Two former public officials in Sierra Leone found guilty of corruption  

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 April 2020:

The High Court of Sierra Leone, sitting in Freetown and presided over by Justice Miatta Samba, yesterday  convicted the former Managing Director of Sierra Leone Cable Network (SALCAB) –  Mohamed Sheriff, and Paul Sandi – the former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication.

They were each found guilty of one count and three counts of corruption offences respectively.

Passing judgement on the accused, Justice Miatta Samba ruled that Paul Sandi must pay a fine of One Hundred and Twenty Million Leones (Le120, 000, 000) on all three counts; and Mohamed Sheriff is to pay Sixty Million Leones (Le60, 000, 000) in lieu of his one count charge.

According to the Judge, the fines are to be paid immediately before their release, or else serve a jail term of three years.

One of the other accused – Idrissa Yillah, was acquitted and discharged on all three counts for which he was charged.

According to the ACC,  Paul Sandi,  Mohamed Sheriff and Idrissa Yillah, were standing trial for various corruption offences under the Anti-Corruption Act, No 12 of 2008 – including misappropriation of public funds contrary to section 36(1); failure to comply with applicable rules and guidelines relating to the management of public funds contrary to section 48(2)(b); and conspiracy to commit a corruption offence contrary to section 128(1).

The three persons were accused by ACC prosecutors of misappropriating public funds amounting to $300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

In another corruption case, Justice Miatta Samba yesterday acquitted and discharged Alie Badara Mansaray, who was the former Commissioner of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), on fifteen counts of various corruption offences.

16 Comments

  1. Joe Koroma, If you get to know me you will find me to be non-tribalistic and non-regionalist. Sierra Leone is all I care about. My comments, if you read them carefully, should bear me out on this.

    I was born in Freetown of Thiamine parents and I speak the language more fluently than a significant number of those born in the heart of Thaimne country.Some of them cannot complete a sentence in Thaimne without adding Krio or English in it.

    In my desire to see progress in my country all public figures are a fair game. When I stretch out my foot in a kicking motion I couldn’t care less which backside it lands on – Mende, Thaimne, Limba, Fullah, Loko Susu, Krio, etc.

    When need be I praise President Bio, but I am equally ready to run him mistaken. Repeatedly I have said that I hate both SLPP and APC, although there are individuals in both of them that I like politically – Bio is one of them, but this shall never stop me from criticizing him – Sierra Leone comes first . This me a free spirit, I shall never be straitjacketed.

    When the journalist asked for an audience with the chief minister about the $1.5 million deposited at a bank – what happened to the former? An innocent David Francis would have tempted the journalist to go ahead with the story and then sue him and his paper for everything they ever owned to teach them a lesson never to be forgotten. Caught off balance our David Francis was rattled, cast aside all formal procedures and had the poor journalist arrested – an arbitrary use of power. Tell me Joe, who at the CID would have had the nerve to arrest David Francis and prosecute him?The case died there and ACC buried it .

    Finally I want you to keep track of what I say about the previous regime. I keep maintaining that our country has had only two leaders since independence : Sir Milton and to a lesser extent Ahmed Tejan Kabba. The third I wish to be KKY. Let us try him and allow the twins (APC and SLPP) to rest and reflect on their decades of holding our dear nation back. I don’t think KKY could do worse. Young4na is a force for good. I agree with him, we should learn from each other and get rid of our rigidity to teach the politicians how not to take us for fools.

  2. Joe Koroma says — “But no thanks to your suggestion that I should make it a habit of reading another forumite’s pieces. I won’t because one thing I have learned a long time ago is that Salone politics is mired in tribalism and regionalism”

    My brother, Joe Koroma; do you really expect us to believe your utterance that, you won’t read any commentary being posted here by myself or any other participants due to tribalism and regionalism? Come on, Mr. Koroma, don’t be ridiculous. The fact is, 100s of readers of this prestige Newspaper and all of us who are participants in this glorious forum are in the habit of reading each other’s posts. On several occasions, you and I have had our portion of small mini-debates whenever you read my comments and you don’t like what you are reading. So what’s behind your ego now?

