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Sierra Leone News: ACC leads 4th witness in NASSIT/SISIMI Medical Foundation Inc.

On Friday 1st March 2019, at the Siaka Stevens Street High Court in Freetown, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) led their fourth prosecution witness in the matter involving Joseph Sedu Mans, the former Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and Yeabu M.D. Kamara, former Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the NASSIT. It is alleged that the accused engaged in a project with SISIMI Medical Foundation without prior planning for the development, construction, and delivery of an urgent care delivery service system for medical services, between 1 August 2016 and 31 August 2017. It is also alleged that both parties failed to comply with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2016 in entering into a joint venture agreement with SISIMI Medical Foundation Inc., which is contrary to Section 48(2) (b) of the ACC Act. Also, the accused allegedly misappropriated public funds by authorizing and facilitating the disbursement and payment of $1 million USD to SISIMI/NASSIT Medical Project a joint venture special project vehicle. They are charged with four counts of Conspiracy to commit a corruption offence; Engaging in a Project without prior Planning; Misappropriation of Public Funds; and willfully failing to comply with the law relating to the tendering of contracts, all contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act No.12 of 2008. According to the fourth witness, Hassan Osman Bangura, who claimed to be the Director of Internal Audit at NASSIT, he was aware of the SISIMI Project noting that in April 2017 the 1st accused asked him to carry out an audit on the geotechnical, topographical and environmental impact assessment on the process. He said no pre-qualification was done in respect of restrictive bidding. He also said the first accused was not a member of the special purpose vehicle. The witness was briefly crossed-examined by defense counsel. The lead ACC prosecutor said he will bring two additional witnesses on the next adjourned date. The matter was adjourned to 6 March 2019. Both accused are on bail.

EBD/2/3/19

By Edna Browne-Dauphine

Monday March 04, 2019.

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