(Business in Cameroon) - The Cameroon Debt Recovery Company SRC announced it is holding an auction next May 25-26 in Yaoundé to sell some properties of Alphonse Siyam Siwé, former CEO of the Port Authority of Douala.
According to the notice signed by Marie-Rose Messi, SRC-MD, the former PAD Manager is accused of fund misappropriation and was sentenced to 25 years in prison on April 29, 2014, by the Supreme Court of Cameroon. He was ordered to pay a fine of CFA1.3 billion in damages to PAD, which is the amount the SRC intends to recover through the upcoming auction.
SRC’s decision lies in Article 4 (1) of the presidential decree dated January 9, 2020, which reorganizes the operations of this public entity, expanding its responsibilities to include the recovery of claims resulting from financial judgments rendered in favor of the State by national courts. This article states that "the SRC, on behalf of the state and for remuneration, ensures the recovery of claims, liquidation of financial institutions, asset management, as well as advisory support."
In a letter sent on September 19, 2022, to the man who has been detained in the premises of the Littoral Gendarmerie Legion in Douala for more than 10 years, the SRC demands that his debt be paid "by any means of payment of your choice, within one week of receiving this letter”. “Failure to comply within this timeframe will leave us with no choice but to proceed with the forced recovery of the said debt using all legal means," the company warned.
Alphonse Siyam Siwé questions the legitimacy of the SRC in this matter
Although informed by the SRC's managing director that the company is acting under the Presidential Decree of January 9, 2020, which designates the SRC as the entity responsible for collecting debts arising from monetary judgments rendered in favor of the State by the national courts, Siyam Siwe still questions the legitimacy of SRC in this matter.
“The provisions of Article 4 (1) of the SRC's Articles of Incorporation are not applicable in this case, as PAD is not the State. PAD is not a government entity, even though the state is its sole shareholder. It is a limited company registered in the Trade and Credit Register, per its statutes. Therefore, Article 7-1 of the statutes of the SRC on the privilege of the Treasury does not apply to us," wrote Mr. Ayissi Nga, Siyam Siwé's lawyer, in a letter sent to the SRC-MD on 5 January 2023. He stressed that in the case between his client and the PAD, the State was not a party to the lawsuit. The counsel for the former PAD-CEO even brought the case before the Court of First Instance of Yaoundé Administrative Center on January 23, 2023. Despite this procedure, the auction seems to be maintained for May 25-26.
Siyam Siwé is not the first Cameroonian personality targeted by a forced recovery procedure of the SRC. The company auctioned the properties of Emmanuel Gérard Ondo Ndong, former MD of Feicom (the bank of decentralized local authorities) on December 22, 2022, in Yaoundé. He was also convicted over fund misappropriation and ordered to pay damages.
Brice R. Mbodiam