By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
Judges presiding at the Appeals Court including Justice Fatamata Bintu Alhadi, Justice Komba Kamanda an Justice Tonia Bernett, have withdrew the file for judgement in the ongoing Commissions of Inquiry (COI) appeal matter involving the former Director General of the Petroleum Directorate, Raymond Saidu Kargbo.
Counsel representing the appellant respondent, Raymond Saidu Kargbo, on Tuesday, November 15, presented his oral argument and submissions based on the synopsis filed and served in respect of the matter before the court.
Lawyer Africanus Sorie Sesay, on behalf of the appellant, conceded to grounds 1,2,4, and 6 of the appeal, which he said, have been dealt with by the court and limited his argument mainly on ground 3 of the appeal.
He submitted that, on ground 3, there was no proof that the appellant Raymond Saidu Kargbo benefited from those funds provided for the 2018 general elections or aided others to benefit from it.
He further submitted that the proposed materials budgeted for were provided and money was paid for the conduct of the 2018 elections, adding that election activities are budget activities and that the directorate has the responsibility, as a specialised agency, to help in the state budget activities.
He argued that terminal benefit is categorized under the payroll cost, and are also monies set aside to clear backlogs of all employees and 90% of all employers were again retained.
He submitted that in support of his argument, he directed the court to certain portions of his synopsis that dealt with Section 2 of the Petroleum Exploration Production Act of 2011.
He submitted that on the use of funds, he relied on Section 5 sub-section 2, and 8 of the said Act of 2011, which clearly states the function and decision of the directorate.
Lawyer Sesay further relied on his synopsis dated 24th June 2021 and the appeal court decision on Franklyn Bai Kargbo.
The state respondent counsel, Mrs. Kendow relied on the entirety of her synopsis filed and served on the 14th November, 2022, and argued on the use and process of public funds.
She submitted that the appellant is a former DG of the Petroleum Directorate which is an agency of government, and that there was no legal mandate to grant loan or utilize public funds by the appellant. She supports her argument pursuant to section 118 subs 1 and 3 of the 1991 Constitution.
She submitted that the money used through the ministry of finance was public funds, belonging to the Government of Sierra Leone and further submitted that due process of the law was not followed by the appellant Saidu Kargbo in the utilization of the loan to Rokel Commercial Bank and the terminal benefit paid.
“The decision of any executive power is subject to the law and by the general employment rule, end of service benefit is paid at the end of service before exit and to retain it, due process and procedure have to be carried out for clarity and accountability and there is no proof of re-employment,” she submitted .