Registrar of Sierra Leone’s High Court charged with corruption

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 April 2019:

Sierra Leone’s judiciary was rocked yesterday after news of the indictment of the country’s Registrar and Master of the High Court of Sierra Leone on various corruption charges, including the embezzlement of Le60,000,000 received in court fines.

According to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), on 4th April, 2019, Stephen Yayah Mansaray – Master and Registrar of the High Court of Sierra Leone, residing at No. 11 Belair Park, Freetown; Adele Faya – Accounts Clerk of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone, residing at 118 Bai Bureh Road, Grassfield, Freetown; Isatu Ulaikatu Kiamp Kamara – Revenue Officer of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), residing at 5 Stone Seat Drive, Allen Town, Freetown; and Abubakarr Bangura – Revenue Officer at the National Revenue Authority (NRA), residing at 67 Freetown Road Lumley, Freetown, were each charged on two counts of conspiracy to commit a corruption offence contrary to Section 128(1), and misappropriation of public revenue, contrary to Section 36 (1)  of the Anti-Corruption Act No.12 of 2008.

According to the particulars of offence filed at the High Court by the ACC, Stephen Yayah Mansaray, Adele Faya, Isatu Ulaikatu Kiamp Kamara, and Abubakarr Bangura, misappropriated the sum of Sixty Million Leones (Le 60,000,000.00) that was supposed to have been paid to the National Revenue Authority as fines paid by Mr. Emmanuel Ekundayo Constant Shears-Moses between the 12th and 20th March 2019, in respect of sentence he had received at the very High Court for corruption, of which Mr Mansaray is the Registrar and Master.

The four indicted accused are expected to make their first appearance at the High Court of Sierra Leone in Freetown on the 9th of April, 2019.

What is truly perplexing and nauseous about this case is that, the Registrar and Master of the High Court of Sierra Leone is the custodian of all matters referred to the High Court. He is therefore expected to set a bright example in maintaining the highest standards of propriety.

After the mass stealing of Ebola funds in 2014 and the subsequent shame that this brought to Sierra Leone, few would expect senior court officials to steal fines paid to the courts by those found guilty of corruption. Corruption fines – like Ebola funds, must be sacrosanct.

Funds raised by the government from fines and taxes are needed to keep the country’s hospitals and education system running.

But when public officials allow greed and lack of self-respect to get in the way of good governance, then custodial sentence must be the ultimate punishment in addition to paying back the stolen funds.

It seems that far too many senior public officials are still failing to heed the Anti-Corruption Commission’s message that ‘business as usual is over’ in Sierra Leone; and that anyone – irrespective of status, tribe and political persuasion – found guilty of corruption, will face the full force of the law.

But are the penalties tough enough?

Few weeks ago, Mr Shear-Moses (Photo) was found guilty of corruption by the High Court and was ordered to pay millions of Leones in fines. He turned up at the Registrar of the High Court – and paid his fines.

And what happened to the fines that he paid after being found guilty of corruption? Senior officials collecting the corruption fines stole the cash; and now they too are charged with corruption.

If these allegations are true, then the justice system in Sierra Leone is in big trouble and needs radical measures to fix it fast, if it is to maintain its credibility.

Corruption has become a culture – a normal and casual way of life in Sierra Leone, to a point where public officials are no longer worried about the consequences if caught.

They believe they can simply pay back what they stole and walk away with their heads held up high into another job – most likely in the public sector once more.

Fighting corruption is a battle the ACC must win. But it cannot win it by simply recouping stolen public funds. There must be a strong element of custodial punishment to serve as a deterrent.

Thousands of Sierra Leoneans die every year because of poverty and poor healthcare. With corruption, more will continue to die needlessly.

 

8 Comments

  1. Sierra Leoneans
    We are good in pointing fingers on others. Let’s examine ourselves properly according to the word of God and ask ourselves this question. Past and present government including all Sierra Leoneans, who is not corrupt? Try to help someone now either by public transportation or other business and see what happens.

