''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 XI No 1

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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Monday February 3, 2014 - Accounting for the country's resources - an anathema for the government of the rat where simple arithmetic becomes a complex equation aimed at covering the tracks of charlatans bent on taking the country down the road to infamy - never mind the "re-branding" mantra.Ernest Bai Koroma - the puppet master at State House bent on engulfing Sierra Leone into another round of extreme violence and disorder using all means necessary.Anti Corruption Commission boss Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara - has he put his reputation on the line because of that salary increase from Ernest Bai Koroma?

We have waited, we have watched, we have tried to figure out why since the audit of government accounts for 2012 was made public, none of the sewer rats extolling the virtues of the King Rat and who see no wrong in his manipulation of Parliament and the Judiciary, have commented on the massive thieving going on in the affairs of state.

We can only come to the very painful conclusion that since they are all beneficiaries of the thieving machine, they dare not make a squeak in that direction lest they lose their part of the loot. Rather than tell their overlords that the thieving would in the end lead the country to the same state that the country would never want to tread again, the pay-as-you-go writers, refuse to acknowledge that the massive thieving now going on could lead to one and only one thing - the disintegration of community, region and state with dire consequences for all innocent Sierra Leoneans who continue to suffer in silence and are not a part of the state resources plundering machine oiled and kept running from the heart of State House itself.

You would think it is the God-given right of King Rat and his caboodle to steal, steal and steal. That they are not accountable to anyone not even their conscience, assuming there's any left in the pool of moral bankruptcy in which they swim exposing their ill-gotten wealth. The reckless spending of the peoples' resources and wealth highlighted in audit reports, like this AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF OVERSEAS MISSIONS AND HIGH COMMISSIONS FOR THE PERIOD 1ST JANUARY 2003 TO 31ST DECEMBER 2010 and the failure to hold those responsible to account shows all too clearly that the smoke and mirrors State House occupant does not care about such reports and so it was with quite some interest when we heard that he was trying to make good on Sierra Leone's suspension from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Why the suspension?

Again the government and the various functionaries simply cannot figure out their basic arithmetic and this from a rat who once headed an insurance body that did simple and somehow complex sums that determined just how much the insured should pay on a monthly or yearly basis or whatever time reference in question. In the EITI all that is being asked for is transparency and some honesty in reporting what is paid into government coffers by the various industries - and this is not confined to mining alone as oil blocks sales and allied fields appear to be yielding more money into the coffers (read thieving paws of the rat of a President).

On the website of EITI there's an interesting report for Wednesday January 22 with the headline - "Big jump in revenues from Sierra Leone's extractives sector" with the sweetener that "revenues are up by almost four times but remain a small part of the economy".

Here's a part of that revealing report - "Although revenues from the oil, gas and mining sector in Sierra Leone in 2011 remained less than 1% of GDP, they are growing fast – from US $7.5 in 2010 to US $27m in 2011. Previous EITI reports had shown no increase in revenues between 2006 and 2010, so the increase in 2011 is significant with signature bonuses in the oil and gas sector being the major component. In 2011 oil and gas revenues outstripped mining revenues for the first time. Though still small, revenues from oil, gas and mining are forecast to grow to up to 17% of GDP by 2020. These figures were disclosed as part of Sierra Leone’s implementation of the EITI Standard.

Implementation of the EITI requires full disclosure of payments made by oil, gas and mining companies to the government. The report discloses that the four oil and gas companies in the country - Talisman, Lukoil, Anadarko, and European Hydrocarbon – accounted for over US $15m revenues, of which almost US $14m was paid in signature bonuses. Talisman alone generated over a third of total government revenue from the extractive sector. In addition, the 21 mining companies – dealing in gold, diamonds, bauxite, iron ore and rutile - provided a further US $12m. Sierra Leone was temporarily suspended by the EITI Board in February 2013 for failure to achieve EITI compliance following two validations, which is the quality control mechanism of the EITI. This report seeks to address the main corrective actions agreed by the Board before lifting the suspension. The report is now being assessed by the International Secretariat in order to make a recommendation on whether to proceed with a full Secretariat Review."

And then we read that the rat launched a report in Freetown on January 14 (SIERRA LEONE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE (SLEITI) RECONCILIATION REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2011) which appears to be an attempt by the government to explain/reduce the gap between what was paid into government coffers by the extractive companies and what was reported by the government. As usual, the rat's speech is long on promises but always short of delivery - a trade mark of the smoke and mirrors exponent. Who can believe this from him -

"My government is committed to avoiding the negative consequences by ensuring that the natural resource wealth of this country is harnessed responsibly and for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans"? How many Sierra Leoneans can he say are benefiting from the country's natural resources? If you ask him, without blinking an eyelid, he'll blurt out "everybody" meaning he and his thieving cabal.  

