Auditor General & Deputy Admit To Understand Purpose of Tribunal

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Chairman of the tribunal, Hon. Justice Nyawo Matturi-Jones

Judiciary of Sierra Leone Communications, Main Law Courts Building, Freetown, 7th April 2022: The Auditor General, Madam Lara Taylor-Pearce and her Deputy Tamba Momoh have both admitted that they understand the object of the Gazette for which the tribunal was set up by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio to inquire into a case for stated misconduct against them. 
Representing the State, Lawyer Thomas A. Freeman asked for 3 weeks to file and serve relevant papers on the Defence, adding that the Secretariat has not been properly set up.


In her response, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Hon. Justice Nyawo Matturi-Jones said, “this  is a season of adaptation. “She alluded to section 137 of the Constitution which is specifically provided to protect Judges’ tenure of office, noting that the Constitution has provided in Section 119 (9) that the Auditor General be accorded the same protection of tenure of office for Judges.
She stressed that even though the Secretariat is yet to be properly set up in their new location, the public is assured that on the next adjourned date, they will avail the State and Defence team with a Practice Direction to guide the entire process. 


Justice Matturi-Jones implored all concerned persons to be patient with the Preliminary proceedings. 
On his part, Court of Appeal Judge, Hon. Justice Ivan Sesay explained the purpose of the Tribunal as read to the suspended Auditor General and the Deputy Auditor General. He further inquired whether they both understood the purpose of the Tribunal which they confirmed.
Defence lawyer, Pa Momoh representing the Deputy Auditor General-Tamba Momoh, said his client will be absent on the next adjourn date set for the issuance of Practice Direction. He said he will be in Court to receive Practice Direction on behalf of his client. 
The Bench granted Lawyer Fofana’s request. 


One of the Tribunal members, Lawyer Lahai Farma said the Tribunal has inherent power to give out Direction during proceedings of this investigation in addition to Practice Direction.
The Auditor and Deputy were adequately represented by their lawyers.
The matter comes up on Thursday 21st April 2022 at 10:00 am

ACC Reacts on 2019/2020 Auditor General Report

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in this fourth (4th) Media Release continues to update and inform the general public on the actions taken so far on issues raised in the Auditor General’s Reports of 2019, 2020, and COVID-19 Audit Report 2020. These interventions focused on aspects of possible or alleged corruption and conducts inconsistent with the provision(s) in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019.

After a thorough review, and analysis of the aforementioned Reports, the Commission initiated actions; with a view to investigating, prosecuting, or recovering of public finds, public revenue, public property, as the case maybe, in accordance with Sections 7, and 48 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019, respectively.

Below are the fourth set of issues, and areas of ACC interventions, and the outcomes of same:

1.MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (MoD). The COVID-19 Audit Report 2020 highlighted that; procurement regulations were not followed by the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) for the procurement of Sixty (60) motor bikes, which led to the loss of about Five Hundred and Fifty-two Million, One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Leones (Le552,120,000), and the said bikes were not made available for physical verification. ACC investigations established the following;

a)A request was made on the 27th March 2020, for the procurement of Sixty (60) motor bikes by RSLAF, in order to patrol the various border entry points that are not motorable, and to properly monitor and screen for COVID-19.

b)That on the same date, an emergency Procurement Committee meeting was held and they approved the sole source procurement method and that a request for ‘no objection’ for the sole source method to be used was sought from the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) due to the urgency, and was granted.

c)That Speedwing Investment (SI) which was already in MoD’s database was requested to submit a bid for the supply of the said bikes. The bid was submitted and evaluated by MOD’s Evaluation Committee and it recommended that the contract be awarded to SI.

d)That NPPA reviewed the evaluation process and gave a concurrence for the award of the contract and on the 2nd April 2020, a contract was signed between MoD and SI for the supply of the said bikes.

e)That RSLAF initially wanted Yamaha XL 125, but was too expensive Forty Five Million (Le 45,000,000 each) for the funds available.

f)That the bikes supplied by SI (Hensimkim 125) were less in cost Twenty-one Million, Seven Hundred and Two Thousand Leones (Le 21,702,000) but were similar to the bikes in the NPPA price norm that cost of Twenty-One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Leones (21,500,000).

g)That SI procured the bikes from Kam Enterprises of 12 Pademba Road Freetown, for Twelve Million Leones (Le 12,000,000) each, who is the Sole Distributor of Kam 125 bikes in five African countries including Sierra Leone, and that the cost breakdown from SI for each bike includes; withholding tax, 15% GST, delivery, bike assembly, fuel, oil and warranty.

