Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 March 2020:
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) last week announced that the High Court of Sierra Leone sitting in Freetown and presided over by Justice Miatta Samba, on 4th March 2020, convicted Alfred Kallon who is the first accused in the ongoing passport corruption trial involving several others.
Kallon, who is a resident of 5 Tough Drive, Freetown, is a former Senior Human Resource Officer at the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General, was convicted on 34 counts of corruption offences.
Alfred Kallon, Alieu Ibrahim Kanu and Sulaiman Issa Turay were standing trial for various corruption offences, including Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence and Abuse of Office, contrary to sections 128(1), and 42(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 respectively.
The three men were accused of using their offices to improperly make request for, facilitate and ensure access to the Republic of Sierra Leone Service Passport by, and for the use of, persons who are not entitled to be holders of Service Passports in order to illegally facilitate their travel overseas as Public Servants.
Justice Miatta Samba ruled that the convict – Alfred Kallon, pays a fine of one hundred and fifty million Leones for the first count and then made it cumulative for all counts, thereby ensuring Mr. Kallon be entitled to pay only the said amount in total for all 34 counts on which he was convicted; or serve a jail term of three years.
The second and third accused persons, Alieu Ibrahim Kanu and Sulaiman Issa Turay, were both acquitted and discharged on all counts.
In another development, the ACC said that the former Director of Surveys and Lands of the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment – Christian Harold Abioseh Pratt, who was charged on a single count of Abuse of Office in relation to land distribution, was on 4th March, 2020 acquitted and discharged by Justice Miatta Maria Samba. The Commission reported that it is reviewing these files and will make an appeal.
Dr Aboud,your short piece generates both rage and melancholy. Rage because successive governments have refused to ruthlessly put an end to the selling of our passports – a practice which took hold in the Stevens era,a period in which our country completely lost its balance,professionalism and patriotism went out the window.
The current speaker of Parliament,Abass Bundu,is one of the criminals involved in selling our passports but he was never sent to prison,and Bio saw nothing wrong with that in making him speaker.What does this tell us about Bio himself? Official corruption of whatever description will only be eradicated in our dear country when those that consider themselves pillars of the ruling class are treated the same way as the lowly cheating school teacher and immigration officer at our border with Liberia.
The law should have respect for no one.Is David Fracis,the Chief or Thief Minister,still within the Bio fold after being implicated in the “Chinagate” and $1.5 “Chequegate”? Nothing should stop our Chief Minister from selling thousands of our passports knowing that the ACC boss,Ben Kelfala,who in the beginning,came through as a race horse,is now limping,having been hamstrung by his own boss,Maada Bio.
The melancholic part of your submission Dr Aboud is that it portrays a country that is leaderless with those in authority ready and willing to sell the country for a few dollars,a phenomenon which gained firm roots in the Stevens era.Our current President has transformed himself into the most experienced international traveller the world has ever known while his nation’s economy keeps tethering on the brink of total collapse.The most remarkable element of his leadership is that he has gained a lot of weight which has lost him his military bearing.In any case he does not lead like the soldier in him.I don’t know when mother Sierra Leone will stop crying for her children whom she has given so much but who still cannot find their way.It is really bewildering.
Any public appoinment should be based on competence, professionalism – not on partisanship and favorism to better ensure efficiency of services.
It’s always a refreshing feeling whenever there are reports of ACC holding someone accountable for corrupt acts. However, it appears our current ACC czar Mr. Ben Kelfala, whom I was personally admiring, has metamorphosed into the shadow of his predecessors — catching only the little fishes while the big sharks and whales continue to flourish and swim in corrupt acts unabated.
Selling of Sierra Leone passport is nothing new. This malpractice has been going on for years since Independence. It belittles the country.