Forest Corruption Financial Crimes

The fourth largest sector in Cameroon is the forestry sector, accounting for 10% of GDP. The sector pertains to the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife which deals with the coordination and oversight of the exploitation, conservation and promotion of forests. A number of initiatives and structures have been created with the purpose of combating mismanagement and corruption in the forestry sector. Yet, the sector continues to be hampered by corrupt practices and unsustainable logging.

Although corrupt practices are well known, they are rarely perused in justice or at all investigated. While corruption is discussed in Cameroon, in the governance context as a failure of a system, it is in fact an accumulation of various criminal acts carried by individuals. There is a paradox that lies between the recognition of the international community that the forest sector is plagued with corruption on one hand and on the other its reluctance to build any system of accountability breaking down bad governance to individual responsibility. This gap can be observed in EITI and the oil sector – while the auditor’s report for Cameroon revealed large discrepancies in the published figures, no investigations of those involved in the management of oil revenues have been carried out.

This project aims to establish accountability through creating deterrence for grand corruption in the forest sector. Prosecuting high officials for their corrupt practices is an essential to any strategy to improve the governance in the forest sector.