The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Serry Kamal has requested the presence of the former Minister of Education Science and Technology Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie to testify before the Commission of Enquiry; with regard to the implementation of the SABABU project, which was funded by ADB, IDB and the World Bank.
The Attorney-General told the Commission that, the Minister was the political head and has better knowledge as to how donor and Government funds were utilized during his tenure. It would be recalled that Alpha Wurie was the longest serving Minister in the Former Tejan Kabbah led Government, as he served for a period of eleven years (11yrs) in the capacity as Minister of Education, Science and Technology.
“He was the Head of the Steering Committee that was charged with the responsibility to award contracts for the construction, rehabilitation and supply of learning materials to schools a cross the country; but some schools never existed” he queried.
Several Civil Servants and independent contractors who had testified before the Commission of Enquiry on the SABABU Project have made startling revelations on the implementation of the project; some admitting major blunders while others are allegedly denying of having any knowledge in the award of contract.
Led in evidence by the Attorney-General, the Ag Chief Education Officer, Amadu Jallah denied attending any Steering Committee meeting though he was a member and also said that he did not participate in the award of SABABU Contracts at any giving time.
He told the Commission that, he visited some rehabilitated and constructed schools in the Kailahun District, that were provided with staff quarters and furniture during his tenure as Acting Chief Education Officer from July 3, 2007 to August 26, 2008 before he was sent on leave.
He also revealed to the Commission that, he deliberately closed his office doors and took the keys with him on leave; but later learnt that some of the Ministry Officials break in to the office and occupied it.
He disclosed that even though he recommended another Civil Servant to replace him that person was not allowed to perform the duties.
Amadu Jallah denied having knowledge of any contract agreement, but admitted that he failed to effectively monitor, evaluate and coordinate some of the SABABU implemented projects by service providers and contractors a cross the country; as he highlighted his job description as Chief Education Officer.
The Attorney-General questioned the performance of the Acting Chief Education Officer and referred to him as a failure in performing his duty at the Education Ministry and also made mention of “nonchalant attitudes in the Civil Service” which has led to mismanagement and maladministration in Government Departments. Serry Kamal also expressed disappointment and frustrations over an ECSLRRP Project at Hill Station that was meant for the construction of six class room blocks, for the Rural Development Vocational School that never existed; and the funds which were allocated to contractors for the project.
He also made mention of one Bobson Francis and Walker of the WFP School Feeding Programmes at the Ministry of Education who had signed as Proprietors of Institutions that never exist, but funds were allocated to them by the SABABU Project.
Additionally the Attorney General said; some Civil Servants had signed cheque and contracts on behalf of former Ministers before and after the General Elections, specifically between July and October 26, 2007.
He then tendered documents to the Commission as proof to his claims. Concluding his cross examination, the Attorney General noted that the Commission would visit all SABAU implemented projects across the country to properly investigate how donor and Government funds meant for the people were utilized.
The Chairman of the Commission, Gambian born Justice Semega Janneh adjourned the hearing to the 4th November 2008, while the Attorney General requested that Amadu Jallah Alhaji, AB Kamara and others be present at the hearing this week.
By Saidu Bah