h)That both SI and Kam Enterprises are legitimate registered businesses with GST registration certificates.

i) That during the period of transaction, NRA GST invoice was not issued to MoD even though the payment made to SI included GST. According to MoD, it was an oversight not to have requested from the supplier the NRA invoice due to the urgent nature of the demand for the bikes, but during the course of the investigation, NRA GST invoices were submitted to ACC.

j) The investigation confirmed from the NRA that the GST owed by SI has been filed and deducted from its credit balance.

k)It is clear therefore, that RSLAF followed procurement processes in line with the NPPA Act of 2016 and that SI is part of the supply chain of bikes and not a ‘middleman’ and there was no overpricing of the bikes.

2.SIERRA LEONE POLICE (SLP). The COVID-19 Audit Report 2020 alleged that; procurement regulations were not followed by SLP for the procurement of Forty (40) motor bikes which led to the loss of Three Hundred and Sixty-eight Million, and Eighty Thousand Leones (Le 368,080,000) and the said bikes were not presented for physical verification. The ACC investigations however, made the following findings;

a) That on the 27th March 2020, a request for the procurement of Forty (40) motor bikes for SLP was made to man and patrol various border points which are not motorable so that people entering the country will be properly screened of COVID-19, and on the 31st March 2020 an emergency Procurement Committee meeting was held in which a sole source procurement method was approved. This was followed by a request for ‘no objection’ for the sole source method to be used and approval from NPPA was sought, due to the urgent need of the bikes, which was granted.

b)That SI which was already in SLP’s database, was requested to submit a bid for the supply of Forty (40) motor bikes and the bid was evaluated by SLP’s Evaluation Committee and a recommendation for the award of the contract to SI was concluded. This evaluation process was later reviewed by NPPA and gave its concurrence for the award of contract to SI.

c)That on the 9th April 2020 a contract was signed between SI and SLP for the supply of the said bikes, and that the bikes supplied by SI (Hensimkim 125) were less in cost Twenty-one Million, Seven Hundred and Two Thousand Leones (Le 21,702,000) but were similar to the bikes in the NPPA price norm that cost Twenty-One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Leones (21,500,000).

d) That SI procured the bikes from Kam Enterprises of 12 Pademba Road Freetown, for Twelve Million Leones (Le 12,000,000) each, who is the Sole Distributor of Kam 125 bikes in five African countries including Sierra Leone, and that the cost breakdown from SI for each bike includes; withholding tax, 15% GST, delivery, bike assembly, fuel, oil and warranty.

e)That during the period of transaction, NRA GST invoice was not issued to SLP even though the payment made to SI included GST. According to SLP, it was an oversight not to have requested from the supplier the NRA invoice due to the urgent nature of the demand for the bikes, but during the course of the investigation, NRA GST invoices were submitted to ACC. 

f)The investigation confirmed from the NRA that, the GST owed by SI has been filed and deducted from its credit balance.

g)It is clear therefore, that the procurement process was in line with the NPPA Act of 2016 and that SI is part of the supply chain of bikes and not a “middleman’” and there was no overpricing of the bikes.

3.OFFICE OF NATIONAL SECURITY (ONS). The Auditor General’s Report of 2020 on COVID-19 stated that, procurement regulations were not followed for the procurement of Thirty (30) motor bikes which led to the loss If Two Hundred and Seventy-six Million, and Sixty Thousand Leones (Le 276,060,000) and the said bikes were not presented for physical verification. The ACC investigations however, established the following;

a) That on the 1st April 2020, a request for the procurement of Thirty (30) motor bikes for ONS was made to man and patrol various border points which are not motorable so that people entering the country will be properly screened of COVID-19.

b)That on the 3rd April 2020, an emergency Procurement Committee meeting was held in which a sole source procurement method was approved. This was followed by a request for ‘no objection’ for the sole source method to be used and approval was sought from NPPA due to the urgent need of the bikes, which was granted.

c)That SI which had already delivered on a similar contract with RSLAF and SLP, was requested to submit a bid for the supply of Thirty (30) motor bikes and the bid was evaluated by the Evaluation Committee of ONS, and a recommendation for the award of the contract to SI was concluded. This evaluation process was later reviewed by NPPA and gave its concurrence for the award of contract to SI.

