Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 September 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on Monday, 23rd September 2019, filed court indictment against Stephen Yayah Mansaray, who is the former Master and Registrar of the High Court of Sierra Leone; Richie Edwin Asgil – former Principal Accountant in the Judiciary; Adele Faya – former Account Clerk of the Judiciary; and Clarence Solomon Will – a Legal Assistant at a Law Firm in Freetown.
They have each been charged on various counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds amounting to sixty million, two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, and two hundred Leones (Le460,268,200/00), contrary to Section 36(1); and conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, respectively.
According to the ACC, Stephen Yayah Mansaray and Richie Edwin Asgil were the signatories to the Judiciary’s Master and Registrar’s account held at the Bank of Sierra Leone. On diverse dates, between June 2014 and May 2018, both accused men, conspired with others to sign a number of cheques through which they authorized the withdrawal of funds from the aforementioned account for their personal benefit or for other unjustified purposes.
Similarly, Adele Faya, former Account Clerk of the Judiciary, also instructed the encashment of various cheques from the same account, and misappropriated these monies.
Clarence Solomon Will, a Legal Assistant at Bah & Co., a law firm in Freetown, on diverse dates between 25th April, 2018, and 14th March, 2019, conspired with unknown persons to misappropriate public funds by illegally facilitating the encashment of cheques from the Judiciary’s account.
All four accused persons misappropriated the total sum of four hundred and sixty million, two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, and two hundred Leones (Le460,268,200/00) from the Judiciary’s Master & Registrar Account held at the Bank of Sierra Leone.
All accused persons are expected to appear in the High Court in Freetown next Monday, 30th September, 2019.
Early this year, the Anti-Corruption Czar – Francis Ben Kaifala, vowed to go wherever evidence of corruption and bribery leads, in an effort to win the fight against corruption which has been declared by president Julius Maada Bio.
In March 2019, the ACC conducted an unannounced investigation at the country’s Judiciary Accounts Department, where it is believed hundreds of thousands of dollars have over the years been siphoned by unscrupulous officials.
It is alleged that a criminal syndicate has been operating in the accounts department for well over a decade, stealing funds paid into the judiciary in court fines.