August 17, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Former Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) last Friday, 14th August, testified in her corruption trial at the Freetown High Court.
Dr. Sarah Bendu told the court that she never seated in the panel of the procurement committee that took the decision for which she was indicted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Led by her Lawyer, Mohamed Banura as the first defence witness, Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu said she was the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) since 2012 to December 2017.
She told the court that her duties as Executive Director were formulating and implementing policies, programmes and plans for the functioning of the institution as directed by the Board of the SLRSA.
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission on 12th of September, 2019, filed an indictment at the High Court against Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu, who was the former Executive Director of Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA), Victor Labor, Procurement Manager, SLRSA and one Kepiatu Alghali – a former National Revenue Authority (NRA) Officer (now at large.
The three were charged with various counts of misappropriation of public funds, conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the tendering of contracts and failure to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds, contrary to Section 48(2)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, respectively.
The ACC says Dr. Sarah Bendu, Victor Labor, and Kepiatu Alghali, conspired to defraud the State the sum of two billion and ninety one million, seven hundred and thirty-six thousand five hundred and twenty Leones, eighty eight cents (Le2, 091,736,520.88).
The accused persons were alleged to have defrauded the State by inflating customs duties and payments for related services, and used the bank accounts of Centrum and KABS Clearing and Forwarding Agencies to launder the cash, in the guise of clearing tow trucks and holographic windshield labels.
The ACC also alleges that upon the transfer and receipt of each payment, the management of Centrum and KABS, on some occasions, directly transferred the funds to Ms. ALGHALI’s account.
Her testimony will continue on the next adjournment date.