13 million cfa a month : that’s the amount Cameroon tax payers pay for Brenda Biya’s California mansion
It is essential that we make this distinction with utmost emphasis and clarity – that though Brenda Biya, teenage daughter of Paul and Chantal Biya is the object of this story, she isn’t by any stretch of imagination, the target of the story. Rather, President Biya and wife, Chantal, are the target that this story sets out to expose to the disenfranchised Cameroonian tax payer. The story is about the recklessness and callousness with which President Biya and wife spends Cameroon’s tax payers’ money on a kid who by virtue of the extravagance with which she spends the money, barely appreciates what money’s worth is.
Come to think about this for a moment! Were the Presidential Palace in Yaounde to be leased or rented would it be worth 13,000.000 (thirteen million) CFA FRS a month? How about the Cameroon Embassy in the US – one of the biggest embassies that Cameroon maintains across the globe? How much rent does the Cameroon Embassy in the US pay on monthly basis? Thirteen million francs still? No one has the answers to these questions except the technocrat insiders. But The Cameroon Journal has learned on good authority that this is the amount of money that is paid for Brenda Biya’s Los Angeles, California mansion on a monthly basis.
According to our informant who opted to remain anonymous, Brenda Biya moved into this house late 2014 after it was advertised for lease. She was looking to being a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA and needed a house and Chantal Biya – the mother, we gathered, solely approved of this mansion for Brenda.
The gated mansion, sitting on number 505 N. Elm St. Beverly Hills, CA, isn’t just a house or mansion, it’s the equivalent of a warehouse. The only difference is that whereas warehouses are typically used for storing large consignment of inventory, in this case, the only inventory is a teenager called Brenda, the dogs and the friends she invites occasionally.
In size, it measures up to 7,119Sq. Ft. Brenda, turning 19 this month of June lives in the 7,119 Sq. ft. house with no one else but three dogs. The Cameroon Journal gathered that Brenda doesn’t trust her maids and security enough to have them live there full time.
The house is described as a “3-story gated modern estate… with open space for the ultimate entertainer.” Including three fire places.
The description of the mansion as published by its rental agent:
“Newer 3-story gated modern estate. Super high clingstone & open space for the ultimate entertainer. Dramatic architectural 2-story entry leads to glorious public spaces. Amazing center-isle Kitchen, breakfast, & family rooms open to private yard with pool, spa, patio and lawn. Huge master suite with balcony. Fabulous patio, Mrbl Ba/walk-ins. 2 other suites + big office upstairs. Fabulous lower level with 2 extra suites, kitchen, gym, living room.”
Brenda Biya lives here and attends UCLA where her tuition for a year is $60,000.00 – not a big deal. President Biya, The Cameroon Journal gathered, has never been to this house. He’s said not to be fun of the US and Los Angeles though the daughter has been there since 2014. Worse still, Chantal, the First Lady and mother to Brenda has never spent a night at the mansion. You will think that for the amount they pay for it, many, if not all of her official and private stays in Los Angeles would be spent in this house – not the case. Our sources revealed that often, when Chantal is in Los Angeles, she prefers to spend the nights at Four Season Hotel, located at 300 S. Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA. She would sometimes have Brenda and her buddy – Mina Eyango, daughter of ace musician, Ndedi Eyango, joining her for a night or two at the hotel.
According to Zillow, a national Real Estate agency in the U.S, the appraised value of the house – that is, if they wanted to buy it outright, stood at $10,199,522 (Ten million, one hundred ninety nine, five hundred and twenty two dollars). But since they were not interested in purchasing it outright, they chose to lease it.
The monthly lease or rent was $26,000.00 (twenty-six thousand dollars). Our source disclosed that because Brenda was new in the US at the time of the lease and had no credit history for pre-approval, the agents for the house demanded that she put down a year’s rents in a holding account to guarantee the landlord will always get his money in a timely manner. Of course Chantal, not Brenda, put down the money. It added up to $312,000.00 (three hundred, twelve thousand dollars). When you convert that amount into CFA FRS, you’re talking about 156,000.000 MCFA FRS. (One hundred and fifty six million francs CFA). In the essence, that is the approximate amount of money that Cameroonian tax payers have to pay for only one of President Biya’s many children’s housing every year.
a Juste un Clou bracelet. At the minimum, it sells between $5,000-$9,000. That’s approximately 2.5-4.5million FRS CFA. And the Rolex Sky Dweller Champagne wrists watch he’s wearing? It sells for $37,843.00 (thirty seven thousand, eight hundred and forty three dollars). In CFA francs, that amounts to about 18million francs.
Also seen this cap (in the photo) that Brenda is wearing? It would normally be hand weaved in Africa and sold for peanuts money. That, plus the spectacles she’s wearing sold for $750.00 and $500.00 respectively. And the Fendi burgundy white fur watch? That sold for $16,000.00 (Sixteen thousand dollars). That is about 8million francs CFA.
This amount doesn’t include her feeding, nor does it include her Mercedes-Benz G-Class that would normally sell for over $100,000.00 (one hundred thousand dollars). In CFA FRS, that’s a little over 50million FRS.