    Please, chill my brother; we are all here to learn from each other, no one is superior or neither inferior. The important thing is we use facts rather than fallacies or emotions in our posting. We only have one Salone, that we all love.

  3. It is sad news that a judge in Sierra Leone judiciary only fined 6% of $300,000 of monies stolen from the tax payers coffer by those crooks – Paul Sandi and Mohammed Sheriff. The ACC should object to the fines and challenge the said judge to raise the steak of the fines. In the first place, the word “FINE” is not appropriate in this matter. The judge should have used the words “PAY BACK”.

    Lets say we put this similar matter in a court case between two ordinary Sierra Leoneans over a lower amount of money. We will definitely expect the judgement in favour of the winning side to get back all of his or her money plus legal expenses from the losing side. So why is this not the case in the $300,000 judgement?. SHAME on our misjudged justice Miatta Samba.

  4. Joe Koroma, I first encountered the concept of the Rule of Law when I was in the third form.It was also about that time that my understanding of separation of powers started to take hold and has continued to this day.What obtains in our country since Siaka Stevens emerged in the late 1960s has further entrenched me in the desire to continue to be a student of the Rule Of Law and separation of powers.

    For you to remind me that I should not expect Acc to be judge and jury carries no impressive elements.My accusation of ACC of being inefficient and incompetent stems from the insanity of the judgement,which allowed the convicts to keep much of the money they stole.Evidently ACC put up a poor case and there is no talk of appealing the judgement.How come? Why should the people of Sierra Leone always be the losers?

    When the Chief Minister got entangled in the $1.5 million saga,what did ACC do about it? The chief (thief) minister even got a journalist locked up about it for just trying to get the minister’s side of the story.A few months ago the auditor-general drew the public’s attention to billions of Leones unaccounted for at various government departments.Did ACC raise an uproar about it?

    Do you have any reason to believe that those recently indicted over the “chinagate” affair will not meet the same fate as Mohamed Sheriff and Paul Sandi? Please take a look at the trend of things again and give them your description vis-a vis ACC – but I see their inefficiency and incompetence all over the place.

    If the ACC Ben Kaifala is being impeded by Bio or any member of the executive from doing his job,he should resign just like the first ACC boss, Tejan-cole, who Ernest appointed. I am sure he became disgusted with Ernest’s meddling. Later events bore him out. Remember Afsatu Kabba,Logus,Kemor Sesay and others?

    Young4na is one of the free spirits in this forum,please make it a habit of reading his pieces.Thank you very much for taking the time to read my contribution.

    • “Young4na is one of the free spirits in this forum,please make it a habit of reading his pieces.Thank you very much for taking the time to read my contribution.” Santhkie Sorie

      Santhkie Sorie,
      Thanks for your prompt response to my comments. But no thanks to your suggestion that I should make it a habit of reading another forumite’s pieces. I won’t because one thing I have learned a long time ago is that Salone politics is mired in tribalism and regionalism. Given this fact and with a few exceptions, political commentaries on Salone from Sierra Leoneans, reflect this sad reality.

      For real development to come to Salone, the mentality of the people of Salone must change as in a democracy real power comes from the people. So, changing political parties in power, as you have often advocated, would hardly change anything if the mentality of the leadership is not only corrupt but also reeks of regional hegemony.

      Your incessant attacks on the Bio administration and your penchant for name calling when referring to the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, is a direct outcome of the regional bias inherent in the thinking of many Sierra Leoneans. Moreover, you cannot be outside of the political process and be thinking that the country should be run your way.

      Tellingly, the little that I know about judicial processes informs me that after cases have been litigated and a verdict reached, the defense and the prosecutorial sides are given time to appeal. Why have your beaten the gun to suggest that the Anti-Corruption Commission will not appeal the verdict? Doesn’t his behavior follow an all too familiar pattern associated with you?

