…As bursar and accountant convicted for corruption
December 14, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The High Court Judge in Kenema, Justice Ernest Gooding, last Thursday (10 December, 2015) sentenced former Bursar of the Islamic Secondary School in Kenema, Millicent Augusta Blango, to 35 years imprisonment or fine of Le175 million, and Samuel K. Ngegba, erstwhile accountant at the Kenema Sub-Treasury department, to ten years imprisonment or an alternative fine of Le50 million.
The judge also ordered both convicts to pay Le71, 055, 365.00 each apart from the fines levied by the court to the Finance Department of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) within the period of six months.
Justice Gooding also ordered that the accounts of the convicted persons be unfrozen and first choice of proceeds thereof be used to pay the fines and restitution.
Ms. Blango had been convicted on only five of the nineteen counts charged levied against her by the ACC for misappropriation of public funds, contrary to the ACC Act of 2008, and sentenced to seven years on each of the five counts cumulatively for 35 years or payment of a fine of Le35 million on each counts.
Mr. Ngbegba, on the other hand, was found guilty of the offence of conspiracy to commit corruption offences.
Both convicted accused persons were also fined for siphoning salaries of teachers over a period of two years.
According to ACC Prosecutors Emmanuel Koivaya Amara Esq. and Nigel B. E. Davies Esq., the accountant conspired with the bursar between 2012 to 2014 in Kenema, in the eastern province of Sierra Leone, during which he (Samuel Ngbegba) willfully assisted the bursar to misappropriated public funds amounting to the sum of one hundred and forty-two million one hundred and ten thousand seven hundred and twenty-nine Leones (Le142,110,729), being unclaimed salaries of teachers at the Islamic Senior Secondary School in Kenema.
The ACC prosecutors though offered no evidence on 14 counts of misappropriation of public funds which Madam Blango was indicted on after she pleaded guilty of five of the 19 counts.
Justice Gooding in his ruling stated that the offences committed by the convicts were grave, adding that corruption was a cancer in the country and that we must be robust in the fight against it for the future of the country.
He maintained that corruption of such magnitude was economic terrorism and that both convicts deserve to go to jail.
“The two convicts have been grossly wicked to children and the country in general. They are elderly people and must serve as a role model to others especially to the younger generation,” Justice Ernest Gooding maintained.
The two convicts were represented by Samuel Taylor Esq. and Paul Squire Esq.