Sallieu Tejan-Jalloh, proprietor and Editor of Times-SL Newspaper has in a radio interview says he did not have confidence in the Anti-Corruption Commissioner.
When squeezed by radio presenter if he could cooperate with the commission on his alleged allegation on Prof: David Francis.
The journalist informed Sierra Leoneans that “after I have forwarded the SMS to the Chief Minister seeking clarifications about 1.5 million dollars deposited in his ECOBANK account, It was from then he received a call from the country’s Anti-Corruption boss pleaded with me to forward the documents to him but ‘I made it very clear to him that I will not because there was a time I presented documents that were related to corruption for inward investigations by your office but no action was taken up to date’.
“Francis Ben-Keifala is the blue-eyed ball of the Chief Minister and I have no confidence in the Anti-Corruption Commission,” he charged.
“Why did the Chief Minister refused to reply to my message than instead sending the ACC Commissioner to call me,” he probed.
“The Chief Minister never responded to me, he responded through the ACC commissioner.”
According to the whistleblower he cannot divulge his source to the ACC for reason best known to him and for unnecessary reprisal.
Sallieu-Tejan, was arrested in a rather deceptive way by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sierra Leone Police on Monday in the full view of the public prior to a text message he send to the Chief Minister was granted bail the following day after his solicitors requested for bail on grounds of the detainee health status.
However, the Commissioner was very swift to response to the statement by the journalist by encouraging the public that the Anti-Corruption Commission is for Sierra Leoneans and he will cooperates fully with journalists/Civil Society Organizations in reporting any corrupts practices perpetrated by public workers.
In a hurried press release by the Commission after the media spar yesterday morning, explains that In light of recent allegations of corruption against the Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that it has accordingly taken appropriate action. Professor Francis himself contacted the Commission following a text message he received from Sallieu Tejan-Jalloh, Managing Editor of The Times Sierra Leone Newspaper, alleging that a total of US$1.5M was paid into his Ecobank account as bribes.
The Chief Minster, acting in accordance with Section 77 of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, which imposes a duty on all public officers to report where a corruption offence has been committed; or is about to be committed, accordingly informed the Commission.
Acting in consonance with Section 7(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, which mandates the Commission “to investigate instances of alleged or suspected corruption referred to it by any person or authority or which has come to its attention, whether by complaint or otherwise,” the ACC accordingly contacted Mr. Jalloh to help with information to aid an investigation. Unfortunately, Mr. Jalloh refused to comply with the request of the Commission.
However, the ACC issued a Section 57(2) Notice, compelling the Ecobank to submit to the Commission all financial records and transactions of the Chief Minister. In its response, Ecobank clarified that “Professor David John Francis does not maintain any account with the Bank.” Yet, Ecobank maintained that Professor Francis has an Ecobank CashXpress pre-paid card since August 2019. The said card, according to Ecobank, denominated only in Leones, can be issued to both Ecobank account holders and non-account holders. The investigations also revealed that since he was issued this card, Professor Francis never loaded the said card with cash; and therefore never used it.
Nonetheless, the ACC invites anyone with evidence to pass such to the Commission. By the provisions of Section 82(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, where a person discloses to the Commission that a public officer, body corporate or public body is, or has been involved in corruption, he shall incur no civil or criminal liability as a result of such disclosure. With all the aforementioned quotes, the issue remains unsolved.