Buea Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge like anyone else would, under any given circumstance love for the fake certificate scandal involving him to be buried deep in the bowels of history. But NO! The malefaction appears to have entangled him like cobwebs and keeps reappearing like a bad coin in the market.
Months back, the Registrar of the GCE Board, issued what was by all means cast iron proof that the Lord Mayor had scammed his way past GCE certificates into university degrees. A statutory institution, the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, partly relied on the Board’s exhibits to decry academic fraud from which the Mayor ostensibly benefited. Students of the University of Buea, UB, aka the Place to be, seized the occasion of the Higher Education Minister’s visit to the institution, to brandish placards and booed the Lord Mayor for fraud. The Minister, Jacques Fame Ndongo addressing the placard carrying students noted: “we have heard your problems. You have to trust your Government, your Pro-Chancellor and Vice Chancellor. I will look into the problem.” And then, mum! Then, business, as usual!
The latest in the sharp practice scandal is that the NCHRF has drawn the attention of the legal department, practically reminding its authorities of what danger there is in letting flim-flam men off the hook, even the one is a politically protected sacred cow.
To this effect, Southwest Secretary of NCHRF, Christopher Tambe Tiku has addressed a letter to the ‘Procureur General’ of the Southwest Region with ‘Allegation of fraud by Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge’ as the subject matter. The Regional Secretary notes that he is availing himself to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, which enjoin anyone having credible information relating to the Commission of an offence to bring to the attention of the judiciary.
He recalls, as though it was already a fait accompli that Ekema was engaged in academic fraud by introducing fake certificates to earn an admission in the Department of History, University of Buea, UB.
Noting that it was important not to underestimate the gravity of the offence of academic fraud he added that such an act would impact adversely not only on the moral fibre of society but on the economic growth of the country. That it discourages potential students from going to school and working hard, leads to loss of respect for authority and Government and is inimical to public administration.
“It is vital for the public to have complete confidence in the integrity and efficiency of public servants but fraud from a Mayor emasculates that very trust and confidence.”
Tambe Tiku continues: “…cases of this magnitude are not new in our courts. The attitude of the courts has been to give an exemplary punishment. The Mayor’s conduct is to be deplored. He did not succumb to sudden temptation and then resist.
“He participated in the offence in a cynical manner and introduced fake certificates to be reclassified (from grade 7to grade 8).”
Going by the Human Rights Regional Chieftain, the Lord Mayor’s act has caused tremendous loss to the university. It cannot be gainsaid, he states, that the university is an organ of the state adding that it is a public institution through which the state discharges its constitutional obligation to make access to education realizable.
The Human Rights activist thinks that an investigation ought to have been opened and all undue earnings resulting from the fake certificates reimbursed. “What is more perplexing is the fact that he has shown no remorse and his refusal to attend a disciplinary hearing is particularly revealing.”
The NCHRF Regional Secretary states that he is prepared to assist the police in the investigation of the matter and that when the need arises, he “shall furnish the investigators with relevant documentation to establish his guilt.”
The Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, the Chairperson of the NCHRF and the President of the Southwest Court of Appeal are all copied.
By Lucas Muma,
Managing Editor – BaretaNews