The retirement gratuity in favour of former ACC boss Val Collier was recently tabled in Parliament by the Majority Leader, Hon Edward M. Turay.
Val Collier, who was the first Anti-Corruption Commissioner from the period 1st April, 2000 to 8th November, 2005 was receiving a monthly basic salary of Le 8, 410,647 with an annual basic salary of Le 100, 927,764.
His retirement gratuity is 15% of his basic annual salary for each year which is Le 15, 139, 165 for a number of five years for which his gross retirement gratuity is Le75, 695,823.
Seen to be denied of his right, the former ACC boss wrote a letter of petition to President Koroma on September 11, 2008.
In that letter he claimed that injustice was perpetrated against him in November, 2005 when acting in contravention of the provisions of sec 2 sub sec 5 and 5 of the ACC 2000; where he said he was summarily removed from office out of vindictiveness and persecution for which he was made to answer to charges of contempt and also face Parliamentary inquiry on allegations of misappropriation.
He petitioned that he was also deprived of all benefits due him after rendering faithful and unalloyed services to the state of Sierra Leone and for his insistence in upholding the tenets of the job he was appointed to do without any fear or favour.
Val Collier also petitioned that his Human Rights regarding his freedom of movement as enshrined in the constitution was also interfered with to the extent that on one occasion he had to lodge a protest with the Solicitor General. “Documentary evidences also exists which indicate that it was a deliberate act to deprive me of my rights and benefits even after the Parliamentary Inquisition, no matter how hard they tried they were unable to convict or prove my wrong doing; and I made it a point of duty to bear it all in silence firm in the belief that history will absolve me”,
He narrated that one of the crimes he was accused of by the then Speaker in an unprecedented public outburst, was that he arrogated to himself the authority of fixing his salary and exorbitantly lavish Government funds on himself. “When I was unexpectedly called upon to take office as Head of ACC in February 2000, I was still serving as Secretary to the Cabinet; and all I had then to start in the office was a copy of the ACC Act, minus any accommodation, staff or funding. “Granted that I did not then negotiate my salary with Parliament, I at that time had so much on hand to attend to not to talk of finding my way around this new uncharted field of endeavor, being the first of this kind in Sierra Leone”
He disclosed that as he believed he was called upon to serve in such capacity, wherein moral rectitude and integrity were the hall marks one must endeavor to live up to; and considering the fact that there was at that time no conditions of service in place for Commission’s staff, it would have been selfish to consider himself first. The salary issue he went on, took two years before Staff conditions were given due consideration; after which the Minister of Finance gave him conditions of service and the emoluments in close parity to that of third line Officers serving as Directors.
The petitioner further observed that Parliament scrutinized all the Commission’s budgets without any complaint or reservation for a period of five years and that non compliance would have been raised after these scrutinies. “Mention should be made of the fact that my successor in office was granted substantial increase and emoluments and other benefits by the very same Parliament that had publicly and wrongfully accused me of exorbitantly lavishing State funds on my self. What a travesty of Justice”, he said.
He prayed that his terminal benefits due him following his sudden removal from office in November 2005 be made and severance pay be granted him in lieu of no prior notice given for his removal from office and his outstanding telephone bills which the Commission deliberately refused to Honour during 2005 fiscal year, be settled.
By Ishmael Bayoh