Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 February 2019:
The former resident engineer of Sierra Leone’s National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), has made another payment of One Hundred Million Leones to the Anti-Corruption Commission as part settlement of a Five Hundred Million Leones of stolen funds, he is to return to the state.
Announcing this latest payment in line with the agreed out of court settlement, this is what the Anti-Corruption Commission said:
“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that Mr. Franklyn Gerald O. Coker, the former Resident Engineer of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), who had entered into a settlement agreement with the Commission, to pay back the sum of Five Hundred Million Leones (Le500,000,000.00) to the State, has paid another tranche of One Hundred Million Leones (Le 100,000,000. 00).
“Last December, Mr. Franklyn Gerald O. Coker made an advance payment of One Hundred Million Leones(Le 100,000,000.00), as settlement, in respect of investigations into funds meant for the NASSIT Sisimi Project.
“In addition to this initial payment, Mr. Coker has now accordingly made another One Hundred Million Leones (Le 100,000,000. 00) in line with his agreement with the ACC.
“Mr. Coker has made a total of Two Hundred Million Leones(Le 200,000,000.00) payment, leaving him with a balance of Three Hundred Million Leones (Le300,000,000.00); which he is to pay within the next eight months.
“The public should note that within the past seven months, the ACC has recovered over Nine Billion Leones (Le 9,000,000,000.00); part of which it has accordingly paid back into the *Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“In this respect, the Commission wishes to further reiterate to the general public that it shall not relent in ensuring that public funds are protected, and where necessary, recovered.”
The people of Sierra Leone are hoping that with the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into alleged corruption by former ministers and officials in the Koroma led APC government, hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from the state between 2007 and 2018, will eventually be accounted for and recovered.
Corruption is the biggest cause of poverty and early deaths in Sierra Leone, where one in two people will not live to see their 50th birthday, due to poor healthcare, poor sanitation and lack of access to basic amenities such as safe, clean drinking water.
The new government led by president Julius Maada Bio has prioritised the fight against corruption, and so far there are encouraging signs of success, though the challenge will take more than a generation before Sierra Leone can free itself from the scourge.