      For example, you passed a verdict on the Chief Minister and called him a thief even after the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Criminal Investigations Department had cleared the man of any wrongdoing in the frivolous allegation relative to the $1.5 million. If you cannot give the man back his integrity why are constantly attacking him unfairly and throwing dirt at him?

      You may want to know why I participate on this forum. I have been reading the editorials of this newspaper for years and have found them to be critical and unbiased. In other words, the editor is an equal opportunity critic who speaks truth to power. Do I see that in many forumites participating here? No.

  5. Jane Kargbo says — “People who know Judge Maita Samba should advise the Chief Justice not to assign her any serious matter especially corruption matters against former APC thieves”

    Madam Kargbo, with all due respect, what evidence or facts led you to conclude that Paul Sandi and Mohamed Sheriff are APC members? By all indications, Paul Sandi is a senior brother to the current secretary to the president, Julius Sandi. I happen to know a few of the sandi brothers including Paul Sandi whom I have met in the past at his office at Youyi building. One of his younger brothers is my best friend. So I can categorically declare that none of the Sandi brothers is APC members. Please this platform is allergic to propagandist posting, let’s refrain from such.

  6. I must say, Mr. Santigie Sorie is among few patriotic Sierra Leoneans whose love and passion for our beloved nation stands really tall. Your commentary pertaining to this ACC developments cannot be anymore perfect. The 2 major political parties embody cultist organizations whose aim and objectives are purely to serve and benefit their members.

    While the majority of the citizens continue to be subjected to abject poverty, the leadership of both parties are laser focus on siphoning the meager resources we have, along with donor funds. These unpatriotic group of Sierra Leoneans who called themselves politicians are mostly scam artist. They use tribe and region to fool majority of our uneducated citizens along with a few tribalistic, opportunistic, educated individuals to accomplish their goals.

    Don’t let anyone fool you, the fight against corruption in Salone is all a game. Along with their countless dirty tricks, the politicians have mastered the act of deception. Each successive regime that comes into power will deceptively pretend to intensify the fight against corruption with the sole purpose of targeting the opposition (particularly current regime). Once the dust settles and the new comers have successfully obtain the keys to our national treasures, the fight against corruption suddenly transition into ‘i rub your back, you rub my back’. In other words, one official will steal the loot, and when the public raise the alarm, a behind the scene political arrangement is reached with the loot shared among the top officials including the judiciary.

    In light of the aforementioned, the outcomes of majority of ACC trials involving huge missing funds have always been a ‘pat on the back’ of the government officials who did the looting— this is symbolize by awarding fines that are less than one percent of what have stolen. We witness this countless times during the Ernest regime and the same is happening now in the Bio regime.

  7. On the issue of corruption, who fights for the average Man/Woman when the Lawyers and police fail you? I am still on the issue of losing $100.000.00 through Investing in Sierra Leone. All payment was sent to Hon Lawyer Jamiru.

  8. The credibility of the ACC keeps sinking fast. The catalogue of its incompetence and inefficiency keeps growing. They will hit their lowest level when the findings and recommendations of the just concluded Commissions of Inquiry are virtually ignored and shoved somewhere for them to gather dust till the end of time.

    Indeed as Young 4na stated, the judgement only gives corruption a boost. You steal $300,000 and you are made to pay just a fraction of it back. You keep the rest – thank you very much. Let us stop hoping and crying for a better life, for as long as we keep voting in the two major parties – they are indistinguishable twins.

    SLPP and APC will always be a drag on our progress. Ernest Koroma came in as a lion and quickly transformed into a butterfly. Bio came in as man and is quickly transforming himself into a mouse.

    There can be only two explanations for the nebulous court judgement: either the judge was bribed or there was Executive interference or intercession. The Chief (thief) Minister killed the issue of $1.5 million which surrounded him instantly; the case of the missing billions at various government agencies has been subjected to an induced coma – what should give us hope or confidence that the pathway of the “new direction“ leads directly into the pockets of Bio, David Francis and the rest of the team? There’s a high probability that sitting ministers and others who face prosecutions are the greedy ones. They don’t share their loot. Have the days of Siaka Stevens gone anywhere?

