11 June 2019

Sierra Leone: 'Government's 30 Percent Shares Was Sold At U.S.12 Million'

The Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Jusu, has testified before Justice Biobele's Commission of Inquiry that, according to information gathered from the Central Bank of Sierra Leone, government's 30% shares at Sierra Rutile Company was sold at 12 Million United States Dollars.

According to the witness, the said amount was recorded from the financial transaction that occurred between the Central Bank and Sierra Rutile Company.

He stated that through the authority of exhibit P10, from which the said amount had been formally submitted to the Commission, the Central Bank clearly described the banking details of the transaction.

On the issue as to whether there were any other person that would have relative details on the said sale of shares; the witness responded that it would be the Accountant General of Sierra Leone.

Lawyer Macauley representing former Minister of Finance asked the witness as to whether he has at any time, in his 23 years of service in the ministry, proffered advice on national debt negotiation as per mandate then as Director of Public Debt since 2002,he replied in the affirmative.

Meanwhile, the Government's Transition Team Report (GTTR) which was tendered as exhibit D3, indicated allegations of government selling its 30% shares to Sierra Rutile Limited.

The company that was the umbrella body for Sierra Rutile Company, Iluka, wrote a letter responding to the content of the GTTR with regards to the sale of the 30% shares.

Counsel for the Persons of Interest produced the said letter dated 7th July 2018, which was addressed to the Chief Minister, Prof. David Francis.

He asked the witness to read a portion of it, but he declined, stating that, "I don't want to read a document I don't know what it content is about and also for which I don't know the reason it was prepared for."

Justice Georgewill however advised Counsels for the Persons of Interest to bring in those that prepared the said document or any other person that will be in a position to explain its content to the commission.

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