Project Manager for the Youth Farm Project now the Youth in Agriculture Project at the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Mustapha Turay has disclosed that over One Hundred and Sixty Million Leones was misappropriated at the Ministry.
This was made known by Turay as he was testifying before Justice BiobeleGeorgewill at court No. 1 of the Commissions of Inquiry.
According to the audit, there were series of withdrawals from the project’s account leading to the sum of 161,352,000 Leones without payment vouchers and documentation, Turay explained.
He (Turay) testified that over 45,730,000 Leones for the Youth in Agriculture Project was misappropriated.
He said the project was subjected to external and internal audits and serious issues were raised by the audit.
The project, among other monies received, amounted to the sum of 270,000,000 Leones and 400,000,000 from the government of Sierra Leone.
As at 12 March 2019, there is an outstanding of 24,537339.51 remaining at the project’s account.
Justice Georgewill asked the project manager to explain how the 400,000,000 Leones given by the government of Sierra Leone was used.
He explained that on the 7th November, 2018, a transfer of Le19,700,000 was made to him (Turay), the Project Manager as stipend, Le17, 100,000 to Frank A. Bio who is the Field Manager, Le18,400,000 to the Deputy Project Manager, HawanatuKargbo and another withdrawal of Le70,950,000 for the reassessment of the National Youth Farm.
A payment of Le22, 800,000 was made to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) for withholding taxes, he stated.
He testified that he became Project Manager in February 2014.
He said a project site of 250 acres of land at Masalia, Koya Chiefdom in the Port Loko District was acquired by the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Youth Affairs.
He continued that the land was negotiated for Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Leones (750,000,000), surveyed by Ministry of Lands and documents were obtained.
He said the project has two accounts: one at the UBA in Freetown and a community Bank at Masalia.
He maintained that it took the project until late 2015 to get funding.
He pointed out that there was no modern equipment for agriculture; they only have hoes, cutlasses, shovels and a small power tiller given to them by the Ministry of Agriculture.