    Our only salvation lies in uprooting both APC and SLPP and fling them into the dustbin for a while; or else we shall keep bleeding profusely until we die. Let’s vote in Kandeh Yomkella if just for the sake of it. If we bring back APC in 2023, they will spend three years revenging and two years on a robbery escapade.

    • Mr. Santhkie Sorie,

      The Anti-Corruption Commissioner cannot in addition to his many duties be judge and jury of cases in Sierra Leone’s courts. So, why attack a commission that has been on the right side of history for the last one and a half years?

      Also, many would agree with your criticisms of the SLPP and the APC. But pray tell me how many developed countries exist in Africa? While good governance is a virtue that many African countries lack, by itself, good governance cannot overcome the multifarious challenges confronting African countries. So, whether you bring in Kandeh Yumkella or anybody else for that matter, none would possess a magical elixir to catapult Sierra Leone immediately from a predominantly agricultural and mining society to a manufacturing giant.

      Look, Yumkella and his NGC partners were at one time or the other SLPP and APC. Have they suddenly become saints upon forming the NGC? Many of these NGC guys preaching change today were corrupt politicians who bolted from the SLPP or APC simply because they could not have their way with these parties. I do not glorify any of them.

  9. I just wonder why the fines are far less than the misappropriated sum. Please, this can’t stop corruption. The ACC needs to be more ruthless if they are to succeed in hunting down corruption.

    • Well the ACC at the start of Kaifala’s reign used to negotiate for corrupt individual to pay back the monies they stole to avoid going to court. The same people of Sierra Leone cried the ACC down for such tactics. Now we see why Commissioner Kaifala was eager to get the people’s money back in place of having his colleagues in the rotten judiciary preside over such matters.

      Was Judge Maita Samba not the same Judge that freelance journalist Tim Kargbo crossed path with when the journalist raised doubt over her judgement in a corruption case involving some former APC politicians that she fined paltery sums not commensurate to the amount that they stole?

      People who know Judge Maita Samba should advise the Chief Justice not to assign her any serious matter especially corruption matters against former APC thieves. As a lawyer at the SCSL, she was relegated as coordinator of witness management instead of litigating cases. She left for the ICC, and she was relegated to the ICC Kampala Field Office instead of litigating cases in court. When Joseph Kamara her friend became the Commissioner of the ACC, he fished her out of her misery in Kampala and brought her to the ACC where she was not given any serious matter to litigate.

      In fact, Joseph Kamara’s tenure at the ACC was considered the worst tenure of the ACC in terms of matters pursued and litigated successfully. As soon as Joseph Kamara became Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Miata Samba was again fished out by Joseph Kamara from the ACC and made a Judge. Does anyone expect anything worth while from such a person who reached her position not out of merits but by connectocracy?

  10. “ The three persons were accused by ACC prosecutors of misappropriating public funds amounting to $300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)”

    2 convicts, Paul Sandi to pay 120 million leones ($12,000), Mohamed Sheriff to pay 60 million leones ($6,000). $300,000 missing, fines are only $18,000; what will stop me from stealing? By all indications, being a corrupt public official in Salone is a win, win, even if you get caught. There goes our justice system.

  11. They were indicted for misappropriating the sum of $300,000; and they were both cumulatively fined below $190,000 equivalent. This is a distorted Justice System. Instead of helping to curb corrupt practices, this kind of judgement encourages corruption. What a shame on our judiciary.

    • Madam Kargbo, my understanding is paul pay $12,000 plus Mohamed $6,000; the total is $18,000. Now even if i have misread the 3 count payment of Paul Sandi, he will still pay a cumulative of $36,000 plus Mohamed $6,000, the sum with be $42,000 compare to the total missing of $300,000.

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