''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 2

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Saturday December 17, 2011 - Remembering a young man in Tunisia, who a year ago today December 17,could take it no longer - sets himself on fire and sets ablaze the Arab Spring that has consumed decade-long regimes and shaken the foundations of despotic regimes across the Arab world.President Koroma - does he mean what he says about corruption?The symbol of repression - the police - a cap gets the treatment

A year ago today, December 17, a young Tunisian fruit seller took the rather unusual and very painful decision which later proved fatal to demonstrate against the government of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, a man who had ruled that country for some twenty three years. And today as a sign of respect and appreciation for his life, the new authorities in Tunisia have unveiled a statue in the young man's honour with new President Moncef Marzouki joining crowds waving flags to celebrate the life of the man whose action saw opposition to despots getting their voices heard and in the process toppling regimes in his country as well as in Egypt and Libya. Libya where the man who would be the President, if not already proclaimed, Africa, Colonel Khaddafi was killed as he and members of his family were forcefully removed from power.

The BBC takes up the story -

"Fruitseller Mohamed Bouazizi's suicide sparked a wave of unrest which swept from Sidi Bouzid across the Arab world. He was rushed to hospital in a coma with 90% burns, and died on 5 January. "Thank you to this land, which has been marginalised for centuries, for bringing dignity to the entire Tunisian people," said Mr Marzouki, who was named president earlier this week, after Tunisia's first free elections in October. Thousands of people carrying flags and pictures of Bouazizi and other dead protesters had flocked from around the country for the anniversary in the under-developed town. The 26-year-old fruit and vegetable salesman had supported eight people on less than $150 (£100) a month, and his ambition was to trade up from a wheelbarrow to a pick-up truck. His family say he refused to pay three council inspectors bribes, so they seized his goods and beat him. He was refused an audience with the governor so he poured a can of petrol over himself and lit a match".

As the world reflects on what could have led to a young man taking his own life as a sign of protest, we would again like to remind the new nation wreckers at State House whose display of intolerance to critics and perceived political opponents goes beyond the pale to learn from the lessons of history - that it takes only a little spark to start a conflagration.

That they heed well the criticisms of those who highlight the many facets of corruption that has now become the calling card of a government which had promised zero tolerance for corruption but which in reality is the opposite with its functionaries getting caught out in corrupt and unwholesome practices ranging from the award of government contracts to relations and friends through dubious deals with mining companies to the smoke and mirrors President continuing to politicise the security forces while justice takes a back seat.

If President Ernest Bai Koroma was really serious about transparency and accountability in the affairs of government, let him make public his asset declaration that was submitted to the Anti Corruption Commission, the ACC as well as explaining to the public the fate of the rice from India and neighbouring Guinea.

And on the zero tolerance mantra, we still await the "clean", "super-clean" President's action on the double payments made out of state coffers when he is in New York on official assignment at the United Nations, accompanied by his head of the Open Government Initiative who also doubles as a businesswoman and hatchet woman who decides on who should be employed in such missions as we find in Brussels where the AFRC/RUF junta banker holds the fort wielding the sword over any and all suspected of not supporting his method of administration of his empire as well as belonging to the opposition.

Wednesday December 14, 2011 - Sequel - The Sorious Samura documentary on illegal logging and corruption at the heart of the Sierra Leone government has taken centre stage in certain corridors of the United States Congress as 18 of these officials at the time of writing had signed a letter to the Secretary of State Mrs Hilary Clinton calling for investigation into the logging scandal unearthed by Sierra Leonean journalist Sorious Samura and broadcast on the Al Jazeera English TV station. US Congressman Hank Johnson - is he and his colleagues the Sierra Leone government's new "enemies of the state"?Journalist Sorious Samura - has been described as enemy of the state

In a letter addressed to us at the Sierra Herald and containing a copy of the signed letter from the Congressmen - US Rep Hank Johnson, US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Ranking Member Donald Payne, and 16 colleagues in the United States House of Representatives asked that US Secretary of State Clinton push the Government of Sierra Leone to launch a full and transparent  investigation. They also requested that the Department of State report to Congress with information regarding the progress of the Sierra Leone investigation.

