The former Director of Finance at the Petroleum Directorate, Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Karefa Kargbo has seriously implicated former President Koroma in the alleged misappropriation of Le70, 294, 264, 523. 00 uncovered at the Petroleum Directorate by the Commision Inquiry.
Karefa Kargbo, Ernest Bai Koroma, Raymond Kargbo, Emmanuel Beresford Oshoba Coker, Momodu L. Kargbo, Dr. Michael S. Kargbo, Dr. Kaifala Marah and others were found guilty of impropriety misappropriation, corruption, gross abuse of office and maladministration by the Justice Biobele Georgewill’s Commission of Inquiry.
The government White Paper jointly instructed them to refund the sum of Le70, 294, 264, 523. 00 that had remained unaccounted for as monies not transferred to the Single Treasury account in 2017 and monies paid out illegally as terminal benefits to staff whilst still in the service of the Petroleum Directorate.
See full press release from Karefa Kargbo below
PRESS RELEASE -KAREFA KARGBO LT.COL (RTD)
My attention has been drawn to the Government of Sierra Leone White Paper on the recently concluded Justice Biobele George-Will Commission of Inquiry more particularly, Chapter Nine on Investigation into the Activities of the Petroleum Directorate between the period November 2007 and April 2018.
I note with grave concern and deep consternation, that my name has been mentioned with an unfortunate, seemingly calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation by the passing of a judgment against my person for acts ofgrave impropriety. The White Paper in the main stated against my person in Chapter 9 page 22 as follows:“Government notes the Commission’s findings (9.5, p.108) on H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma; ii. Raymond Kargbo; iii. Emmanuel Beresford Oshoba Coker; iv. Karefa Kargbo; v. Momodu L. Kargbo; vi. Dr. Michael S. Kargbo; vii. Dr. Kaifala Marah and their collaborators.
The Commission found, among others, acts of impropriety, misappropriation, corruption, gross abuse of office and maladministration. That the reckless manner in which the persons in question dealt with the finances of the Government under their care and failure to provide leadership led to the loss of the total amount of i. Le72, 254, 506, 000. 00; and ii. USD15, 413, 821. 00.”The White Paper further states at Chapter 9, page 22 in respect of my person:Government accepts recommendations 1-5 1.The following persons shall jointly and severally refund and pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Sierra Leone the sum of Le70, 294, 264, 523. 00 that had remained unaccounted for as monies not transferred to the single treasury account in 2017 and monies paid out illegally as terminal benefits to staff whilst still in the service of the Petroleum Directorate: i. H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma; ii. Raymond Kargbo; iii. Karefa Kargbo;I was resident in Sierra Leone during the entire period the Commissions of Inquiry were performing their work. I was never invited, notified expressly or implied that I was a person of interest or that my presence was required as a witness at the Commission of inquiries. I therefore fail to appreciate how an adverse finding,or a judgment could be passed on my person with materially adverse and life challenging implications for myself and my family withoutbeinggiven the opportunity to have rebutted any accusations.
2I wish my entire family, friends and the general public both in Sierra Leone and the wider world to note the following:1.
I was engaged at the Petroleum Directorate in the Accounting Department as the Financial Controller between the period August 2011 and 9thJanuary 2016. During my time in charge of the finances at the Directorate, Audit Service Sierra Leone has never foundus wanting and were always able to provide a clean opinion on our Financial Statements. Our internal control and accounting practices were commended as one of the best amongst Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Government of Sierra Leone.
2.Due to my intervention and renegotiation of the financial terms of several key agreements, Government saw a substantial increase in Revenue from the Petroleum Sector. For the first time in fact, Petroleum Companies paid signing bonuses directly to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, raising over US$30 million for the Government of Sierra Leone.
3.My employment with the Petroleum Directorate was terminated for “insubordination” on the 9thJanuary 2016; it follows therefore that:i.I was not at the Directorate when the Single Treasury Account came into force in October 2017. I could not therefore have been involved or had any influence on the decision to pay or not pay monies into the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2018.
How could judgement then be passed that I should refund monies that were unaccounted for and not transferred to the Single Treasury Account in 2017.ii.I was also nolonger atthe Directorate in 2017 or 2018 when members of staff were paid terminal benefits. When this was sought to be done during my time at the Directorate, I vehemently resisted the move and never implemented it, a stand that was part of the reason I was accused of “Insubordination.”iii.
I was also not in the employ of the Directorate in 2018 when SMRT was given aUS$3,000,000 loan to purchase Biometric Machines for elections; I could not therefore have been involved in this issue. iv.Even though I was the Financial Controller, when the NCP Loan of US$14,000,000 was made, the records show that that I was completely excluded from all meetings and was never even consulted on that issue. I was out of the Country when the entire transaction was effected and was never even informed by e-mail or text that there