While the many Sierra Leoneans out there are waiting to see the outcome of Waste Gate Scandal, Mr. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, a senior ruling party grandee and close confidante of president Koroma, has opened up on his involvement in the Lebanese waste affair.
IB Kargbo was on Radio Democracy 98.1 FM yesterday morning, January 12th 2015 where he was made to speak about allegations of his involvement in the scandal.
Kargbo however denied the allegations saying he only provided guidelines and neither solicited nor accepted any fee.
Read Full transcript of the interview below as gathered by Sierraloaded‘s David Fenty Kanu.
Interviewer: Confirm to us where you are now?
Ben Kargbo: Am at my house.
Interviewer: Did the police invited you yesterday to CID?
Ben Kargbo: Yes.
Ben Kargbo: Because I gave advice to a Lebanese company who said they want to setup a fertilizer company in sierra Leone, they want to use some of our trash in manufacturing the fertilizer and if its not enough they will import some from there country, I told them the processes they should use and that the imported trash should be toxic free and should not be harmful to the health of sierra leoneans. And that they should work with some ministries, like, the ministry trade, foreign affairs, and the chief of staff, so that the will help them with technical aspects to put things in place, and if it has no effects, then they will have the approval of the President.
Interviewer: In what capacity do you give this advice?
Ben Kargbo: Well you know I have not given up my job yet as an adviser to the president and I have not been in parliament, that’s why I advice them on government policy of not accepting toxic waste.
Interviewer: But the government released a press statement that they are not aware of this, is it that you didn’t informed government that you have had initial contact with these people?
Ben Kargbo: am not aware of any article from Lebanon, the advice I gave them is to be used internally, but that is not the point,the point is that my conscience is clear that I do nothing wrong, if investor’s comes to invest and I advice them on which ministries to meet and the policy on toxic waste,I don’t think that’s wrong.
Interviewer: According to the newspaper, they said there is an agreement of 2.5 million dollars?
Ben Kargbo: I don’t know nothing about money or newspaper, how can someone takes money on behalf of sierra Leone when the government is not aware of that?I don’t know nothing about money or an article from Lebanon.
Interviewer: After the release of this article, did you have discussion with the ministries you mention?
Ben Kargbo: That’s why I got annoyed, I gave this advice yesterday January 7th, I told them to see this ministries, but they do not, instead they hurriedly published it on a newspaper.
Interviewer: How do you get in contact with this people?
Ben Kargbo: They send an email to me, and I told them is not my job, but as an adviser, I advised them on government policy and I think I do nothing wrong.
Interviewer: After your interrogation at CID, I understand you have another meeting at state house?
Ben Kargbo: Yes, but its a security meeting, I will not disclose it.
Interviewer: But we understand that the company gives you money to help them?
Ben Kargbo: I don’t know nothing about money, money is not my priority, if I want money I will go to the bank for a loan. I have held so many important positions in this country, but I have never been investigated for corruption.
Interviewer: Is it not a suspicion?
Ben Kargbo: Yes that what I think, but my conscience is clear.
Interviewer: But are you surprised that the government came up with a press release that they are not a party of this and that they will investigate the matter?
Ben Kargbo: Yes of course they are not aware of this, because the company did not meet the ministries I advice them to meet. Let the government investigate as I know I do nothing wrong.
Interviewer: You and who are involved in this transaction?
Ben Kargbo: Yes of course we only give them an advisory note and they speedily circulate it in a newspaper without going through the ministries.
Interviewer: Are you in regret that you are involved?
Ben Kargbo: No, because I do it in good faith, if am not involved they should not have had our own position to circulate it, to show that we don’t allow toxic waste in our country.
Interviewer: So you did not regret?
Ben Kargbo: No am not regret in any way.
Recall that the Office of National Security and the Sierra Leone Police are under strict instructions from the Office of the President to investigate the matter speedily and with no fear or favour. So far, 5 People have been brought under questioning at the CID Headquarters in Freetown. CLICK HERE to read more news on the Lebanon Waste Deal.