WHITE PAPER ON THE REPORT OF THE HON. SIR JUSTICE BIOBELE GEORGEWILL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO INTER ALIA EXAMINE THE ASSETS AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS IN RESPECT OF PERSONS WHO WERE PRESIDENT, VICE PRESIDENTS, MINISTERS, MINISTERS OF STATE AND DEPUTY MINISTERS; AND HEADS AND CHAIRMEN OF BOARDS OF PARASTATALS, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES WITHIN THE PERIOD FROM NOVEMBER 2007 TO APRIL 2018.
1. The SLPP New Direction Government in its commitment and desire to eradicate corruption, mismanagement and indiscipline in the affairs of government, as well as the recovery of all State assets and properties acquired through unexplained wealth and unjust enrichment, by Constitutional Instrument No. 64 of 2018 published in the Supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. CXLIX, No. 65 dated 1st August, 2018, instituted the Commission of Inquiry (Examination, Inquiry and Investigation) Notice (1), 2018 with Hon. Sir Justice Biobele Georgewill as Chairman and Sole Commissioner in order to:-
a) examine the assets and other related matters in respect of-
(i) persons who were President, Vice President, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers; and
(ii) Heads and Chairmen of Boards of Parastatals, Departments and Agencies within the period from November 2007 to April 2018
b) Inquire into and investigate whether assets were acquired lawfully or unlawfully;
c) inquire into-
(i) persons who were President, Vice President, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers; and
(ii) Heads and Chairmen of Boards of Parastatals, Departments and Agencies;
d) ascertain as to whether the persons referred to in sub paragraphs (a) to (c) –
(i) maintained a standard of life above that which was commensurate to their official emoluments;
(ii) owned or were in control of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to their official emoluments or there are evidence of corruption, dishonesty or abuse of office for private benefit by them;
(iii) collaborated with any person in respect of such corruption, dishonesty or abuse of office;
(iv) acted wilfully or complacently in such a manner so as to cause financial loss or damage to the government, local authority or parastatal including a public corporation;
(v) acquired directly or indirectly financial or material gains fraudulently, improperly or wilfully to the detriment of the government, local authority or a parastatal including a public corporation, statutory Commission, body or any university
e) to inquire into and investigate any persons or matters as may from time to time referred to the Commission by his Excellency the President.
2. The Commission has submitted its Report on the assets and other related matters in respect of persons who were President, Vice Presidents, Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers; and Heads and Chairmen of Boards of Parastatals, Departments and Agencies within the period from November 2007 to April 2018 and Government has since reviewed the Report and recommendations therein.
3. Government wishes to reiterate its commitment in the fight against corruption and public malfeasance as well as restoring decency, accountability, transparency and good government in the administration of our country.
4. Accordingly, it is hoped that public officers would learn from the findings of the Commissions of Inquiry.
Investigation into the Ebola Response
Government notes the Commission’s findings (2.5, p38) on Miatta Kargbo; Madina S. Rahman; Alfred Palo Conteh; Dr. Donald Bash Taqi; and Steven Gaojia as they “… were involved in gross abuse of their offices in the reckless manner in which they dealt with the finances of the Government under their care and failure to provide leadership and supervision of the Ministry or Department or Agency put under their charge”, resulting in the misappropriation of Le85, 239, 738, 225. 94 and USD2, 471, 993. 41.
This money remain unaccounted for between the EOC/Ministry of Health and Sanitation; NERC, and their several Collaborators. For instance, BDO received Le316, 501, 686, 207. 99, out of which the sum of Le293, 103, 937, 677. 71 was spent on approvals by Alfred Palo Conteh as CEO of NERC for payments, leaving a balance of Le23, 397, 748, 530. 28 which has remained unaccounted for.
Also, there were supporting documents for only Le1, 964,950,000.00 of US$360,000.00 paid to sea freight of 4 Ambulances and the balance has remained unaccounted for by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation paid the sum of US$6, 000, 000. 00 without supporting documents.
Mr. Steven Gaojia also insisted that Le7, 000, 000, 000. 00 and US$1, 183, 000.00 were withdrawn by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation but was not accounted for by NERC. Further, that a total of 254 Vehicles and Motorbikes out of the 702 Vehicles remain unaccounted for by NERC.
Government accepts recommendations 1-6
1. The following persons shall jointly and severally refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of Le33, 643, 447, 070. 00 and USD1, 050, 000. 00 that were misappropriated and or had remained unaccounted for, namely: i. Miatta Kargbo; ii. Madinah Rahman; iii. Dr. Donald Bash – Taqi; iv. Charles Mambu, and v. Mohammed Paul Kamara of Kingdom Security and Logistics Limited.