"The Government of Sierra Leone initially said it would launch an inquiry through its Anti-Corruption Commission and domestic law enforcement, but there has been little visible progress. "These reports are very disturbing," said Johnson. "Our relationship with Sierra Leone requires faith in the integrity of its leadership."

A 2006 European Union report identified illegal logging as the leading cause of environmental degradation in Sierra Leone, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2010 Global Forest Resources Assessment reported that Sierra Leone lost old-growth forest at a rate of 3.21% per year -- the fifth fastest rate of old-growth forest loss in the world.

Members of Congress who signed the letter: Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Donald Payne, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. James Moran, Rep. Russ Carnahan, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Peter DeFazio, Rep. Betty McCollum, and Rep. John Lewis.

It would be recalled that when the programme was aired and became a worldwide topic of discussion, one of the notorious deception outlets eating from the hands of President Ernest Bai Koroma, the smoke and mirrors man at State House was so infuriated and disturbed at the dare of Sorious Samura to expose corruption at the heart of political power that he tagged the man an enemy of the state.

We now await a reaction from him and his type to this call by the US Congressmen, who should qualify, according to their standards of judgement as "enemies of the state of Sierra Leone" because they dared write to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on the issue.

We eagerly await the usual denigration and abusive articles to be directed at the Congressmen for daring "to interfere in the affairs of the sovereign state of Sierra Leone" where corruption and daylight robbery and the theft of the peoples' wealth should not be written or spoken about.

We would also like to bring to the attention of the internet flying toilets, just before they start hurling their usual stuff around to please note US Rep Hank Johnson's comments - "Our relationship with Sierra Leone requires faith in the integrity of its leadership."

This should provide more than enough food for thought for all those who like the vampire of yore cringe, swear and abhor the cross, the cross of the truth.

Saturday December 10, 2011 - Three Nobel Peace Prize Laureates meet in the Norwegian capital Oslo and as they receive their awards urge the world to take a new look at the aspirations and struggles of women in countries and systems that make them second-class or even non-citizens in their own countries because they dared to raise their voices for the rights of women. The Sierra Herald again congratulates Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Yemeni pro-democracy campaigner Tawakkol Karman and another Liberian women's right campaigner Leymah Roberta Gbowee. You are true examples of what can be achieved in the face of daunting odds.

Oslo was the focus of the world's attention as recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize met to tell the world of their various struggles aimed at giving a voice to the women of Liberia, Yemen and indeed all over the world. The lectures delivered by the three, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Yemeni pro-democracy campaigner Tawakkol Karman and another Liberian women's right campaigner Leymah Roberta Gbowee is a testimony of what can be achieved using peaceful means to give the oppressed a voice, to give the oppressed room for the expression of their needs and more especially winning the battle against regimes, governments and systems that treat their own women as chattels, inferior and unworthy goods to be used and abused by their male folks and this in the face of impunity as rapes and other assaults against the dignity of women go unpunished by governments, regimes and systems that show no respect for women and girls. All three women dedicated their prize to women struggling for their dignity, to women still trying to be heard and to women who, despite all the obstacles placed in their way, soldier on in the firm belief that at the end of the day - they will be victorious. Said Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf

"There is no doubt that the madness that wrought untold destruction in recent years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Rwanda, in Sierra Leone, in Sudan, in Somalia, in the former Yugoslavia, and in my own Liberia, found its expression in unprecedented levels of cruelty directed against women. Although international tribunals have correctly declared that rape, used as a weapon of war, is a crime against humanity, rapes in times of lawlessness continue unabated. The number of our sisters and daughters of all ages brutally defiled over the past two decades staggers the imagination, and the number of lives devastated by such evil defies comprehension...so I urge my sisters, and my brothers, not to be afraid. Be not afraid to denounce injustice, though you may be outnumbered. Be not afraid to seek peace, even if your voice may be small. Be not afraid to demand peace."

Yemeni peace activist Tawakkol Karman made it clear to the world that their struggle for the rights of women goes beyond the borders of Yemen and sees the Nobel Peace Prize as sending a message to repressive regimes and systems that the voice of the unarmed protester can silence the guns and mortars of the oppressor.

