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THE REPORT OF THE BECCLES DAVIES COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

VOLUME SEVEN - CHAPTER 47 - Page 63

Mr Christie Greene entered Parliament in June 1986. He served as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance from 11 June 1986 to 12 August 1987. He then became a backbencher until his seat was declared vacant sometime in 1988.

Prior to his election to Parliament he had been employed as "Financial Analyst" in the Mano River Union Secretariat from 15 October 1985 to 30 April 1986.

HIS QUALIFICATIONS

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics; a Masters degree in Business Administration specializing in Financial Management and Business Policy; he is a Member of the British Institute of Management and holder of the Certificate in the Management and Implementation of Industrial and Infrastructural Projects of the University of Bradford in England.

He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of England and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone respectively.

(Page 74) PERFORMANCE IN OFFICE

Mr Greene's performance in office is unfolded by degrees in this part.

HIS DISILLUSIONMENT

Mr Greene's disillusionment and problems began with his appointment as minister of State in the Ministry of Finance shortly after the General Elections of May 1986. Having regard to his educational background, he saw himself as a visionary who believed that he could make a meaningful contribution in resuscitating our ailing economy. He testified that:-

...As a qualified accountant I was assigned the task of expenditure control. My duties at the Ministry were not specifically spelt out because during that time I had cause to be in charge of all expenditure of the government; but was not allowed to, because every other Minister in the Ministry wanted to dabble in expenditure control. As a result I had clashes with not only with them but also with other Ministers. It was such that if you asked a very pertinent question, you were regarded as a cheeky little boy. And I remember checking the amount and the various astronomic funds given by Imprest System to the Police force and I refused to sign. Since then I became the enemy of the Inspector-General. That was my first encounter with problem. I was not allowed to query anything he did but I trod very cautiously. In addition, I was of the opinion that the people with whom I worked, my other colleague, the Minister of State, and the Minister of Finance, I was of the opinion that we were all in one mind and soul in bringing up our economy, because, at one that time we had just floated the leone, and it was floated at eighteen leones to the dollar. I took up office just at the time of this floatation and I warned that, there were not enough reserves at the Central Bank to cushion up the exchange rate, and I thought I could advise. I told them that they must ensure that they produced a law or regulation which would ensure that all foreign exchange earnings were harnessed into the coffers of the Central Bank. And I was told I was talking book....

HIS WORKING EXPERIENCE IN THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE

His working experince commenced with his service under Dr Sheka Kanu who was succeeded by Mr Hassan Gbassay Kanu at the end of the 1986/87 Fiscal year.

As regards his working with Dr Sheka Kanu he testified that:-

....I didn't have much problem really with Dr Sheka Kanu, because he was a man apt to listen, gthe only problem was that when he got to Cabinet....his arm was twisted he would acquiesce, and so we spent monies to astronomical proportion which would have otherwise been saved for the benefit of our people.

In the course of narrating his working relationship with Mr Hassan Gbassay Kanu he said:-

...I started working with Honourable Hassan Gbassay Kanu, but as I said I thought I was working with a simple mind as mine. But no, I was mistaken. As he was the Minister who went to Cabinet, matters of importance had to be discussed with him so that he would go alone into Cabinet, and  remember telling him we must hold a Commission of Inquiry in order to find out how finances went in 86 and 87, simply because we had the IMF people here. They were coming and going and we needed to have a U-turn if the economy was indeed to be meaningful, and that was my sole intention for asking for that Commission of Inquiry. He said to me, prepare the Cabinet Paper and I did. I do believe that he used that Cabinet Paper against me, because I was approached by several Ministers that I wanted to disgrace them; and before I could disgrace anyone of them; they would first disgrace me, and so my problems mounted and continued in the Ministry.

INSIGHTS INTO THE OPERATIONS OF SOME MINISTRIES

Ministry of Works

....I realised that the Ministry of Works was handing out contracts to various contractors without reference to the Ministry of Finance at all. And being a junior minister you will find out that it was difficult talking to those who were Cabinet Ministers, and I was handed that job of expenditure control wherein I had to deal with every Ministry and every Minister. Whatever I said, I was regarded as an obstinate and cheeky boy. But I am an accountant by profession and I would not sit idely by and allow these things to go on. And I started putting on the brakes. I will give you examples of what happened. The Ministry of Works, I believe has one of the best workshops in the country. They have got very skilled employees. Yet simple repairs to government buildings were contracted out to these contractors who charged astronomical fess for the work done, and if you examine examine the work done, these are simple jobs.

One building which comes to mind is what is known as P.K. Lodge. That was used as a football and within one year, we had spent something like twelve million leones for repairs then. In 1986 to 1987 twelve million leones at that time had been used at various times for repairs and furnishing of that building. It was like this. Whenever there was a function or some occasion wherein some official guest would be lodged it was an occasion to spend. And the Ministry of Works without any consultation with the Ministry of Finance would go ahead and give out these contracts. And the Ministry of Finance was only left to pay for the contracts which had been given out. Moreover, the contractors had affiliations and I do believe with the members of the staff of the Ministry itself.

.....I started querying the vouchers which were submitted for payment not only because I realised money was being spent down the drain, but also I later on realised that there was also duplication of payments by the Ministry.

...I was of the opinion that the Ministry of Works must be able to produce for use a list of buildings owned by the Government of Sierra Leone. Up to the time I was relieved of my office, there was no such list available. Therefore it was very very difficult for you to establish whether the job done was in fact on a government building or on some private dwelling.

And I queried that.

Once, I can recall, I was summoned to State House because I questioned too much, I remember His Excellency the President gave the duty of investigating performance of contracts to the First Vice President....and I had to come out with the various points relating to repairs and maintenance of government buildings because these contractors used the same employees of the Ministry of Works who were being employed and for whom the workshop had been provided. So in other words they were receiving their salaries and they were working for these contractors.....Again I questioned that and I fell into trouble.

MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING

...The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had an accountant who is now in prison. I remember banning him from entering my office. I also remember at the time of the treason trial of Mohamed Kaikai and others, that was looked upon an opportunity for the government to spend.

The Cabinet Paper I read provided for one vehicle; by the time the form got to my table it had four vehicles, by the time the forms got to my table the sums had been inflated twice. I refused to pay. I can't tell you the harassment I got.....

I was reported and I was called by the Inspector General and told that I was impeding the progress of the treason trial and probably I was one of those people involved and that is why I did not want the treason trial to go on. I suffered indignities, massive indignities, concerning that same treason trial....

OF CONTRACTS AND CONTRACTORS

Mr Greene then gave us a vivid description of the manner in which contracts were awarded and insights into how accountable documents would be doctored to give the impression that contracts had been performed, when in fact they had not been performed. In this regard he testified as follows:-

...Certain contractors were favoured more than others and as such I believe that the government did not get the best bargain for what it contracted for.

What happened to Christie Greene is best left to the curious to get their copy of the Commission's report from the Government bookshop.

Read and see the picture of life under the APC government at the time.

 

 

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