d)That on the 17th April 2020, a contract was signed between SI and ONS for the supply of the said bikes, and that the bikes supplied by SI (Hensimkim 125) were less in cost Twenty-one Million, Seven Hundred and Two Thousand Leones (Le 21,702,000) but were similar to the bikes in the NPPA price norm that cost Twenty-One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Leones (21,500,000).

e)That SI procured the bikes from Kam Enterprises of 12 Pademba Road Freetown, for Twelve Million Leones (Le 12,000,000) each, who is the Sole Distributor of Kam 125 bikes in five African countries including Sierra Leone, and that the cost breakdown from SI for each bike includes; withholding tax, 15% GST, delivery, bike assembly, fuel, oil and warranty.

f)       That during the period of transaction, NRA GST invoice was not issued to ONS even though the payment made to SI included GST. According to ONS, it was an oversight not to have requested from the supplier the NRA invoice due to the urgent nature of the demand for the bikes, but during the course of the investigation, NRA GST invoices were submitted to ACC.

g)      The investigation confirmed from the NRA that the GST owed by SI has been filed and deducted from its credit balance.

h)      It is clear therefore, that the procurement process was in line with the NPPA Act of 2016 and that SI is part of the supply chain of bikes and not a ‘middleman’ and there was no overpricing of the bikes.

The ACC however note that, SI may not have had the capacity to supply bikes by themselves and a “sole source” supplier ought to have reasonable capacity. Therefore, the security sector should ensure that they include more sources in their databases.

In the spirit of complementarity, ACC continues to thank and appreciate Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for their diligence and cooperation in helping to combat corruption in Sierra Leone and Parliament for their sustained and continued support

Change of Name

I MUSTAPHA KOROMA of No. 110 Bag Drive, Goderich, Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone do hereby relinquish and abandon the use of my former name of MUSTAPHA KOROMA and in place thereof do assume from the date hereof the name OSMAN KOROMA and so that I may hereto be called known and distinguished not by my former name of MUSTAPHA KOROMA but by my assumed name of OSMAN KOROMA.

For the purpose of evidencing such my determination declare that I shall at all times hereafter in all records deeds and writings and in all proceedings dealings and transactions as well as private and public and upon all occasions whatsoever use and sign the name OSMAN KOROMA as my name in place and in substitution for my former name of MUSTAPHA KOROMA

I do expressly authorize and request all persons at all times hereafter to designate and address me by such assumed name of OSMAN KOROMA.

IN WITNESS WHEREFORE I have hereunto subscribed my former and adopted names of MUSTAPHA KOROMA and OSMAN KOROMA and affixed my seal Dated 3 February 2022.

PUBLIC REVIEW ARTICLE

THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN

“CORRUPTION RISK” Must Be Addressed to Annihilate CORRUPTION‼

The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Ben Kaifala, during his nationwide Meet-the-People over a three months period in 2021 spoke about the concept he called “CORRUPTION RISK” – which could almost inexorably engender corruption. (‘Corruption Risk nar im dae  born corruption-twin dem’).

“Corruption  Risk” and its ramifications should not be dealt with in one speech by the ACC Commissioner; or handled by one   article on social media or in mainstream media by writers like Oswald Hanciles. It should be fully explained;  dramatized – imaginatively, intensely and relentlessly disseminated to all  the people using all media. To murder Corruption Risk, new TOUGHER  laws urgently must  made by Parliament.

What is really Corruption Risk?

In videos, and photo,  I have posted on social media,  ordinary citizens in Kailahun District, June, 2021, give us some indication of “Corruption Risk”.

1. There is a video with a   school girl in dark blue school uniform that is poignant: she raised the question of her  teachers and nurses  not being paid for up to six months at a time.  This affects her – it is a situation that is the norm for most children and youth in the Provinces, adversely affecting the about 42% of Sierra Leoneans who are below 15 years of age,  with a lot of them attending educational institutions. It affects the youth of the country – with about 70% of youth of employable age unemployed. It affects 99% of the impoverished majority in our country, about 60% of whom live below the UNDP’s poverty line.

Who is responsible for this festering problem of Corruption Risk?

The main culprits of Corruption Risk are our “civil servants” who have mutated into being ‘civil masters’?

But, we ask: what about their political bosses, the Minister of Health and Sanitation in the question raised by the school pupil? What about the ministers for education? Should this not be a question for the Minister of Finance?  Was it a question the former Chief Minister, Prof. David Francis, ignored or was deaf to? Would the President hear the cry of the school girl in distant Kailahun District?