2. The following persons shall jointly and severally refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of Le50, 955, 471, 155. 95 and USD1, 183, 000. 00 that were misappropriated and or had remained unaccounted for, namely: i. Alfred Palo Conteh, and ii. Steven Gaojia.
3. i. Alfred Palo Conteh, ii. Steve Gaojia and iii. Omaru Badara Sisay shall produce and hand over to the Government of Sierra Leone the total number of 254 vehicles and motorbikes that were not handed over to Office of National Security at the folding up of NERC.
4. Splash Mobile Communications shall refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of Le640, 819, 999. 99 hazard allowances which it has failed to refund till date.
5. Samuel Abayomi Noldred and his Firm, BDO shall refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of USD52, 347. 55 being outstanding balance from the Ebola response fund it has failed to transfer to IHPAU.
6. Alpha Umaru Jalloh, Head of IHPAU unit of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and his finance team headed by Ayodele Martyn shall refund the sum of USD186, 645. 86 transferred to them by BDO which had remained unaccounted for as spent on bogus operation cost of IHPAU.
Government accepts recommendation 7. However, Government directs that all amounts due and recommended to be refunded and paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone shall be done within 90 days from the date of the publication of the Report together with this White Paper.
7. All amounts due and recommended to be refunded shall be refunded and paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone within 30 days from the date of the ratification of the recommendations by the Government of Sierra Leone.
Government notes recommendation 8 having regard to its response to recommendation 7 above.
8. In the event of failure or neglect or refusal to make the refunds and payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone within the 30 days period by any one as indicted above, the Government shall use all lawful means to confiscate all monies standing to the credit of any of the indicted persons in any bank accounts and properties, movable and immovable, including houses, vehicles, stocks belonging to any of the indicted persons for the purposes of selling them to recover the said amounts.
Government rejects recommendation 9 as it tends to distract from the object of the Commission of Inquiry. The focus of Government is to recover the people’s money and not to restrain anybody from political participation.
9. The following former public officials: i. Miatta Kargbo, ii. Madina S. Rahman, iii. Alfred Palo Conteh, iv. Dr. Donald Bash Taqi, and v. Steven Gaojia, be barred from holding any public offices on subvention or howsoever funded by the Government of Sierra Leone for a period of Five Years from the date of acceptance of this recommendation by the Government of Sierra Leone.
Investigation into the Granting of Unsecured Credits to Politically Exposed Persons by Sierra Leone Commercial Bank between November 2007 and April 2018
Government notes the Commission’s findings (3.5, p47) on i. Idrissa Alooma Kamara, ii. Tapsiru Lamin Dainkeh, iii. Abu Kamara, iv. Winstanley Bankole Johnson, v. Crispin Deigh, vi. George Carl Taylor, vii. Idrissa Amadu Kamara and all former Chairmen of the Board and Managing Directors of the SLCB. The Commission found, among other things, that Crispin Deigh, a former Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank from February 2008 – June 2013 “… was grossly negligent in the performance of his duty and failed to put his authority as the Managing Director to proper and diligent use…”
For instance, he deliberately abdicated his supervision responsibilities of his subordinates who “… recklessly granted several unsecured loans to politically exposed persons and also to businesses owned by politically exposed persons” resulting into huge debt burden of Le7, 100, 159, 352. 29. Mr Deigh did admit under clarifications by the Commission that “… he takes the blame for the unpaid unsecured loans granted to a customer previously owing the bank…”
Government accepts recommendations 1-3
1. As a deterrent and lesson for present Bank Officials in Sierra Leone to exercise utmost caution and due diligence when dealing with funds of shareholders and customers in their custody on issues of unsecured loans and credits, Mr. Crispin Deigh, a former Managing Director of SLCB from February 2008 – June 2013 shall pay 0.05% of the outstanding amounts on the debts due from African Sunshine Co. Ltd, Le3, 071,153,464.26 amounting to Le1, 535, 576. 00; 0.15% of the debts due from Club Tourism and Entertainment Ltd, Le247, 374,225.47 amounting to Le371, 061. 00 and the 0.10% of the debts due from West Africa Trading Company, Le497, 798,843.00 amounting to Le497, 798. 00.
2. Following from the above, Mr. Crispin Deigh shall pay the total sum of Le2, 404, 435. 00 to the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank as his contribution towards the liquidations of the above outstanding debts arising from his lack of supervision and negligence in the course of his duty.
3. All the Directors of the Companies as well as all the individuals indicted above shall pay to the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank all the due outstanding debts less the amounts apportioned to be paid by Mr. Crispin Deigh in paragraph 3.6.1 above
Government accepts recommendation 4. However, Government directs that all amounts due and recommended to be refunded and paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone shall be done within 90 days from the date of t