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Transport Minister Lied to Parliament

Transport Minister Lied to Parliament

Debt Director Unmasks Balogun

The Director of Public Debt Management in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED), Sahr Jusu, has stated that neither his department nor the Minister of Finance took part in the signing of the loan agreement with a Chinese manufacturing company called Poly Group for one hundred buses valued at 12m US Dollars an interest rate of 60% after 30% advance payment.

He made the disclosure on Friday, 24th July, 2015 to Members of Parliamentary Committee on Finance and of Transport and Aviation in the committee room in Parliament.

According to Mr. Jusu, he has served several Ministers including Dr. Samura Kamara, Dr. James Jonah, John Oponjo Benjamin, Late Peter Kuyembeh and Dr. Kalfal Marrah, but he has never advised any of them on loan agreement on behalf of the country.

He added that for the Minister to stand in the well of Parliament to inform the legislators that he was part of the delegation that went to China to negotiate the loan agreement and that the agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is far from the truth.

The loan agreement, the Director went on, was signed by the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma.

Mr. Jusu also told the legislators that even though he is aware of the loan agreement he never took active part in the negotiation and signing exercise, stressing that section 118 of the 1991 constitution has stated in the Public Debt Management Act, 2011, that the Director of Public Debt Management Division is charged with the responsibility, among others, to advice the Minister responsible on such matters.

He added that he is aware that any loan not signed or delegated to any public officer to sign under a power of Attorney by the Minister of Finance and ratified by parliament is not binding on government.

He said he never inspected the buses in China as stated by the minister, noting that it was done by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Road Transport Corporation and the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority.

The Director concluded by emphasizing that he never negotiated any loan for the procurement of the buses and never participated in any inspection exercise of any bus nor visited the bus factory in China.

It could be recalled that the Minister of Transport and Aviation, who was invited by Parliament to clear the air on the procurement of the hundred buses, told the lawmakers that he received an executive order to procure one hundred buses and that the transaction took place in the presence of the Director of Public Debt, which was later signed by the Finance Minister,

The Finance Minister is expected to respond to the committee in due course.

By Moses Kai Kargbo

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