April 20, 2014
- If there's too much smoke, too much hype from
any of the hirelings of the rat at State House,
then there's more than meets the eyes. And we
would dare to suggest that the custodial
sentences handed out quite recently is
selective punishment, not justice
A page on
the website of Sierra Leone's Anti Corruption
Commission headed by one of the hirelings of the
rat nestled at State House has a Press Release
proclaiming - "High Court hands down custodial
sentences on NRA/ECO bank officials for
And the press release goes
on to state that it was a landmark decision in
the case of the State vs Solomon Hindolo Katta
and others in that apart from the fines those
found guilty in the court presided over by one
Justice Paul had to pay, it would seem that for
the first time somebody is being sent to jail
apart from a fine.
What we are really
puzzled about in this matter is why this should
be seen as a landmark judgement in a country
where the rat proclaims zero tolerance for
corruption and we are quite sure that those
involved in this case are not the only ones to
have been convicted of corruption. This brings
to the fore just why others who could have been
caught with paws deep in the national purse were
not given custodial sentences as witnessed in
the cases the Anti Corruption Commission has so
proudly displayed on its web pages.
Now here's the juicy if
not weird aspect of it all - the charges. The
Press Release on the Anti Corruption Commission
website states - "All five were convicted for
offences including Conspiracy to Commit a
Corruption Offence, Misappropriation of Public
Revenue, Possession of Unexplained Wealth and
Failure to Fully Declare Assets to the
Commission, all contrary to the
Anti Corruption Act 2008."
Imagine this, if you
will. The provisions of the stated Act had been
there since 2008 and yet when one reads the
various government-oiled "news outlets" one may
be forgiven for thinking that it is only now
that the Anti Corruption Commission boss Joseph
has taken time off to carefully peruse the
document in full and becoming aware of the
We have in the past brought
the various offences under the Act to the attention of our
readers so that they too can see that if the
Anti Corruption boss and his paymaster at State
House were really interested in clamping down on
corruption, then many wrong doers and would be
followers and beneficiaries would have been
quaking in their boots/half-backs.
How can Joseph
Fitzgerald Kamara in all honesty gloat over the
custodial sentences handed out and worst of all
break into a smile as he reads on his website
that among the wrongs committed by the accused
Failure to Fully Declare Assets to the
Commission? We would want to remind him about
the notice he issued some time back in which he
published the names of people who had failed to
declare their assets as demanded by the law on
corruption. How many of these people have
And even more interesting - how many
state functionaries both within and outside
Sierra Leone have declared their assets as
demanded by the law?
How many ministers and
their deputies have complied?
How many heads of
government institutions and para-statals have
declared their assets as demanded by the law?
How many functionaries in our various missions
abroad have declared their assets?
And most of
all when will he make public the declaration of
the rat when he first took on the mantle of
If the five accused have
been nabbed on one of these, then we might just
need a whole new city/island of jail birds.
Then there's the issue
of unexplained wealth - Commissioner Joseph
Fitzpatrick Kamara cannot tell us that he is not
seeing all the time and every day persons
displaying wealth that cannot be explained. The
large number of sophisticated and expensive
vehicles, the large areas of deforestation going
on as construction of numerous buildings on the
hillsides continue unabated could not have
escaped his eyes. Let us remind the government
and the Anti Corruption boss about Part IV of
the 2008 Act under offences which states -
Acquisition of wealth
26. (1) A public officer commits an
offence of corrupt acquisition of wealth if it is found, that he is in control
or possession of any resources or property or in receipt of the benefit of any
advantage which he may reasonably be suspected of having acquired or received
corruptly or in circumstances which amount to an offence under this Act.
(2) Where during a trial of an offence
under subsection (1), the Court is satisfied that there is reason to believe
that any person is holding pecuniary resources or property in trust or otherwise
on behalf of the accused person or acquired such resources or property as a gift
from the accused, such resources or property shall, until the contrary is
proved, be presumed to have been in the control of the accused.
(3) A person guilty of an offence
under subsection (1) shall be liable on conviction be liable to a fine not less
than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years
or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(4) In addition to any punishment
prescribed by subsection (3), the Court shall, for an offence under subsection
(1), order that twice the amount or value of the resources or property acquired
or the advantage received by the person convicted be paid by him into the
(5) Where, after making the orders
prescribed in subsection (4), there is still some amount outstanding, the Court
shall make a further order that any person holding any moneys on behalf of such
person or gratuities, awards, pensions or similar entitlements due to such
person, shall pay such moneys or entitlements to the Accountant General.
(6) Where, after applying subsections
(4) and (5) there is still some outstanding amount to be paid by the person
convicted, that amount shall be regarded as a debt due to the Government and the
Commissioner may at any time bring a civil action in the Court or Magistrates’
Court, as the case may be, to recover the amount concerned.
27. (1) Any person who,
being or having been a public officer
(a) maintains a standard of living
above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments;
(b) is in control of pecuniary
resources or property disproportionate to his present or past official
emoluments, unless he gives a satisfactory explanation to the court as to how he
was able to maintain such a standard of living or how such pecuniary resources
or property came under his control, commits an offence.
(2) Where the court is satisfied in
proceedings for an offence under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) that, having
regard to the closeness of his relationship to the accused and to other
circumstances, there is reason to believe that any person was holding pecuniary
resources or property in trust for or otherwise on behalf of the accused or
acquired such resources or property as a gift from the accused, such resources
or property shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed to
have been in the control of the accused.
(3) A person guilty of an offence
under subsection (1) shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than
thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.
(4) In addition to any penalty imposed
under subsection (3), the court may order a person convicted of an offence under
paragraph (b) of subsection (1) to pay into the Consolidated Fund -
(a) a sum not exceeding the amount of
the pecuniary resources; or
(b) a sum not exceeding the value of
the property, the acquisition by him of which was not explained to the
satisfaction of the Court.
(5) An order under subsection (4) may
be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the High Court in its civil
(6) In this section, "official
emoluments” includes a Act No. 5 of 2001 pension or gratuity payable under the
National Social Security and Insurance Trust Act, 2001.
How about the number of
private residences and other buildings
attributed to the handiwork of his master at
Dare he ask the rat about his
And last but not the
What about all those cases the
conclusion of which he stated he would be
What happened to those appeals?
they submitted to the courts?
Has he forgotten
"The suspended Boss of the National
Revenue Authority, Alieu Sesay, Samuel Cole,
Franklyn Pratt, Gloria Gabisi and Fatmata
Ojubarra Sesay were acquitted and discharged on
all fifty seven counts of corruption offences.
The Trial Judge held that the Prosecution had
failed to establish that the 1st Accused, Alieu
Sesay conspired with his Co- Accused. The Judge
also believed that the Prosecution had failed to
prove that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Accused
acted in collusion with regards to the award of
the various contracts."