It is a circular dated July 29 which, once again, set fire to the powder of the Assembly. Signed by the hand of the president of the chamber, Simple Mathieu Sarandji (SMS)this indicates that it was given to the former Prime Minister, who is also head of administration and authorizing officer of parliamentary expenditure, “to note that orders [étaient] issued to [son] unbeknownst to certain deputies of the Nation despite [sa] presence in Bangui”.
SMS recalls in the same one-page document that he can be replaced by the vice-presidents “in the event of temporary impediment”, which was not the case in this case according to him. He therefore insists by specifying that “it is strictly forbidden [de délivrer] mission orders in [sa] presence and without [son] authorization” and instructs the gendarmerie, police and Bangui airport authorities to enforce the “strict application” of these directives.
According to our information, one person is particularly targeted, without however being directly mentioned: Évariste Namanafirst vice-president of the Assembly and spokesperson for the United Hearts Movement (MCU, the party of the president Faustin-Archange Touaderadont Simple Mathieu Sarandji is also the general secretary). Ngamana has indeed signed several mission orders and authorizations for the disbursement of public funds which have caught the attention of SMS.
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Among these suspicious documents is the endorsement given to a parliamentary mission to Cameroon at the beginning of July. This, according to the version signed by the first vice-president of the Assembly, was to last 18 days and concerned about fifteen people. But the reality was quite different: the mission in question, an exchange of information with representatives of the lower house of Cameroon, in fact only lasted two days.
According to our information, Simplice Mathieu Sarandji, alerted, this time blocked the disbursement of the funds concerned – forcing the presidential camp to find another source of supply. In reality, the fraudulent practice within the Assembly goes back several months. Still recently, another controversy erupted when Évariste Ngamana requested for himself an appeal for funds for dental care which, according to him, required him to stay for an entire month, in July, in a luxury hotel in Paris.
Long term fraud
According to a high-ranking source in the chamber, the issuance of these fraudulent documents had above all the objective of encouraging the mobilization of the populations by the deputies of the presidential majority ahead of the demonstration of August 7 in favor of a referendum. constitutional. Desired by President Touadéra, this one aims in particular to allow the Head of State to free himself from the current limitation of presidential terms and to represent himself in 2026.
What SMS blocked is just the tip of the iceberg
In other words, adds our source, the mission orders signed by Évariste Ngamana were intended for the mobilization of the demonstrators by the deputies of the MCU but also for that of the local authorities such as prefects, sub-prefects and mayors. On the ground, some “walkers” have also complained of having received only a small amount of money – 500 CFA francs (0.76 euros) per location – despite visibly larger endowments.
From the same source, Évariste Ngamana nevertheless aimed to disburse at least two million CFA francs per prefecture, i.e. 40 million CFA francs. (plus of 60,000 euros) for the whole country, to be distributed among the deputies of the majority, according to their number and their availability. But Simplice Mathieu Sarandji finally decided to intervene in July by blocking several operations. “What SMS blocked is just the tip of the iceberg. This fraud and these overbillings have been going on for months already,” said our source in the lower house.
Contacted by Young Africa, Évariste Ngamana wanted to bring “a formal denial” to “unfounded and gratuitous accusations” according to him. “MPs have the right to go to their constituency and, to do so, they do not necessarily need a mission order. I do not see the link with the demonstration of which you speak ”, replied the first vice-president of the Assembly. “He knows he is protected”, retorts one of our sources, previously quoted.
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For several months, Évariste Ngamana – also a regular interlocutor of Wagner’s Russians – has been the linchpin of the future constitutional reform. Close to Faustin-Archange Touadéra, who particularly supported him when he was elected to the office of the chamber, he works closely with Donatien Maleyombo, the president’s highly influential chief of staff. These proximities have also caused a great rivalry with Simplice Mathieu Sarandji. The latter, who has not abandoned his ambition to one day replace Touadera as supreme magistrate, is in fact opposed in private (he refrains from declaring it officially) to a constitutional revision which would bar his way a little more presidential chair. Weakened by this lack of support for the Head of State’s project, he frequently confronts Évariste Ngamana, in the Assembly as well as within the MCU, and does not appreciate the rise to power of this cadet.
“Ngamana already sees himself as the president of the National Assembly, while Sarandji clings on but fears for his post,” concludes our source among parliamentarians. The duel between the two men, of which President Touadera will obviously be the final arbiter, should continue very soon in the lower house: according to our sources, an extraordinary session should be convened there in the second part of August in order to put on the table the reform of the constitution.