Former Trade Minister in SLPP, Abdul Thorlu Bangura has publicly confirmed that Kandeh Yumkella was the trade minister who sold the Sierra Leone oil refinery to Nigeria while serving in the NPRC.
Abdul Thorlu Bangura made this confirmation while being interviewed on several issues on a popular SLPP Whatsapp group called “Debate Now” on Sunday 1st May 2016.
“The refinery issue is a complicated one.The minister before Kandeh Yumkella in the trade ministry was Dr. Alusine Fofanah. Dr Alusine Fofanah served only up to the time dealing with the refinery capacity. Kandeh Yumkella took over from Alusine Fofanah and sold the oil refinery to a Nigerian concerned who came in and destroyed the Oil Refinery…. Also it was under Mr Kandeh Yumkella that the shell company was sold to foreigners,” says Abdul Thorlu Bangura.
Abdul Thorlu Bangura went on in reference to Kandeh Yumkella: “You cannot disown what you do. If he agreed he made a mistake I will forgive him but if he denied that he did not sell the oil refinery that is wrong.”
Thorlu Bangura also revealed that when he took up office as Minister of Trade under SLPP and read the documents dealing with the oil refinery the person who signed the handing over documents for the sale of salone oil refinery was Kandeh Yumkella. He mentioned that the permanent secretary at the time in the Ministry of Trade who gave him the documents to brief him on the sale of the oil refinery was the late Tom Kargbo.
Abdul Thorlu Bangura further said that the oil refinery was only valued at 2 million when it was sold but should have worth over 255 million. While Abdul Thorlu Bangura did not state why Kandeh Yumkella sold the oil refinery as cheap as 2 million when it was worth over 255 million, other reliable sources have indicated that Kandeh Yumkella personally “benefitted” from the sale and the Nigerian concerned who bought the oil refinery later became his “business friend” when Yumkella worked in Nigeria.
The revelation by Abdul Thorlu Bangura on the sale of the oil refinery by Kandeh Yumkella will not come as a surprise to many people but his detailed narration of how the transaction took place would have vindicated many people who have called on Kandeh Yumkella to give account for the sale of the salone oil refinery to a Nigerian concerned.
Both Alusine Fofanah and Kandeh Yumkella now belong to the Kandeh Yumkella Movement and several attempts to get their reaction to the claim by Abdul Thorlu-Bangura have proved unsuccessful.
Abdul Thorlu Bangura was appointed in the first cabinet as Minister for Trade and Industry in 1996 when President Kabbah won the elections under the SLPP.