By Alhaji M Jalloh
The Accountant General in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Richard Solomon Ralph Williams yesterday confirmed at the ongoing Commission of Inquiry that he was aware of the sale of the Government shares in Sierra Rutile Mining Company Limited on the 4th May, 2012 for a little under US$12M and the amount was credited into the Mineral Resources Treasury Account Number 1100584 held at the Central Bank of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Williams was led in evidence by the State Prosecutor, Ms. Khadija Zainab Bangura. He said the Mineral Resources Account is meant for revenues collected from the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources.
The Accountant General told the Commission that prior to his present position; he was Deputy Accountant General since June 2007 and subsequently appointed Accountant General on the 1st August 2017. Mr. Solomon Williams said as an Accountant General, he reports directly to the Minister of Finance.
He said some of his responsibilities among others include; preparing annual public account for government, making payment on behalf of MDAs, monitoring the implementation of the Treasury Single Account and maintaining Accounting Class by deploying Accountants to various Ministries, Department and Agencies.
During cross examination by Defence Counsels representing the persons of interests, Lawyer Ady Macauley and I.J. Mansaray asked the Accountant General what the money credited to the Central Bank was meant for. He said that the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources should be in a better position to throw more light on the issue.
The Accountant General’s testimony concurs with what the Financial Secretary had told the commission that the sum of almost US$12M was received by the Government of Sierra Leone as proceeds from the sale of the Sierra Leone Government’s shares in Sierra Rutile Limited