Sierra Leone: 30 September 2020:
Many Sierra Leoneans as well as international donors were appalled at the devastating misappropriation of millions of dollars meant for those dying of the Ebola virus that struck Sierra Leone in 2013/2014, as thousands perished because of lack of medical care.
An investigation conducted by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission into the missing Ebola funds, indicted dozens of people, many of whom worked in the government as well as voluntary and private sector.
A parliamentary report recommended that all monies stolen or misappropriated from the Ebola funds must be paid back to the State.
The Commission of Inquiry established by president Julius Maada Bio to look into the management of public funds by the former government led by president Ernest Bai Koroma, also examined evidence from the Ebola case and made recommendations which were published last week, that those indicted for missing Ebola funds must pay back to the State.
One person named in last week’s commission of inquiry report and government’s White paper is Mr Charles Mambu, who is now claiming to have repaid every single penny demanded by the inquiry.
He also says that despite being told by State prosecutors that he is not a person of interest to the commission of inquiry, his name and reputation have been destroyed by the government.
This is a statement issued yesterday by Charles Mambu’s organisation – Health For All Coalition (HFAC):
“The attention of the Board of Directors and Management of Health For All Coalition (HFAC) had been drawn to the Government of Sierra Leone WHITE PAPER on the Commission Of Enquiry (COI) in which our Executive Director Mr. Charles Mambu (Photo) was mentioned as one of those persons to REFUND MONEY as earlier prescribed by the Public Account Committee in 2016.
The Board of Directors and Management wishes to make it clear to the General Public that the earlier decision by the Public Account Committee (PAC) directing that we repay the loan was appealed against through the office of the HONOURABLE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT AND THE OFFICE OF THE ANTHONY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE IN 2016.
Whilst awaiting their responses then, Management was directed by the Board to effect the loan repayment and at the same time pursue the appeal on the basis of OBEY AND REPORT.
On account of this directive, Management made the first repayment of this loan to the MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SANITATION (MOHS) by a cheque totalling the sum of Sixty Millions Nine Hundred Thousand Leones (le 60,900,000.00).
This Cheque was eventually returned by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with a statement that it’s had received instructions from the ACCOUNTANT GENERAL DEPARTMENT that the refund should be made by swift transfer to the Treasury Main Accounts with ACCOUNT NUMBER NO. 1100501 at the Bank of Sierra Leone.
In compliance with this directive, the processes of the repayments of Loan amounting to the sum ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY MILLION NINE HUNDRED THOUSAND LEONES [160,900,000.00] was re-initiated as directed and our Bankers-FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK [SL] LTD was directed to make the first tranche of Sixty Millions Nine Hundred Thousands (Le 60,900,000.00) through the swift transfer system as prescribed by MOHS.
Between 5th September 2016 to 2nd AUGUST 2017 respectively the complete repayment of the loan was done. Copies of Receipts of these payments were sent to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Office of the Anthony General and that of the Honourable Speaker of Parliament.
All of these transactions took place long before the change of Government and the establishment of the COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY by the New Government of Sierra Leone.
Upon the establishment of the Commissions of Enquiry our organization was invited to explain on the status of the Loan Repayment. As Law abiding people, senior members of the organization appeared on the stated date and reported to the State Prosecutor Lawyer ROBBIN MAISON AND TEAM.
Upon presentation and examinations of all our receipts and other necessary supporting documents the State PROSECUTOR directed that Mr. Charles Mambu should NOT appear before the JUDGE as we have fully paid the LOAN as directed and that he was satisfied with the evidences presented.
In view of the above, the Board of Directors and Management considered the inclusion of the name of our Executive Director in the WHITE PAPER and its follow up actions as very unfortunate.
It is worthy to note that at every stage of this matter the rule of Law must be followed. In this light therefore, we have directed our legal representatives to present our responses and views to the HON. ATTORNEY -GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND THE THEN STATE PROSECUTOR LAWYER ROBIN MASON and to ensure that all legal means are pursued to bring this matter to another end.
SIGNED: HFAC MANAGEMENT – DATE: 29TH SEPTEMBER, 2020