"The Arab people who are revolting in a peaceful and civilized manner have, for so many decades, been oppressed and suppressed by the regimes of authoritarian tyrants who have indulged themselves deeply in corruption and in looting the wealth of their people. They have gone too far in depriving their people of freedom and of the natural right to a dignified life. They have gone too far in depriving them of the right to participate in the management of their personal affairs and the affairs of their communities. These regimes have totally disregarded the Arab people as a people with a legitimate human existence, and have let poverty and unemployment flourish among them in order to secure that the rulers and their family members after them will have full control over the people."

Liberian peace activist Leymah Roberta Gbowee held the world glued and transfixed as she narrated what women in Liberia were subjected to in their search for a just system that would respect the rights of women who had become "toys of war" to be used and abused in the orgy of violence, rape and murder that swept her country.

"Women had become the "toy of war" for over-drugged young militias. Sexual abuse and exploitation spared no woman; we were raped and abused regardless of our age, religious or social status. A common scene daily was a mother watching her young one being forcibly recruited or her daughter being taken away as the wife of another drug emboldened fighter. We used our pains, broken bodies and scarred emotions to confront the injustices and terror of our nation. We were aware that the end of the war will only come through non–violence, as we had all seen that the use of violence was taking us and our beloved country deeper into the abyss of pains, death, and destruction.

We worked daily confronting warlords, meeting with dictators and refusing to be silenced in the face of AK 47 and RPGs. I must be quick to add that this prize is not just in recognition of the triumph of women. It is a triumph of humanity. To recognize and honor women, the other half of humanity, is to achieve universal wholeness and balance. Like the women I met in Congo DRC over a year ago who said "Rape and abuse is the result of larger problem, and that problem is the absence of women in the decision making space". If women were part of decision-making in most societies, there would be less exclusive policies and laws that are blind to abuses women endure."

The Sierra Herald now expects that the Ernest Bai Koroma government has heard the voices of these women and it will re-open the case against those who are alleged to have raped opposition SLPP members two years ago. It is now time to make public and act upon the Shears-Moses report which implicates at least one member one of his security detail, Idrissa Kamara aka Leatherboot in the sexual and other assault against the opposition members and so help curb the many lies put out by his government.

Saturday December 10, 2011 - International Human Rights Day - As the world focuses and highlights this very important day, it is time to take a good look at the rights of the ordinary Sierra Leonean and to ask the question - is the ordinary Sierra Leonean grappling with problems associated with his/her daily struggle for life and survival aware of his/her rights as enshrined in the constitution? Do the authorities respect the provisions of the constitution as well as implementing all those international agreements to which Sierra Leone is a signatory?South African Navanethem Pillay is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Pertinent to the questions raised above would be more questions - what has the government done so far to raise awareness among Sierra Leoneans about their rights and privileges and what avenues are available to the ordinary politically-unconnected Sierra Leonean to seek redress when his/her rights are abused by government operatives like the armed forces and a judiciary that remains manipulated by the puppet masters at State House? Sierra Leone, it has to be recalled is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and so is obliged to implement what is stated in this document as well as how its provisions are inbuilt in our national constitution.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navi Pillay in her message for this day has praise for those who press for the rights of people in all situations citing among the many examples, the fight for justice and equality that saw repressive governments tumbling down - thanks to social media.

"A year when a single word, embodying the thwarted quest of a single impoverished young man in a remote province of Tunisia, struck a chord which swiftly rose to a crescendo. Within days it had rolled into the capital, Tunis, with such a roar that, in just four weeks it knocked the foundations from under an entrenched and apparently invincible authoritarian regime. This precedent, and its radical revision of the art of the possible, quickly reverberated into the streets and squares of Cairo, followed one after another by towns and cities all across the region, and, ultimately, in different forms, across the world. That word, that quest, was for “dignity.”

In 2011, the very idea of “power” shifted. During the course of this extraordinary year, it was wielded not just by mighty institutions in marble buildings, but increasingly by ordinary men, women, and even children, courageously standing up to demand their rights. In the Middle East and North Africa, many thousands have paid with their lives, and tens of thousands have been injured, besieged, tortured, detained, and threatened, but their newfound determination to demand their rights has meant they are no longer willing to accept injustice. Today, as in the past, editorial and financial factors – as well as access – determine whether or not protests, and repression of protests, are televised or reported in newspapers around the world. But, wherever it happens, you can now guarantee it will be tweeted on Twitter, posted on Facebook, broadcast on Youtube, and uploaded onto the internet. Governments no longer hold the ability to monopolize the dissemination of information and censor what it says.

