Friday, June 22, 2007

Sierra Leone transport minister quits

Freetown - Sierra Leone's transport minister, who was suspended then arrested after a helicopter crash that killed 22 early this month, has resigned from government, political sources said on Thursday.
Prince Harding has been free on bail after his detention last week by Sierra Leone's anti-corruption commission over allegations that he took bribes to allow unairworthy helicopters to take to the air.
In a letter cited by officials of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party, Harding said he decided to quit "to save my integrity and that of my family, the SLPP and the government".
"This will give me the good opportunity to defend successfully any charge that may be or is made against me out of the unfortunate helicopter crash."

Twenty-two people died on June 3 when a Russian-made Mi-8 Paramount Airlines helicopter caught fire and crash-landed on the runway while coming into Sierra Leone's main Lungi airport.
Paramount Airlines is on the European Union's blacklist of airlines forbidden to enter European airspace.
Harding had served in the government and party of President Tejan Kabbah for the past 12 years.

IOL: Sierra Leone transport minister quits