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General News of Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Source: thestaronline.info

SOCAM crisis: Supreme Court Disgraces Eyango – Says as American citizen he could not stand for election

The Supreme Court has thrown out a petition filed by Ndedi Eyango in which he protested the decision of the Minister of Arts and Culture to invalidate his election victory as the Board Chair of the Cameroon Music Author’s Rights Corporation, (SOCAM).

The ruling by the Centre Regional Administrative Tribunal was made public during a press conference in Yaounde granted by the Head of the Legal Team in the Ministry of Arts and Culture, Barrister Charles Tchoungang who on the occasion said the case was literally thrown out because Ndedi Eyango as an American citizen was not eligible to stand for the elections in the first place.

Barrister Tchoungang disclosed that according to Cameroon law, one who takes up the citizenship of another country, in this case the USA for the artist, automatically loses his Cameroonian nationality.

This means even though Ndedi Eyango had somehow come up with documents attesting to his being Cameroonian, he had lost his Cameroonian nationality, the minute he took up another and thus he literally does not exist before Cameroonian law and therefore was not eligible to stand for elections to the post of Board Chair of SOCAM as the corporation status dictates.

The key precedence sets by the March 13 ruling, however, that is addressing the sphere of influence of the Ministry of Arts and Culture as the tutelary body of SOCAM.

The judge ruled that the Minister Ama Tutu Muna in annulling the elections had acted in the interest of public peace, the respect of the Cameroon law on nationality and the status of SOCAM and all of Eyango’s three petitions were deemed inadmissible.

According to the legal team of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the next step recommended is to pursue Ndedi Eyango for fraud in relation to how he qualified to stand for the elections at SOCAM.

The press conference was also an opportunity for Barrister Tchoungang to draw attention to a Supreme Court ruling of December 27, 2012 regarding the former Music Authors Rights Corporation, the Cameroon Music Corporation, CMC, whose former board chair, Sam Mbende had taken the Ministry to court in post election crisis in September 2008.

In essence, the case is dropped also as the CMCA’s mandate had expired while the case was submitted in court.

Notwithstanding the decision of the Supreme Court, Ndedi Eyango has vowed to file another petition in the coming days and enter a “trial judge” to lead to a hearing and a trial in due form as he himself is quoted to have said that “people are agitated for nothing.” The SOCAM crisis seems to be far from over.

It should be recalled that Ndedi Eyango was elected by his peers at the helm of SOCAM on the night of November 2 to 3, 2013, at the Yaounde Conference Centre but on December 23, the election was invalidated by the Minister of Arts and Culture over what she termed gross violation of existing laws.

In the process, Ama Tutu Muna refused to renew the approval of the management company of the copyright of the musical art blaming Eyango for dual nationality.

According to Ndedi Eyango’s lawyers, Emmanuel Simh and Ntetmen, the notification rejecting their clients petition was handed to them by the Chief Registrar of the Administrative Tribunal of Yaoundé. A decision that the lawyers have described as illegal because according to them, it is not the Administrative Tribunal to rule on the issue of nationality of an individual as indicated by Law No. 1968-LF-3 of June 11, 1968 on the code of Cameroonian nationality and which in its Article 41 states “the civil jurisdiction court is the only competent to hear disputes on nationality…