Honorable Mohamed Bangura of Constituency 066 in the Karene District yesterday testified in a matter involving Three hundred thousand United States Dollars allegedly transferred from the Ministry of Information and Communications account through SALCAB on the alleged request and demand of former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
Hon. Mohamed Bangura appeared yesterday before Justice Miatta Samba in respect of the above corruption case of misappropriation involving three accused persons including the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Mr. Paul Sandi, former Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), Mr. Mohamed Sheriff and former Chairman of SALCAB, Mr. Idrissa Yilla.
The seventh prosecution witness, Hon. Mohamed Bangura said he recognizes and knows the accused persons and recalled sometime in June and July 2016, when the accused persons approached him as the then Minister of Information and Communications.
Whilst in the Minister`s office, the Permanent Secretary, in the presence of the two other accused persons, informed him of a withdrawal of the said amount of money to be transferred and deposited into SALCAB account for the benefit of former President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
The process was undertaken, and few days after, the witness went on, the second accused person, Mr. Mohamed Sheriff called him on the phone and informed him that the first accused, Mr. Paul Sandi had not completed the money transfer.
Hon. Bangura said he confirmed the said information with the first accused person who admitted that it was due to withdrawal problem in the bank.
The witness confirmed to the court that the requested the total sum of USD 300,000 was paid to SALCAB, and later enquired from Mr. Sheriff as to whether the former President Koroma had received the money. The second accused, Mr. Mohamed Sheriff confirmed that he had handed over the money to the former President.
The accused persons are standing trial on three counts of corruption indictments, ranging from conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds to misappropriation, contrary to the Anti Corruption Act.No.12 of 2008.
The particulars on the indictment state that the accused persons, being authorities employed by the Government of Sierra Leone on the 6th July 2016, misappropriated public funds in the sum US$300,000 held at the SALCAB account No. 201/3118569/2/1/1 domiciled at Guaranty Trust Bank by causing its withdrawal and transfer, thereby depriving SALCAB of the said public funds.
The accused persons, on the other counts, indictment, allegedly conspired together with other persons on a date unknown between the 1st June and 31st July 2016 to commit a corruption offence and at the same time, being persons charged with the management of public funds on the same dates failed to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines in the management of public funds to the tune of US$300,000.
All accused persons’ bail continues as they pleaded not guilty to the offences.
Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Prosecuting Counsel, Lawyer Deen Tarawallie is prosecuting the accused persons.
The matter continues next week.