May 30, 2019
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Messrs Sama Sesay, Abdul Mohamed Kargbo and Joseph Conteh,all Revenue Officers at the National Revenue Authority (NRA) attached to the Immigration Department, have reached an agreement with the Anti-Corruption Commission to repay the sum of Le 300,000,000, representing the full amount they had been investigated for.
According to press release signed by the Director of Public education and Outreach, Patrick Sandi, the agreement reached with the ACC, as settlement, each of the three NRA staff was required to pay one hundred million Leones (Le 100,000,000).
Patrick Sandi stated in the press release that at the commencement of the agreement, Messrs Sama Sesay agreed to pay and had paid fifty million Leones (Le50,000,000) in cash, Abdul Mohamed Kargbo, agreed to pay and had paid fifty million Leones (Le50,000,000) in cash and Joseph Conteh, also agreed to pay and had paid in cash the sum of fifty million Leones (Le50,000,000) cash and to pay the remaining amounts not later than 31st July, 2019.
He stated that April 2019, the ACC instituted an investigation into the operations of NRA staff attached to the Immigration Department Headquarters in Freetown following reports that funds generated at the Department were not properly accounted for, as there were variances between the original receipts issued to customers and the duplicate copies maintained by NRA.
He further that their investigations discovered a long standing corrupt practice known as “carding”; a fraudulent process through which public servants place a card under the original receipt so the actual amount written on it does not get recorded on the duplicate which remains as the actual record of the NRA.
He said they placed a white sheet of paper on the duplicate, wrote a lesser amount on it, kept the difference in the amount on the original and the duplicate receipt to themselves and pay the lesser amount on the duplicate to the state.
He said the amount they kept could be far more than what ends up going to the NRA, noting that the ACC settled that case because the duplicate receipts are illegible and the evidence will be difficult to rely on upon prosecution.