Patrick Conteh, Governor of Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) August 10th authorized payment of Le40 million to personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The amount was paid to unidentified CID personnel following allegations that some BSL employees have had their hands in the trading of foreign currencies within the bank.
Findings are that the bank through the Governor asked the police investigate its personnel for trading in foreign currencies in the bank.
To this, has seen personnel of the economic crime department at CID detaining eleven bank officials, keeping them in custody for eighteen days before charging the matter to court.
The Governor, on the other hand, reportedly had authorized the payment of Le40, 800, 000 to the police on grounds explaining ‘special impress’ and ‘purchase of investigative garget,’ an action viewed by many as in opposition of laws in the anti-corruption act 2008.
The money was separately paid to the police in two tranches but on the same 10th August 2017.
Hilton Jarrett, who doubles as assistant director and the personal assistant to the Governor, did receive the Le40, 800, 000 million from the bank’s teller, later also handed same to the CID officers.
Money paid to the police has been interpreted as underhanded, even though documents in the custody of New Age labeled same as for the purpose of ‘special impress’ and ‘purchase of gargets’ for the police.
Ibrahim Bah, a businessman owning a foreign exchange bureau, is complainant in the matter, but on whose behalf the Governor had authorized payment of legal fee though.
In a letter written to the CID by the Governor, it is stated that some Bank officials have had their hands in the illegal trading of foreign currencies in the bank.
Although the Governor failed making an official complaint to the police, he claimed having proof of facts linking personnel of the Bank in illegal financial dealings with complainant Ibrahim.
Shocking, however, is allegation linking the Bank to the payment of $6000 to the lawyer of Ibrahim as retainer fee.
However, money illegally paid to the police was made in two separate instances- Le20 million as ‘special impress’-and authorized by Alfred Gbekie (manager) and Le20, 800, likewise tagged as ‘for investigative gargets’ authorized by Samah (assistant director).
In totality, Le40, 800,000 was questionably given to the nameless CID officers just like that.
It is still not known whether the police have submitted returns to the bank as to how money given them was spent in the course of their investigations.
It is true the police are responsible for protecting lives, preventing crimes and apprehending offenders.
That they do not have the constitutional mandate to receive money from any public institution on the pretext of ‘special impress’ or ‘for the purchase of investigative gargets’ not least from Bank of Sierra Leone.
Many say money given the police recount corruption and misuse of public’s fund on the part of management of BSL.
It must be referenced also that the current Bank Governor was amongst few others, years ago, dismissed from office as Deputy Manager of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank following allegations of uncalled for disbursement of billion to people just like that.
Anti-Corruption’s boss, Ady Mcauley, was contacted by this press but said, “Have you crosschecked whether the police have the authorization to receive money from any state institution when investigating complaint (s).”
He however claimed to have had interest in such information, but did not say whether he intends to do follow up on the allegation.
Bank of Sierra Leone’s public relations officer, Beresford Taylor, was contacted but promised getting back to us but never did.
The New Age will soon publish documents showing how money paid to the police was withdrawn from the bank.