The Finance bill for the 2017 financial year was adopted in a long plenary sitting early Saturday, December 3, 2016.
Members of the National Assembly in a long plenary sitting that started at 2 :00 p.m. on Friday, December 2 and ended at 1 :10 a.m. on Saturday, December 3, 2016 adopted the finance bill of the Republic of Cameroon for the 2017 financial year. The bill contains the State budget for the 2017 financial year that is balanced in revenue and expenditure at FCFA 4,373.8 billion against FCFA 4,234.7 billion for the 2016 financial year, representing an increase of FCFA 139.1 billion in absolute terms and 3.3 per cent in relative terms.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril chaired the plenary sitting. A host of cabinet ministers took part in the plenary sitting and answered questions from MPs that were not limited to the budget. The final adoption of the bill took place in the absence of the members of the leading opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) parliamentary group. One of the members, Hon. Joseph Mbah Ndam raised an interlocutory motion calling for the suspension of the plenary until the Minister of State for Justice brings to book soldiers and other elements of the forces of law and order who tortured and violated the rights of protesting lawyers in Bamenda, Kumba and the students of the University of Buea.
After the motion, the SDF MPs rose, sang the National Anthem and walked out of the Hemicycle. He said they were going to visit victims of soldiers’ violence. The Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Laurent Esso told the MPs that he had never received any document on the grievances of the so-called Common Law Lawyers who are on strike in the North West and South Regions. He said he was ready for discussions but made it clear that lawyers only had immunity and protection when they are in court.
When they go down to the streets to demonstrate, they are not protected and could be held responsible for any violations of the law. The Minister of State also said that lawyers were not the employees of any jurisdiction, clarifying that they have a contract only with their clients. He said he has ordered for judicial inquiries into alleged acts of violence committed in the North West and South West Regions, stating that when the inquiries will be complete those found guilty of violations will be brought to book.
Talking about the alleged violence carried by forces of law and order on students in Buea, the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo said internal inquiries have been opened by the ministry to determine those responsible for damages on property and violence on people and those found guilty would be sanctioned.
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