By EMMANUEL TUMANJONG
YAOUNDE, Cameroon -- Charles Metouck, the deposed general
manager of Cameroon's state-owned National Refinery Corp., or Sonara, has been
arrested and detained for the alleged illegal entry to his
replacement's office and the destruction of vital
documents, state-run Cameroon Radio Television reports
Mr. Metouck had been general manager at 30-year-old Sonara
for the last decade but last Friday was replaced by Ibrahim
Talba Malla at the end of the corporation's board meeting, on
the "orders of the President of the Republic."
"The former GM was arrested on Monday, February 18, 2013,
after having been discovered to have discretely entered the new
GM's office. He was caught signing documents and destroying
others," CRTV reported, citing government sources.
Mr. Malla was immediately given the position as general
manager by the country's Energy and Water Resources Minister,
Basile Atangana Kouna, and will run Sonara alongside his role
as manager of the Hydrocarbons Stabilization Fund, or CSPH.
Based in Cameroon's Atlantic coastal town of Limbe, 300
kilometers southwest of Yaounde, Sonara is Cameroon's only oil
Created in 1973, the company has been refining only imported light crude
oil bought from neighboring Nigeria and Serra Leone, among
others. It is now being transformed to refine the country's
heavy crude oil. So far, the corporation's annual output of
refined petroleum is 2 million tons.
The Cameroon government has been securing credits from local
and foreign lenders to refurbish the company, which needs an
estimated 300 billion CFA Francs ($612.1 million) for the
refurbishment to be completed.
Prior to his arrest, local media reports said Mr. Metouck
was being watched by the government's anti-corruption drive,
"Operation Sparrow Hawk."
Observers are questioning what he was trying to conceal
before he was arrested.
Dow Jones Newswires