Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 June 2019:
Tonight, questions are being asked as to how the former youth affairs minister in the Koroma-led APC government – Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura, can continue to serve in the APC party as Chairman of its National Youth League, following today’s announcement by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that it has entered into settlement agreement with the former minister to repay stolen public funds.
Some APC party grandees are calling for his resignation as National Youth League Chairman, which otherwise will reinforce public’s perception and belief that the APC is inherently corrupt.
In a statement published today, the ACC said that it “wishes to inform the public that it has entered into a settlement agreement with the former Minister and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Youth Affairs, Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura (Photo) and Mr. Adekalie Samura respectively, and Civil Society Activist and Director of Anti-Violence Movement, Mr. Bernard Conteh, in respect of investigations into funds provided to the Sierra Leone Movie Stars by the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA), for the procurement of media equipment and production of movie showcasing Sierra Leone’s development.
“According to findings of our investigations, the sum of Three Hundred Million Leones (Le 300,000, 000) was received by Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura from RMFA on behalf of the Sierra Leone Movie Stars.
“The money was then disbursed into the Account of the Anti-Violence Movement, as the Sierra Leone Movie Stars did not have a functional Account at the time of the disbursement. Seventy-Five Million Leones (Le75,000,000) of the said money was then requested for by Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura; which the Executive Director of Anti-Violence Movement authorized. No proper account of the said funds was given by the former Minister.
“Mr. Adekalie Samura, as Permanent Secretary, approved these improper financing arrangements when knowing fully well that there are no supporting documents attached.
“Two Hundred and Twenty Million Leones was also misappropriated by the Anti-Violence Movement”.
According to the agreement reached with the ACC, as settlement to repay the missing public funds, Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura has agreed to pay back the total sum of Seventy-Five Million Leones (Le 75,000,000).
Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura the ACC said, has already paid back the sum of Thirty Five Million Leones (Le35,000,000).
Former permanent secretary – Mr. Adekalie Samura, will pay back the total sum of Five Million Leones (Le5,000,000).
Civil Society Activist and Director of Anti-Violence Movement – Mr. Bernard Conteh, has agreed to repay a total sum of Two Hundred and Twenty Million Leones (Le 220,000,000).
This brings the total misappropriated funds stolen and to be paid back to the State to Three Hundred Million Leones (Le300, 000,000).
It now remains to be seen whether Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura will resign his position as chairman of the APC National Youth League; or whether the executive committee of the party will allow him to continue, thus reinforcing the public perception that the opposition APC is not only a corrupt institution, but that it officially encourages corruption and nurtures corrupt young leaders.