Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2017
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has been reliably informed that two of the leading contenders for the ruling APC presidential candidacy, are either facing overseas travel restrictions, or awaiting charges in the USA or UK for their part in mining corruption allegations.
According to sources, former rutile mining CEO – John Bonoh Sesay (Photo) is said to be facing arrest in the UK by the fraud squad, after an investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into alleged bribery and corruption at the Sierra Rutile Mining Ltd., before the company was sold to the Australian Iluka Mining.
But Sisay had denied those allegations in a statement a few weeks ago.
It is understood that he has been advised by lawyers not to travel overseas, as he may be arrested to face justice in Britain’s courts for corruption related offences, including money laundering.
Legal experts say that although Mr Sisay will not risk travelling to the UK anytime soon – as elections are due in Sierra Leone in March next year, there is possibility the Serious Fraud Office may request his extradition. Mr Sisay has dual British – Sierra Leonean nationality.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has tried to obtain comments from Mr Sisay’s campaign team on this story, but without success.
There are also similar reports of pending prosecution in the USA and Britain, of Sierra Leone’s mining minister – Mr Minkailu Mansaray, for corruption and money laundering allegations.
The mining minister who is also a leading contender for the ruling APC party presidential candidacy, is presently under serious suspicion of wrong doing in the country’s Hajj corruption scandal. Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission is presently conducting its investigations.
According to sources, authorities in both Britain and the USA are concerned about the role of mining minister Mansaray (Photo) in the awarding of lucrative mining contracts that have caused massive loss of revenue to the people of Sierra Leone, estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.
It is understood that a few foreign companies whose interests are believed to have been damaged by the alleged corruption at the ministry, have filed reports of wrongdoing to the authorities in the USA and UK, who are now examining records including overseas bank accounts.
The recent prosecution and conviction of a former Guinean mines minister – Mahmoud Thiam in the USA, has sent shock waves across governments in African countries where corruption and impunity is rife. Thiam was found guilty of benefiting from millions of dollars in bribes received from Chinese companies.
Earlier today BBC reporter Umaru Fofanah reported that there are rumours the ruling APC may be planning to postpone presidential and general elections scheduled for March 2018.
Analysts believe that this worrying development may be connected to the decline in morale within the APC party, as persistent reports of high level corruption in the government appears to be consuming the party.
Last week, the party announced the postponement of its national convention, which was expected to take place next week.
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