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Sierra Leone News: Permanent Secretary testifies against former Works Minister

The Senior Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Joseph T. Kanu, testified as the 3rd prosecution witness in an alleged corruption case involving the former Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Kadija O. Sesay. Testifying before Justice Bintu Alhadi at the Siaka Stevens Street High Court in Freetown on Monday 1 April 2019, the witness being a former Permanent Secretary under Sesay between April 2017 and July 2018, said the vehicle that was driven by the Minister was not driven by a civil servant. He recalled being interviewed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in late 2018 stating that he was asked about a vehicle that was assigned to the Deputy Minister. He told the Commission that after the change of government in late April and early May 2018, the accused informed her that the vehicle had been commandeer by unknown men. He said he informed her that the government policy was that she reports the matter to the police. The witness said she did not come back to him. He added that he was expecting a written report but she only made a verbal report to him. He said according to the Code of Conduct for the use of government vehicles, the said vehicles should not be used for private purposes. He said all government vehicles should be driven by government staff. Following his evidence-in-chief, the accused was asked to cross-examine the witness as her defence counsel was absent. She revealed during the cross-examination that she made several verbal requests for a driver but was not given one. The witness said he could not recall whether the accused made such request but what he could say was that the Ministry was short of staff. The matter was adjourned to Monday 8 April for further cross-examination of the witness. Kadija O. Sesay is before the Court facing a charge of Misappropriation of Public Property contrary to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2008. According to the ACC between 7 March 2018 and 19 April 2018, it was alleged that the former Deputy Minister of Works, Kadija O. Sesay, misappropriated a government-owned, Toyota Land Cruiser worth a little over $75,000 USD. Sesay was released on self-bail at the ACC before she was charged to Court. The matter was initially a criminal matter before the Siaka Stevens Street Magistrate Court in Freetown on behalf of the Inspector General of Police. That case has now been dropped and the ACC has taken over. The Deputy Minister is currently on self- bail.


By Edna Browne-Dauphine

Tuesday April 2, 2019.