The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Serry Kamal has said that there are exhibits in possession of the Commission of Enquiry revealing how the former Education Minister Dr. Alpha Wurie and Former Finance Minister John Benjamin signed reports on funded schools that were not existing in the country.
This disclosure might possibly drag the newly elected SLPP chairman before the Commission of Enquiry to testify on his roles and responsibilities regarding the utilization of both donor and government funds particularly monies spent on SABABU projects during his tenure of office.
The exhibits reveal signatures of the former Education Minister and the former Minister of Finance on submitted reports to donors that appeared not to reflective the realities on the ground as most of the mentioned schools in the reports were not constructed or rehabilitated in any part of the country.
The Attorney General listed names of schools that were supposedly funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) which included the Hill Station Primary School in Freetown, Lunsar Primary School and other primary schools within Port Loko which were ghost schools despite the fact that the projects were funded.
Responding to the allegations of the Lead Counsel of the Commission of Enquiry Dr. Wurie said “the Hill station primary is not operational and I don’t know about the names of other primary schools in Lunsar and Port Loko mentioned in the exhibits”. Attorney General Serry Kamal told the Commission that Dr. Alpha Wurie is giving evidences that are at variance to that of the Project Director and other witnesses who had earlier testified before the Commission of Enquiry.
The Attorney General however promised to faithfully tender more evidences against the witness (Dr. Alpha Wurie).Other exhibits tendered to the commission included list of Islamic Development Bank funded projects that were categorized in to three groups as exhibit 328 of page 4 which indicates advance guarantee performance bonds of contractors.
Serray Kamal further told the commission that the Ministry of Education failed to supervise some of the advance performance guarantee bonds that were submitted to service providers by contractors because some of the bonds were fake while others had expired. He also told the Commission that “we want to establish who will take the liability of ($ 67,000USD) sixty seven thousand United States Dollars worth of teaching and learning materials that were not supplied by KPMG hired contractors.” he stressed.
Serry Kamal further told the commission in a boastful manner that “the Commission of Enquiry has already recovered (Le203,000,000) two hundred and three million leones from defaulters of the SABABU projects.
Dr. Alpha Wurie told the Commission about the Ministry of Education Science and Technology forwarded an emergency project for the support of primary education within the basic education profile to the Islamic Development Bank in 2001.
He noted that the project was initially to reconstruct and rehabilitate (142) one hundred and forty two primary schools nationwide with water and sanitation facilities and provision of teaching and learning materials. “The SABABU projects involved issues that impact on the issues of primary education in the Country”. Dr. Wurie also said that service providers were partners in development not agents and that 5% of the project funds were spent on supervision and monitoring of projects by service providers.
A memorandum of understanding submitted as exhibits to the Commission of Enquiry that was purportedly written on the instructions of Dr. Wurie as Minister reveals the variation of projects designated for Primary School to Junior Secondary Schools. The former Education Minister said he accepted the general principles of the document but complained of the mentioned schools in the document as they were not to his knowledge. He noted that relevant partners were adequately informed about his decision to redesignate project funds to other areas of intervention. The Minister was released at the Enquiry and told to report on April 22, 2009 for further investigations, some service providers also testified at the enquiry before the adjournment to a later date.