One of the front runners of the All People’s Congress (APC) flagbearer race, Dr Richard Konteh has been vindicated by the Anti Corruption Commission after a protracted investigation over a Japanese Non-Project Grant Ald (SNPG) that the Japanese Government donated In the form of petroleum products to the Government of Sierra Leone worth approximately Eleven Million United States Dollars.

Dr Richard Konteh is a former minister under the erstwhile government of President Ernest Bai Koroma. He started as Deputy Minister 1 in the Finance Ministry put in charge of Development and later Minister of Trade and Industry in the second half of President Koroma’s government, he was appointed the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President.

During his tenure as Minister of Trade and Industry, Sierra Leone Government received a donation dubbed as Japanese Non-Project Grant Aid (JNPGA) in the form of petroleum products. The two governments had an exchange of notes indicating the terms and conditions under which the funds derived from the sale of the donated products should be utilised.

For proper management of the products, a United Kingdom-based company was appointed to serve as a procurement agent for the importation and delivery of the products to Sierra Leone. Advertisements procedures for the sale of petroleum products were duly followed and the National Petroleum (NP) Sierra Leone Limited emerged winner of the bid at a contract sum of Forty-Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Fifty-One Million, Three Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight Leones Eighty Two Cents (Le47,451,317,238.82). The National Petroleum made full payment of the said amount to the Government of Sierra Leone and was lodged into two designated accounts at the Bank of Sierra Leone.

The sum of Twelve Billion Leones was given to the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) to roll out a loan scheme for individuals and corporate bodies engaged in Small and Medium Enterprises with a binding commitment to repay with minimal interest.

Despite the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the SLCB reached regarding the management of the loan by the Bank with no interference from the Ministry, Dr Richard Konteh who was the political head of that Ministry was subjected to a protracted investigation by the Anti-Corruption but has at last been vindicated.