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Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga : A “friend” of powerful figures

Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga : A “friend” of powerful figures

Paru le lundi, 31 octobre 2022 12:56

Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga isn’t the kind of man who hides the fact that he has many “friends” in high places. He is close to the Minister of Justice, Laurent Esso, and that is well known. Esso was a guest of honor at Belinga’s third wedding–with the daughter of Colonel Raymond Thomas Etoundi Nsoé, former commander of the presidential guard. Belinga also claimed he was close to General Ivo Desancio Yenwo, who heads the presidential security directorate... And that's not all.

In a lengthy interview on Vision 4, a tv channel he owns, the chairman and CEO of the L'Anecdote group said he had been encouraged by the Minister of Higher Education, Jacques Fame Ndongo, also one of his "friends", to launch a private college. In a series of recordings leaked on social networks in 2020, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga claims he is close to Cameroon’s finance minister, Louis Paul Motaze (who took many decisions in favor of the businessman who has been entangled in a tax adjustment of 30 billion CFA francs since the end of 2021) and even to presidents in the sub-region, such as the Central African leader, Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

All these acquaintances and friendships make Amougou Belinga a powerful man. Top officials, diplomats, clergy members, and business actors...reach out to him, seeking the favors of his important friends. “When you asked me to help you solve that issue at the Ministry of Justice, did I ask you for even 1,000 CFA? When I get your girlfriends transferred…,” the businessman said in a heated phone conversation with Dominique Baya, the divisional commissioner and secretary general of the General Delegation to National Security (DGSN).

In a letter addressed to the Minister of External Relations (Minrex), dated July 8, 2020, the Cameroonian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Nicolas Nzoyoun, admits that Amougou Belinga helped him secure CFA100 million from the Cameroonian Ministry of Finance. The money, the source indicates, was used to replenish the accounts of the embassy.

Public funds

Obviously, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga is the one who benefits most from his network. He is even said to be invincible in judicial circles. Surely, the high-ranking Cameroonian officials accused of practicing homosexuality by his newspapers in 2006, executives of the National Council of Communication, or members of his own staff would agree with that statement. The many bans on leaving the country he was imposed on but ended up lifted, also speak volumes.

A native of Mefou-et-Akono, central Cameroon, Amougou Belinga started from scratch (he took many odd jobs for some years to survive) and is now the head of a major group. He owns several media outlets (Vision 4, 3A Telesud, Radio Satellite, L'Anecdote...), a microfinance company (Vision Finances), a drinking water distribution company (Eaux équatoriales du Cameroun SA), a private university, and many service businesses.

Between 2018 and mid-2020, his firms (excluding Vision Finances) grossed about CFA90 billion, according to estimates by the National Agency for Financial Investigations (ANIF). This money includes public funds from the famous line 94, housed at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Territorial Development (Minepat). According to leaked official documents, Paul Motaze, then and still minister of finance, granted Amougou Belinga’s group at least CFA2.6 billion between 2017 and 2018.

Who really benefits from all the money that lands in the accounts of Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga’s businesses? That is a question that has been at the heart of debates spurred by the ANIF’s revelation.

Could it be that the man who became an officer of the Order of Valor of Cameroon, the highest honorary decoration rewarding those who have rendered “great” services to the country, is no more than a mere cog in a big machine? The businessman laughs such claims off, insisting that he is a self-made man. But does one necessarily exclude the other?

Michel Ange Nga


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