In sum, in 2011, human rights went viral. On Human Rights Day 2011, I urge everyone, everywhere to join in the internet and social media campaign my office has launched to help more people know, demand and defend their human rights. It is a campaign that should be maintained so long as human rights abuses continue."

In Sierra Leone the government, in a bid to "silence" critics on the internet has set in motion a battery of websites all dedicated to hiding the truth from the ordinary man and woman. As we stated before, read one and you know what's in the rest as lies, more lies and damned lies are shared/syndicated among the paid purveyors of deceit, untruths and outright chicanery feeding fat on corruption, ready to defend at a whim any perceived critic of the thing which passes for a government in Freetown. Discerning readers have seen through it all and with these outlets losing credibility, assuming they had any in the first place, the praise singers are now getting exposed by the second. In the process they have now revealed their true colours - that they are all beneficiaries of the increasing levels of corruption and bad governance that threaten to take us back on the road all true patriots would rather not think about after our recent terrible history - ignited in the first instance by the then prevailing high levels of intolerance which has again reared its head in our one and only country, the land that we love, our very own Sierra Leone. Let us remind these purveyors of what is enshrined in our constitution, to wit -

"The press, radio and television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Constitution and highlight the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people."

The sources of funding for these websites we shall reveal in the fullness of time and hence expose once again the arrogance that is born out of massive corruption and outright thieving.

Sunday December 4, 2011 - Another great day for people of the faith - Christians we mean as they enter into and celebrate the second Sunday in Advent, a series of religious observations that would eventually lead to the world receiving His son, Jesus Christ whose followers now known as Christians believe in Him, worship Him and follow His teachings.

We would therefore expect that all those who profess to be Christians, who believe in Him, the Almighty God to be true and straight in all that they do, reflecting the teachings of Christ. No true Christian is expected to create either in his/her mind a craven image that is worshipped thus, nor create an altar for the worship of mere mortals because of the benefits to be derived from ceaseless praise-singing because of what is acquired from corrupt enterprises. There is always a price to pay - and that is why we continue to call on the high priest at the altar of deceit, falsehood and profanities created for the worship of his god ernest bai koroma to turn away from his ways and acknowledge that there are ample warning bells in the Holy Book, the Bible against this. We expect this question in Mark 8, verse 36  and Luke 9, verse 25 citing what one commentator has to say about the greed for material wealth to be taken in good faith never mind the arrogance that is bred from extreme forms of corruption and intolerance.President Ernest Bai Koroma - has he abandoned his own manifesto?

The worth of the world is a finite quantity, and can therefore be easily measured and estimated. But the worth of the soul is an ever-growing, and in this sense a boundless, or infinite quantity, and can, therefore, never be estimated. The world is estimable; the soul is literally inestimable. No arithmetic can compute it; no finite mind grasp it. ....to gain the whole world would be to gain, after all, but little. And in fact, for a human being to possess the world, would be to him really no good at all; it would only load him with an ocean of cares, and anxieties, and perplexities, from which he could reap really no solid benefit. It would prove to him only what it did to Solomon; and Solomon, be it remembered, possessed as much of it as he knew what to do with. Like Solomon, he would find it vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit. It would really be worse for a man, as far as his own happiness was concerned, than the most abject poverty."

The Bible also warns against telling lies, preaching falsehood and being the purveyor of anything which is against the teachings of Christ. In the Ninth Commandment is the warning against falsehood as found in Luke 20, verse 16 - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour and the satanic priest at the altar of his god ernest bai koroma must also bear in mind, according to another commentator, that - "fraud is deception and lying. It is misrepresenting facts in order to take from others gain for self -  “A False witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish” Proverbs 19:9

We would again want to remind the high priest that the last "sermon" on his "world-acclaimed" and "award-winning" outlet was done on October 28, 2011 and that today being the 4th day of December, something has to be done about that more so as he promised at the end of the "cut and paste" creation that it would be continued next week or has "next week" become such a long, long time or is he pre-occupied with identifying "enemies of the state" for their dare in criticising his god? Well, well and well and this from a man who once boasted after he was observed to be heaping undue praises on his god and when questioned about trying to seek a government job blurted -

"I am far better than you in the United States of America. While you are a laborer in a factory or a sausage flipper in a Macdonald's, I am a school teacher and Pastor. You cannot compare my returns to your's. In addition, my xxx and xxx are highly-paid nurses in the U.S. system .Therefore I am self-sufficient . But pray, mr.Idiot , HOW POSSIBLE IS IT FOR SOMEBODY TO DO 3 JOBS IN AMERICA ? Only an idiot like you also does not know that some of us cannot be Ministers of government because we are not registered voters in Sierra Leone, according to the constitution. I have been doing my job without Pay for 5 years."

