At COI… State Counsel Exonerates Koroma & Others

Lead counsel for the state, Oladipo Robin Mason, has dropped the matter against politically exposed persons with regards unsecured loans at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank.

Counsel of state submitted that the state would like to probe deeper the former Managing Directors and the respective Board Chairmen of the SLCB with respect of how Politically Exposed Persons got unsecured loans and overdrafts.

Against this backdrop counsels are now set to hear testimonies form former Managing Directors and Board Chairmen, including the former Mayor of Freetown and popular newspaper columnist, Winstanley Bankole Johnson, who served as Board Chairman for the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank.

Justice Biobele Georgewill, who has adjourned for Thursday 6th and 10th June, respectively, has also granted appeals by former MD of the National Minerals Agency, Sahr Wonday, to be heard on 6th June. It pertains to issues related to the National Minerals Agency when he was out of the country.

The State has led several witnesses, including past and present officials, with regards the management of the country’s mineral sector and issues relating to the issuance of exploration and mining licenses, Corporate Social Responsibility and the management of the Community Development Fund. They have been looked at so far.

The MD is expected to clarify and react to all allegations made so far with a view to allow the judge to close the matter and make his recommendations.

In another development, a revelation at Commission 65 of Justice Thompson has disclosed a huge controversy over the handling of cheques for the cash transfer program for farmers at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

State Witness, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Koroma, has testified that blank cheques for the project were controlled by the minister and his team, while defense counsel Lansana Dumbuya maintains that the cheques were maintained and handled by the ministry’s finance team.

The Cash Transfer Project was meant to provide soft loans for farmers in the country. The project was established after it became clear that farmers lacked standing fund to be able to buy seedlings and other tools to undertake their farming activities.

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