Abuse of Office at SLMA

….Deputy Minister accused  

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo 

Paul Sobba Massaquoi, Executive Director

The Sierra Leone Maritime Administration seems to have been the backyard of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) where some top officials have been subjected to corruption investigations and found wanting of committing crimes against the state. The ACC has not stopped investigating some allegations of corruption that had come to its purview since the Bio-led government came into office. One issue of interest that the Commission has not paid attention to is the letter written by the Board Chairman, Alhaji Umaru Dumbuya dated 30th April 2020 and addressed to the Secretary to President and copied to the Chief Minister and other key stakeholders. The letter accused the Deputy Minister of Transport of imposing his Elder Sister, Mrs. Inatorma Coomber to be employed as Head of Administration and Human Resource.

The Board Chairman stated thus: “Sir, I am aware of all the correspondences between the Ministry and the ED that I am copied I challenged any one to say that I have been anything less than a unifier. I have given my fullest cooperation to the Ministry, when we received the letter of appointment for Director of Admin and HR who happened to be the elder sister of the Deputy Minister. I never question the appointment and I welcomed her with open arms and our relationship has been excellent. However, the request to the board to split the HR and the Admin Department has been a thorning issue.” “The statement of the Board Chairman sent a clear message to the ACC that something is wrong somewhere during the recruitment process, which must have been done in a competitive basis,” a Senior Official at the SLMA remarked.

The ACC was set up for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption and corrupt practices and to provide for other related matters. It is now left with the Commission to ascertain whether the current issue at the SLMA is in contravention of the ACC Act of 2008 or not. Section 44 (1) and (2) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 states that   “(1) Subject to subsection (3), a public officer who makes use of his office or position for an advantage for himself or another person commits an offence and 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. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a public officer shall be presumed until the contrary is proved, to have made use of his office or position for an advantage where he has taken any decision or action in relation to any matter in which he, or a relative or associate of his, has a direct or indirect interest.”

So far, the current SLMA Executive Director, Paul Sobba Massaquoi is reportedly struggling to operate with some incompetent senior staffs that were imposed by some quarters before his assumption of office in June this year. 

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