IMF loan to Cameroon must be conditional on anti-corruption

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On Friday, human rights activists called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take steps to ensure that a three-year loan to Cameroon is not wasted due to corruption.

Cameroon Covid HRWCameroon media and opposition parties claim hundreds of millions of dollars of international COVID-19 assistance has been greeted in the country over the past year with large-scale corruption and embezzlement. (Photo: HRW)The IMF’s executive board “should require the government to make its spending fully transparent, conduct a comprehensive independent audit of its Covid-19 spending to date, and hold anyone responsible for corruption accountable,” Human Rights Watch (HRW). said in a statement

This is due to Cameroonian media and opposition parties claiming international aid for COVID-19 is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. was greeted with large scale corruption and embezzlement in the country over the past year.

“The IMF Board has been voting on its third loan to Cameroon since the start of the pandemic in the midst of the COVID-19 corruption scandal and the violent crisis that shook the country’s English-speaking regions and had a devastating impact on people’s right to health. “Sarah Saadoun, senior business and human rights researcher at HRW, said in a statement.

“When badly needed aid is squandered or stolen, it would be irresponsible for the IMF to approve another loan without guarantees that the money will go where it was intended,” Saadoun added.

Back in May, the IMF announced that it reached an agreement to provide a third indefinite loan to the West African people “to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.” The announcement, however, does not detail any significant measures to combat possible corrupt use of funds.

The IMF has previously given two other emergency loans of US $ 382 million to Cameroon in response to the pandemic. The country was one of most affected by the virus in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, back in May, local media published a summary of the audit of these funds by the Audit Chamber, the investigative body of the Supreme Court. The audit detailed the findings of large-scale corruption and “multiple abuses” that involved the vast majority of aid spending ($ 333 million).

This included “quasi-monopoly” on government contracts by Mediline Medical Cameroon, which allegedly overpriced its medical products, which were often defective.

The audit also revealed, for example, that the government bought 16 ambulances from the company for $ 1.6 million, but none were delivered.

In light of these findings, 20 prominent Cameroonian women also called on The IMF does not have to approve any additional funding until those involved in corruption and mismanagement of loans are held accountable.

While Mediline Medical Cameroon said in a statement June 1 that the check was part of a “disinformation campaign”, formerly HRW said with medical staff in hospitals across the country who said they received little or no additional funds or equipment to help them respond to the pandemic.



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