Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 December 2018:
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), announced Wednesday 19th December 2018, that it has indicted Mr. Joseph Sedu Mans who is the former Director-General of the country’s National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) for various corruption offences.
Also indicted along with Joseph Sedu Mans is Ms. Yeabu M.D. Kamara, who served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NASSIT.
Both are indicted on six counts each: Three counts of Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, Contrary to Section 128 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008; One Count of Misappropriation of Public Funds, Contrary to Section 36 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008; One Count of Wilfully Failing to Comply with the Law Relating to the Tendering of Contracts, Contrary to Section 48 (2) (b) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008; and One Count of Engaging in a Project Without Prior Planning, Contrary to Section 48 (2) (c) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008.
According to the particulars of offence, Mr. Mans and Ms. Kamara, on diverse dates between 1st August, 2016 and 31st December, 2017, conspired to misappropriate the sum of Six Billion, Five Hundred and Ten Million, Two Hundred and Ninety Thousand Leones (Le: 6,510,290,000).
The funds were meant for the SISIMI NASSIT Medical Project, a joint venture Special Project Vehicle that was to have provided much needed urgent health care delivery service system by offering access to quality medical and diagnostic services in Sierra Leone.
Hundreds of thousands of people die needlessly every year in Sierra Leone because of poor healthcare, caused largely by rampant corruption in high places and blatant stealing of public funds.
In 2014, $18 million of public funds meant for those dying from the Ebola virus were misappropriated by public officials in the Koroma led APC government.
And just few years prior to this national scandal, senior officials of NASSIT including a cousin of former president Koroma – Mr Edmund Koroma and others, were found guilty of corruption after misappropriating millions of dollars meant for the purchase of seaworthy ferries.
President Julius Maada Bio – the current president, says that he will leave no stone unturned in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.
Next month will see the start of the long-awaited commission of inquiry into corruption by ministers and officials in the former APC government of president Koroma.
The Anti-Corruption Commission has so far recovered or entered into out of court settlement to pay back stolen funds with former public officials, amounting to millions of dollars.
Many top public officials have in the last eleven years amassed vast personal wealth – estimated at tens of millions of dollars, including investments overseas, palatial mansions and fleet of luxurious cars, at the expense of the poor in Sierra Leone.
Adult life expectancy in Sierra Leone is less than 47 years, with 27% of women dying during pregnancy; and three out of every five children dying before their 5th birthday due to malnutrition and poor healthcare.
Sixty-percent of households in Sierra Leone do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, whilst only 12% have access to electricity.
President Julius Maada Bio says he is determined to change this narrative with his government’s New Direction programme, which includes measures aimed at curbing corruption, mobilise revenue for spending on public services, and investment in education.