The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Prof. Patrick Monty Jones was alerted to an incident at the MAFFS’ Stores at Kissy Dockyard where fertilizers for this year’s planting season were stored prior to distribution.
The Minister immediately notified the Police and accompanied by Madam Marie Conteh Jalloh Deputy Minister 1 and Mr Lovell Thomas, Deputy Minister 2, S. T. Kamara, Director of Engineering and other Senior Officials of the Ministry, made an unscheduled visit to the stores to ascertain the nature of the incident.
In what was clearly an attempt to give the impression that the consignment of fertilizers was intact, the thieves took out bags of fertilizers from the middle of the pile thus causing a hole, visible only from the top. In this way, they made away with over 1,000 bags of fertilizers with an estimated street value of over Le200, 000,000.00 (Two hundred million Leones).
Visibly concerned, the Minister interviewed the staff assigned to the Stores but they all claim that they had no knowledge of how the fertilizers got missing. Claiming that the accounting for goods in the stores is an administrative responsibility, the Engineer on site tried to absolve himself of any blame for the fertilizers going missing.
This matter came to the notice of the Minister when it was reported that a lorry-load of fertilizer had been impounded and brought back to the Kissy Dockyard stores for verification. The vehicle was not a MAFFS vehicle nor was it recognized as one of the vehicles hired for the current distribution exercise to farmers up and down the country.
The loading of the vehicle, a flat-bed trailer, was what raised the alarm. The Police were alerted and the immediately invited to the scene together with the Minister and his Deputies who summoned all staff at the stores. After a brief interview with staff at the Stores, the Minister ordered that the Managers on site, Security Guards and Storekeepers should be handed over to the Police for further investigations.