Andrew Kamara: 13th January 2024:
In a shocking revelation by Sierra Leone’s ministry of finance yesterday, seven people believed to be SLPP party operatives working across various government departments, have been caught stealing a staggering Le12 billion (Old Leones).
Disturbingly, this financial malfeasance occurred in December 2023, bringing into question the integrity of the government’s financial management systems.
The gravity of the situation becomes even more apparent as Le4 billion (Old Leones) was reversed into the government’s consolidated fund account, while the remaining Le8 billion (Old Leones) mysteriously vanished into private accounts held by individuals implicated in the alleged diversion of funds.
According to the ministry of finance, the following employees of various government departments are being accused of misappropriation of public funds: Jacob Tenga Sessie – Deputy Director of Budget, ministry of finance; Emmanuel Smart – Accounting Officer, Sierra Leone Roads Authority; Starlyn Kemoh – Accountant, Accountant General’s Department; Ibrahim Bangura – Senior Accountant, Accountant General’s Department; John Ellie – Principal Accountant, Accountant General’s Department; Joseph Johnson – Accountant, Accountant General’s Department; Philip Yomba – Senior Accountant, Accountant General’s Department.
The ministry of finance press release reports that Le6.5 billion (Old Leones) was processed at the Accountant General’s Department (AGD) for payment to Edward Davies and Associates Ltd, in what has been described as a web of collusion among SLRA, MoF, and AGD staff.
It was discovered that a fictitious bank account was established at the Kabala Community Bank to divert stolen funds from Rokel Commercial Bank, where the legitimate account of the Consultancy firm is held.
The alleged embezzlement and withdrawal of public funds by accused individuals not only raises serious concerns about the financial management practices within the SLPP/Bio regime but also underscores the urgency for a thorough and impartial investigation into this matter.
Such financial misconduct not only undermines public trust but jeopardizes the credibility and integrity of the entire government.
This scandal demands accountability, transparency, and a swift response from relevant authorities to restore faith in the government’s ability to manage public funds responsibly. It also serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of robust oversight mechanisms to prevent and address corruption within the corridors of power.
As this revelation unfolds, it is imperative that citizens, civil society, and international partners remain vigilant, demanding justice and accountability in the face of financial impropriety at the highest levels of government.