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Sierra Leone News: Le497m missing – No farming on youth farm

The Project Manager of the youth farm and his team allegedly siphoned off Le497 million allocated to compensate landowners in Port Loko District, according to Detective Inspector Lansana Andrew Musa, of the Secretariat of the Commission of Inquiry. Family heads from Benkeh Curve, Masalia and Masourie were to receive Le750 million from the Government of Sierra Leone as compensation for their land but received only Le253 million. Inspector Musa testified on Monday 18 March 2019 before Commissioner Biobele Georgewill of the Commission of Inquiry at the former Special Court compound. He said on 7th February 2019, a team of police officers went to Port Loko to verify the existence of the farm, conduct interviews with the land vendors and record the current status of the farm. The witness said they contacted the Paramount Chief of Koya Chiefdom with the three family heads, and obtained statements from them. Musa said, “We observed 20 dilapidated houses on the farm, a withering pineapple farm and a small swamp farm. He added that only two out of the 22 dilapidated buildings were occupied.  He continued, “From my investigation, the total sum of money received by the families… was Le253 million and the project staff, Mustapha Turay and team, converted Le497 million under the pretext of paying taxes and compensating officials in the Ministry of Youth Affairs. Inspector Musa said there is no farming going on at the moment on the land. He noted their discovery of a non-functioning bore hole on the farm without a pump machine. He added, the landowners are not aware of the total compensation due and signed documents prior to the compensation agreement. Mustapha Turay is the Project Manager of the youth farm, which was initiated by the former APC Government to create jobs for youth and help in the area of food production. According to earlier testimony from Turay, they paid Le750 million to the three family heads in three segments. He noted that they only deducted NRA withholding tax.


By Mohamed J. Bah

Wednesday March 20, 2019.