News / Africa

    Former Sierra Leone Fisheries Minister Found Guilty of Misusing Public Funds

    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

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora