''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 XII 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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Sunday March 20, 2016 - The corruption mafia exposed again as the World Bank bars the Dutch company that reportedly sold that marine patrol vessel and Fly Salone airlines is no more.The much-hyped patrol vessel cost us far more that its real value. Who was the agent that got the money?The logo of the short-lived Fly Salone airline - what's the true story?

It was not so long ago that some sections of the government-controlled media tried to sell the usual mantra to the people of Sierra Leone of having a head who cares about them.

Quite a lot of smoke and noise was made of what was described as a new patrol vessel, named after the late Sorie Ibrahim Koroma which would be used in the battle against illegal fishing within our coastal waters.

On the website of the State House website, we found this -

"President Ernest Bai Koroma Wednesday 11 November commissioned the newly acquired Fisheries Patrol Vessel FPV Sorie Ibrahim Koroma surveillance and research boat at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay, Berth One, Cline Town in Freetown.

The surveillance and patrol boat is a multipurpose state of the art vessel that will monitor, research fishing vessels and poacher in the territorial waters of Sierra Leone.

Delivering the keynote address, President Koroma expressed delight to participate in launching the marine patrol and surveillance boat. As a result of the fishing potentials of the country, he said, poachers are individuals who pose serious challenges in the fishing industry as well as those involving in illegal fishing. He underscored the importance of fishing to healthy living, creating employment and propelling economic activities.

Making a statement, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Captain Momodu Alieu Pat-Sowe said fishing serves as social source of food security largely with developmental income. He announced that his ministry is at the conclusion stage of a new fishing policy and structure to regulate and strengthen fishing service delivery.

Captain Pat Sowe went further to state that the surveillance boat will help to intercept, fine and combat illegal fishing, saying that there is no room for poachers"

However one source, the South African based Defence web had this bit -

"The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Captain Momodu Alieu Pat-Sowe, said the new boat will help to intercept, fine and combat illegal fishing. The vessel cost $5.93 million to acquire.

It was built by Damen in the Netherlands and arrived in Sierra Leone in late August. It appears to be a Stan Patrol model. Sierra Leone has a small navy, comprising one Shanghai III class vessel, one Swiftship patrol boat, one LCU and several inshore patrol craft and harbour cutters." Money spinner Logus Koroma and his godfather

It would appear, that given the size of the boat and all the specifications as it was commissioned on that day, that the amount of nearly six million US dollars was way above the real cost of such a boat for which we would urge the Anti Corruption Commission to trail the money and loss to the people of Sierra Leone.

Indeed, the World Bank has now issued a statement which clearly indicates that another massive corruption enterprise is at work at the centre of which is one of the money spinners of the rat at State House, one Captain Pat Sowe who has now been transferred to another ministry.

He and the other key member of the corruption mafia, one Logus Koroma of the Transport and Aviation ministry have now become the rat's sacred cows. This is what the World Bank says in a press release on its website dated March 16, 2016 -

"The World Bank this week debarred Damen Shipyards Gorinchem (Damen) for 18 months. The company engaged in a fraudulent practice under the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (Phase 1).

An investigation by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency revealed evidence that Damen engaged in a fraudulent practice by failing to disclose an agent and the amount of commissions due to the agent when it submitted its bid for the supply of a Fisheries Patrol Boat under the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (Phase 1) in Sierra Leone in early 2013.

“This case demonstrates what it takes to meet the World Bank integrity standard in terms of acknowledging misconduct, cooperating with investigators and raising the bar on compliance,” said Leonard McCarthy World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency. The sanction is part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement.

Damen has cooperated with the World Bank’s investigation and has taken remedial action, including strengthening its corporate compliance program. For these reasons the debarment period was reduced to 18 months.

Under the Agreement the company will continue to cooperate with the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency. In addition, the debarred entity is required to comply with The World bank’s Integrity Guidelines prior to their release from the debarment list. The debarment of Damen Shipyard Gorinchem qualifies for cross-debarment by other MDBs under the Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments that was signed on April 9, 2010."

This bit from the World Bank statement should be of interest to the police and the Anti Corruption Commission - "An investigation by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency revealed evidence that Damen engaged in a fraudulent practice by failing to disclose an agent and the amount of commissions due to the agent when it submitted its bid for the supply of a Fisheries Patrol Boat under the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (Phase 1) in Sierra Leone in early 2013."

Who was the agent and how much was that agent given as part of this dubious deal?

We would urge the World bank to reveal this report to the Sierra Leone public lest it be seen as a part of a system that covers up corruption in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile Sierra Leoneans are still reeling from news that the much-hyped Fly Salone airlines has folded up after its equally much-hyped launch late last year. On the website of the New Citizen news outlet, a portal with close links to the ruling APC party and Presidential Adviser I B Kargbo we found this -

"The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma, on the night of Saturday 13th December 2015, at the Lungi International Airport, welcomed the twice weekly innovative direct flight from London to Sierra Leone. The 180-seater plane named 'Fly Salone' will ease the numerous challenges faced by travelers to and from Sierra Leone and is a private business venture.

The landing of the plane was epoch-making as seven out of the nine airlines operating in the country ceased during the Ebola outbreak. Onlookers cheered the 70 passengers, both foreign and local, as they disembarked the plane. Money spinner Pat Sowe and his godfather. Who got the corruption money and how much?

Addressing journalists at the departure section of the Lungi International Airport, the Minister of Transport disclosed that about half a million Sierra Leoneans reside in the United Kingdom that is their Mecca, the hub of world travel and underscored that the plane would facilitate travel and business in Sierra Leone."

However despite this publicity, McPhilips Travel, an entity that is often associated with all things relating to passenger and freight services among others had this message on its website -a message that was also found on the website of the airline Fly Salone

"To all the Fly Salone passengers who have flying arrangements. We regret to inform you that Fly Salone has ceased trading. All passengers will therefore be unable to fly with this airline as the Company will shortly be entering into Liquidation.

All passengers that have paid for their bookings using Visa/Mastercard debit or credit cards should seek a refund through their bank directly. Alternatively if you have taken out a travel insurance policy, you may be able to claim via your travel insurer, citing scheduled airline failure.

All other passengers will be contacted in due course with full details regarding how to make a claim which will include a claim form to complete and submit. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused to passengers."

What's going on?

We would urge law enforcement agencies including the Anti Corruption Commission to investigate these two incidents that have tarnished the image of the country, State House and the Presidency with a view to bringing to light the true story of the failure of Fly Salone airlines and the nearly six million dollars reportedly paid for a patrol vessel, the transaction of which has led to the barring of the Dutch company involved.


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The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002