Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has handed over Eight Hundred and Sixty Eight (868) bags of 50kg China Aid Rice recovered during the ‘China Rice Investigations” to the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSS) for onward transfer and presentation to the World Food Programme (WFP).
This is following the recovery of the rice during the just concluded investigations and after filing charges against various senior staff of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.
The brief event took place in the Conference Room of the Commission’s Head Office, at 3 Gloucester Street in Freetown.
Welcoming the representatives from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and World Food Program, the Deputy Commissioner of ACC, Augustine Foday-Ngobie said, it was not the first time the Commission had handed over proceeds of corruption to the appropriate institutions making mention of some of the proceeds the Commission had recovered in the past months, including Hotel, vehicles and money.
He added that upon receiving the information on the allegation of misappropriation of the Forty-Nine Thousand (49,000) bags of rice donated by the Chinese Government for the School Feeding Program, the Commission promptly investigated the matter and brought the investigations to a logical conclusion. He further said, the Commission was not able to recover all the 49,000 bags of rice, but the 868 bags recovered will go a long way to supporting the school feeding program and was symbolic of the initial intention of the Government. The Eight Hundred and Sixty Eight (868) bags of rice were recovered in three different locations; six hundred and nine bags (609) in Port Loko district, two hundred and fifty (250) bags in Bo district and nine (9) bags in Freetown, Mr. Ngobie averred.
The Deputy Commissioner Ngobie commended the ACC investigation team for the remarkable work and assured the visitors that ACC will continue to work tirelessly to combat corruption in the country. He said that, rice is a perishable commodity, which is why the Commission has decided to hand it over to the MBSSE to be subsequently given to WFP which will take possession of the commodity.
S.O.Z. Alghali, Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, said the Ministry is pleased with the work of the ACC. He added that they were unhappy to have heard that the first consignment of rice meant for the school feeding programme was mismanaged but are now pleased that some of the consignment were recovered. He said the Minister was very happy upon receiving the letter and information from the ACC that some of the bags of rice recovered would be handed over to his Ministry. He added that the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education will continue to support the ACC in its continued effort to combat corruption in the country.
On behalf of the Commission, the Deputy Commissioner, Augustine Foday Ngobie symbolically handed over the bags of rice to the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, represented by S.O.Z Alghali, which was in turn handed over to the World Food Program.
It may be recalled that sometime in 2019 the Government of the People’s Republic of China donated Forty Nine Thousand (49,000) bags of rice to the Government of Sierra Leone, which was designated and transferred to the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) for the School Feeding Program within the Free Quality Education flagship programme undertaken by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE). The said bags of rice were alleged to have been misapplied and misappropriated by some officials of the MBSSE and other individuals which prompted the ACC to institute and pursue investigations that has now led to the indictment of Alpha Timbo, the former Minister, Kadiatu Gogra, the former Deputy Minister, Charles Kamanda, the Permanent Secretary, Mamusu Massaquoi, Specialist Nutritionist – School Feeding Program, and one Zainab Binta Kamara, a business Woman. The trial continues in the High Court in Freetown.