A video of Paul Biya, Abdoulaye Wade
and Téodoro Obiang Nguema during the Africa-European Union
summit.A video has emerged online in which Cameroon
’s president Paul Biya
is overheard bringing up the embezzlement charges currently being investigated by a French court
with his Senegalese and Equatorial Guinean
The video was first posted online by the president’s office, but rapidly modified to cover up Biya’s words.
The scene takes place in Tripoli (Libya) on Sunday, November 28th, during the Africa-European Union summit. The video shows president Biya waiting for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
with Senegalese president
Abdulaye Wade and Equatorial Guinean president Téodoro Obiang Nguema. The three men are making small talk away from the cameras. Their conversation is barely audible above the sound the whine of cameras as photographers shoot pictures. Paul Biya is apparently complaining about the media’s – particularly the French media
’s – harsh and biased coverage of the embezzlement charges made against him.
On November 25th, a French court opened a preliminary investigation after the UDA, an association of Cameroon expatriates in France and Belgium, filed a complaint for “embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.” The following day, the Cameroon government spokesman Issa Tchirouma told FRANCE 24
that the charges were part of a political ploy to destabilize Biya ahead of upcoming presidential elections.
Posted online on November 30th on the Cameroon presidency’s
official website, the video made headlines on two local newspapers, Le Jour
and Quotidien Mutations
. These publications say that the video was modified and re-posted on December 1st with loud Arab music drowning out the conversation of the three men. According to Quotidien Mutations, Abdoulay Wade was referring to Tchirouma’s interview with FRANCE 24
when he said “I saw, I saw. You had a very good reaction”.
FRANCE 24 made repeated attempts to obtain comment from the communications office of the president of Cameroon
The three president’s conversation:
Paul Biya (centre) begins talking.
Wade (left) answers: “I saw, I saw that…”
Wade salutes Nguema (right): “Ah, hello brother”
Biya continues: “We have…”
Wade interrupts: “I saw, I saw. Your reaction was very good, I saw.”
Biya continues: “Honestly, though, we have opponents. They invent things, they press charges against African heads of state in foreign courts.”
They sit down.
Biya continues: “They can’t prove that I have a hidden fortune or I don’t know what. But what I don’t find normal is the media conniving with them, manipulating public opinion.”
Gaddafi arrives and the discussion between the three heads of state ends.