On November 5, 2021, Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Supreme State Audit (Consupe), Mbah Acha Rose Fomundam, issued a decision prohibiting consulting firm Atou from “signing or taking any action relating to the management of the residual assets of ex-ONCPB, ONPC, and Regifercam till further notice.”
In response, on November 8, 2021, Lazare Atou, the consulting firm’s founder, filed two appeals with the President of the Littoral Administrative Court against the Consupe. The first appeal is a stay of execution of his September 17, 2021, correspondence relating to the audit of the management of ONCPB, ONPC and RNCFC’s assets. As for the second appeal, it is for the annulment of the said correspondence.
The founder sent those appeals to oppose the decision suspending his firm from managing the assets of the concerned companies.
Indeed, the Consupe's decision is based on the September 17, 2021, correspondence Lazare Atou is referring to. In a statement announcing the November 5 decision, the Consupe informed that it is a precautionary measure issued after a supreme state audit mission reviewed the management of those former state companies’ residual assets. The audit mission “noticed some potential irregularities likely to deal irreversible blows to public authority,” the Consupe wrote.
Lazare Atou’s response to that decision was predictable. In July 2019, he had opposed a mission of Consupe. His justification was that the same institution had already carried out a six-year-long (2012-2017) audit to review his firm’s management of the three concerned companies since 2006. The report of that audit mission was sent to the special criminal court but Lazare Atou claimed it was full of spurious mismanagement accusations.
For Lazare Atou, only the interministerial task force - created on February 14, 2017, by the Prime Minister to review the management and suggest measures for the completion of the liquidation procedure - is legal and credible to gather information on the companies’ assets.