So is this payback time?

We still await the high priest's "sermon" on our suggested theme - "Gluttony is a sin"

Saturday December 3, 2011 - The arrogance of corruption as exhibited by Corruption Incorporated headquartered at State House in Freetown and led by the smoke and mirrors President, the one and only Ernest Bai Koroma...oops Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, PhD (everything), DSc (all things)...and Division Three (BA- Fourah Bay College?)Shaking hands over it - a done and good deal for the people?

We have been watching, with rising unease and indeed great alarm the unprecedented display of arrogance as well as the tendency to make enemies of critics, the operatives of the thing in Sierra Leone which passes for a government. Dare criticise the government and the entire brigade of the internet flying toilets will come at you, using any barb they can fashion, as any and all bucketful of putrefaction is hurled in your direction with many a concoction only the imagination of the "authors" could best analyse. We have seen this before during the 24-year stranglehold of that awful horror known as APC rule under the great Bandele, Pass Ar Die fame and under his hand-picked heir, Joseph Saidu Momoh who was betrayed by the very men and women he had relied on to maintain his popularity when he first took over in 1985. Kindly recall that he promised then that for the first time Sierra Leoneans would no longer pick the crumbs that fell from the table, but would all be equal partakers at the table sitting as respected equals in the enjoyment of the national cake.

During those 24 years of the awful horror, Sierra Leoneans noticed the attitude of those put in positions of trust and how they cared less and less about the cries of ordinary Sierra Leoneans and just to ensure they hear what they wanted to hear, "Careless Talk" though not on the statute books became a crime - an unwritten piece of legislation that allowed perceived critics of the government to be picked up and locked away. It was an exercise that was carried out with an amount of zeal never seen in the annals of law enforcement in the country - thus creating an atmosphere of silence, an awesome silence that exploded in March 1991 when the first shots were fired across the border with Liberia as the Foday Sankoh invaders backed by elements of Liberia's NPFL forces as well as regular troops from Burkina Faso entered Sierra Leone territory.

It is the same policy of intolerance which led to our troubles and which we would be advised to steer clear of...but alas the new "conquerors" and their associates would have none of it quite believing that their corruption and disregard for law and order would remain a secret - that no one would know about what level of backhanders they could be receiving from "investors" including those from mining concerns now operating in the country. Allow us to quote a small section of the submission of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Sierra Leone

  1. "Government and all opinion formers should lead in the promotion of reconciliation and national reintegration. The effort in this regard should be real and practical....

  2. Governments should maintain zero tolerance for corruption. Above all, Governments should avoid the use of public funds to promote political causes and in order to ensure its stay in power. I have given in this Statement a glaring example of how the APC Party was intent on using public funds to prevent the holding of elections which it was sure to lose. This was an instance of blatant abuse of office and it was bound to provoke the resentment of the people.....the use of hired thugs to advance any political objective should be proscribed as a threat to the security of the state....I am aware of the cynical attitude of the people generally against politicians. We need to demonstrate this in a practical way. It is for this reason that I have often described myself as the Chief Servant of the people and required all other public officers to regard themselves as servants of the people."

We had in the past, pointed to the operations of one Frank Timis who appeared to have been granted some large, very large concessions in our country and we hear that he is not only involved in the Tonkolili iron ore projects, but does have his phalanges in nearly all "good pies" Sierra Leone can offer to be exploited including oil. We also brought you our observation that the press in Sierra Leone appears to see no evil, no wrong in Mr Timis fuelling our suspicions that all is not well in a country where the once-vibrant press knew no sacred cows.

