Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 June 2019:
When president Julius Maada Bio took office over a year ago, he promised to take the fight against corruption, where ever the evidence leads. Twelve months on, the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has recovered Billions of Leones from former government officials.
Corruption in high places is costing Sierra Leone Hundreds of Millions of Dollars every year. President Bio has vowed to end the culture of impunity in the country, and instil accountability and discipline across the public sector.
Yesterday, the ACC announced that after thorough investigation, they have uncovered several fraudulent conspiracies, carried out by officials serving in the former government. This is what the statement says:
“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), wishes to inform the general public that, through intelligence-led investigation exercises, the under-mentioned properties have been confiscated; and are currently in its possession:
“1. Ribar Hotel, situated at No. 3 Sukutamba Street, Koidu City, Kono District. The Former Deputy Minister of Works, Abdul Barrie, who it was believed owned it, has denied ownership. It has therefore been sealed for the past eight (8) months.
“2. One White Unregistered Toyota Land Cruiser Vehicle, which was formerly in the possession of the Former Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Madam Kadijatu Olamatu Seisay, which she had claimed was stolen from her driver, has been retrieved by the ACC from the Republic of Guinea.
“Our investigations established that it was sold through a corrupt conspiracy, claiming that the vehicle had been given to her by the Former President – Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, as her end of service benefit. She is currently standing trial for Misappropriation of Public Property.
“3. One White Registered Toyota Land Cruiser Vehicle ANS 219, which was found in the possession of an individual who claims it was hidden in his premises on the instructions of the Former Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Haja Kalla Kamara.
“These properties are believed to have been corruptly acquired or kept by Public Officers and have now been retrieved by the ACC for the People of Sierra Leone.
“With respect to the Ribar Hotel, no one has laid claim to the property since it was confiscated by the ACC some eight months ago.
“In that regard, the Commission further informs the public that soonest, it will proceed to taking necessary steps to dispose of the said property and the proceeds returned to the State; or otherwise, will hand it over to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for forfeiture to the State.
“The Two White Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles will be handed over to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, once the necessary administrative processes have been completed for re-allocation within the Public Service.”
The former Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), had entered into out of court settlement with the ACC, agreeing to pay back misappropriated public funds.
Sierra Leone is at an important crossroads since independence (I am not sure whether we even regained our independence). With the Bio government’s determination to fight corruption, one wrong turn could cast the whole exercise into the dust bin of history – the same fate as its predecessors, going back to the Siaka Stevens epoch.
Nobody should be spared, including women, whose capabilities cannot be underrated anymore – not in the 21st century anyway. Behaving like a perfect gentleman towards women, particularly in the Western world, could result in some uncomfortable moments; some would even cast filthy looks at you.
Whatever takes hold in the west washes ashore all over the world unless communities challenge it with their respective cultures, as is the case in much of the Arab World. As for so-called sub Saharan Africa, we are quite simply regarded as a dumping ground because we have problems with our identity.
Therefore as the lines between genders become a matter of conjecture the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) should treat everybody the same under the law. Most of us can still remember the shady work of Afsatu Kabba while she was minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Kalla Kamara – remember her? what about the sister of former President Earnest Koroma, Admire – remember her?
Soon after the results of the general elections were announced Lungi Airport was inundated with corrupt individuals, including women, making good their escape to foreign lands, principally the West. My question is, what has the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice been doing about it? By now she should be making strong representations to Western governments to have these people extradited back to Sierra Leone to face the music of their deeds.
Had President Bio not removed Charles Margai as Attorney-general and Minister of Justice, I believe all escapees would be back in the country in the firm clutches of ACC. The Ministry of Justice should be revamped to render it more effective in the overall fight against corruption.
ACC should squeeze every penny out those found guilty. If they have to regurgitate it, so be it; we will wash it and take it to the Treasury
Good day brother. As I am sometimes critical about your comments, I found this very constructive especially about the non-sale of the hotel in Kono. Thumbs up, you have my vote today. Thanks sir.
Great but upsetting stuff. Thumbs up for the ACC this time around by naming the culprits and the type of corrupt practices they participated in. I further applaud them for retrieving government properties. This is all about transparency and the credibility of the ACC. But just telling us about the amounts embezzles or the vehicles seized without publishing the name of the culprits was not enough as was done in some cases in the past. I hope the ACC will continue with this procedure with every other corrupt practices in the future. We are watching.
I found this revelation on the other hand upsetting because women were involved. Were these women involved with influence/assurances from above or were they just made scapegoats? I can’t just believe it. Women tend to be very careful when it comes to corrupt practices. But as everyone knows, there is an exception to every rule.
However, corruption is corruption. There is no way to maanoever. Whether someone is a male or female does not matter in any corrupt practices. Once you are caught, you have to face the law. The law is the law and no one is above it.
Also, I would like the ACC not to recommend the selling of the hotel seized in Kono. It should be made available as housing/quarters for government employees. Our government should refrain from the habit of selling things. They have already sold everything. From the Refinery to the Sierra Rutile mines. Do they want to sell this hotel again? SELA MAKATA. I hope the ACC makes the right recommendation for this hotel.
Thanks to the ACC for this great achievement. Corruption must be stamped out. President Bio and the SLPP government deserves credit on this front. As long as it is not selective justice, then, all is fine. GOD BLESS the ACC in carrying on its job with FAIRNESS, JUSTICE and INTEGRITY.
Hi Mr. Matturi,
This is not new in the ACC. They have published every detail of all persons they enter into agreement with. They will state the total amount involved, what number of installments or period of such re-payment, what the amount was originally meant for etc.
The last time I saw this comment about the ACC to improve on its transparency, I tried to send some of such notices but was not able to so through the Telegraph. I do not think one is able to attach documents here.
Wow, what a big success! If you can sell this 2 white toyotas for maybe $50.000 you can start building the Lungi bridge. just a joke!
Thank to the ACC boss, well done. Let them bring all what was stolen by them in the past governance. These people are bad.