March 10, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Erstwhile Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), Joseph Sedu Mans Jnr on Wednesday, March 4th, opened his defense in the High Court, where he denied charges levied against him by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
He was jointly charged together with the former Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of NASSIT, Yeabu Kamara, on six counts of corruption offences, ranging from engaging in a project without prior planning, conspiracy to commit corruption charges, willfully failing to comply with the law relating to the tendering of contract and misappropriation of public funds, contrary to ACC Act of 2008.
In his testimony in defense, the Former DG, who currently lectures at the Theological and Bible College in Freetown, told the court that his responsibilities as the then DG were to supervise the day-to-day running cost, oversee workers, discipline staff and deal with issues reported to him in accordance with the policy of the institution.
He testified that allegation relating to engaging in a project without prior planning was untrue, noting that the SISIMI NASSIT Medical Project started in 2015 and that it went through all the processes of the investment guideline of the trust.
He continued that he tendered a copy of the investment guideline of the Trust to the court, noting that they received a proposal from SISIMI in 2015, and that they informed them to make a presentation, which they did.
He said the proposal was later sent to the Management Investment Division at the Trust, adding that the proposal also went through the Investment Committee of the Board of the Trustee.
He said they later had a joint meeting with the Trust Board and the Investment Sub-committee of the board, where presentation of the proposal was done.
He told Justice Miatta Samba that at the joint meeting, due diligence conclusion was reached and green light was given to go ahead with the project.
The ACC Prosecutor, Calvin T. Mantsebo alleges that both accused on diverse dates between 1st August, 2016 and 31st December, 2017, conspired with other persons unknown to commit corruption offences, to wit, engaging in a project without prior planning, contrary to Section 128 (1) of the ACC Act No. 12 of 2008.
He also alleges that they engaged in the SISIMI Medical Foundation for the development, construction and delivery of an urgent care delivery service system for the provision of quality medical service in Sierra Leone without prior planning.
He further claimed that the accused persons also willfully failed to comply with the law relating to tendering of contract, to wit the provision of the Public Procurement Act 2016 by entering into a joint venture agreement with SISIMI Medical Foundation.
The prosecutor claimed that both accused on 27th September, 2016, in Freetown, misappropriated public funds through the authorization and facilitation of the disbursement and payment of Le 6,510,290,000,00 (Six Billion, Five Hundred and Ten Million ,Two Hundred and Ninety Thousand Leones) to SISIMI NASSIT Medical Project; a joint venture special project vehicle created for the provision of an urgent care delivery service system to provide quality medical services in Sierra Leone, thereby depriving NASSIT of the said amount.
The court has adjourned that matter to Wednesday 11th March for the accused to continue his testimony