Kumba (National Times)-Cameroonians across the United States of America (USA) are increasingly being subjected to investigations before they can transfer money to relatives back home, The National Times has learnt.
The practice, which is new to the US money transfer agencies is believed to be part of the measures to arrest any form of funding for the on-going crisis in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon.
Until now, Cameroonians were sending remittances home without being subjected to serious vetting procedures. Today, all that has changed. The National Times gathered that, Cameroonians staying in the world’s most powerful nation would have to justify their source of income before transferring money home.
One of the victims of such strict controls disclosed to The National Times that “my sister went to transfer us money worth FCFA 200,000 but she was asked to go and come back in three days. My sister told me the officers at the money transfer agencies said they wanted to investigate the source of the money”.
Our source said three days after, the sister surfaced at the agency to find out if the money could be sent home but was told that she has been placed under a life ban from transferring money to Cameroon.
More people back in Cameroon are feeling the pinch of such controls on remittances from their relatives in the USA. The developments are suspected to be part of the diplomatic engagements between Cameroon and the US to curb funding of separatists believed to be sponsored from abroad.
Even back in Cameroon, receiving money from certain destinations is subject to strict bank clearance to ensure that it is not in any way used to fuel separatists’ activities.
The developments may leave more families stranded given the impact of remittances on family members at home. Most have no source of livelihood.
Such remittances are most needed within families in the trouble-plagued Regions given the poor economic climate.
Early this year, a staff of at the Divisional Delegation of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) in Kumba, Julius Bawe, was arrested for engaging in such practices. Bawe confessed to be the link between separatists in the bush and funders based in the diaspora. Administrative authorities got a tipoff about the practice and napped the civil servant.
During the week wherein the arrest was conducted, Bawe had just returned from the forest to share FCFA 700,000 to fighters at different camps in the bush.
The State of Cameroon has stepped up pressure to block every form of funding for the separatist groups as it battles to maintain its territorial integrity and restore order in the troubled Anglophone Regions.