Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 October 2020:
President Bio has today suspended all civil servants and public officials accused “of acting improperly with respect to the use of public funds” by the Commission of Inquiry. Two of those affected by the president’s decision, are his minister of agriculture – Dennis Vandi and the secretary to the vice president – Baba Fortune. Both have been suspended, according to the country’s information minister – Mohamed Rahman Swaray.
According to the commission of inquiry report, “The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was the most recklessly managed Ministry within the period under review and was run as a cartel and criminal enterprise by Dr. Minkailu Bah and his collaborators, the Permanent Secretaries, except Prince Emmanuel Oldman Cole, resulting into massive misappropriation and or loss of humongous sums of monies, both in Leones and in United States Dollars…..”
“Dr. Minkailu Bah, the former Minister from 2008 – 2018 together with Mr. Mani Koroma, Dennis Vandy and Umaru Conteh, former Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology were involved in gross abuse of their offices in the reckless manner in which they dealt with the finances of the Government under their care and failure to provide leadership and supervision of the Ministry or Department or Agency put under their charge”.
In its recommendations, the commission of inquiry report stipulates that Dr. Minkailu Bah, Dennis Vandy and their co-conspirators must pay back tens of millions of dollars – jointly and severally into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone.
But since the publication of the commission of inquiry report and the government’s White Paper, Dennis Vandy has protested his innocence. Speaking to the Global Times last Monday, he said he was never given the opportunity to hear the allegations made against him.
“I was in this country throughout the sittings of the Commissions…I was never invited…I was never notified of being a Person of Interest…Above all, I was never interviewed by any one working for the Commissions”, Mr. Vandi protested.
“I have studied the report carefully and found out with dismay that I was wrongfully indicted for every bit of malfeasance which took place at the Ministry of Education from 2007 to 2018…I served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education from 29th March to 31st August 2016…I was never invited to the Commissions, and I was never declared as a Person of Interest to the Commissions”.
Many other former public officials are also claiming they were never invited for questioning by the COI but today president Bio has decided to suspend all civil servants and public officials accused by the COI “of acting improperly with respect to the use of public funds”.
They have all been given up to three months to appeal the decision of the commission of inquiry, with effect from the date of publication of the COI report.
This is what the State House statement says: