ACC may indict more public officials

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September 22, 2020

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

ACC Boss Francis Ben Kaifala Awarded Best Public Sector Leader of the Year  - Sierra Network
ACC Commissioner,Francis Ben Kaifala

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has yesterday issued its third media release on the ongoing investigation of Ministries,Deparments and Agencies(MDAs) regarding critical issues raised in the 2015 – 2018 Auditor General’s Report, and  hinted that reviews were ongoing to determine prosecution of some former public officials found wanting of corruption.

While the Audit Report had discovered that the procurement of software (Oracle) for the Bank of Sierra Leone, worth over Five Million United States Dollars (USD$5m), was undertaken without following procurement procedures, the ACC investigations established that proper procurement procedures were not followed through, with many causes for concern including retroactive approvals and failure to follow laid down guidelines on approvals.

According to the ACC, the said software has been procured, installed, but not put in use yet due to challenges arising from contractual relationship and COVID-19 interruption.

“There are various issues of official misconduct and abuse of office or position that are now under review by the Prosecutions Department of the ACC to determine if the said conducts of the former Governors, the Board of Directors and various staff of the Bank of Sierra Leone meet prosecutorial threshold for prosecution,” the release states.

Also, the Audit Report had alleged that withdrawals amounting to three billion Leones (Le 3,000,000,000) were made from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) account and that there were no supporting documents for the alleged use of One Billion, Eight Hundred Million Leones (Le 1,800,000,000).

“The ACC has analysed same, and obtained statements from the Senior Finance Officers that undertook several projects, but failed to report. Investigation into this matter is still in progress.”

The Special Technical Audit Report 2018 underscored that the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) made series of individual donations and the ACC investigations confirmed that donations were indeed made to public institutions, groups, and individuals, upon request to undertake development projects.

The ACC investigation further established that some undertook the projects while others did not and in that regard, the Commission has recovered a total of One Hundred and Fifteen Million Leones (Le 115,000,000) from the groups that failed to undertake the said projects.

Additionally, according to the ACC, two individuals have refunded the amount of monies donated to them and investigation into the matter is still in progress.

The report again claimed that the  Ministry of Local Government and  Rural Development (MLGRD) could not account for withdrawals made from the Imprest Account, and other accounts, amounting to the sum of  Four Hundred and Seventy Nine Million Leones (Le479.000 .000.00), and Three Hundred and Fifty One Million Leones (Le 351,000,000) respectively.

The  Audit Report also highlighted that two desktop computers, amounting to Two Million Leones (Le2, 000,000), and sixteen (16) yards of carpet, amounting to Eleven Million Leones (Le 11,000,000), were not seen during the Audit Team verification.