Sierra Leone: Presidential aspirant faces possible extradition to UK

Freetown, Sierra Leone (PANA) - Sierra Leonean Presidential Aspirant, John Sisay, could face extradition to United Kingdom (UK), if corruption allegations against him are made official by the UK Serious Fraud Office.

Sisay is a member of the ruling All Peoples Congress and is running to lead the party in the 2018 elections.

Sisay was former Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Rutile Mining Company, acquired last December by Australia-based Illuka Resources. Illuka has since conducted investigations into the liability that they have inherited and decided to report the past
dealings of the Sierra Rutile Mining Company to UK and Australia mining authorities.

On John Sisay’s watch, Illuka Resources say, Sierra Rutile paid bribe to government officials to acquire some licenses and contracts which Illuka has already inherited. The company has since started revoking some of those contracts.

This latest action by Illuka Resources could open the company to prosecution, shareholder legal action and the cutting of ties with senior government officials.

Illuka Chairman, Greg Martin, said it is unlikely that the group would face any action from UK or Australian authorities. But Australian Federal Police are still looking in the matter to determine how much knowledge Illuka Resources had before acquiring the company in December 2016.

Sisay has already denied any wrong doing in acquiring contracts or license. In a statement, released last week, Sisay said: “At no stage whilst CEO of Sierra Rutile did I authorize improper payments of any kind to any Sierra Leone Government officials for any reason."

There are indications that the investigation could also implicate senior government officials in the alleged corrupt scheme.
Already, there have been serious questions asked about Sierra Rutile payment of US$ 50,000 for the air plane flights of a government minister, Diana Konomanyi.

A payment which Sisay said was not hidden and did not in any way show a conflict of interest because the minister in question
is not a mines official in the country.

Anti-corruption bodies in Australia, UK and Sierra Leone are currently investigating further. It is not clear what the Sisay
Presidential campaign will do once the accusations get to a trial stage.

Sierra Rutile was lauded for its success to stay afloat during the Ebola outbreak in the country, which coincided with the sharp decline of iron ore prices.
-0- PANA MJN/VAO 30Aug2017

30 august 2017 13:30:30

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