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In Sierra Leone, After Fruitless House-Hunting for Non-Existent Afsatu House... : ACC ĎIntimidatesí Fisheries Permanent Secretary
By Sylvia O. Blyden
Mar 11, 2010, 17:34
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The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources, Mr. Paul Sandy has informed Awareness Times that in the evening hours of yesterday March 10th 2010, he was put under "serious intimidation" by investigators of the countryís Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) which latterís activities lately have smacked of a lack of integrity.

Although ACC Boss, Abdul Tejan-Cole informed Public Radio that the ACC had no more witnesses in their investigation of Hon. Afsatu Kabba except the Minister herself, yesterday evening after working hours, the Permanent Secretary Mr. Paul Sandy tells Awareness Times that he was whisked from his Youyi Building office to the ACC Headquarters where he claims he was subjected to serious brow-beating to the extent that he was visibly shaken when speaking to this writer last night.

Awareness Times had approached Paul Sandy for his comments on yesterdayís edition of a local tabloid which had alleged that Minister Kabba had abused her office by misusing a Government vehicle numbered ABJ 544.

It was during this course that Sandy revealed that two ACC Investigators tried to get him to change the original statement he had made to them about the alleged employment of the Ministerís son at the Ministry.

"First of all, they said to me that my own statement made earlier to them was different from what the Ministerís son told them but they did not tell me what was this difference even when I asked. They only said they wanted me to make a new statement to clarify my old statement. They then said the Volunteer Letter that the Ministry gave to young men had Roman numerals in wrong order and wanted me to make a fresh statement all over," Sandy lamented.

"When I told them that I had nothing to change in my original statement, to my shock, they tried to intimidate me by threatening me that they could make life hard for me. They then accused me that I never filled out an Asset Declaration Form last year so they warned me that I could be charged for failing to declare my assets. However, I stood my grounds and I insisted that not only did I fill out an Asset Declaration Form but I have a receipt from the ACC which shows that I have since complied with the Law but they insisted that their records shows that my name never filed Asset Declaration," Sandy informed.

According to the Permanent Secretary, he then told the ACC investigators that he had nothing more to say to them unless with a lawyer this time. He claims that to his shock, he was expecting them to give him a few days time to find a lawyer who will accompany him but he was instructed to report first thing this morning for further questioning with his lawyer or "drastic action" would be taken against him. He also alleges that the ACC warned him to ensure he comes along with the ACCís receipt of his Assets Declaration Form.

"I do not want ACCís problems and so I have already informed a lawyer this night who has agreed to accompany me first thing in the morning to the ACC. I am going along with the evidence of their receipt of my Asset Declaration Form but as for the new statement they want from me, I do not have anything to change in my statement," Sandy asserted ending that he was however right now "very much in fear that my honesty in answering the questions put to me by ACC has upset the ACC and this has created powerful enemies for me as we all know the ACC is very powerful in this country. I am in fear right now but even so I will not tell a lie against Haja Afsatu Kabba".

In a related development, residents of the area of Freetownís Peninsular Area known as MET-CHEM yesterday evening told Awareness Times that men with ACC Identity Cards, raided their area yesterday shortly after mid-day asking to be shown a house they say is being built by Afsatu Kabba.

One of the residents who met with the investigators, Mr. Ponsi Daramy, told Awareness Times that they drove the investigators away from their area as Afsatu Kabba does not have any house there. It will be recalled that a local tabloid had recently published a photograph of a huge three storeyed walled and gated building construction at MET-CHEM which he alleged belonged to Minister Afsatu Kabba.

The Minister herself told Awareness Times last week that the first time she set eyes on such a building was on the day it was published on the front pages of that tabloid. It would appear that the ACC investigators are on the lookout for this said building but investigations conducted so far by this presshouse indicates the photographed house is being built by a man named Rahmanu Carew and his sister Roki Rahman.

As stated earlier, ACC Boss saidACC had no more statements to take from anyone else in this ongoing investigation except from the Honourable Minister who was currently unwell. How come ACC is now hounding the Permanent Secretary for a fresh statement and how come alleged ACC investigators are now rampaging over Met-Chem area searching for a non-existent house belonging to Afsatu Kabba was the question on many lips last night.

Awareness Times tried to contact the ACCís Spokesperson, Ms. Glennis Sourie last night but her phone was off. Similar we could not get in touch with the ACC Boss Abdul Tejan-Cole whose phone was ringing incessantly. This reported intimidation of Permanent Secretary Paul Sandy plus the fresh house-hunting saga are just the latest in a series of unfortunate events that have dogged the integrity credentials of the Anti Corruption Commission.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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