An affidavit is the written version of swearing under oath, to tell the truth, just as if you were testifying in a courtroom. The document is signed by the person making the statement called the affiant and by a person who is legally authorized to administer an oath such as a notary public or certain court or government officers. The duty of a notary public in establishing affidavits in Cameroon is aimed at affirming that the specific facts deposed are correct.
Affidavits have to be notarized to be approved in court or by government agencies such as an affidavit of sponsorship since notarization is aimed at corroborating that the affiant:
- Was aware of the contents in the document
- Signed the document in the presence of a notary public
- Signed the document of their own free will.
The information in an affidavit must either be based on the belief and information or knowledge of the affiant.
If you create an affidavit in Cameroon on belief and information, you need to mention where you got the data and why you consider it valid.
Notarization of an affidavit in Cameroon is a formal way to deter fraud by guaranteeing that the parties of a particular transaction have an authentic document and can be reliable.
Types of Affidavits in Cameroon
- Court affidavits: Although a court trial usually involves witnesses appearing in court to give oral testimony, there may be situations in a legal proceeding where affidavits are used such as in support of written motions or when a witness is not available to appear in court.
- Affidavit of Power of Attorney: A power of attorney is a legal document signed by one person known as the principal that gives another person, the agent, the authority to act on the principal’s behalf. However this authority ends if the principal dies or revokes the power of attorney. Before a third party acts in reliance on a POA, the agent may be required to sign an affidavit stating that the power of attorney is currently in effect and that the principal has not died or revoked the POA.
- Affidavits of sponsorship: An Affidavit of sponsorship in Cameroon is a written or typed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily and confirmed by oath or affirmation of the sponsor taken before an officer having authority to administer such oath.
- Lost document affidavit: if a critical document is lost or destroyed, it can often be established again with an affidavit. Such as you can re-establish a promissory note if it gets destroyed or lost by implementing an affidavit of indemnity agreement and a lost promissory notice. This allows the other party to depend on your assurance that you will reimburse them in the event of economic losses.
- Identity theft affidavit: if an individual has been an identity theft victim, they might need to provide an affidavit to certify the theft to credit bureaus, creditors, and banks.
- Financial affidavit: Financial affidavits verify specific financial information concerning the affiant such as in divorce cases where both parties have to verify their debts, expenses, income, and assets. These affidavits are also used in connection with various financial transactions and estate planning like loan applications.
- Self–proving will affidavit: This is when the signature of a person making a Will is notarized. Generally, a will requires at least two witnesses to the maker’s signature. Conventionally, when the maker passed away, it was essential to have the witnesses appear in court to make the will legal. However, this is deemed valid automatically without the witnesses’ testimony with the affidavit of a self-proving will.
Duty of a notary public
- Ensure to get accurate information on the affiant.
- Ensure that facts deposed are not conspicuous in nature.
- Ensure that information relied on is backed by credible exhibits.
- Ensure that the affiant is not coerced into giving his facts.
- Ensure that exhibits are annexed in chronological order in line with the facts deposed.
- Ensure that the format of an affidavit is respected as per the order of presentation.