By Alfred Koroma
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is considering further action on the theft of 49,000 bags of rice donated to Sierra Leone by the Chinese Government, says Patrick Sandi, ACC Director of Public Education and External Outreach Department.
The rice was sent to Sierra Leone in 2019 to help government feed thousands of citizens in its school feeding project. But drama occurred, the rice suddenly went missing.
President Bio then dismissed four senior government ministers and officials with regards allegations of corruption involving the rice.
The present Minister of Labour and Social Security, Alpha Timbo, who was then Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education when the rice disappeared was among those temporally sacked together with Emily Kadiatu Gogra, Deputy Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Charles Kamanda , Permanent Secretary of Ministry; and Mamusu Massaquoi , Director of Nutrition, also in the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.
The officials were charged by ACC for misappropriating the forty-nine thousand bags of 50 Kg rice. But ACC controversially dropped the charges pegging it on lack of evidence, eventually leading to the reinstatement of the suspected officials.
But speaking on AYV Wake Up Salone Program yesterday, the ACC spokesperson, Patrick Sandi said they are again considering further action on the matter.
“On the 49 thousand bags of rice, I want the people to know and understand where we are. Indeed, the ACC has charged that matter to court. And then it was discharged. We came back and reviewed it. After the review, we realized that it was quite a difficult issue…”
“At the moment, ACC is now considering further action with regards that matter,” he said.
Sandy was speaking to AYV ahead of the Commission’s commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day happening today at CATCO International Conference Centre. President Bio is expected to deliver a keynote address at the event where he will reaffirm his commitment to the fight against corruption.
ACC under Francis Ben Kaifala has successfully prosecuted several public officials and recovered billions of stolen public funds, winning the Commission several international accolades.
However, critics say corruption is still persistent in the country, especially among officials of the present Bio led Government under which Kaifala became head of the country’s Anti-Corruption. According to critics, ACC is not doing much in prosecuting officials of the government accused of corruption. Instead, the Commission targets only officials of the previous administration.
“We are seeing Sierra Leone making strife in times of ratings. In principle, there is much we are doing. But in reality, we are still seeing a prevalence of corruption, unexplained wealth,” Lecturer and media analyst, Thomas Dixon said.
Thomas Dixon who was in AYV studio with the ACC official called on the Commission not to wait for a change of government before they investigate allegations of unexplained wealth.
He alleged that in Gloucester, Mambo – politicians of the present government are building houses incommensurate to their salaries while other politicians outside the government are being targeted for the same crime.