exams at the National Polytechnic School and the National School of Public Work, while the one relating to the entrance to ENAM is still under discussion. The production of communication media in the audiovisual and written press, namely: the ESPACE CONAC radio and TV programmes as well as the CONAC’s newsletter.
Stating some difficulties faced, Rev. Dieudonné Massi Gals said, “the Transparency International Index, which is always unfavourable for Cameroon over the years, favours the application of Article 66 of the Constitution and the adoption of an anti-corruption law. Furthermore, for two or three years, from 2019 to 2021, the Transparency International Index shows that Cameroon is stagnating, a sign that tends to prove that the Cameroonian population is becoming more aware of the fight against corruption.” It is worth noting that, Cameroon was ranked 153 on a total of 180 countries in 2019 while in 2020, she was ranked 143, meaning Cameroonians are beginning to gain consciousness with respect to the fight against corruption.
The CONAC expects that its power be strengthened and independence assured so as to optimally accomplish its missions. So, adopting an Anti-Corruption Law that will take into consideration the protection mechanism for whistleblowers, deconcentration of institution by bringing it closer to ultimate beneficiaries, the application of Article 66 of the 1996 Constitution and the endowment of CONAC with a secure headquarters and the granting of the status of Specialised Judicial Police Officers to the executives of CONAC will increase the commission’s outcome.
Defence and Security Forces, researchers specialised in questions of security alongside members of the African Centre for Crime and Security Studies, ACCSS, among other stakeholders have gathered to set a research agenda geared towards combating organised crimes in Cameroon.
This was during a cross-sectoral workshop on organised crimes in Cameroon unionised by ACCSS, under the theme “resurgence of organised crime in Cameroon: what synergies of action between researchers, civil society and law enforcement agencies” took place on March 9, in Yaounde.
The gathering had as aim to identify specific problems faced by forces of law and order in the fight against organised crime like knowledge, international collaboration, boundary wherewithal, equipment and training, identify the needs in terms of capacity reinforcement. The establish a typology and the hierarchical presentation of organised crime such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, clandestine immigration amongst others as well as exchange on key axes and possibly collaboration between ACCSS researchers and agencies of order.
Talking as President of the African Centre for Crime and Security Studies, Dany Tiwa, says criminals run a high risk by being sent to jail because their family eventually turn to criminals, dangerous. Thus, to him, sending criminals to prison is no way to ending the rate of organised crimes in the Cameroonian society.
Also, “we know that criminals themselves run a high risk by spending part of their time in jail when arrested. So, it is a central humanly problem. Organised crimes compromise government ruling capacity and I am talking of political governance because, the state governs essentially with the use of law and decrees used to organise behaviour by encouraging some and discouraging others,” Dany Tiwa stressed.
In this light, he added that, “when the government decides to discourage certain behaviours and that criminals find a means to go ahead with such behaviour or consume products banned by the state, the government will not be able to govern well because its capacities are compromised by actors of organised crimes.”
This applies to contraband products which when bootlegged do not stimulate initial producers to keep investing in sustaining their trademark, thus, they run a risk of abandoning. Likewise, the economy is equally greatly affected by the scourge because all investments, develop and entrepreneurial spirits need a society that operate on reliable bases, that is, that which has minimised corruption at a given level.
“It is evident in most domains notably in customs, trade, there are strategies put forward to fight against criminality. But, talking of criminality heightens the efficiency of such criminality. So, collective diagnostic helps to tackle the problem collectively. It also helps to diagnose the problems in a collective manner and to bring a collective solution,” explains Dr. Ernest Awono, researcher and lecturer at the University of Yaounde I.
According to him, if collective solutions are brought forth, that will imply the efficiency of the fight is renewed and will represent an increase in the investment of the Cameroon government. “So, if we have fought criminality, we attract investors and if we attract investors, we give a chance to investors to lead.”
On his part, Hamed Mounlouh of the National Gendarmerie, the workshop comes on time because the institution has been working with certain teaser hers within the framework of cybercrime, that is, tracing stolen phones among others. While Epoh Mbappe, Representative of the Cameroonian customs, enlightened the press on the amount of contraband drugs and explosive engines they seized lately.