If teachers and nurses in Bonthe or Bombali districts are not paid in two months, for example, who do they complain to? What action would be taken on those government officials who fail to do their jobs well to ensure the salaries of teachers and nurses are paid on time?

Would failure to pay teachers or nurses in, say, Pujehun or Koinadugu districts, for two or three months not be like the central government saying to them: “Engage in Corruption.  Or, suffer and die?”

Should there not be new laws made by Parliament that would make it an act of corruption for senior or middle level government officials to unnecessarily delay salaries to lowly government workers, and thus implicitly inducing them to be corrupt?

For now, the people in especially rural areas should stop suffering in silence, waiting for Ben Kaifala to go round the country before they come out with their many complaints. Ben Kaifala himself told the people to always meet their elected leaders – members of parliament; and councillors; and chiefs – with their complaints. But what if these elected  leaders are used to not listening to their people’s suffering, and would fail to advocate for their people?

I suggest the people should use social media to raise issues like raised by the school girl.

2. A man in a video with  black T-shirt and black trousers spoke of pension companies not living up to their responsibilities to the people who would subscribe in them, fingering especially the government pension fund, NASSIT;

and the people bothering the  private bank he works for, Rokel Commercial Bank, with that problem. In all civilized societies around the world, any company that messes  around with the pension of pensioners would be in deep problem with the law.  Can we look into the punitive laws on those who get pensioners to suffer for their pensions, and make these laws  tougher? (I am a pensioner; I can attest to the prompt payment of my pension by NASSIT, almost always before the 26th of every month).

 One of the main reasons a lot of Sierra Leoneans in public service use to rationalize or justify corruption is this: “Even if you work for thirty years in government service on the low salaries generally paid by government and you don’t steal big money while you are working, when you retire, you would never own your own house; you would never be able to pay your medical bills in a quality hospital; you would die soon after you retire”. Is there an argument against such rationalization of corruption? Can we realistically fight corruption in Sierra Leone if we don’t address this issue? This issue must be debated, and nationwide engagement

stimulated at all levels of our systems.  And answers found to them.

3. A  man in a photo posted on social media in a white T-shirt defiantly said that his association of indigenous commercial loggers would stop making payments to government because they are not even certain that the money they pay is getting into the coffers of government. It would be unthinkable for a United States citizen to make such a complaint publicly on something that touch on TAXES  and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the US government. It was a chilling statement that touched on the National Revenue Authority (NRA) that collects most of the taxes for the government of Sierra Leone. It raised (raises) the question: how free of corruption are the taxation systems in Sierra Leone?  Who monitors the NRA and other tax collection agencies of government?

Ben Kaifala spoke of the “endemic culture of corruption” that he has to confront in his War on Corruption; and in pre-Ben Kaifala era, the culture of corruption could be most virulent in our taxation systems. What has been done to cure this virulent corruption-

disease? It is not what the NRA or the ACC says they  have done, but what ordinary people say have  been done (is being done) on corruption in the taxation systems that matters.  Here again, people should not only make reports on probable corruption to legal authorities like the ACC alone, but should use social media, and mainstream media, to speak out – regularly!

One of the avowed goals of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Ben Kaifala, in his Meet-the-People tour was to let the people understand that the success of the ACC can only be sustained, even enhanced, when people speak up; call the ACC on its toll free number “515”; and even reach out to the ACC Commissioner directly on his private line.

“Corruption Risk” is a loud call for the overhaul of the entire government mechanisms; a paradigm shift in the way Sierra Leoneans think of government as a prey and government officials as predators.  With the people generally supporting the stealing of their own money entrusted to government officials. There is urgency in the call for a New Direction in the War on Corruption. If a few  government  officials in for example, the Customs Department of the NRA, or finance ministry, are allowed to steal billions of Leones every year –  with impunity; and are even extolled by society  – then teachers and nurses won’t be paid on time. If those who steal billions of Leones of government money are treated with kid’s gloves  when indicted by the ACC,   prosecuted and convicted by the Judiciary, teachers and nurses won’t be paid well, and won’t be paid on time. This makes the Judiciary a Corruption Risk in our country.

Sierra Leone stands a better chance of not just qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations, but WINNING the Africa Cup of Nations when the citizenry are united in their resolve to annihilate the monsters of corruption, energizing the economy, and strengthening our Justice system.

I pause,

Oswald Hanciles, The Guru.

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