Victor Fotso was once seen as Cameroon’s richest man, and his flamboyant son, Yves Michel Fotso, as one of the most privileged children in the central African nation who rose to become head of his country’s national airline.
But that was then. Many years have now passed since Michel Fotso was condemned by a court and thrown into Yaounde’s maximum prison, following a presidential jet purchase scandal while he was the head of Camair, Cameroon’s national airline.
There were also stories about theft and corruption as well as money Laundering in Switzerland.
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Michel Fotso has maintained his innocence. Still, he was found guilty by the court and sent to Kondengui maximum prison in Cameroon where he has now lived for several years.
In a newly released video, he’s seen begging and ranting about not being given food.
His almost riotous behavior in jail gives a glimpse into Cameroon’s darkest prisons, and the gross abuse of the rights of prisoners in a country where one man has been in power for almost 40 years.
While Mr Biya has thrown many people in jail, accusing them of gargantuan corruption and grand conspiracy against the state, including his political enemies, he himself has been accused of stealing millions of dollars, keeping a permanent suite at a luxurious hotel in Geneva and living a royal life outside of Cameroon while most of the citizens wallow in abject poverty.
The octogenarian President is often accused of spending more time abroad than at home.
The video comes even as Tibor Nagy, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs meets with President Paul Biya in the capital Yaounde while his main opponent in the last presidential election is in jail.
It is not on his official agenda, but Nagy is expected to address rights violations in Cameroon, including the treatment of Anglophone separatists in the Northwest and Southwest regions, especially after the State Department days ago in its 2018 human rights report accused Cameroon of gross violations.