Over UN Chancery Building Project in New York…‘SLPP Prove Witch Na Court’Ali Kabbah Exposed

Over UN Chancery Building Project in New York…‘

SLPP Prove Witch Na Court’

Ali Kabbah Exposed

By our Court Correspondent

During Court sittings on the matter brought against former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Ernest Bai Koroma government and Presidential Candidate for the APC in the 2018 Presidential Elections, Dr Samura Kamara, the prosecution witness and Anti-Corruption Commission’s Chief Investigator, Joseph Bockarie Noah, told the Court that the sum of $1 million was deposited by the Chinese into the private account of the Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Bio government at the time, Ali Kabba, and not in the government account, as should be the case. Joseph Bockarie Noah told the Court that when Dr KaiKai, Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations at the time, requested assistance from the Chinese for funds to renovate the Sierra Leone UN Mission Chancery in New York, he directed that the funds be paid into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ account in Sierra Leone, but this directive was countered by the then Foreign Minister, who directed that the Chinese pay the amount into a private account, which they did. Noah furthered that after the payment of the said funds into the designated private account supplied them by Ali Kabba, he did not inform the government about that development, and this only came to the attention of Dr Kaikai when he was informed by the Chinese Ambassador to the UN that the said fund had been paid into a private account provided by Ali Kabba. It was further disclosed that the Mission in the US WAS unable to make payment to the contractor because the money was held in Ali Kabba’s private account at Access Bank in Freetown and that funds were only remitted in June 2019. The witness also disclosed that they found out that the funds eventually remitted was far below the expected amount and was short by $137,700. He furthered that their investigation revealed that Ali Kabba was opposed to adding two more floors to the building and held the money in his account. Speaking on who was the voting controller, the witness said that the voting controller was the Head of Chancery and that the Procurement Committee and the Head of Chancery were responsible for procurement. He added that work on the Chancery was delayed because the funds were held up in Ali Kabba’s account for six months, adding that in June 2020, $500,000 was remitted from the account, even though they had been paid into the account since 2019. He also disclosed that their investigation revealed that Ali Kabba was hostile to the contractor, describing him as greedy and that no further payment should be made to him. Chief Investigator Bockarie stated that a Stop Work order was imposed for safety reasons, but that the contractor had made some progress on the work before the said order was made. He furthered that Ali Kabba’s allegation of misdirection of funds was not true and that he was also hostile to the Head of Chancery, and even made verbal threats. He also explained that he saw documents, which included Invitation forbids, but did not see any bidding document from bidders. The above revelations by the Chief Investigator of the ACC implicate Dr Ali Kabba in the ongoing trial. The question on the lips of many Sierra Leoneans is why did Alie Kabba direct that the funds meant for the renovation work of the Chancery be paid directly into his Access Bank Account in Freetown, instead of into the Account of the government. Many are calling for the suspension of Dr Ali Kabba from the position of Ambassador while the trial is ongoing, especially as he has been implicated by the Chief Investigator of the ACC if one should go by the stance of the ACC Commissioner, Ben Kaifala in public that anyone accused of corruption, or whose name is called in a corruption-related matter, should step aside until exonerated.