Today, 10th June, 2019… Samura Kamara @ COI

 

According to a letter from the Commission of Inquiry, Dr. Samura, Matthew Wilson Kamara, the former Minister Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation in the erstwhile Ernest Bai Koroma led All People’s Congress (APC) government will today testify at the Justice Biobele Georgewill Commission of Inquiry as a person of interest.

The letter from the Commission secretariat inviting Dr. Samura Kamara to avail himself at the Commission today reads: “Take note that the Justice Biobele Georgewill Commission of Inquiry will on Monday 10th June, 2019 at 10AM be receiving testimonies from witness(es) whose testimonies are likely to touch and concern your conduct of person of interest, on issues pertaining to the sale of 30% Government Sierra Rutile shares in 2012.”

As such, Dr. Samura Kamara is requested to attend in order to avail himself of the opportunity to listen to the testimonies and to question the witness(es).

It could be recalled that the Government Transition Team (GTT) report had revealed that the Government of Sierra Leone sold 30% shares of the Sierra Rutile Company. His appearance therefore at the Commission is to clarify the issue.

Publicly, Dr. Samura Kamara has said that he is not against the GTT Report or against anybody fighting corruption. The GTT Report, he had said, would have served as an interface between the old and the new government. Thus, he explained that the reported 30% government share in Sierra Rutile dated back to 2004 when the company was collecting PAYE tax from its employees but did not forward these to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) because the company was recapitalizing itself.

Therefore, he said, the arrangement that was reached between the Government and Sierra Rutile was that the unpaid PAYE taxes should be annually translated into shares in the company. So between May 2004 and April 2012, Sierra Rutile held back the PAYE tax it collected from its employees. Dr. Samura Kamara explained that the actual amount of shares held by government in Sierra Rutile was 7.09% which came about when Government stood as a guarantor for Sierra Rutile for a loan of Euro25 Million from the EU, and not 30%, amounting to USD13.12 Million. Because the budget was tight, he said, government asked Sierra Rutile to liquidate those shares. There is, he said, the memo to the effect seeking Executive Clearance for the deal to be done. Dr. Samura Kamara noted that government did not buy shares directly in Rutile and therefore could not sell.

“If they want the facts, I am available,” said Dr. Samura Kamara who challenged the facts as presented by the GTT Report, He further stated that the documents are available in the President’s Office, at Finance and from EU.

Meanwhile, the APC Secretary General, Amb. Osman Yansaneh has reiterated that no former APC minister, including Dr. Samura Kamara, will appear before the COI. The party, he said, had long since taken a decision on the COI which they continue to stand by.

“We have made our position known to the world that our members will not subject themselves to a kangaroo court of inquiry,” he said, pointing out that the COI was established in breach of the constitution which as a party they filed a law suit against its establishment.