The African Centre for Crime and Security Studies aims to improve indicators of human security in Africa through action research and training, thereby reducing the rate of organised crime in Africa and Cameroon in particular.
Jacques Calvin Eyafa, an inmate of the Kondengui Central Prison, impersonating as the Minister Director of Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic, Samuel Mvondo Ayolo among other high ranking government officials to extort huge sums of money from international organisations and diplomatic missions.
The information was revealed May 10, by Judicial Police Officer, Vincent de Paul Meva, while presenting the case and suspected culprit to press at the General Delegation for National Security, best known by its French acronym as DGSN, in Yaounde.
Accused of usurping the title and identity of the Minister Director of Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic, the oh-so talented Kondengui inmate has made more than 10 victims from within and without Africa.
According to the police officer, the assailant proceeded the following way to get the contacts of all those prominent international personalities. “He entered Google, took the number of the Nigerian Ambassador in France and presented himself as Mr. Mvondo Ayolo, Director of the Civil Cabinet of Cameroon and that he wanted to speak with his Nigerian counterpart, while specifying that it is the Cameroonian Head of state who wants to speak with his Nigerian counterpart. This is how the Ambassador, without hesitation gave him the number of the Director of the Civil Cabinet in Niger.”
It was only after his conversation with the Nigerian President was abruptly cut off that the latter, upon verifying what went wrong, tried to verify the identity of the caller, before it was reveled that it was neither the Minister Director of Civil Cabinet nor the Head of State, Paul Biya, who were online with the Nigerian President.
To this effect, the Delegate General for National Security received a call from the true Director of Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon to trace a certain orange number that had called the Nigerian President last May 4, 2021. Thus, the police had the surprise of having to go and search in the Kondengui jails.
“We started our investigation and after geolocating the number, we realised that the number was being sent from the Kondengui Central Prison. We did a search and indeed in this place, we seized the phone that was on Mr. Eyafa and he was already arrested since July 8, 2019 by the High Court of Mfoundi, almost for the same facts. Far from denying the facts, Jacques Calvin Eyafa admitted he actually called the Nigerian President,” explained Vincent de Paul Meva.
Following in-depth investigations on the part of the judicial police, it was revealed that, the suspected fraudster had contacted the Malian President, diplomatic missions, NGOs, the World Bank, as well as prominent businessmen around the globe.
“He was presented with the facts and immediately confessed. He admitted to having called the Nigerian Head of State and claimed that it was only this one that he had called. But when we checked his phone, we found that he also called the Malian Head of State, and he called the World Bank, he called the United Nations, he called Nairobi, he called many other structures,” declared the Judicial Police Officer to press.
Thanks to his unbeatable talent of disguising to prominent personalities, the alleged swindler had received FCFA 1,300,000 from a non-governmental organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya, and was awaiting a transfer OF FCFA 195 million or 300,000 euros from an American NGO as well as a banker in Paris. The alleged swindler will be presented again to the Public Prosecutor.
It is therefore an unusual Director of the Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic, who finds himself in the hands of the police. In fact, Jacques Calvin Eyafa is said to have specialised in impersonation, with latest victim being Samuel Mvondo Ayolo, the Director of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic.
Some Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the lead of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF Cameroon, have made a series of suggestions relating to the socio-political crises in the country for the imminent second generation of the National Action Plan, NAP, in a bid to correct the imperfections in the previous NAP.
The information was revealed during the presentation of CSOs contribution to the review of the National Action Plan, Resolution 1325 of the United Nations Security Council Resolution, UNSCR, held on March 29, in Yaounde.
Presenting the contributions CSOs made to the UNSCR 1325 NAP review, Gender Consultant, Patience Agwenjang, said there is need to localise the UNSCR 1325 I all 360 communities, thus creating community ownership and facilitate effective implementation. Developing an integrated communication strategy with feedback mechanisms for the NAP implementation is also key.
