The Commission of Inquiry (COI) was informed by the State counsel, Musa Mewa, in his closing submission, that properties at 37 & 39 Spur Road was sold for Le9 billion to Person of Interest, John Bonoh Sisay, the former APC flagbearer aspirant and cousin of former President Ernest Bai Koroma. The State counsel spoke at the former Special Court compound in Brookfields yesterday, Monday 3rd February 2020, under the watch of Justice William Atuguba. No defense oral closing submission was made for or on behalf of the former Sierra Rutile Chief Executive Officer. Mewa said, “It is in evidence before this Commission that the survey plan of the property reads as property of the Sierra Leone Selection Trust, which was later named as National Diamond Mining Company (NDMC).” He said there is nowhere in the survey plan that reads as the property of the Precious Mineral Marketing Company (PMMC) stressing, “The description of the document does not relate to the Plaintiff, because the three schedules and two survey plans were maintained in the Memorial.” Mewa informed the Commission that according to the National Assets and Government’s property Commission Act, 1990, it was established for the provision, control and identification of all government’s property and national assets. He cited Section 3(5) of the Commission’s Act, which provides that “No disposal of any national assets or government property SHALL take place without prior consultation with the Commission.” The State counsel said in the statement of Frank S.P.K. Lawson, the then Executive Secretary of the Commission since 2009, the properties situate at 37 & 39 Spur Road are government properties. He told the COI the properties were owned by the government through the 100% shares owned by the Government in the NDMC. According to Mewa, the then Executive Secretary told the Commission that certain individuals or institutions were about to sell the NDMC properties by way of auction. He said the Commission issued a press release warning people not to participate in the sale because it is owned by the government but noted that their press release was responded to with a letter from the undersheriff that they were interfering with Court decision.
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Mewa said the former Attorney General, Franklyn Bai Kargbo, was informed by the Officials in the Commission but he told them that his office may not be able to represent them due to factors he cannot explain to them, but however advised then to seek external solicitors to represent them if they wanted to take the case to Court. The State counsel said when procedures were not followed for the sale of government properties, the National Assets and Government’s property Commission wrote a letter dated 30th May 2012 to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources as well the Office of the President to inform them. He said the Secretary to the President E.B. Osho Coker replied to the letter dated 12th June 2012, stating that Presidential clearance for payment of external solicitors cannot be processed, and informed the National Assets and Government’s property Commission to re-submit the matter to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The State Counsel stated, “Although the Precious Mineral Marketing Company was not the owner of the said government properties, the sale still went on regardless of the protest by the National Assets and Government’s property Commission.” He continued, “On behalf of the State we most humbly pray for the recovery of these properties as a recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry.”
By Mohamed Kabba
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