Research Key

The protection of state property under Cameroonian law

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As the Cameroon Society develops there has been the tendency for more people getting involved in activities, notable in the commission of offences against the Property of the state. As such there have been the needs to protect property of the state by the use of the law. Therefore, the aim of the legislator and the law is to create and punish a series of such offences committed against state property. The type of property protected has been defined by the legislator and the law.

Some of the offences created and punished by Cameroonian law are the misappropriation of public funds punished under section 184 of the Cameroon Penal Code (CPC): Damaged to public or protected properly punished under Section 187 CPC. Misappropriation of Attached Property Punished under Section 190 CPC and finally state land by the land Tenure Ordinance No 74 – 1 of 6 July 1974 which establish rules governing land tenure.

Amongst all the offences the most serious and common is the misappropriation of public funds. It is seen as an evil, which has gone deep into the bone and marrows of many Cameroonians, as some of them have become recidivists and habitual offenders. This obscure act is very prevalent now days because of the desire to achieve a high standard of living. Misappropriation of public fund have been taken to be profession by some Cameroonians and some even pursue it on a day to day basis. Most people even devote time planning and misappropriating public funds and they even try to corrupt the law enforcement agencies when found guilty of the offence. Some even go as far as (especially the well to – do persons) misappropriate public funds by manipulating computer science they consider themselves as above the law. A good example is the situation of 2006[1] where a high ranking member if the ruling political party is misappropriate XAF 13 billion and in March 2008 the former secretary of state for Public works embezzle USD millions in forestry. Several other high ranking officials are still waiting for the court routing: for example former Economy and Finance Minister, Polycarp Abah Abah and former Public Health Minister, Urbain Olanguena Awono, and Marafa Amidou Yaya the former Minister of  Territorial Administration and Decentralization who were arrested on allegations of fraud, corruption and embezzling public funds.[2]

Continuous misappropriation of public funds has lead to the breach of trust by some of our authorities and has facilitated corruption in the country. However, given the complete natures of our society it has become necessary for the rule of law to regulate the activities of citizens, which influence our daily lives. Laws are revised to counter the alarming rate of misappropriation of public funds and more anti corruption resources have been committed in recent years which have led to a number of initiative, such as the establishment of the National Anti – Corruption Commission (CONAC) in March 2006.

The law does not only punish offences against state property. It punishes offences against private property such as theft punished under section 318 CPC, Destruction punished under section 316 CP Intangible properties is also protected for instance intellectual property like the photocopying of a book without the author’s authorization and finally immovable property is also protected.

Conclusively, the aim of the law is to ensure that one’s property rights are not infringed so that he or she can always exercise and enjoy rights over such property.

  • Definition of Key terms


What is taken to be property may sometimes be very controversial. However section 4(1) of the English theft Act 1 defines property as “Property includes money and all other property, real or personal including thing in action and other intangible property.

State Property

The legislator has defined the term in section 184 of the Cameroon Penal Code (S. 184 CPC) section 181 (1) CPC state that: “whoever by any means take or keeps dishonesty any property, movable or immoveable,[3] belonging to in transmission to the state, federal or federated or to any authority or corporation either public of subject to the administrative control of the state or in which the state holds directly or indirectly the majority of the shares, shall be punished.


Protection[4] in law means to secure or preserve against encroachment, infringement, restriction or violation. Maintain the status or integrity of something through legal or constitutional guarantees.





  • Statement of the Problem

Misappropriation of state property has been a major problem in our country today. This can be seen in the cases reported[5] on corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

The above mentioned problem is as a result of the errors made by the judiciary in the application of the laws protecting state property.



  • How is the nature of state property?
    • specific research questions
  • what are the Judicial Error in the Application of Section 184 of the Penal Code?
  • Is there any distinction between state property and private property?
    • Objective of the Study
      • General Objective

To examine the protection of state property under Cameroonian law

  • Specific Objectives
  1. To analyze what are state properties and their importance
  2. To examine the origin of Cameroonian law
  3. To propose policy recommendations for the protection of state property under Cameroonian law.

[1] on 7th June, 2012.

[2] on 7th June, 2012.

[3] Moveable ad Immovable wrongly spelled by the legislator correct spelling is Movable and Immovable

[4] Findlaw dictionary of legal terms

[5] The People V efraim Enoni NC/47C/72


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