By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Sierra Leone’s Anti-graft Agency has indicted the former Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) Dr. Sarah Finda Bendu and two other government officials according to a press statement from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 12th September.
‘’The Anti-Corruption Commission, on 12th September 2019, filed an indictment against Dr. Sarah FINDA Bendu, former Executive Director, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA); Mr. Victor Labor, Procurement Manager, SLRSA; and Ms. Kepiatu Alghali, former National Revenue Authority (NRA) Officer,’’the release states.
According to the release they were indicted on various counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds, contrary to Section 36(1); Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1); Failure to Comply with Applicable Procedures and Guidelines Relating to the Tendering of Contracts, contrary to Section 48(2)(b); and Failure to Comply with the Applicable Procedures and Guidelines Relating to the Management of Public Funds, contrary to Section 48(2)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, respectively.
‘’Acting on the Auditor General’s Report that public funds had been misappropriated by Dr. Bendu, Mr. Labor at the SLRSA, and Ms. Alghali of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) , between January 2016 and December 2017, the ACC accordingly instituted an investigation, the release further stated, adding that the investigations revealed that Dr. Bendu, Mr. Labor , and Ms. Alghali conspired to defraud the State of a total sum of Two Billion and Ninety One Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty-six Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Leones ,Eight Eight Cents (Le2, 091,736,520.88).
The ACC release noted that the accused persons, with intent to defraud the State, inflated customs duties, and payments for related services, and used the bank accounts of Centrum and KABS Clearing and Forwarding Agencies, and funnelled monies in the guise of clearing tow trucks and holographic windshield labels, adding that upon the transfer and receipt of each payment, the management of Centrum and KABS, on some occasions, directly transferred the funds to Ms. Alghali’s account.
It also said on other occasions, they withdrew these monies and handed over same to her in person and the investigations further revealed that Ms. ALGHALI shared these monies with various employees of the SLRSA, including Mr. Labor and Dr. Bendu; who got the Lion Share.
‘’Meanwhile, the three indicted persons are expected to appear in the High Court Holden at Freetown on the 2nd Day of October 2019. In this light, the Commission wishes to reassure the general public of its unshaken resolve to fight acts of corruption at all levels in Sierra Leone,’’the release ended.