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No sacred cow!

Agric. Minister, Secretary to Vice President & others sent home

October 6, 2020

By Mohamed M. Sesay

Speech: President Julius Maada Bio State Opening of Parliament 2019 |  Politico SL
President Bio maintains no sacred cow

In his effort to minimise corruption in Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio has yesterday sent home Minister of Agriculture, Denis Vandi, Secretary to the Vice President, Alhaji Baba Fortune, and a host of other serving Civil and Public servants, whose names were mentioned in the reports of the Commissions of Inquiry (COI) and the government’s White Paper for alleged misused of public funds.

A statement from the presidency issued yesterday stated that those current serving government officials be relieved of their duties until their appeal process is concluded.

It follows after government has placed a travel ban on all public officials who served in the Ernest Bai Koroma regime and their names captured in the COI report.

However, the All Peoples Congress (APC) had earlier issued a statement in which it rejected the content of the COI reports and the White Paper that subsequently accompanied it.

Also, former President Ernest Bai Koroma and other erstwhile government officials including Musa Tarawallie, had also published separate statements condemning the many allegations made against them in the COI report.

Former president Koroma noted in his preliminary statement that the allegations against him are ‘without merit and are politically motivated charade calculated to impugn my hard-earned reputation. I further believe that the government’s relentless heckling around me has reached undue and unacceptable levels that amount to political harassment’.

Koroma however noted that he would explore all available democratic and legitimate means to defend himself.

Meanwhile, when he assumed power in 2018, President Bio vowed to fight corruption and indiscipline among others, which, according to him, were the key factors that are responsible for the poverty in Sierra Leone.

Recommendations in the Justice Biobele’s Commission of Inquiry has called that the late Dr. Minkailu Bah, Mani Koroma, and Dennis Vandi, refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone, the sum of Le10, 739, 659, 424. 00 as money withdrawn and used on school feeding programme without supporting documents, unverified and had remained misappropriated and or unaccounted for.

 It also added that the following persons Dr. Minkailu Bah, Mani Koroma and Dennis Vandi, shall jointly and severally refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone, the sum of Le9, 916, 720, 000. 00 withdrawn and used on College fees subsidies without detailed supporting documents and unverified and had remained misappropriated and or unaccounted for.

The report added that they are to also refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of USD23, 000, 000. 00 used for revitalization of education development in Sierra Leone without supporting documents and unverified and had remained misappropriated and or unaccounted for.

In the same Justice Biobele’s Commission of Inquiry report, government also accepted recommendations for the following persons Musa Tarawally and Barba Fortune to jointly and severally refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of Le234, 737, 000. 00 that had remained unaccounted for.

Also, Barba Fortune and Thomas Lansana to jointly and severally refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of Le5, 282, 388. 00 as money deducted as withholding taxes, but not paid over to NRA and had remained unaccounted for.