Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 August 2018:
The former Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) – Ms Haja Kallah Kamara, along with the former director of finance – Abdulai Conteh, were yesterday arrested and detained at the Criminal Investigation Department, for alleged corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
Both are in custody, while investigations continue – the ACC tells the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
Details of the ACC investigations are unclear. But there are reports the investigations are in regard to off-budget payments – running into several billions of Leones made by senior management of the NRA.
The audit reveals that in a twelve months period Haja Kallah Kamara (Photo) and finance director Abdulai conteh, are alleged to have paid off budget expenditure of Le7 billion for fumigation of NRA offices.
It is alleged that she also built a primary school in her name in her village, where she spent 6 billion Leones on corporate social responsibility.
It is also alleged that they paid Le3.8 billion to a fictious Lynx Investment for stationery for just one supply.
Unconfirmed reports say that most of the payments were also made in cash in the name of junior staff members.
It is reported that the audit only covered one year of 2017, and that given the massive revelation, the Board of directors of NRA have directed that a full-scale audit should be carried out on the finances of NRA to cover donor project funds, NRA 3% paid by Government, duty waiver account and anti-smuggling accounts.
There are allegations also that the management of NRA allowed several businesses and individuals to evade taxation payment.
One of those businesses is the local cable TV network – DSTV, who evaded tax payment of about 6 Billion Leones.
The newly appointed NRA board members are said to be highly seasoned experts including Madam Tuma Jabbi – Chair, Mr Raf Ansumana – Bank of Sierra Leone, Mr Sahr Jusu – Financial Secretary, Mr Syl Barnes – former auditor general auditor, and Lawyer Jusu Kallon.
In another development, it has been confirmed that former President Ernest Bai Koroma, his Vice, former Ministers, Heads and Chairmen of Boards of Parastatals, Departments and Agencies within the period from November 2007 to April 2018 are to be investigated for misappropriation of public funds, amassing unexplained wealth, and other financial misdemeanours.
President Julius Maada Bio has already appointed a Nigerian Judge, Justice Biobele Georgewill (Photo) to serve as Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry.
Justice Biobele is a Justice of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria. In 2017, he chaired a seven-man Judicial Commission on Armed Forces Compliance with Human Rights that investigated alleged violation of citizens’ rights by Nigerian security agencies.
The Constitutional Instrument on the establishment of the Commission has been tabled in Parliament for approval.
The setting up of a Commission of Inquiry is one of the recommendations laid out in the Government Transition Team Report.
The opposition APc party are protesting the arrest of former public officials whom they say, are members and supporters of their party.
They are also criticising the government’s procedure in introducing the Bill proposing the establishment of the Commission of Enquiry.