State counsel, Musa Mewa, has told the Commission of Inquiry (COI) the former Minister of Finance, Momodu Kargbo, was ill advised to have approved the over Le200 billion loan to Road Maintenance Fund (RMFA). He said despite the fact that the State have not led evidence of his direct involvement in misappropriating State funds, but they did because of his approval of “No objection” to the loan. Commissioner William Atuguba heard submissions on 27th January 2020 at the former Special Court compound. Mewa said despite the fact that it is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to borrow on behalf of the government, it also goes with the corresponding obligation of his fair assessment before such approvals are given. He said the Minister’s decision was not fair hence, he failed to work in accordance with Section 2(1) and (2) of the Public Debt Management Act. Mewa said, “Look along the nature of the work done on the road, reconstruction or rehabilitation, the Minister’s decision was ill advised and caused a loss to the State.” He said the entire work for which the said loan was approved was outside the mandate of RMFA. The Minister ought not to have approved it because according to him, the RMFA Act 2010 states clearly that the institution will engage in ‘maintenance of core road network’.
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He said for the purpose of the RMFA Act core road networks are primary and secondary roads but noted that a good number of roads the loan was approved for were private roads. Lawyer Amadu Koroma, acting for Person of Interest, former Minister of Finance Momodu Kargbo, said there is no evidence before the COI that the former Minister received a kickback from the RMFA loan he approved. He said all the Minister did then was within the law and everything he did was legal. He said the State failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt claims against the former Minister of Finance, Momodu Kargbo. Counsel Koroma said the State failed to prove the former Minister of Finance acquired anything fraudulently. They (the State) are yet to prove if the loan was approved by the Minister for his personal use or kept in any account.
By Mohamed Kabba
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