It is so simple an arithmetic. If the extractive companies have it on their books that they paid x amount of dollars to government, the government must show on its books that it received x such amount - nothing more nothing less. But where you have differences running into millions of dollars, then questions have to be asked and that was how our poor rich country got suspended - for those in authority just do no believe in the truth never mind the fact that they have not told the people what the money accruing from this sector is being used for. Surely not for the purchase of more war weapons, we hope and we still have to see how such funds are used in the interest of the people, especially those affected by the operations of the various exploitative extractive industries.

To get things going and get the records straight, the government employed a UK-based accounting firm audit company Moore Stephens to go through the books of the Sierra Leone Chapter of the EITI appropriately named Sierra Leone Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative and it is worth noting this bit in the recommendations contained in that report.

"It appeared that to date the SLEITI Secretariat still does not have a comprehensive database of all extractive companies operating in the extractive sector. This is due to the lack of a formal procedure of communication between the Secretariat and Government Agencies with regard to active extractive companies. Accordingly, SLEITI did not have the list of active companies along with their TIN, activity status (exploration or production stage), active licenses and the type of minerals extracted. Although we obtained most of the information from Government Agencies during our fieldwork, other key information such as activity status and minerals extracted were still missing.

We recommend that, in the first instance, the Secretariat should create and maintain its database following this reconciliation exercise. The Secretariat should then liaise with

the Government Agencies to ensure it obtains adequate information in real time and updates the database regularly. To this end, we believe it is vital that any new entrants to the extractive sector are registered with the EITI Secretariat as part of the process before or at the same time as they obtain their operating licence. A quarterly review with the Government Agencies of the list of extractive companies licenced to operate in the sector is also recommended."

Figures will never get reconciled as it is not in the nature of the corrupt to do things in the right manner. The report throws the spotlight on just what is wrong with the extractives industry with some mining companies with close links to State House not even reported on nor named. These would no doubt include private mining activities carried out by elements with close links to State House. And the members of the thieving cabal are surprised that their paws were kicked off the US tax payers money after they were rejected by the US Millennium Challenge Fund due mainly to the hard fact on the ground that the rat and his operatives are steeped in massive corruption.

One report states -

"According to the MCC’s yearly Country Scorecard released on November 6, Sierra Leone passed in 11 out of 20 indicators, including political rights and freedom of information. But the West African country failed on, among others, fiscal policy, natural resources governance and, crucially, control of corruption." 

Here's what a member of the deception committee is quoted as saying after Sierra Leone's application was rejected - "Although the MCC said it would maintain “continued but limited engagement” with the two failed countries, (Sierra Leone and Benin) Sierra Leone's MCC coordinating unit head stressed that “until and unless government shows dramatic and demonstrable mark of reducing corruption, we can do this over and over and we will not pass it.”

The MCC will need to take a second look at Sierra Leone under the rat's administration where constituents are deprived of the candidate they voted for in crucial elections with two key seats in constituencies 5 and 15 awarded to his party in the most corrupt and undemocratic manner - thanks to a compliant, submissive, corrupt and failed judiciary and Parliament. Kindly read a part of the rat's address to some of his operatives - an address that was meant to tell the international community that he is doing something about tackling corruption.

“There is a syndicate of 419ers using fake certificates from the Ministry of Mineral Resources and the GGDO to fleece investors of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars, and when they are arrested, they connive with the police to chase the investors away, or if these culprits are taken to the justice system they are granted bail with the purpose to share the loot. This is done with the knowledge of people sitting in this room.

The police know this is happening in a grand scale,” the President asserted, making mention of the seized cocaine plane as having been in the business since 1992 with the connivance of people expected to maintain the law...“This year will be a year with a difference… It will not be business as usual… We must change the direction of this country…no infrastructural development will take us out of the woods if the situation continues as it is now. As ministers and institutional heads, you must take full responsibility of your departments by looking inwards.

The Sierra Leonean public has had enough; they have not been treated fairly because of the interests of those who want to mortgage the sovereignty of Sierra Leone to Al Qaeda or other terrorists for a few dollars.” 

Hear hear, his comrades in thieving would say, but let him explain the source of the foreign currencies he has - not only in banks abroad but raw cash in his private cache at home and at State House. And the equally compliant head of the Anti Corruption Commission refuses to question the rat on the source of his unexplained wealth - an offence under the 2008 Anti Corruption Act.

Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002