Please be reminded that Sierra Leone is a signatory to the Extractive reporting process and apart from that when the time is ripe for an investigation into the activities of mining concerns like those operated by Frank Timis, nothing will be hidden, all will be exposed including bank accounts, who operates these accounts and whatever funding that goes into the pockets of government and Ernest Bai Koroma operatives.

We yet have to see a section of the press investigating the activities of Mr Frank Timis and his gang within and outside Sierra Leone.


Thursday December 1, 2011 - A big step forward for the women of Africa as Gambian Mrs Fatou Bensouda is all set to succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo as prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, the ICC next year. Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo steps down next year after nine years in the job and will be remembered for his vigorous pursuit of all those who are alleged to have committed grave human rights abuses, war crimes and other crimes related to those against humanity.Mrs Fatou Bensouda - she becomes the next prosecutor at the ICC next year

All is now set for the first African woman to become the second prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, the ICC, at the Hague. Mrs Fatou Bensouda, a woman with a charming smile that belies her tough stance against wrong-doers is set to succeed Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo when he steps down next year after serving as the prosecutor for some nine years. Gambian Mrs Bensouda has been his deputy and women's groups have hailed the news with praise and thumbs-up gestures sending home the message that women are also capable of doing what their male counterparts can do, if not better. And to add even more icing to this cake of achievement is the fact that this woman who will ascend to this high post is a woman from Africa. So say what you will about the Gambia and Sierra Leone, good things do emerge from these helpless and hopeless-looking countries buttressing the fact that from both countries, you do have men and women of goodwill. Decent men and women who refuse to compromise their stance and principles in the search for justice and the equality of everyone under the law.

The BBC adds - "The 50-year-old lawyer from the Gambia serves as the deputy to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whose term ends next year. She previously worked as a legal adviser at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania. The ICC's cases are currently all in Africa, and some of the continent's leaders have accused it of only pursuing Africans. A successor to Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be formally elected by the Assembly of States Parties - the body representing the 119 countries that support the tribunal - at its annual meeting in New York on 12 December. However, the president of the ASP, Liechtenstein's UN ambassador Christian Wenaweser, says she is now the only candidate."

This paves the way for her elevation to this top post in the court that was set up in 2002 to try those alleged to have committed crimes relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Describing her as the consensus candidate, an article on the website of the ICC stated how this status was reached

On 25 October 2011 the Search Committee for the position of Prosecutor submitted its report to the Bureau, with a shortlist of four candidates. After the release of the report the President of the Assembly, with the assistance of five regional focal points, began a process of consultations over a four week period which included a series of meetings of the New York Working Group of the Bureau, where the four candidates shortlisted by the Search Committee were given the opportunity to present themselves to States Parties. The consultations carried out resulted in an informal agreement among the States Parties to have a consensus candidate, Ms. Fatou B. Bensouda, from The Gambia, nominated for the consideration by the Assembly of States Parties. Ms. Fatou Bensouda will be elected at the tenth session of the Assembly on 12 December 2011, at the United Nations Headquarters, and assume the post on 16 June 2012. Ms. Bensouda was elected Deputy Prosecutor by the Assembly of States Parties on 8 September 2004. She is in charge of the Prosecution Division of the Office of the Prosecutor.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. Again we would want to remind the actors of state in Sierra Leone including the smoke and mirrors President that "the ICC is a court of last resort. It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine, for example if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility. In addition, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes".

Wednesday November 30, 2011 - Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo lands in Holland as the International Criminal Court, the ICC begins the road to justice for all those dismembered, raped, murdered and suffered emotional and other pains during that country's troubles. Rights group say Gbagbo is not the only alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses - that key elements within the Ouattara administration must be hauled before the court if the whole exercise is not to be seen as a "victor's justice".Former President Laurent Gbagbo on the left of picture...and on the right...ICC prosecutor Ocampo - has a new guest

Ah - this thing called justice. The Sierra Herald called for the arrest and trial of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo years ago in 2002 when reports started emerging that he had been urging his supporters to attack nationals from other West African countries whom he accused of supporting the opposition. Sections of the capital known to be the abode of these suspected "enemies" were attacked, residents shot and killed while others escaped with bodily harm, at least grateful they had not been put to death. Their homes were also torched and many fellow West Africans were dispossessed and had to leave Ivory Coast penniless and with barely what they were wearing at the time as they fled the persecution unleashed by Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters. The international community sat on folded hands and did nothing even though rights groups had warned and highlighted the horrors perpetuated against perceived "opponents" of Laurent Gbagbo and his ruling party.

