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Detain 3 in Forging Plot

September 12, 1987

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) _ Police arrested three central bank employees and two Information Ministry accountants Friday in an alleged check forging scheme that netted them more than $200,000, the government announced.

It also said Education Minister Moses Dumbuya had found that 18 million leones ($782,000) meant for teacher salaries was diverted to a group that included top officials of his department. No names were given.

Dumbuya said the teachers and schools to whom the money was allegedly paid did not exist.

According to the statement, 5 million leones ($217,000) was involved in the forging operation.

President Joseph Momoh said earlier Friday that ″very grave malpractices″ involving millions of leones were discovered in this West African country. He cited conspiracies among officials of the treasury, central bank and private contracting firms.

Every effort would be made so that the funds were ″recovered or paid back by evil doers,″ he said.

Last week, former Agriculture Minister Suffian Kargbo was forced to repay about $250,000 lost to the government through the mishandling of sugar sales. Other former government officials were dismissed or detained in recent weeks.

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