Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 September 2019:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday, 12th September 2019, filed an indictment at the High Court, against Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu who was the former Executive Director of Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA); Mr. Victor Labor, Procurement Manager, SLRSA; and Ms. Kepiatu Alghali – a former National Revenue Authority (NRA) Officer.
The three have been charged on various counts of misappropriation of public funds, contrary to Section 36(1); conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, contrary to Section 128(1); failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the tendering of contracts, contrary to Section 48(2)(b); and failure to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds, contrary to Section 48(2)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, respectively.
According to a statement by the ACC published today, the indicted persons have been charged by the ACC after investigations, based on the Auditor General’s Report which states that public funds had been misappropriated by Dr. BENDU, Mr. LABOR at the SLRSA, and Ms. ALGHALI of the NRA, between January 2016 and December 2017.
The ACC says its investigations revealed that Dr. BENDU, Mr. LABOR, and Ms. ALGHALI, conspired to defraud the State of a total sum of TWO BILLION AND NINETY ONE MILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY LEONES, EIGHTY EIGHT CENTS (Le2, 091,736,520.88).
The accused persons are alleged to have defrauded the State by inflating customs duties and payments for related services, and used the bank accounts of Centrum and KABS Clearing and Forwarding Agencies to launder the cash, in the guise of clearing tow trucks and holographic windshield labels.
The ACC said that, upon the transfer and receipt of each payment, the management of Centrum and KABS, on some occasions, directly transferred the funds to Ms. ALGHALI’s account.
On other occasions, they withdrew these monies and handed over same to her in person. The investigations further revealed that Ms. ALGHALI shared these monies with various employees of the SLRSA, including Mr. LABOR and Dr. BENDU who got the “Lion’s Share.”
The three indicted persons are expected to appear at the High Court in Freetown, on 2nd October, 2019.
The ACC says that it “wishes to reassure the general public of its unshaken resolve to fight acts of corruption at all levels in Sierra Leone”.
Many Sierra Leoneans are now calling for custodial sentence and repayment of stolen funds as punishment, for those found guilty of corruption, instead of settling out of court.
Let’s cross fingers and wait for the ultmate result. As the saying goes, the end justifies the means.
The fight still continues even after recent criticisms. This time let the law take its full course.
These indictments show that ACC and Ben Kaifala have not been ruffled by the fiery criticisms to which they have been subjected following their public humiliation of the principal and teachers caught in examination malpractice.For this the nation should be grateful while taking a dim view of President Bio’s reaction.
President Bio keeps revealing the wimpish side of his nature whenever he is expected to stand strong and tall like a colossus.The soldier in him quite simply vanishes when faced with the slightest pressure.It is not known whether he ever led an operation during his soldiering days in which the odds were stacked against him, but through cunning,dexterity and unmitigated audacity,he not only managed to turn things around but actually went on the offensive.If this not the case then surely he must have read quite a bit of military history when commanders have faced such a situation.This is the quality he should be displaying all the time.
Ben Kaifala is doing a wonderful job within the Sierra Leone context where corruption is reducing us to nonentity and the laughing stock of the world, which calls for unorthodox measures to tackle it.Other countries can go about it within their own conceptualisation, just as all countries have their unique way of dealing with drugs trafficking.Some,like Singapore,deal with it through the death penalty,having recognised that they have a small country that depends on sober minded succeeding generations to uphold the first world status of the country even though they have no natural resources like us.The founding father of modern Singapore,Lee Kuan Yu, made no apology for his toughness as human rights groups kept wailing about this that and the other.
If Maada Bio is thoroughly solid in his fight against corruption he should remove the noun apology from his dictionary and allow ACC to do their job.A true leader would have come out telling the nation that he took full responsibility for how the teachers were treated, being the employer of Ben Kaifala,and that he would address the incident forthwith;thus he would have shielded the ACC boss.His administration is full of doctorate degree holders and they cannot think.
Why should the teachers not receive a fair trial because of having been named and shamed if our judiciary is bent on looking strictly at the evidence presented by ACC? This question should not be asked if we have total confidence in our judiciary.It is because of how tainted judges have become that makes us very cautious of them.
Please carry on Ben Kaifala. The nation needs somebody like you with a backbone.
Keep doing your job General Commissioner Francis Ben- Kelfala. No Apology, no distractions from noises, no resignation, no withdrawal from the war on corruption. And even though corruption is fighting back, please continue to keep your eyes on the ball. This is a war you must win for the people of Sierra Leone. May the Almighty continue to bless and protect you.
A job well done by the ACC. It’s time for the earth to vomit out what it has swallowed. Once again bravo to the ACC boss for this relentless effort. The cutting down of corruption and fraudulent act, lies upon your shoulders.
There you go – things falling in their rightful places just as they are supposed to be. It seems to me,the SLPP’s wayward Chameleons,always dressed in their greenest colors,symbolising mindless barbarism have finally decided,its time to change their shady,and repulsive ways.(lol) But wait a minute – Is it possible for a starship of chameleons,with wayward,perverse behaviors to wear only just one uniform,and not change into their depressing,unsettling,flagrant colors? Well,let’s watch and see!
Perhaps,the recent protests, uproar,and clamoring of angry crowds,and concerned citizens,wary of Kaifala’s medieval times antics,and Stone age tactics,of using public humiliations as a device for effectively administering justice,has forced them to reexamine their unscrupulous,and lawless ways. And remember this also: the colors of Hope,Freedom,Peace,and Liberty,are known to be gentle, soothing,mesmerizing,and refreshing to the eyes of men. We must all be thirsting,and craving for more,and more of them!
Again,please be reminded,that the color that symbolises Justice is Blue – if only these undependable, changeable chameleons can muster enough courage,and firm resolve to stick only with blue,through thick,and thin;come hell or highwater – then it means there is hope for brighter days in our beloved nation – it signifies,we are heading for the highest heights of good governance. Yep,those are clear,and distinct signs,we are going back to the roots, basics,and fundamental principles of the Rule Of Law. Dr Bendu,Mr Labor,and Ms Alghali, should not be afraid.
They must be reminded that all those charges brought against them are meaningless,until they are proven to be credible in a court of law,with substantial evidences,pointing beyond all reasonable doubt,that a criminal act has been committed somewhere. No fears,no shaking,or trembling at all. First things first – Protect,and safeguard yourself with reliable,Unbreakable armor – Get yourselves the best lawyers you can find in Sierra Leone.
Casts your nets wide, look for the most exceptional and fearless individuals,possessing the sharpest analytical,and research skills,that will make the ACC prosecutors look like hopeless,Class 5 diddling dummies.(lol) Let them guide,represent and direct you – remember the burden of proof lies with them. Brace yourself for what is to come – fear has a tendency to cloud someone’s vision,so lay it aside,like a recovering man,with a broken leg would do to a stick he no longer needs to walk. Get yourself armed,and prepared,for you are already at war with the SLPP…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
ACC is the most corrupt institution in Sierra Leone. There are people who are absolutely corrupt in the ACC. Go to the former university of Sierra Leone and check records. How can someone start from a division 3 grade from first year to third year only to be catapulted to Division one at the final exams at fourth year. Praise to the external examiners who picked up the fraud and they protested against the division one degree award. We have such people at the ACC.
ACC boss please note that what goes around comes around. You where over there shouting and saying all rubbish against people because of your political ambition but be right assured you too will one day face the same commission you are heading today.