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Sierra Leone News: SISMI NASSIT joint project allegedly corrupted by officials

On Wednesday 13th August 2019, Anti-Corruption Commission investigator, Andrew Demby tendered several notices, correspondences, memos and bank statements that were obtained during the investigations of the alleged corruption matter involving former Director-General, National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) Joseph Mans and Board Chair Yeabu M.D. Kamara. In his presentation of the 52 page document obtained from persons and institutions that are of interest to the investigation, the witness further told the Court that Mans authorized the payment of an extra Le180 billion after exceeding the $1 million USD from the exco account that was meant for the pre- financing of the SISMI NASSIT project. The authorization of such additional payments, the witness said, was against NASSIT Board’s direction as he stated that the board was not satisfied with the explanation of how the initial $1 million USD was expended. He added that Mans could not explain to the commission why Le7 billion public funds for the implementation of the joint project between SISMA and NASSIT was never realized. Demby stated that Mans also requested $200,000 from Doctor Rashid Abassi, Chief Executive Officer, SISIMI medical venture for the facilitation of the joint project. Meanwhile, both the accused persons in their first appearance before the Court denied the corruption allegations. The two are charged with six counts of Conspiracy to Commit Corruption Offence, misappropriation of public funds, Failing to comply with the Law relating to the tendering of contracts and Engaging in a project Without Prior Planning contrary to the ACC Act of 2008.  It is alleged that Mans and Kamara, between 1st August to 31st December 2016 and 2017 conspired to misappropriate Le6,510,290,000 meant for SISIMI NASSIT medical project, a joint venture special project meant for the provision of urgent care delivery service systems that should provide quality medical and diagnostic services in Sierra Leone. Both accused are on bail as the matter continues on 20 February 2019 for the witness to further explain the several documents he has presented before the Court.

SV/13/2/19

By Sylvia Villa

Thursday February 14, 2019.

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