Accused testifies in court
April 7, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The accused in the ongoing Anti-Corruption matter in the High Court of Sierra Leone, Mark Ivan Babatunde Dixon, consultant Store Keeper at the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security under the project ‘Linking Famers to Market,’ yesterday, 6th April, 2017, opened his case in defence of the charges against him.
The accused is standing trial in the High Court on two count charges of conspiracy and misappropriation of government property, contrary to the Anti-corruption Commission Act of 2008.
The Anti-corruption Commission had alleged that the accused, being the store keeper at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security’s store at Kissy Dockyard in Freetown, and dates unknown between 1st February and 20th March, 2016, conspired to commit a corruption offence to wit misappropriating public property by willfully failing to account for and depriving the ministry of 980 (kg) bags of Urea fertilizer and seventeen 50 (kg) NPK 15 15 15 fertilizer, procured by the ministry under the Linking Famers to Market Project.
In his testimony in-chief before Justice Monfred Sesay, led by Lawyer S. A. J Jamiru, the accused told the court that he was a retired civil servant, and that he started working with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security in 1977 and rose through various ranks to Senior Store Keeper during his working time at the ministry on to his retirement in 2009.
He testified that after his retirement, he was again contracted by the ministry to serve as a consultant store keeper under the Linking Farmers to Market project, for which he signed a consultancy agreement with the ministry.
He stated that on to the time he was testifying in court, his consultancy contract with the ministry was yet to be terminated.
The accused testified that he was the project store keeper, who was in charge of the project items kept at the Kissy Dockyard stores.
He said one of his duties was to take custody of the items in those stores and that materials in the stores could only be released with either instructions from the Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry or the Project Coordinator as the case maybe.
He said while working as store keeper, he made several complaints to his supervisor that the security system at the store was inadequate but that nothing was done to address the issue.
He recalled in May, 2016 as he was on duty when a request was made to release a consignment of seven hundred 50kg bags of fertilizers from the main store to be supplied to Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.
He said he later found out that only four hundred and seventy four bags were in the store, and that he had to instruct that fertilizers be taken from store No.2.
Matter to continues.