During 12 years, a network of embezzlers ruled in the Cameroon international bank for savings and credit BICEC (Banque internationale du Cameroun pour l’épargne et le crédit), local branch of French group Banque Populaire (BPCE). After an enquiry carried out in March 2016 in this banking institution by COBAC, who police the banking sector in the CEMAC region, it appears that this network, “implicating external service providers assisted by insiders” has caused BICEC financial losses estimated at more than FCfa 50 billion, reveals the weekly Jeune Afrique.
These misappropriations discovered last February, a few weeks after the arrival of the new Director General of this bank, Alain Ripert, were made, we learn, through significant over-invoicing and fictitious bills, regularly paid to service providers “via a system outside normal procedure“.
At the heart of this practice, the COBAC report indicates, were two senior bank officials. It concerns, we learn, the Deputy Director General Innocent Ondoa Nkou, who has had to resign (after 20 years in the position) a few weeks after the discovery of the scheme, and Samuel Ngando Mbongue, Director of Accounting and Treasury, who was sacked with four other employees. A complaint has been filed on 1 June 2016 by BICEC lawyers, at the criminal court in Douala, the economic capital of the country, where the bank headquarters are located.
In light of this discovery of embezzlement, we learn, BICEC, which made a net income of FCfa 4.5 billion in 2015, a 63% decrease over the year, has been unable to distribute dividends to its shareholders, including the State of Cameroon which has 17.5% shareholding in this banking institution.