Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a significant development, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has officially handed over seven government workers to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for a thorough investigation into the alleged diversion of Le6.5 billion. This move comes after an internal audit review exposed irregularities in payments made to Edward Davies and Associates Ltd.
According to the MoF’s press release, the funds were purportedly diverted to a fictitious account opened at the Kabala Community Bank, as revealed during the audit of payments associated with the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and their engagement with the Consultancy Firm for the construction of the Kenema-Pendembu Road.
The implicated government staff members are Jacob Tenga Sessie, Deputy Director of Budget at MoF; Emmanuel Smart, Accounting Officer at SLRA; Starlyn Kemoh, Ibrahim Bangura, John Ellie, Joseph Johnson, and Philip Yomba, all personnel from the Accountant General’s Department.
The Ministry disclosed that in December 2023, a total of Le6.5 billion was processed at the Accountant General’s Department for payment to Edward Davies and Associates Ltd. However, the subsequent investigations revealed that these staff members allegedly opened a fictitious bank account in Kabala, diverting the funds away from the legitimate account at Rokel Commercial Bank designated for the consultancy firm.
Upon the completion of its internal investigation, the Ministry promptly reported the findings to the ACC on January 8th, 2024. Additionally, a copy of the Internal Audit Report was submitted to the ACC on January 12th, 2024, providing comprehensive details of the alleged diversion.
This move underscores the government’s commitment to addressing corruption and ensuring accountability within its ranks, with the ACC now set to conduct a thorough probe into the matter. The accused government workers are expected to cooperate with the ACC’s investigations as the case unfolds. ZIJ/13/1/2024