    We should wipe out this sickness from bottom to top in all areas. The country needs God’s divine cleansing. All parties same sickness alike, corruption. APC or SLPP same boat. APC started very well under the former president just like the present one now but oh my God.

    It better for God to rule us rather than man because it is hard to see or experience a genuine change. We should not be afraid to speak the truth with wisdom to anyone regardless of their position. Pastor Mambu and others are praying daily for our country but are we committed? President Bio, I pray that God will cleanse you spiritually from all corruption in order to completely eradicate corruption in Sierra Leone.
    AK

  2. It’s VERY sad and disgustingly disgraceful to read these stories. With such incidents, Sierra Leone will never progress in the world stage of economic development. The cheating, dishonesty and lies are evident not only in simple daily transactions but in HONEST businesses transactions. One can see the corruption everywhere during a recent visit.

    It’s discouraging to even start a project to benefit the people without someone not cheating or stealing. It’s very annoying -very sad for the innocent POOR living in extreme poverty always. The EVERYDAY dishonesty and stealing are discouraging Sierra Leoneans abroad to come invest in the country.

  3. Hi Jenkins, I respect your very serious allegations made on former president Koroma and the former first lady Sia Koroma. It’s your view and every sensible person would respect your views. On the other hand, I have very serious questions for you to answer.

    Let me first of all quote what you said after dumping those personal accusations on former present Koroma. I quote ‘ Thus, if the Registrar of a morally uptight institution like the Sierra Leone High Court can pilfer public funds, it is because he finds himself in an environment where the leaders have for years been morally depraved and unpatriotic. Leadership starts from the top.’. The part of the quote that interests me is where you said and I quote – ‘, it is because he finds himself in an environment where the leaders have for years been morally depraved and unpatriotic.’.

    My question to you is, Do you mean by saying leaders in the past includes, all the presidents and heads of states from independence to President’s Koroma’s term as president?

    My second question concerns what you said about our hard working former first lady Sia Koroma. Let me quote from your comment – ‘ Allegedly, not even the first lady, Sia Koroma, felt sorry for the poor masses of Sierra Leone, as she also showed up at the doorsteps of the government-owned bank requesting her own piece of the pie.’.

    It seems to me by using the word ‘allegedly’ means you are not even sure of what you are saying about the former first lady. My question to you is this – Are you sure that the former first lady was involved in any form in the scandal surrounding the alleged racketeering at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank? If so, explain and provide proofs of your sources.

    I am waiting answers from you on these two questions that must be clarified. By the way all of our former first ladies have never involved in any scandal or corruption in the past despite being close to the seat of power. In fact, they have always been involved in improving the lives of women and children in the country. I challenge you to disagree with this point.

    Moreover, we should not try to be discourteous to our former heads of state and former first ladies, regardless of our political views. We can absolutely disagree with them and even criticise them for any wrong doing that are true. What we can’t do, is to say things as if we live in cloud cuckoo land. That is unacceptable in my view.

    Hoping to hear from you soon. I need some serious answers from you. We go from there.

  4. Patricia,

    let me attempt to answer your question. No Stephen Yahyah Mansaray is not stupid at all, he is mentally retarded. To be stupid carries the possibility that here and there something is triggered to make the person show flashes of intelligence. But mental retardation carries no hope of any iota of intelligence because the brain is substantially denied blood and oxygen; in effect blood and oxygen mostly only flow from the toes to the neck.

    What is not clear is whether or not Stephen Mansaray was a holdover from the Koroma era. If he was, his mental troubles must have deluded him into thinking that he was still being led by Earnest Koroma, whose style of leadership based on incompetence and sloppiness would have remained and concealed his theft forever, hamstrung by impunity.

