Govt. Minister charged over Chinagate Rice Scandal

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On the same day President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone announced the country’s confirmation of its first COVID-19 victim, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) also announced that a senior minister in the Bio Administration had been charged to court for the missing 49,000 bags of rice donated by China to assist the government in feeding hundreds of thousands malnourished school children across the country according to Sierra Leone Telegraph.

After several months of investigations into the missing rice that the Sierra Leone Telegraph dubbed the “Chinagate Rice Saga”, the ACC disclosed that it has charged to court five people for corruption among them is Alpha Osman Timbo – the Minister of Labour and Social Security, who also served as Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.

Also charged are: Emily Kadiatu Gogra – the Deputy Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Charles Tom Kamanda – the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Mamusu Massaquoi – Director of Nutrition in the School Feeding Programme; and Zainab Binta Kamara – a business woman who was caught by police packaging some of the alleged stolen rice for sale. 

The accused persons have been charged with fifteen counts of corruption offences, including misappropriation of public property

Meanwhile, the ACC says that it “wishes to reassure the general public of its determination to curb graft at all levels in Sierra Leone, especially in the implementation of the Free Quality Education programme”.

Abdul Rashid Thomas