Witness becomes person of interest at COI
March 21, 2019
By Dusuba Koroma
Justice Biobele Georgewill of Commission of Inquiry room 1 has stated that the Project Manager for the National Youth in Farm Project, Mustapha Turay, should now be among the persons of interest that should face the on-going Inquiry.
Turay had earlier testified before the inquiry as to how he managed funds meant for the Youth in Farm Project under the Ministry of Youth Affairs.
But the sole Commissioner, Justice Georgewill has deemed it expedient that Turay should now be a person of interest based on evidences adduced against him by landowners from whom the 250 acres of land were bought for the Youth in Farm Project.
Earlier, one of the land owners, Pa Santigie Kargbo, had testified that after they had negotiated with the former Minister of Youth Affairs,Alimany Kamara for the purchase of 250 acres of land,Mustapha Turay went and made payment for the said land.
He had explained under cross examination that before the money was given to them Turay took some portion from it and claimed that it was an instruction from Freetown.
“He also took some money and told us that one cannot play with honey without licking his hand. In the end Turay also demanded le10, 000,000 for himself, which he told me to keep under the mattress,” he added.
Addressing Turay yesterday, Justice Georgewill remarked that, “The time we have now will be too small for you to explain yourself, but in every system of administration of justice, every man is entitle to his side of the story. But when we are through with all the witnesses from the state counsel, you will be among the persons of interest. You will come and give me your story because we need to know the truth about what they have said. So prepare yourself and if possible get yourself a lawyer.’’
On the same proceedings,Director of Youth at the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Charles Moinina, after being quizzed by Lawyer Mason, stated that the youth issue is a cross cutting one, and that he was aware of the four different projects that were initiated by the ministry, but that he has never been involved in them.
He added that in November 2013, the first project was the Youth in Drainage, and that the Permanent Secretary then, Frederick Keitta, shared a document that had to do with the contract agreement between Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and the ministry.
“I shared my experience with the former minister (Alimamy Kamara) that I had done similar project and that the project should come under my supervision. But he rebuffed me and said I should go and look for my own project,” he narrated
Moinina further stated that the project was mainly centered around the Permanent Secretary, the Accountant and the minister, adding that most of the staff were brought in by the minister because the project itself was political.
He stated that the recruitment of staff for the project was not advertised, rather employees were brought in by the minister.
On the issue of a letter dated 18th May, 2016, Moinina recognised it and admitted that he did write it to present his dissatisfaction over the unacceptable behaviours of project managers and the Permanent Secretary.
Meanwhile, defense counsels, Macauley and Mansaray, applied that they should be given time to consult their clients about the letter before they could cross examine the witness.