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Minister orders probe into WAAPP activities

- alleged move to recycle US$194,000 cheque

OCTOBER 30, 2014

ACCOUNTABILITY … Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sam Sesay

ACCOUNTABILITY … Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sam Sesay

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has ordered an immediate investigation into activities of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) following serious allegations in the media that project officials may have misappropriated funds allocated to the scheme through the World Bank and Government of Sierra Leone.

After an emergency management meeting at the ministry on Wednesday (29th October), Minister Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay and senior officials of the ministry concluded that an internal audit should immediately commence into activities of the project to clarify the issues raised by the media.

The allegations raised by the media are that WAAPP officials attempted to recycle a cheque that had been issued to be cashed at the Rokel Commercial Bank, which was intercepted. The cheque had been issued to a company which had performed undisclosed services to the project, according to media reports.

Also, the reports alleged that the said recycled cheque had a purported value of the whopping sum of US$194,000.

Former Project Coordinator of WAAPP, Peter Kaindaneh, resigned about two months ago ostensibly for poor health, only to establish a consultancy.

Media allegations are that Mr. Kaindaneh claimed he was forced to resign for political reasons, although that cannot be independently verified as he had taken up office in 2008. Apparently, the issue of political pressure only came to light when alleged surreptitious activities within the project were brought into public view.

Meanwhile, findings in the audit, according to officials of the ministry, will be availed to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for further investigation and possible prosecution.