Higher Judicial Council Meeting: Hon. Ayah Paul sent on retirement

NEWS 08 Jun 2017
Higher Judicial Council Meeting: Hon. Ayah Paul sent on retirement

By Elah Geoffrey Mbongale
The body that handles the careers of magistrates and higher judicial officers met at Unity Palace on Wednesday July 7, 2017 with President Paul BIYA presiding over the deliberations that lasted over five hours.
The members of the Council arrived Unity Palace by 10 am, alongside some magistrates whose disciplinary files were to be examined at the session, accompanied by their lawyers. Notable amongst the members of the Council was the Vice President, Mr. Laurent ESSO, Minister of State for Justice and Keeper of the Seals, as well as Mr. Jean Akame Fouman, the Secretary of the Council.

Hon. Ayah Paul

Hon. Ayah Paul

The agenda of the sitting included the swearing in of non judicial members appointed by decree No. 2014/594 of 24 December 2014, the integration of state auditors from the National School of Administration and Magistracy, ENAM into the judicial core, an examination of disciplinary files, the promotion of magistrates for the year 2015 and 2016, selection of a member to be appointed member of the constitutional council, the transfer and posting of magistrates for the years 2015and 2016.
Also, amongst other things, an Anglophone magistrate was voted president of judicial chambers of the Supreme Court.
The highlight of the meeting was unarguable the sending into retirement of Hon. Ayah Paul Abine, Advocate General at the Supreme Court. This decision comes while Ayah is being detained at the National Gendarmerie Secretariat, SED, in Yaoude. Ayah was arrested last January under circumstances many considered illegal for a sitting magistrate.
Ayah will be replaced as Advocate General at the Supreme Court by a certain Yah Abdou.
The case against Ayah had hit a brick wall considering that his status as Advocate General could not permit any magistrate below his rank to interrogate or prosecute him. But it is believed that the decision to send him on retirement was born out of the desire to push on with the case. Ayah Paul Abine, now an ordinary citizen can be interrogated by any person, including a judicial police officer.
Another key appointment was that of Emmanuel Djere, Secretary General at the Ministry of Communication who will now occupy the post of President of the Special Criminal Court.
As at press time the full list of transfers and appointments was being read on National radio and this will be made available in our subsequent edition.
Hon. Ayah Paul Abine the man
Ayah Paul Abine graduated from the Cameroon National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) in Yaoundé in 1976 and went on to become the vice-president of the Court of Appeal in Buea, Southwest Region, until becoming member of the National Assembly of Cameroon in 2002.
Even thought he was a member of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM, Ayah was an outspoken critic of regime and was very vocal on many issues amongst which was In June 2006, along with other deputies, he called on the government to investigate allegations of high-level corruption involving one of its ministers, Augustin Frédéric Kodock, regarding Kodock’s earlier tenure at the head of the Agriculture Ministry.
In early 2008, Ayah was an outspoken critic of the 2008 changes to the Constitution of Cameroon, which removed term limits that would have prevented President Paul Biya from standing for re-election in 2011. According to Ayah, the changes were “not democratic”, and he said that if the bill was adopted it would “will take us back some 200 years.
On 3 January 2011{one year to the end of his mandate as deputy} Ayah Paul resigned from the CPDM and stood for the presidential elections. He joined the Opposition Party called the Peoples Action Party (PAP) which he later renamed Popular Action Party.
He was later appointed in December 2014 as Advocate-General at the Supreme Court of Cameroon
Ayah was arrested on January 21, 2017 as a sitting judge and is being tried at the Yaoundé military tribunal in relation to the civil unrest in the two English speaking regions of the country.

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