Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 August 2021:
The High Court in Freetown, presided by Justice Simeon Allieu, on Wednesday 11th August 2021, convicted and sentenced Hawa Y. Kamara – Revenue Reconciliation Officer of the Sierra Leone Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA; Mary Bangura (Mrs Ngegba) – Revenue Assistant, EDSA; and Rugiatu Kalokoh, Revenue Assistant, EDSA, to pay a fine of Fifty Million Leones each and immediately, or serve five years imprisonment.
The court action was brough by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) after investigations.
The Court also ordered Hawa Y Kamara, Mary Bangura and Rugiatu Kalokoh to pay a restitution of Thirteen Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Thousand Leones each, which the ACC said they had each misappropriated, on or before the 11th October, 2021.
Justice Simeon Allieu convicted Hawa Y. Kamara, Mary Bangura and Rugiatu Kalokoh, after they pleaded guilty to Count 1 of Misappropriation of Public Revenue, contrary to Section 36(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 12, of 2008 as amended in 2019.
According to the ACC, Hawa Y. Kamara, Mary Bangura, Rugiatu Kalokoh and five others, including Mohamed Sheku Turay, Alimamy Sesay, Noah Winnebah, Abioseh Ola Barnes, Musa Momoh Lahai, for misappropriating electricity bills paid by customers to EDSA for the supply of electricity in the sum of Three Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty Million, One Hundred and Forty-five Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty-two Leones.
The principal accused person – Mohamed Sheku Turay was convicted on 22nd July 2021 and fined One Hundred Million Leones or serve ten years imprisonment.
The Court also ordered Mohamed to pay a restitution of Three Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty Million, One Hundred and Forty-five Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty-two Leones he misappropriated.
Meanwhile, Alimamy Sesay, Noah Winniebah, Abioseh Ola Barnes and Musa Momoh Lahai, continue to stand trial on the same indictment.
” A word for the wise is quite sufficient”. I want to first thank the work of our justice system now under the leadership of the current Chief Justice for making the country and its citizenry acquiring justice from the four corners of the countr. Also, with regard to the fight against corrupt and improper practices by the Anti-corruption commissioner, I want to say thanks to the judiciary for its efforts to show that Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans are ready and appreciate the fight against this menace called corruption. This is one way of strengthening our democratic system. It has also helped to send a signal to Sierra Leoneans who once believed that they can do anything and just go unpunished. The naming and shaming of people alone goes a long way in the fight against graft. Let there be more conviction from the utility sector, there and then the majority will start enjoying its benefits.
The chequered history of ACC continues. Sierra Leoneans are now accustomed to the outfit demonstrating it’s legal skills and powers when the elite are not involved. To this day the nation does not know the source of the $1.5 million which was deposited into the former Chief Minister’s (David Francis’) account and for which he had a journalist arrested and locked up for just wanting to question him about it. The former Chief Minister was again implicated in the disappearance of Chinese rice meant for children. These are just some the publicity known events associated with David Francis; heaven knows the rest. In all cases, where was ACC?
Fatima Bio and her husband have been repeatedly accused of corrupt practices. Ben Kaifala and his ACC team have never seen any legal justification to treat them as common criminals in the same way as those who have been stealing electricity, a scarce commodity in the country, a huge drag in economic development.
Billions of Leones and millions of dollars keep disappearing at government institutions. The criminals involved must be associated with SLPP for no charges have been brought against them. Or it may well be a case of supernatural beings being the perpetrators of the crimes.
The conclusion? There is no difference between Earnest Koroma’s ACC and Maada Bio’s ACC. Remember Logus Koroma? Remember Afsatu Kabba? Remember Ebola (“kasankay“ funds)? Remember mudslide funds? May the Almighty save us from SLPP and APC come 2023. They even work in tandem to mortgage us to foreigners.
If this convictions and sentences is what it takes, to serve out a notice to civil servants, or any public officials that abandoned their duties and responsibilities,and instead chose to steal, and misappropriate public funds for their own private use, is not only detrimental to the development of Sierra Leone, but put our country in a merry go round of endless cycles of underdevelopment, and economic strife. And this are the same sort of people, or others like them, that have the audacity to ask why our country is under develop, and is always languising at the bottomless pit of any developmental yard stick use by our international development partners, and organisations that measures a country’s economic, and human development progress.
Surly we cannot keep doing the same thing for the past sixty years, and expect changes. If we want to fight the cancer of corruption, it has to go anywhere, anytime and any place. Follow the evidence. It has to be seen to be independent, and blindfolded. Using it as a political sledge hammer to whack your opponents is fruitless and no brainer.The loser is Sierra-leoneans. And we have lost enough. Is about time we aim for a win. Unfortunately, our captain in Chief, Bio is useless, and is not up for the job to lead. The evidence should lead the way. Why do ordinary citizens have to pay taxes and their bills? The taxes, put to good use, are meant to help develop our country. like educating the young, access to health care, building of roads, housing for the poor, and bridges, supporting our military and police, paying some of the very wages of this thieving public officials.
By the look of it, they have no problem getting paid for stealing, oops doing the work . Some times small fishes like this electricity convicts, or some of the corrupt untouchables in the Bio government is very hard to get around. Why do they do it? .The Bills help to buy equipments, and help pay for the maintenance of the electricity grid. If you want to know what happens if things are not looked after and kept up to date, look no further than the skeletons of Freetown Fire Trucks submerged in red dirt in the low cost housing of Kissy Branch in old days. The ACC should start tightening the noose around some of our corrupt ministers, then we will know, this convictions is not use as beacon, by Bio during the next Presidential debates, speaking gibberish to us ” I am the President that promised to fight corruption. Promise made, promise delivered.” Not many Sierra Leoneans will buy such hula Bulah nonsense from a president that have presided over the most unchecked corruption in the history of Sierra Leone.