It took the outrage of events a little over a year ago when atrocities were unleashed against the people of Ivory Coast as the battle raged between supporters of Laurent Gbagbo and those of Allasane Ouattara with the latter helped along by the rebel New Forces, the army from the north that had tried unsuccessfully to stage a military takeover of the country. They were prevented from getting to the south of the country, the seat of government by forces loyal to President Gbagbo and international forces led by France and other interested nations allied to President Gbagbo.

In a press release yesterday 29th November as Laurent Gbagbo was being moved to face justice at the International Criminal Court, the ICC, Human Rights Watch welcomed the move but cautioned that Laurent Gbagbo was not the only ogre in the murders and other outrages that took place in the country. Supporters of President Ouattara, both civil and military have also been implicated in many human rights abuses and so called for the prosecution of President Ouattara supporters, if not himself.

“This is a big day for the victims of Côte d’Ivoire’s horrific post-election violence,” said Elise Keppler, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. “That Laurent Gbagbo now has to answer to the court sends a strong message to Ivorian political and military leaders that no one should be above the law...the ICC is playing its part to show that even those at the highest levels of power cannot escape justice when implicated in grave crimes,” Keppler said. Efforts by both the ICC and the Ivorian government to ensure accountability for the post-election crimes are important in returning the rule of law to Côte d’Ivoire, Human Rights Watch said. However, investigations with a view to prosecutions are needed without delay for individuals implicated in grave crimes who fought in the forces allied with Ouattara.

Meanwhile, the BBC has confirmed the arrival of the former President in the Hague

"Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has arrived at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. He left northern Ivory Coast, after an arrest warrant was issued, and was flown to Rotterdam, from where he was transferred to detention in The Hague early on Wednesday.The ICC has been investigating alleged war crimes committed in unrest after last year's disputed elections.The transfer comes just two weeks before legislative elections."

We do hope that those who have been calling for the head of Sorious Samura, the latest enemy of the state of Sierra Leone would kindly note - that there's a price to pay for fanning the flames of hate and stoking the embers of political intolerance.

There's always a price to pay.

Friday November 25, 2011 - The quick sands of corruption, deceit, lies, more lies and damned lies catch another top gun of the ruling APC in a sting operation. Do the internet flying toilets realise that in such a quick sand situation, the more you wriggle, the more you try to weave and concoct falsehood to defend the indefensible and corrupt thieves, the deeper you sink? We have a reminder of how massive deforestation by logging companies (both legal and illegal) with close connections to the powers that were then got away with the depletion of our forest covers and reserves stretching all the way to the Gola forest.How did these two con artistes get such powers of destruction? And State House?A scene from the documentary on Sierra Leone's illegal logging moves

The name SILETI would be unknown to many a Sierra Leonean but those who were around then know just how this company, believed to be connected to State House helped in the depletion of our forest covers and trees leaving in its wake the disruption of the flora and fauna of many an ecology in the affected areas. Motorists using the roads linking the port of Freetown to the interior of the country where the logging operations were going on at a rapid pace would recall the long articulated trucks laden with felled trees, unprocessed and with twigs still hanging on making their slow and annoying journey to Freetown where the raw cargo, unprocessed and thus depriving the country of job-creation opportunities, were then shipped to various destinations. Some even landed in other countries in Africa where they were processed in saw mills contracted by the exporters.

These articulated lorries, apart from creating difficulties for other road users, should they break down also contributed to the damage sustained by roads, the maintenance of which was borne, as usual by the tax payer who is never told about the operations of these logging companies. And so it is with a deep sense of satisfaction that we have one other Sierra Leonean Sorious Samura, bold and brave enough to expose the underhand tactics of those at the top of the political ladder as well as their associates.

We still await "articles" on how he and all the staff of Al Jazeera could even be labelled as not only working for the SLPP, but for unknown forces bent on "removing by undemocratic means" the elected government of "the great and sagacious leader, Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma of the Republic of Zogoda".

The story of SILETI also reminds us again of the level of corruption in the previous APC regimes of Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh as well as the 24-year rule of an ogre that brought the country almost to her knees, until they were kicked out by the very men recruited by a green card method which saw party members, their wives and concubines becoming recruitment agencies for those wanting to get into the national army.

