From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT PRESS RELEASE
By
Feb 23, 2010, 17:22

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
PRESS RELEASE

GOVERNMENT POSITION ON HAJA AFSATU KABBA, MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESOURCES

Consistent with government policy on transparency, openness and zero-tolerance on corruption, the Office of the President finds it absolutely necessary to let the public know its position on the matter of the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabba, with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) having invited her for questioning on allegations of corruption.

Unlike past instances when the President had found it essential to relieve public officials of their responsibilities on matters related to the ACC or the police, the matter of Haja Afsatu Kabba has not warranted either suspension or more punitive actions.

Comparatively, the circumstances that led to the suspension or relieving of the former Minister of Transport Kemoh Sesay, the former Minister of Health Sheku Tejan Koroma and the former Director General of the National Revenue Authority Alieu Sesay are individually as well as collectively different from those surrounding the issue of Haja Afsatu Kabba.

In Mr. Kemoh Sesayís case, the police requested the Presidency for access to the Minister which required the withdrawal of his ministerial immunity; thus his relieving.

In the matter of Mr. Sheku Tejan Koroma, the ACC charged him to court; and it was therefore appropriate that he be relieved of his duties.

On Mr. Alieu Sesay, the ACC actually wrote to the President requesting his suspension in order to have unimpeded access to his office in conducting their investigations.

However, in the case of Haja Afsatu Kabba, none of these instances applies. The President was informed about the ACCís intention to invite and interrogate the Minister. And as at now, that is all ACC officials have done. So far, the Minister has made herself readily available to the investigators and has not shown any obstructionist tendencies.

It is therefore logical that Haja Afsatu Kabba continues to hold her position as Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources until and unless it becomes absolutely necessary to relieve her of her duties, consistent with presidential discretion.

THE PRESS SECRETARIAT
STATE HOUSE
19 FEBRUARY 2010



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