* Two accused of taking bribes on behalf of vice-president
* But no evidence that VP knew about the payments -official
By Simon Akam
FREETOWN, April 17 Sierra Leone's
anti-corruption commission said on Tuesday it had charged two
men for accepting bribes on behalf of Vice President Samuel Sam
Sumana, but it had not found evidence that the vice president
knew about the payments.
The graft case risks hurting the credibility of President
Ernest Bai Koroma, who has promised to fight rampant government
corruption as he prepares to run for a second term in elections
scheduled for November 17 in the West African country.
The bribery scandal came to light after a documentary aired
by the broadcaster Al Jazeera in November alleged that
associates of Sam Sumana accepted kickbacks in return for a
promise the vice president would back an illegal logging
"The two fellows we've indicted, there we have evidence of
direct receipt of money, and evidence of direct soliciting of
money for and on behalf of the vice president," ACC Commissioner
Joseph Kamara told Reuters.
Kamara said Vice President Sam Sumana had not been charged
in the case due to lack of any evidence linking him to the
"We do not have evidence that he knew about it, or that they
were sent by him," Kamara said.
He added that the two men indicted, Alex Mansaray and Momoh
Kemoh Konte, were independent businessmen and not on the
Sam Sumana has denied any involvement and said he would not
resign his post. He had previously been implicated in a U.S.
lawsuit that also alleged bribery in a separate Sierra Leone
timber deal, but that suit was later dismissed.
The ACC has been criticised in recent years for being soft
on graft in the impoverished and war-ravaged country. Last year,
it settled a case involving Sierra Leone's social security
agency NASSIT out of court, rather than seeking prosecutions.
A spokesman for Koroma said he was happy with the ACC's
findings, and Kamara said Koroma's administration had put no
pressure on investigators during the probe.
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and