A court in the northwestern city of Bamenda convicted Nicodemus, publisher and editor of the private weekly The Monitor, on March 10, 2014, of defaming the Cameroon Co-operative Credit Union League (CAMCCUL), an umbrella body of cooperative credit unions, Yijofmen Kol, his lawyer, told CPJ. He was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay 10 million CFA francs (US$21,000) in damages, the lawyer said.
Kol told CPJ that Nicodemus remained in prison after his four-month term had passed because on July 18, 2014, the court converted the damages into jail time of two years and three months upon request by CAMCCUL’s lawyers.
Nicodemus’ conviction stemmed from a complaint filed by CAMCCUL over a series of articles published in The Monitor in 2014 that alleged, among other things, that the microfinance institution had used and distributed unlicensed software, embezzled funds, and engaged in bribery, according to Kol and a copy of the court judgment obtained by CPJ. CAMCCUL denied the allegations.
The court also accused Nicodemus of failing to respond to a summons that had allegedly been served to him on December 16, 2013, according to the judgment. Kol told CPJ the journalist never received notice of proceedings against him.
Nicodemus’ applications for bail and appeal were scheduled to be held on December 16, 2014. He was being held at Bamenda Central Prison, according to Kol and local journalists.