ACC charges Executive Director of Sierra Leone Maritime Administration for corruption offences

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 June 2021:

Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday said it has filed corruption indictment against Paul Sobba Massaquoi, Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA); Peter Joseph Menjor, Acting Director of Procurement, SLMA; Fodie U.K Dabor, the Acting Director of Finance, SLMA; Hartwell Williams, Quality and Assurance Manager, SLMA; Victor Alpha, Human Resource Manager, SLMA; and Festus Musa, Procurement Supervisor of SLMA.

They have all been charged with five counts of corruption offences including; Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1)(a); Failure to Comply with Applicable Procedures and Guidelines, contrary to Section 48(2)(b); and Abuse of Office, contrary to Section 42(1), and Knowingly misleading the Commission, contrary to Section 127 (1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 12, of 2008, as amended by the Anti-Corruption Act No.9 of 2019, respectively.

According to the ACC, the charges concern wilful failure to conduct a bidding process as required by Sections 37 and 39 of the Public Procurement Act No.1 of 2016, in regard the rehabilitation of the SLMA Headquarters Building in Freetown, Conspiracy to commit corruption offences, and wilful failure to comply with Applicable Procedures and Guidelines relating to the Procurement of Works, in respect of the same.

In addition, Paul Sobba Massaquoi, Fodie U.K Dabor, Hartwell Williams, and Victor Alpha have been charged with knowingly misleading the Commission by making statements to the Investigators of the ACC, that a procurement process was conducted in respect of the procurement of works for the rehabilitation of the SLMA Headquarters building in Freetown, when in truth and in fact, no procurement process was conducted in respect of the said procurement.

All four accused face jointly – one count of knowingly misleading the Commission.

The ACC said that Peter Joseph Menjor, Acting Director of Procurement, SLMA on the other hand, between 17th February and 18th March, 2021, knowingly misled the Anti-Corruption Commission by making statements that his signatures appended to the documents purporting to be connected with a procurement process were not authored by him, when in truth and in fact, the said signatures were authored by him. He faces separately, one count of knowingly misleading the Commission, contrary to Section 127 (1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 12, of 2008 as amended by the Anti-Corruption Act No.9 of 2019.

Paul Sobba Massaquoi, Executive Director of the SLMA, is also charged with Abuse of Office by improperly awarding a contract to rehabilitate the SLMA Headquarters building, without having a bidding process conducted in compliance with the Applicable Procedures and Guidelines relating to the Procurement of Works.

The Six accused are expected to appear in the High Court of Sierra Leone in Freetown on Thursday 3rd June 2021.

3 Comments

  1. Investigating corruption in Sierra Leone, is like trying to peel an onion. From the out side, it looks nice, and appealing. But don’t be fooled by it simple looks, because the more you slice it, the more it brings tears in your eyes. And for Sierra Leoneans, we’ve been crying out for real actions against the cancer of corruption. And declaring war against it, should not be seen as empty threats, or in the case of the ACC reducing the whole investigations to a public relations exircise, or a press release that is not worth the paper it is written on. If this corruption accusations against this men are proven in a court of law, the anti corruption laws should be applied against them to the fullest extent. This small fishes in a mighty ocean of corruption, taking advantage of our country, should not be ignored.They are the ones that feed the Sharks. So going after them, will cut off the food supply chain of the dominant bigger fishes looking for feeding grounds. And this theory applies to some of the fat cats in the government ministries .

    When it comes to corruption, elected public officials, or ministers appointed by the president seemed to hug all the limelights, limiting the public view to the activities of this corrupt civil servants that are the face of government, that we come in contact with each day. We can vote out our underperforming president, and his government every five years, and as the constitution states, there is a term limit for the president and his government. With civil servants with their unattractive jobs , they can go on for ever, until they reach retirement age. Sometimes, if they abandoned their duties in their service to the state, and engaged in corruption, you will find they do more harm in the future development of the country than Bio, or anyone of his buddies. Unless you have someone with conscience, any civil servant that takes up a position in this government ministries, will just follow an already established pattern. Minsters have a five year window to steal from the state. But civil servants have half a century to misappropriate public funds.

    Ministers operate publicly, by displaying their new found wealth, by the car they drives, houses they owe,the unproductive farms they owe, and above all eles, the amount of trophy wives, and girlfriends they have in their possession. Civil servants that are embedded in the system, operate under the radar , with out attracting the glare of publicity. Going forward as a nation, and locked in a deadly fight against the virus we call corruption, we need to recalibrate our thinking about the ways our civil service works, and how they are held accountable.They need to be immunise against the virus we call corruption that have caused our countrys underdevelopment . And we need to reform our civil service, so it stays politically impartial and is working for the common good. Our countrys ecomomic development prospects is tied to the goood work of our civil service. Anything short, will set us back many years of underdevelopment.

  2. The Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, one of the highly corrupt MDAs is making rounds again for all the bad reasons. Many may recall how this particular MDA became a target during the earlier days of the Bio regime, purging 100s of civil servants attached to it, as the current regime considered many of them unqualified for their assigned roles, and that, they were only there due to their loyalty to the previous EBK regime. As expected, new regime supporters were brought in, with expectation of being highly qualified, with loyalty enough to implement the current regime’s agenda. In light of this, it’s astounding to hear reports of high corruption being perpetrated by these loyal supporters of the regime, undermining his fight against corruption, as well as its agenda to improve productivity in such MDAs.

    Rampant and unbated corruption continues to be rife in almost all sectors of this nation. Upon landing at Lungi airport few days ago, one can sense the desperation and lack of any integrity by the staff attached at the airport, as individuals from immigration and customs openly solicit money from travelers. Once a traveler clears this first nuisance hurdle, next comes the hoard of unsolicited helpers, offering to carry your luggages, in return for money rewards. If you are the sympathetic type, by the time you leave the airport environment, you are bound to spend considerable sums.

    Anyway, things on the ground as of my last visit 8 months ago remain dire, with a few observations. My residence is located in the East end, with Regent-Grafton road being my option to get home from the Pelican hub at Aberdeen. As I was driving home during the night of my arrival, I was elated to have noticed the last leg of this road completed (Limkokwing-Regent sector). With the meridian street lights in place, the road looks modern. Credit goes to both past and current regime, with the former having initiated and secured funds for this project, and the latter, ensuring its completion. I was also able to see a glimpse of the newly built military edifice by the Chinese, running parallel along the Wilberforce road, just after Bottom-Mango.

  3. The President’s fight against corruption and the relationship with the indicted ED leaves much to be desired. Is this not the same ED who was until his appointment in charge of the Maada and Fatima Bio foundation? A foundation that was used as a conduit for corruption. As head of an Institution as important as the SLMA one would have expected someone with integrity to occupy the position not these hustlers who failed to achieve anything abroad only to find themselves running Governement Institutions. We will be following this case to see the outcome.

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