CSO testifies in US$534,000 fertilizer theft


November 7, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Chief Security Officer (CSO) at Investors Security Agency, Alfred Sulaiman Koroma, attached to the stores department at Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Kissy Dockyard, east Freetown, Thursday testified before Justice Monfred Sesay, presiding at the High Court, on the alleged theft of 997 (50kg) bags of fertilisers.

Koroma testified that on 2 June, 2016 he was informed by his subordinates that fertilisers have been stolen at the store, which prompted him to do a routine check around the compound.

He said although there was some evidence of theft, he observed that the locks to the doors of the stores were intact without breakage.

He declined telling the court the quantum of fertilisers that were placed in the stores, but noted that they were conveyed by four 40ft containers trailers.

He said throughout his five years as a security officer, he had never handled the keys to the store.

The ACC had alleged that from 1st February to 20th June 2016, the accused conspired with unidentified individuals to willfully deprive the ministry by failing to account for 980 (50kg) bags of urea fertilisers and 17 (50kg) bags of 15-15-15 NPK, amounting to US$534,096.42.

The anti-graft agency indicated in their indictment that the fertilisers were procured from a local supplier through a loan the government had secured from the Islamic Development Bank in order to increase farmers’ income and reduce food insecurity in the five provincial towns of Bo, Bombali, Mattru Jong, Bonthe and Magburaka.

The accused, Mark Ivan Babatunde Dickson, was indicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit a corrupt offence and misappropriation of public property, contrary to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act 2008.

Meanwhile, the accused person, who is seemingly in his late 50s, has been put on Le2 Billion bail.

The matter would come up again on 10 November, 2016.