ACC Arrests Over 30 Sierra Leone Government Officials

Independent Investigations by Awareness Times Newspaper show that over thirty (30) Senior public officials from well over dozen public institutions, were arrested over the Christmas Season by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in relations to issues contained in the 2020 Auditor General’s Report.

Our independent journalism investigations show that the arrested public officials spent days and nights in detention during which they were intensely questioned over the Christmas Season. They were later granted Bail and released after questioning.

Awareness Times Newspaper’s independent findings are that senior officials of the Office of the President, Office of the Vice President, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, the Ministry of Social Welfare, the National Revenue Authority, the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, the Petroleum Directorate, Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority, Sierratel the state-owned Telecommunications entity, the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, and the National Minerals Agency are all under an intense and hot investigation as ordered by Sierra Leone’s no-nonsense ACC Czar Francis Ben Kaifala.

This information was yesterday January 6th 2022 further confirmed to Awareness Times Newspaper by the ACC’s Deputy Director of Public Education and Outreach. Mr Abubakarr Turay informed this medium that a total of seventeen institutions are currently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in relation to issues contained in the 2020 Auditor General’s Report. The public institutions being investigated include; the National Minerals Agency, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, the National Revenue Authority, the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Petroleum Directorate, Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority, Sierratel, the Ministry of Finance, the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, among others.

Abubakarr Turay said over 30 public officers from these institutions have been interviewed since the 2020 Audit Report was tabled in Parliament last month.
It can be recalled that the Commissioner of the ACC Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. told journalists at a press conference held in 20th December, 2021, that the Commission was launching series of investigations relating to issues outlined in the 2020 Audit Report. Since then, the Commission has sent Notices to persons of interest and set up teams of investigators who worked throughout the Christmas holidays.

According to Mr. Turay, most of those interviewed included the actual Heads of the institutions, their Finance Directors, Accountants and Procurement Officers.
“At the Ministry of Finance, we are investigating issues of procurement and duty waivers granted to 58 non-governmental organizations. At the National Revenue Authority, the Commission is investigating issues of contract for supply of generator accessory materials and unsigned contract for the supply of seasonal and promotional materials. The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education is being investigated for allegedly flouting procurement procedures and PAYE tax not deducted and paid to the NRA, while the National Minerals Agency is being investigated for the alleged misappropriation of public revenue of up to 15.9 Billion Leones.” Mr. Turay told Awareness Times.

The Deputy Director of Public Education and Outreach said, during the course of investigation, some persons of interest had cause to spend nights in custody and later put on bail. He said the Commission will certainly invite more persons of interest from other institutions named in the 2020 Audit Report. He pledged the Commission’s determination to ensuring that all public institutions named in the Report are held accountable.

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