In the ongoing Chancery Building Case, Sierra Leone’s former permanent representative to the UN, Adekali Foday Suma has told the High Court in Freetown that he signed the contract for the renovation of the chancery building without complying with preconditions, but that he did so under instruction from the foreign ministry in Freetown.

Suma, who is the second accused in the ongoing corruption trial relating to the renovation of the country’s Chancery Building, was speaking under cross-examination by state prosecutor, K.A.S. Konteh on Wednesday 3rd April 2024. He said the change order-one contract document which he signed for the extension of the building was accompanied by a memo instructing him to sign the said contract.

The pre-conditions which were not met by the contracting partner, Fairfield Construction Company when Suma signed were that the registration to operate, tax period, and certificate of liability had all expired and that there were no records of an audit by the construction company.

Suma said it was the responsibility of the then Head of Chancery (HoC), the late Alusine Sesay to verify and ascertain all the lapses of the construction company. He said when he received the said document for his signature he took it to the HoC, who told him (Suma) that the document was from headquarters (Freetown) and that it had already been approved so it must be signed by him (Suma) as the head of the mission.

Asked whether the HoC is answerable to him as head of mission, the accused responded in the affirmative but noted that by protocol it’s on Internal matters and that concerning the chancery building, the HoC took instructions directly from headquarters in Freetown.

Suma also told the court that he was verbally told by the HoC that the pre-conditions had been verified but that he (Suma) did not put that in Writing.

The prosecutor told him “I put it to you then that due to the relevance of the contract, you were negligent by merely relying on the verbal explanation of the HoC”. The accused replied: “I was strictly instructed to comply with the content so I did.”

The 2nd accused also denied suggestions that he was knowingly negligent in violating provisions in the 2006 procurement regulation as his iob as permanent representative was not in charge of the procurement process.

He also denied that he and others conspired with Tules Sanders Davies, president of the construction company to misuse money provided by the government of Sierra Leone, insisting that he was not in charge of supervising the renovation of the chancery building because according to him, the HoC was part of a committee for the project. It was revealed that the contract document that Suma signed on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone was prepared by Fairfield Construction Company.