Sierra Leone Telegraph: 05 February 2023:
Despite lofty claims by President Bio and the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission of succeeding in tackling high level corruption in Sierra Leone, there are several sacred cows in his government that are using clever means of siphoning public funds into their personal accounts.
In 2019, a whopping Le470,125,209 was withdrawn from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Imprest Account and paid as advance DSA to staff, whilst awaiting processing of payments by the Accountant General.
The former foreign minister – Dr Ali Kabba, under whose watch the sophisticated double dipping misappropriation scam was implemented is yet to comment, and there are reports he has been ostracised by President Bio and leaders of the ruling SLPP party, and told to go quietly.
In 2018, Ali Kabba was Maada Bio’s election campaign manager who ran a highly effective and successfuly campaign that saw Bio winning those elections. (Photo below: President Bio and Alie Kabba).
According to reports, the Le470,125,209 was never paid back into the Ministry’s Imprest Account once the payments were received by the ministry from the Accountant General.
Though it was expected that the officers concerned should immediately pay back the loan into the Ministry’s Imprest Account and submit evidence of payment for audit inspection, regrettably, that was not done.
When questions were raised bordering on why a refund was not made, the Ministry’s response was that the Director of Banking at the Bank of Sierra Leone was informed to establish whether the concerned cheques in the various amounts were actually cashed at the Bank of Sierra Leone and by whom, thereafter, a repayment plan would be made.
Disgracefully, there was no evidence that the Director of Banking was informed, and no repayment plan was submitted up to date.
Commenting on the situation, a prominent Social Commentator pointed out that the act was not only criminally masterminded but shows how public officials are corrupt, and depriving the State of much needed funds with impunity.