''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 5

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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Wednesday May 2, 2012 - Those smoking guns and war weapons - why was the contract for these weapons given to a civilian company? Who is behind the company and how much did it really cost the tax payer? Like the reckless and thieving APC of Stevens and Momoh so it is with the smoke and mirrors President Ernest Bai Koroma.Police Chief Francis Munu has now received his weapons for intimidating the opposition.Ernest Bai Koroma - the new face of terror in Sierra Leone

Thanks to members of some sections of the press reporting on events in Sierra Leone, the Ernest Bai Koroma government has been exposed as a lying, self-serving and ruthless entity that would do any and everything to re-introduce the APC tactics of yester years to remain in power - and not only that but to continue the massive and unprecedented looting spree as exposed by the Auditor-General's office. According to those leaked documents, the Inspector-General, the Gestapo Chief Francis Munu would want us to believe that the award of that contract to a particular company was above board, that the award was transparent and in line with regulations relating to the award of contracts. He wrote and we quote

The Supplier, Messrs Amylam, Sierra Leone Limited, who won the contract on CIF terms, has informed me that the vessel NV AN NING JIANG, is presently at high seas under the shipping agency of OBT Shipping Limited and is expected to arrive by 19th/20th January 2012.

We beg to differ and would want a further clarification on the matter as the UN arms embargo on Sierra Leone had been lifted paving the way for the government to directly use the country's end-user certificate and authority to buy these items from the Chinese manufacturers Norinco. And who, may we ask heads or has links to this new invention called Messrs Amylam? We believe that one Khadi could well have been resuscitated to begin yet another rape of the country's finances just as he did during the Momoh era and during which he gained access to all ministries and key personnel in government to siphon off the tax payers' sweat into his accounts while giving kickbacks to his contacts in government. Kindly take a look at this report involving his operations in the acquisition of fire engines for the Fire Force.

This was just the tip of the iceberg in the massive corruption that reigned then and just to ensure that Sierra Leone is not been taken to the cleaners again using all and any surreptitious means, we would urge the Gestapo Chief Francis Munu as well as the Ministry of Finance to publish all details relating to the tender documents and what informed the government to award such a contract to Messrs Amylam, Sierra Leone Limited. We need to know under what circumstances the stated company was given such a contract and who received the kickbacks that normally are a part of such "contracts".

We are raising this issue because as far as we can see, despite the fact that the Auditor General had published reports highlighting thieving and gross financial malpractices in government, government-related organisations and others, State House, headed by Ernest Bai Koroma has not thought it fit to put in the recommended remedial action that would recover the multi billion leones and more in foreign currencies theft that is now a label of this government. A government that has failed to account to the people, a government that is of the view that the finances of Sierra Leone are easy and should be such a prey to its many thieving and dishonest operatives. The contempt so far displayed by the government for the reports of the Auditor-General hearkens to the days of the Stevens and Momoh era where the badge of good statesmanship and accountability got converted into a vile competition as to who steals the most from the coffers of government.

In one of the reports of the three Commissions of Inquiry set up by the NPRC after the overthrow of the despotic and thieving Momoh administration it was noted

Evidence adduced so far from the various Commissions have led the NPRC to conclude that the auditing arm of Government which should have held a pre-eminent position in a system of checks and balances as far as accountability in all financial dealings were concerned, was systematically relegated to a position of impotence. This is evidenced from the fact that even when queries were regularly raised about questionable financial dealings, hardly any replies or explanations of substance were returned. This massive erosion of the status and authority of the Auditor-General's Office over the years therefore left the way open for widespread abuse of office and wholesale corruption which has landed the Nation in its present socio-economic quagmire. The Nation has irretrievably lost millions of leones and other valuable national assets which should otherwise have been put into use in the interest of the common good.

The NPRC will therefore ensure that purposeful action is taken to restore within the shortest possible time, the former status of the Auditor-General's Office as required by Law, to ensure that the momentum created by the current cleaning up exercise is sustained, thereby ensuring that the tenets of transparency and accountability will once again become the hallmark of good and responsible Government in the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Allow us to give you a sampling of what was unearthed during the NPRC investigations into contracts - this is a part of what was discovered at the National Elections Commission at Tower Hill in Freetown

Date Supplier Agreed Unit Price le Paid Unit Price Le Total Agreed Price Le Total Paid Le Difference Le
30.10.89 Standard Int. Agency (1,100 pkts Dup. Papers) 950 2,500 1,045 2,275,000 1,705,000
11.90 Standard Int. (4,000 stamp pads) 500 700 2,000,000 2,800,000 800,000
1989 Sonny Co. Int. (3,120 ball pens) 30 67 93,600 208,000 114,400

So many years on, another APC government - this time headed by, no doubt, one of the beneficiaries of such a corruption has re-introduced that utter contempt for the findings of the Auditor-General's office thus paving the way as well as sending signals to all in charge of government resources that it is again open season for thieving, rampant corruption and all the ills that nearly brought the country to her knees during the Stevens and Momoh administrations. No action has been taken to recover the vast amounts of money and resources stolen from the people. From the seat of political and corruption power State House down to the level of the lowly-paid functionaries. The message from State House appears to be - steal, steal, steal.

Indeed the Auditor-General in her 2010 audit report has noted

We found significant numbers of receipt books were not accounted for or available for examination. There were unidentified cash balances held in transit accounts and not transferred to the CRF at year end in a timely manner. We also noted a significant discrepancy between NRA reported revenue and that disclosed in the Public Accounts. No breakdown on donor revenue was made available for audit and we encountered a lack of supporting documentation in a worrisome number of instances. Also, for 99% of bank balances we were unable to obtain direct confirmation of balances held in commercial banks.

Many of our recommendations from previous years have not been implemented and this continues to be of considerable concern.

We would urge Sierra Leone's development partners like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the African Development Bank, Donor Countries, Bi and Multi-lateral partners to stop sitting on their hands while pretending that all is well with funds committed to the raising of the standard of life of the ordinary Sierra Leonean - the poor and unconnected whose only crime is to be citizens in their own God-given country, Sierra Leone.

We would urge all these partners not to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that all is well as long as their country's balance sheet shows they are up to the mark in their giving to "the world's poorest".

They did it in the past and watched as Sierra Leone sunk deeper and deeper into the quagmire of the lack of financial accountability and general and rampant looting of state coffers.

We would not only hold this ogre to account when the time is ripe, but would send a message to your tax payers that you have become a party to a system that is systematically depriving the people of resources garnered on their behalf.

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The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002