Corrupt tax officials ordered to repay over Le300 million by the ACC

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 May 2019:

Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), says it has entered into a repayment settlement agreement with three former officials of the country’s revenue and tax collection agency – the National Revenue Authority (NRA).

The three NRA officials – Sama Sesay, Abdul Mohamed Kargbo and Joseph Conteh, worked in the Immigration Department of Sierra Leone.

They have been ordered to repay the sum of Three Hundred Million Leones (Le 300,000,000), following investigations by the NRA, with each accused repaying One Hundred Million Leones (Le 100,000,000) to the state.

The ACC said yesterday that  all three have paid Fifty Million Leones (Le50,000,000) cash respectively,  with an agreement to settle the outstanding balance of Fifty Million Leones (Le50,000,000) each no later than 31st July, 2019.

The ACC statement says that in April 2019, its officers instituted an investigation into the operations of NRA staff attached to the Immigration Department Headquarters in Freetown, following reports that funds generated at the Department were not properly accounted for, as there were variances between the original receipts issued to customers and the duplicate copies maintained by NRA.

“Our investigations discovered a long standing corrupt practice known as “carding” – a fraudulent process through which public servants place a card under the original receipt, so that the actual amount written on it does not get recorded on the duplicate which remains as the actual record of the NRA.

“They then place a white sheet of paper on the duplicate and write a lesser amount on it. After that, they keep the difference in the amounts on the original and the duplicate receipt to themselves and pay the lesser amount on the duplicate to the state.

“The amount they keep could be far more than what ends up going to the NRA. The ACC settled this case because the duplicate receipts are illegible and the evidence will be difficult to rely on upon prosecution,” the ACC said yesterday.

President Bio and the country’s head of the Anti-Corruption Commission – Francis Ben Kaifala, have vowed to root out corruption in Sierra Leone.

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