ACC convict testifies against former SLRSA boss, Procurement Manager

Former staff of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) Kepiatu Alghali, has testified as prosecution witness in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) matter involving Sarah Bendu, former Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) and Victor Labor, former Procurement Manager, SLRSA. Alghali was a co-accused person in this matter. The allegation against them is that between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2017, in Freetown, the three conspired to misappropriate two billion, ninety-one million, seven hundred and thirty-six thousand, five hundred and twenty Leones and eighty-eight cents (Le2,091,736,520.88). The ACC claim that part of the money was paid to Centrum Clearing and Forwarding Agency by the SLRSA while the remaining part was paid to KABS Clearing and Forwarding Agency purportedly for the clearing of tow trucks and holographic windshield labels. In addition, Bendu and Labour were charged with the offence of ‘Failure to Comply with Applicable Procedures and Guidelines relating to the tendering of contract’. The ACC alleged that the accused willfully failed to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the tendering of contracts to the two clearing and forwarding agencies. Also that Bendu failed to comply with ‘Applicable Procedures and Guidelines relating to the Management of Public Funds’. During their first appearance before the Judge, Alghali pleaded guilty to the allegation against her. The presiding Judge levied a fine of Le300 million on Alghali and ordered that she pay as restitution Le227 million. Testifying against the two accused at the Siaka Stevens Street High Court on Monday 25 November 2019, Alghali referenced two occasions in which she was asked by the 2nd accused, Labour, to get them a clearing and forwarding agent. The first was in 2016 when she was asked to get a clearing and forwarding agent for the clearing of a tow truck. She said she contacted Centrum Clearing and Forwarding Agency on the request of the SLRSA. Centrum was given the contract. SLRSA paid Le2.4 billion to Centrum. When the process was completed there was an excess of about Le500 million. When she informed Labour about the excess, Labour instructed her to share the money amongst him, Bendu, the agent, the accountant, and herself. She sent some people to deliver the share of the accused persons at a meeting point, which they themselves recommended.

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