“Include parliamentarians and municipal councillors in the NAP development, the UNSCR 1325 secretariat in MINPROFF should be accessible through decentralised relay secretariat in all 360 Sub-Divisions and integrate a poll of experts from CSOs facilitating and overseeing the NAP implementation. COVID-19 interventions should mainstream gender concerns, adopt data-driven policing at all levels of interventions,” were some of the contributions made to better the impending NAP.
With respect to proposed priority areas, the group of CSOs urged for the reform and enforcement of laws and policies via regulations socio-legal services and Budgetary allocations for disarmament programming to ensure adequate protection of women, girls and communities. Also, the putting in place of a robust coordination, monitoring and evaluation strategy through institutional mechanisms that ease critical consciousness and behaviour change of individuals and communities towards peace-centered development is paramount.
The group equally highlighted some outstanding issues worthy to be included in the forthcoming NAP include electoral violence that limit protection measures for women, the shrinking space for CSOs and political parties challenges consensus building, militarised masculinity hampers on multiple levels of peacebuilding processes.
Also, to the group of civil society organisations, disarmament has not been well integrated into peacebuilding efforts, this, there is need to strengthen institutional mechanisms, quantitative and qualitative data collection tools capturing the implications of women in peace, security, prevention and resolution of conflicts.
Addressing partners and the media, the group enlightened on the shortcomings of the expired NAP, which based on its content review, its outcomes, outputs, activities and budget were greatly not effective. The strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, SWOT, analysis were established by the group, while its process-based evaluation were the conceptualisation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the NAP, the role of stakeholders in the review process and best practices in NAP implementation by CSOs were taken into account.
Thus, the CSOs reiterated the need for MINPROFF to own the NAP document and not UN Women as they equally urged for the adoption of a well-defined Budgetary allocation for NAP activities under the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family, MINPROFF. Therefore, integrating gender dimensions in emergency response plan and the management of emergency response and reconstruction programmes is of key importance for the proper implementation of the forthcoming NAP.
Going by the Representative of MINPROFF, Penda Timba, the establishment of the UNSCR NAP 1325 was done and lead by the government and in terms of action, the government elaborated in 2017 an action plan for the establishment of Resolution 1325 that is been carried out on four pillars notably; participation, prevention, relief and recovery, which expired last December.
In the meantime, the presentation ceremony of CSOs contribution to the review of the upcoming National Action Plan was attended by key partners, comprised of the Canadian and British High Commissioner, officials from the Embassy of Switzerland, Representative from concerned ministries among others.
French Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted on corruption charges for a three-years prison sentence on Monday at the court of Paris.
Sarkozy plans to appeal three-year jail sentence as he was found guilty of trying to bribe Judge Gilbert Azibert, with a prestigious job in Monaco, for confidential information on an inquiry into claims that former leader had received illicit payments from L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt during his successful 2007 presidential campaign.
According to Sarkozy's lawyer Jacqueline Laffont, the former president is “calm but determined to continue to prove his innocence …We will appeal, he is presumed innocent. We don’t doubt the appeal court will overturn the sentence.” She said.
Jacqueline Laffont added that, the verdict is extremely severe , totally unfounded and unjustified.
However, the court said Sarkozy would be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet. The same sentence was handed down to his co-defendants, lawyer Thierry Herzog and judge Gilbert Azibert.
The corruption allegations against the ex-president case was based on wiretaps of conversations between Herzog and Sarkozy, with prosecutors accusing him of “using secret telephone lines” to cover up his attempt to infiltrate the court.
The recordings showed Sarkozy and Herzog had discussed contacting Gilbert Azibert, a magistrate at the Court of Cassation, France’s court of last resort for criminal cases, to try to gain information about a separate investigation into whether the ex-president had received donations from L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
Prosecutors said Sarkozy and his lawyer discussed offering a prestigious post in Monaco to Azibert in return for information about the Bettencourt case, which was eventually dropped.
Sarkozy, who led the country from 2007 to 2012, have already been involved in several corruption trials.
By Fabiola Kemegni