The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Patrick Saidu Conteh has, for the first time, publicly commented on the ‘show trial’ that he went through at the Magistrate Court in Freetown, some years back.
In an exclusive interview with the Global Times in Freetown last Friday, Dr. Conteh described his trial, which lasted for few a weeks (without any plea taken) as “a grand conspiracy” to destroy his promising career in the banking sector and stop him from becoming Managing Director at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank.
Dr. Conteh said that, he was unnecessarily put through an embarrassing court trial that had no basis in law. “The cumulative loan for which we were put on trial went through formal due processes and was approved by the Board of Directors…The US$3.8m cumulative loan was fully authorized and it was a secured loan…Nothing wrong was done by either me or by the Managing Director at the time”, Dr. Conteh clarified.
Dr. Conteh described the decision by the bank to award the secured loan as correct and prudent. “The court case was just a grand conspiracy to destroy my reputation and ridicule me… But, my God has fought for me”, Dr. Conteh said.
Dr. Conteh blamed the former Bank Governor, Sheku Sambadeen-Sesay for appointing a substantive Managing Director at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank even before the trial got underway. “I find this to be totally unacceptable and a calculated ploy to impede my chances of heading the bank… But God has fought for me in a very big way”, he said. “Where are some of the conspirators today?” he asked.
Dr. Conteh told the Global Times that, he would never fight for a job. “I am not fighting to become Bank Governor…I do not need to fight for the job…I am comfortable with my current job as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Delopment…And I am serving at the pleasure of the President, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma…And I am ready to serve my country in any role that the President assigns to me”, Dr. Conteh said.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development clarified that, he was never sacked at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank. “I resigned as Deputy Managing Director and all my benefits were paid to me in full”, he told the Global Times.
Dr. Conteh said that, he has no blood relationship with President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. “I am a professional banker…I am highly skilled and highly qualified to serve in any capacity”, he said.
Dr. Conteh concluded by saying that, if he ever finds himself in a similar situation (as in the case of the US$3.8m cumulative loan that was given to Premier Investments) he would still do the same thing. “I still believe that, the cumulative loan was properly vetted and properly approved…And the loan is being repaid on a yearly basis…So, what was really wrong with all those who decided to charge us to court for apparently doing our job?” he said.
Dr. Patrick Conteh said that, as a true Christian, his God has been good to him. “I can’t ask for more”, he said.
After almost five appearances in court and without any plea taken, the trial Magistrate dropped all the charges against Dr. Peter Conteh and his co-accused and they were accordingly acquitted and discharged.
Dr. Conteh worked at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank for eighteen years with an impeccable record.