The recklessness with which the Biyas fiddle with Cameroonians tax payers’ hard earned money is further illustrated in the children’s penchant for ostentatious and luxurious shopping. Frank, Chantal’s son brought into her marriage with Biya pictured here carrying his latest baby, is wearing
This is only what we know. There is a lot that we do not know and may never know. But what we also know from our sources is that on May 7, Brenda got very bitter and upset with friends, accusing them of collaborating to steal $20,000.00 from her.
When The Cameroon Journal learned of these excesses for Brenda and others by President Biya, we reached out to her by email for a statement. We could have contacted her by phone (we have her number), but for the fact that she’s been in Europe at a Geneva rehab facility receiving help for her recent breakdowns
The Journal asked Brenda; “We found out that you live at number 505 N. Elm Dr. Beverly Hills, CA, and your monthly rent is $26,000.00 a month. We understand that you are the daughter of the President of Cameroon and you need all the peace and security necessary to do your studies at UCLA. But in your opinion, don’t you think $26,000.00 a month for rent is quite outrageous considering that this is Cameroonians’ tax payers money? We will appreciate any comment/statement from you.”
Brenda never replied. And of course, we were never expecting one from her knowing how much the Biyas treat the press with disdain. However, a reply – sort of, came from an unusual source – the daughter of Prince Ndedi Eyango, Mina Eyango, a very close friend of Brenda. Since Mina wrote to us using the same subject tag we had sent to Brenda, we knew that Brenda forwarded the email she received from us to Mina. In the characteristic ignorance of the teenager that Mina is, she picked up a quarrel with the Cameroon Journal, accusing us of trying to pervert Brenda’s right to enjoy the wealth of her parents.
Mina Eyango wrote demanding to know why we’re in the habit of constantly stalking “an 18 year old girl? Do you think it’s normal to publish articles like this when there are bigger issues occurring in Cameroon every single day?” She asked.
Then she arrogantly ranted in Brenda’s defense; “Tax payers’ money? Every single day you guys say the same thing, she’s using Cameroon’s money for taxis, she is using tax payers money on clothes, she is eating our tax payers money, please get over it- she is the president of Cameroon’s daughter and she was born into that position, her living a wealthy lifestyle was inevitable.” Mina wrote.
She continued; “What do you expect from a President’s daughter? A small apartment in Compton? Everything she does is a problem to everyone. Why is everything she does always such huge attraction? Focus on yourselves, and your careers. Are you a journalist or paparazzi?” She quarreled.
Mina was right, there are bigger issues in Cameroon to deal with than putting so much ink on paper or talking about little Brenda Biya and her follies. And that’s why we stated from the onset that this piece isn’t about her but about the recklessness and callousness of her parents who happen to be eternal leaders of Cameroon.
Issues like the horrible road network that President Biya has presided over for over three decades. Issues like the fraud and corruption that has become a characteristic feature of President Biya’s 34 years regime. Issues like Biya’s inability to provide jobs for the youth of Cameroon. Issues like the need to get rid of a regime that survives through clamping down on the opposition and discouraging dissent. Issues like the lack of affordable medical care for Cameroonians. In fact, if President Biya was sane and conscientious, taking care of these issues, there did be no way he spends such an amount of money every month on the teenager called Brenda Biya. And that is what Mina Eyango and all the others who see nothing wrong in that and who are surely benefiting from the extravaganza, never perceive there is absolutely something wrong with it.
A day after she voluntarily sent this email to us, Mina Eyango threatened The Cameroon Journal with a law suit should we dare quote or mention her name in this story. We note here that the $400 taxi fracas that Brenda had with a cap driver took place as Brenda was returning from Mina’s house. And the fact that Brenda would pass nights in the hotel with Mina at the invitation of Chantal and also forward her emails to Mina is indicative of how close they both are. So for Mina to come up with such a ferocious defense of the spending on her friend is understandable.
However, this story is about the recklessness of President Biya and the wife. Their children of course, deserve the best housing and education that money can afford. It isn’t Brenda’s fault she was born the President’s daughter. But there ought to be some form of restrain when it comes to spending for children of a leader of an impoverished country like Cameroon.
Consider that in Cameroon, civil servants, especially teachers graduating from Teachers Training colleges teach for three years without salary. Consider that here in Washington DC, Cameroon Embassy staff go for months without pay. Consider that the same Embassy has a structure of its own that the Cameroon gov’t has not been able to finance to completion for years running.
Consider the fact that in Cameroon, people die because of inaccessibility to doctors or medical care. Consider the Cameroon Army that has to literally stage revolts before they are paid for defending the country. Yet, $26,000.00 is being paid out at the same time every month for the house of the President’s teenage daughter, and she lives in it with dogs. Doesn’t this suggest that dogs deserve better than the hard working tax paying Cameroonian?
Just imagine for a moment if any cabinet minister in the country was caught spending such outrageous amounts of money for the house of his/her 19year old, won’t an inquest be launched for him by the Special Criminal Court in Yaounde and perhaps get him ultimately landed in Kondengui?
The money that is spent on Brenda Biya isn’t President Biya’s money. He will not spend his own pocket money or pay check that recklessly – he’s not that stupid. That money is Cameroon tax payers’ money and that is the more reason why a regime change remains inevitable in Cameroon.
Brenda Biya deserves a $5,000.00 house and a $40,000.00 modest car, not a $26,000.00 warehouse and not a $100,000.00 car. It’s an insult to the suffering Cameroonian youth who has no job and no future for no fault of his own.