This is the story too, of how we lost valuable embassy property in Italy - and of course other countries where we had property that the tax payer had bought for the use of our diplomatic staff serving in missions overseas.

The big question is - what is going on behind the closed doors of State House and the Lodge especially when it comes to those mining companies?

One fine day, all will be revealed.


Update - We have just found the details of the SILETI deal between the government of Sierra Leone signed by then President Siaka Stevens on 15th April 1977. S A T Koroma Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources signed for the government and was witnessed by M B D Feika the Chief Conservator of Forests with one A. M. Dumbuya as the Acting Clerk of Parliament. The Act, authorising the exploitation of our forest reserves is entitled - "The Concession Agreement for Gola Forest East and Gola Forest West, Forest Reserves (Ratification) Act, 1977 - Being an Act to Ratify and Confirm the Agreement signed on the 30th day of January, 1975 by representatives of Sierra Leone Government of the one part and the Managing Director of SILETI of the other part establishing a joint venture to exploit the Gola Forest."

Thursday November 24, 2011 - Sierra Leone's Vice President's office - the place to be if you are interested in under-the table-activities?....as respected international broadcaster Al Jazeera goes under cover to show a part of what obtains in the serfdom of the smoke and mirrors President. This undercover investigative journalism focusing on how our country's natural resources are being exploited is an eye opener to what obtains behind the doors of those entrusted with the management of the country's resources. Nice one Sorious...soon and very soon....you will be labelled an SLPP top party card holder for daring to expose the thieving and deceitful hustlers in government!!!!!One of the dealers caught on camera - who is this "adviser"?Vice President Sam Sumana - claims he was not aware of the deals being made in his own office!!!

Al Jazeera's documentary focussing on how, as one of the villains in the film puts it, "money talks in Africa" highlights once again the vultures into whose care the management of the country's natural resources operate in what is clearly an illegal and at the same time a desperate measure by people claiming to have the right connections rip off not only any potential investor, but highlights the unpatriotic beggars that adorn the offices of government - this time, as the documentary shows - that of the Vice President, the second most powerful and influential political seat in Sierra Leone.

It demonstrates just why real investors who work hard for their money and who invest wisely shy away from Sierra Leone for fear of getting involved in underhand deals that could well land them in a corrupt situation where "they can enjoy the protection of the Vice President" and others in what passes for a government. The wheeler dealers are heard boasting how the "investor in logging" should feel proud and secure at being in the office of the Vice President and been made to part with money for the man in whose offices the deal was being struck - and there was the man counting money, demanding that the "investor" budget for some fifty thousand dollars as a start-up point to set up his logging export industry in Sierra Leone - and this with a ban on logging in force!!!

We are reliably made to understand that the two villains involved in the scandal, operating from the office of the Vice President Sam Sumana are opportunistic leeches from the United States who smooth-talked their way into the present government by presenting themselves as "true patriots who left all the good things and better conditions in that country" to go help the struggling masses in our dear and beloved one and only Sierra Leone.

"Later the two men, Alex Mansaray and Momoh Konte, sought and accepted cash payments from the ‘businessmen’, which they claimed would help secure the Vice-President’s support for a timber export business that the undercover reporters wished to establish. Vice-President Sumana later admitted to Al Jazeera that he knew the men but said their claims to be his advisors were false and that he hadn’t received any money solicited by them on his behalf."

We, in the Sierra Herald see this as the tip of the iceberg in a murky climate created by the greedy and warts and all minions and their masters/handlers in top positions of government and could well beg the question - what operates in other ministries as well as at the very heart of deceit and corruption - State House itself?

Congratulations Al Jazeera and to you Sorious Samura for helping throw light on the secret operations of the cabal that passes for a government in Sierra Leone. We say well done and be prepared for the internet flying toilets that will soon be launched on your name and character by beneficiaries of the massive corruption that has become a daily fare of those in positions of trust.

Don't be surprised Sorious, if in their "articles" you are termed a top brass of the SLPP and that you have an agenda to derail the government of the "progressive" NASDAQ bell-ringing calvary of lies, more lies and damned lies.

Such is their nature, for they fear the truth.

Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002