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NEWS : Politics  

APC Ministers Blast US Diplomat
By Bampia Bundu
Feb 17, 2011, 17:24
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The Minister of Defence has joined the Minister of Information and Communications on the crusade to seriously lambaste former American Ambassador to Sierra Leone over a leaked US Embassy Cable Report suggesting that the Minister of Defence converted donor funds to his personal use.

 

At an emergency press briefing on Wednesday 16th February 2011, Defence Minister Paolo Conteh toed the line of Information Minister Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo to stoutly deny the report authored by former US Embassy Charge DAffairs, June Carter Perry, which was recently leaked by the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks. 

Defence Minister Paolo Conteh


The said report alleged that that the United Kingdom Government through DFID donated $4.6m to the Ministry of Defence in support of its Peace Support Operations in Dafur, Sudan. The report furthered that half of the aforementioned funds were converted to the personal use of the Defence Minister and other top APC officials.


Paolo Conteh described the report as not only preposterous and erroneous but also deliberately aimed at discrediting him and the Ministry.


He described the assertions of June Carter Perry as utter fabrication.

I.B Kargbo

 

In our (RSLAF) effort to become a member of the United Nations Peace Support Operations as a Troop Contributing Country (TCC), we (RSLAF) received material support from the Governments of China, UK, USA and Canada. The UK Government through the International Military Advisory Training Team (IMATT) donated 1.85m in support of our PSO aspiration. This amount was not handed over to RSLAF in cash.


Instead, it was used by the UK Government, using UK public procurement processes to buy communications equipment and vehicles, he said, adding: Neither the Government of Sierra Leone nor the Ministry of Defence had access to the money.


According to the Defence Minister, it was IMATT that bought the equipment and shipped them directly to Port Sudan.


Infact my first sighting of these kits was last week during my visit to the troops in Dafur, the Minister alleged, while reporting that the equipment under review were in good working order and fit for purpose.


Paolo Conteh emphasized that the Ministry of Defence and himself were never part of any of the procurement processes by the agents of the donor countries (DFID and PAE).


On the local front, he continued, the Ministry of Defence, in accordance with the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) contracted a local company, Rokel General Suppliers, for the purchase of local items including four Plasma Televisions for the troops in Dafur.


It could be recalled that Information and Communications Minister, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo was the first to defend the report and in the process described June Carter Perry as hypocrite.

 

IMATT and the British High Commission in Sierra Leone are yet to react to the said report that reportedly emanated from the whistle blowing website, WikiLeaks.


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