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Lebanon ‘toxic waste’ scandal…

I.B. Kargbo detained

January 12, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday “detained” the former Special Adviser to the President, now Member of Parliament representing Constituency 030 in the Bombali District, for over three hours after leaked documents appear to have contained his signature allegedly endorsing a proposal by the Lebanese government, through a Dutch company, to dump waste in Sierra Leone.

Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, upon arrival yesterday at the CID headquarters at about 3:30pm on the invitation of the police, was immediately confined to the operational office Room 25 where he was interrogated based on “serious allegations” made against him in relation to the latest big scandal to hit the country.

The particulars of offence are yet to be made public as the investigating officers were reluctant to explain to journalists the rationale behind the former Minister of Information and Communications’ invitation and subsequent brief detention.

However, impeccable sources at the CID headquarters told Concord Times that Kargbo was being investigated on allegation that he was the brain behind an alleged agreement with a certain organisation in Holland for the Lebanese government to deposit “baled and non-hazardous municipal waste” in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Kargbo was accompanied by his security; he was whisked to Room 25, which houses the operational service at the CID headquarters.

Immediately after his interrogation, Concord Times learnt that Hon. Kargbo was summoned by the President at State House for “crucial talks”.

Government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay said the government of Sierra Leone has swiftly moved to debunk a story carried by the As-Safir newspaper in Lebanon on the issue.

He said State House has invited the Sierra Leone Police, Office of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to institute an investigation into the mater.

He denied that government had consented to have the ‘toxic’ waste deposited in the country, noting that they were very much concerned about the environmental consequences of depositing any harmful products in the country.

“We are very much concerned about such development. Government has already issued out a press release on the issue but more importantly we will definitely investigate and bring those behind it to book,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kargbo was released on bail while the investigation continues.