May 24, 2018 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Businessman-cum-politician, Momoh Konteh, was sported yesterday at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) – this time not on his usual fanfare visit but rather on the invitation of detectives.
Dressed in blue shirt and a pair of jeans, Konte walked straight into the office of Deputy Head of CID, Chief Superintendent Sani Sesay, with two of his private security guards.
The main reason for his invitation was not immediately made known to the public but our sources say Konte, who is chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission, is being investigated for his stewardship of the telecom regulator.
In an exclusive interview with this medium, Momoh Konte appealed to pity:
“You are a young man. So is it that you do not have any other story to work on except issues about Momoh Konteh? On several occasions, you have published stories about me without crosschecking your fact,” he charged.
Asked about his invitation by the crime investigators, Konteh, who was regarded as a larger-than-life politician during the past administration said, “I am not feeling bright” and impolitely hung-up his phone.
The Institute for Governance Reform-(IGR) recently noted in a report titled ‘Critical Perspectives of Governance in Sierra Leone’ that fiscal indiscipline always reaches its climax during electioneering period and a source of past tensions between government and western donors.
The report identified certain individuals it said abused their offices by openly campaigning for the then ruling party, while utilising public resources. One such person is the Chairman of National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Momoh Konteh.
“In the last election, all the heads of revenue collection agencies were at the forefront of the then ruling party campaign even though the Political Parties Registration Commission Act of 2002 bans public officials from taking open partisan positions in politics. The head of NATCOM is the current Chairman for the APC in Koinadugu, and he was reported in local newspapers to have spent large sums of money on the campaign,” the report states.
Konte came to the limelight for the wrong reason in 2011 when he was filmed in a sensational documentary aired on Aljazeera television and appeared to be peddling influence to facilitate an illegal timber transaction.
He was charged by the anti-graft commission in April 2012 on five counts of soliciting an advantage, peddling influence, and conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, contrary to relevant sections of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008. But to the surprise of many, he was acquitted and discharged, prompting the then head of the ACC to famously quip that his confidence had been shaken in the judiciary.