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NEWS

Anti Corruption Takes Over US$9.6 Million Receipt Probe Dr. Conteh, Betts& Haja Kallah May Be Implicated
Posted by on Sep 23, 2010, 22:00

The newly crowned Commissioner of the Anti Corruption Commission, Lawyer Joseph Kamara has seemed to abandon the Alieu Sesay corruption case and has now opened a new file on the National Revenue Authority (NRA). The Alieu Sesay’s case has allegedly entered into a compromise stage and in its place is the US$9.6 Million Goods and Service Tax Receipt (GST) contract award investigation that has been launched.

 

The investigation into a printing contract, allegedly awarded to a Company in Ghana known as Joseph Printing Company is now at the centre of ACC, which is expected to consume large official working hours of the investigators who would want to dig and dive into the award. The contract was awarded without the input of the Members of Board of Directors of the National Revenue Authority or with the involvement and permission of the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA)

 

Sources say the brain behind what could be referred to as a “receipt deal” was master-minded by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic and Development Planning, Dr. Richard Conteh and was perfected by the Head of the Goods and Service Tax, Mr. Alfred Akibo Betts and the acting Commissioner General, Haja Kallah Kamara when the two of them appended their signatures to the document and later took it to Members of the Board at a board’s meeting for their blessing, which was rejected on the basis of wrong procedure and the colossal sum of money involved.

 

The same document report states, was rejected by the Financial Secretary, Mr. Edmond Koroma at the Ministry of Finance when it was presented to him, but his refusal did not stop Haja Kallah Kamara from going to the board for approval without giving them the opportunity to take an initial look at the contract document before appending their signatures on it.

 

When the issue came up few months back and fingers started pointing at the Deputy Minister, Dr. Richard Conteh as the principal schemer and master planner, he came out publicly denying his total involvement and informed the public through the media that he advised them to obtain permission from Members of the Board of Directors of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), by then the first consignment of the printed tickets had already landed on the soil of Sierra Leone through Kenya Airlines.

 

Last week, officials of the Anti Corruption Commission invited Haja Kallah Kamara to explain how the contract was awarded and what were the criteria examined for outsourcing the US$9.6Million receipt contract to a foreign Company in Ghana.

In addition, the officials wanted to know whether permission was sought from the NPPA and the Board of Directors of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), before the exercise took- off the ground. The acting Commissioner General reportedly spent hours at the Commission this week and by her side was lawyer Elvis Kargbo who guided her through out the time, statement was obtained from her.

 

The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Lawyer Campbell will also be invited by the Commission to throw light on the award of the GST receipt contract and the role of the Board. Mr. Campbell’s tenure as Chairman of the NRA Board is expected to expire any time from now, but his experience and knowledge are very crucial to the investigation, officials at the Commission say.

 

Meanwhile, there are strong indications as the investigation progresses that both Haja Kallah Kamara and Mr. Alfred Akibo Betts may be implicated, if so; charges relating to Violation of Procurement Procedures and Conspiracy to defraud the state of Sierra Leone may form part of the indictment.

 

What has baffled most observers of the NRA saga is the complacency of the Commission over the Alieu Sesay’s case who is still receiving about US$6,000.00 as monthly salary for doing nothing at home and other allowances, while workers of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) go without their leave and medical allowances




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