The Anti-Corruption Commission has yesterday, 6th March, 2019, indicted Ambassador Alie Ibrahim Kanu, former Chairman of the Independent Media Commission and former Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, on forty-three (43) counts of various corruption offences over the issuance of Service Passports to non-deserving persons.
Ambassador Kanu was indicted alongside Alfred Kallon; Human Resource Officer at the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General and Sulaiman Issa Turay; Head of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
According to the ACC, the three will make their first appearance at the High Court of Sierra Leone Holden in Freetown on Monday 11th March, 2019.They are currently in detention pending court appearance after their respective bails were revoked by the Commissioner.
Ambassador Kanu, who is also the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Institute of International Law was charged with two (2) Counts of Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1), and Three (3) Counts of Peddling Influence, contrary to Section 31(3) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008.
It is alleged that h used his influence to recommend non-deserving persons to obtain visas at Embassies and Service Passports at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On his part, Alfred Kallon, Senior Human Resource Officer, Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General is charged with thirty-three Counts of Abuse of Office, contrary to Section 42(1), and one (1) count of Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008.
According to the ACC,he served as the initial conduit for the development of fake appointment letters and National Social Security and Insurance Trust(NASSIT) cards that were used to enable undeserving persons obtain service passports.
Sulaiman Issa Turay, Head of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, is charged with three (3) counts of abuse of office, contrary to Section 42(1) and one (1) count of conspiracy to commit a corruption offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008. It is alleged that he was responsible for processing and recommending the issuance of Service Passports by the Immigration Department.
In August, 2018, the Commission launched an investigation into the issuance of Service and Diplomatic Passports to undeserving persons, and carried out arrests in what was dubbed as "Operation Eagle Claw".
This led to the arrests of some persons of interest outside the premises of the United States Embassy in Freetown, and several offices and homes on 12th September, 2018. Many of the persons arrested will serve as witnesses against the three accused who were most crucial in the illegal passport and visa processing enterprise.