    If he was appointed by President Bio Mr Mansaray’s mental retardation must have played tricks with him to make Maada Bio look like Earnest Koroma, thereby assuring him that the old ways were still alive and well. Only when ACC visited him with handcuffs did his retardation give way to the tiniest of intelligence. But it was too late, his job was gone, and Ben Kaifala had him in his clutches.

    It is a good thing that ACC is being led by relatively young people because the revelations are just too many and bewildering for an older person to handle without complaining of ill health. And this at a time when the big guns like Earnest and Foday Yansaneh have not yet been called to appear.

    Had Earnest secured a third term through Samura Kamara, mother Sierra Leone would have gone into a coma from which she would have never recovered. Thank you Allah/God.

  5. Is this man – the Registrar of the High Court – stupid or what?
    How can you continue to steal with impunity when the ACC is hot on everyone’s heels?
    This man has disgraced himself for a mere Le60,000,000? AYAMPI.

    Thank God for change of government. SLPP is a God-send. These people have been abusing their office and stealing taxpayer’s money for years, but as the saying goes ‘every day for tiff man, but wan day for master ose’ Well, this is it. I hope in addition to paying his fine, he is also jailed, to set an example.

    • Thank you very much Patricia for your contribution. I say thanks to all the women taking part on the national debate and issues on this forum. Women like you will encourage other women to come forward and express their views.

      That is what some of us want to see. Active participation of our women in all works of life.
      I am appealing to all women to come forward and help Sierra Leone move forward and succeed on this forum.
      50 – 50 for WOMEN and MEN.
      Again thanks Patricia.

  6. O Mana Salone you have indeed a real Problem. Are we a bunch of rogues and cold blooded thieves?? Every inch of our institutions are only occupied with the thinking of how fast they can enrich themselves. Many many thanks ACC for your hard work!!!

  7. The APC Godfather and father of corruption in Sierra Leone, Siaka Probyn Stevens, once stated that “usai den tie cow nar dae e dae eat”. True, Sierra Leoneans have faithfully embraced and lived by those infamous watchwords of the APC kingpin. This explains why president Maada Bio’s fight against corruption is being resisted in every corner of Sierra Leonean society.

    Maada Bio’s ascension to the presidency was a divine intervention into the affairs of the Sierra Leonean state. Had the APC stayed in power, Sierra Leone as we know it today could have gradually disappeared from the African map through annexation by China and other dubious and criminal activities by the APC. It is argued that China is gradually taking over Zambia, through loans that the Zambian state cannot repay.

    We already know that a Chinese loan of over $400 million was being shoved down the throats of Sierra Leoneans, while over $1 billion disappeared from just four sectors of the economy. Moreover, the state-owned Sierra Leone Commercial Bank was being used as a piggy bank by unscrupulous APC operatives.

    It is stated that APC folks were flying into Sierra Leone from all over the world to apply for personal loans from Commercial Bank. These were loans that these folks never had the intention to pay back. Interestingly, the only requirement for the loans was an APC identity card and a word (written or oral) from an APC brass.

    Even the big Kahuna, Ernest Koroma, helped himself from time to time especially when he did not want to touch the bigger loot that he was accumulating from foreign grants and loans. Allegedly, not even the first lady, Sia Koroma, felt sorry for the poor masses of Sierra Leone, as she also showed up at the doorsteps of the government-owned bank requesting her own piece of the pie.

    Thus, if the Registrar of a morally uptight institution like the Sierra Leone High Court can pilfer public funds, it is because he finds himself in an environment where the leaders have for years been morally depraved and unpatriotic. Leadership starts from the top.

    No nation can survive with a crooked leader or president that is also a serial womaniser. It follows that those asking today why “di gron dry” need not go far to find the answer to their question.

    APC has bankrupted Sierra Leone again and it is going to take time for Sierra Leone to start clicking on all cylinders again. Certainly, one year is not enough to undo what has been destroyed in eleven years of recklessness, amorality and impunity. It is much easier to destroy a nation than to build one.

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