News / Africa

Former Sierra Leone Fisheries Minister Found Guilty of Misusing Public Funds

TEXT SIZE - +

Sierra Leone's former minister of fisheries and marine resources was found guilty on Tuesday of misusing public funds.  She faces more than $100,000 in fines or 15 years in prison.

Former Fisheries Minister Haja Afsatu Kabba was found guilty on five counts of misappropriating public funds.  She was acquitted on two counts of abuse of office in the verdict read out in Freetown's High Court No. 2.

Justice Samuel Ademusu ordered Kabba to pay more than $100,000 within four weeks or be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Blyden Jenkins Johnston says the fines will be paid.

"We went through a trial," said Blyden Jenkins Johnston. "It was a proper trial.  And the judge has found our client guilty on five out of seven counts.  So we have nothing more to say than that we accept the verdict of the court.  We will look into the judgment.  And if there are grounds of appeal, we will appeal.  But for now, we accept the verdict and the fines will be paid."

Anti-Corruption Commissioner Joseph Kamara says he is pleased with the verdict.

"Today, the quality and integrity of the justice delivery system has witnessed a new dawn," said Joseph Kamara. "We stand at the corner of a new challenge.  Justice has been rendered."

Kabba was one of two women in President Ernest Bai Koroma's cabinet.  She was his first minister of energy and power, but she was reassigned to the fisheries ministry after allegations of impropriety in the awarding of contracts to bring electricity to the capital during the president's first 100 days in office.

Kabba was found guilty of ordering employees to make four withdrawals from ministry accounts last October, totaling nearly $37,000.

Justice Ademusu ruled that Kabba kept the money for herself.  Kabba was also found guilty of transferring more than $39,000 of ministry funds to the bank account of a private company that then gave most of that money to her.

Kabba was acquitted on charges that she improperly employed her sons and their friends at the ministry of energy and power, and at the ministry of fisheries and marine resources.

Joseph Kamara says the Anti-Corruption Commission, or ACC, is vigorously pursuing other cases of official corruption.

"I think I have an aggressive prosecutorial policy and it comes with the vision and conviction that I have that the ACC is that vigor of change that this country has been yearning for," he said. "And it is that conviction that is reflected in my approach and circumstances that surround events."

Kamara says that the commission will bring more cases to court before the end of the year.   

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid