''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 8 No 10

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

Contact us
World Cup with the BBC
UK Serious Fraud Office
World Association for Human Rights - USA
National Union of Journalists (UK)
BBC African Service
Daily Trust of Nigeria
UN Great Lakes
Writer Adichie
Southwark Council
S.L. Web
All Africa.com
Africa Week
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
Trial Watch
International Criminal Court
One World
Royal African Society
University of
East London
Nigeria Anti Corruption Commission




It was the BBC Network Africa's report of Thursday 9th June 2011 that first alerted us to the goings-on in Sierra Leone between the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the land deals he's been making between land owners and "investors" who have been given a field day in the country. From what we could glean from that report and our knowledge of the players in Sierra Leone, it was quite clear to us that Sierra Leoneans were being sold down the river by a President whose main ambition is to bring "investors" into Sierra Leone with offers that are just too good to be true....but in reality which are going on in the mother country between our hapless unsuspecting and uneducated land owners and rogue officials at the seat of power, State House. In one part of the narrative on the BBC programme it was quite obvious that the land owners of the areas occupied by the Swiss company Addax for the cultivation of sugar cane were bullied and duped by state officials including President Koroma himself. The hapless and helpless voice of one of the indigenes clearly demonstrated just how the fear of the government forced them into accepting any deal choked down their throats - for they did not want to be seen to be opposing the government. In a part of a recent report could be found this bit which clearly illustrates the bullying nature of the government

Under traditional Sierra Leonean social structure, there is little tendency to publicly question authority. This makes rural people all the more vulnerable to those individuals who, from positions of authority, convince community members that a land lease is in their interest. The land deal case studies illustrate how this has played out in Sierra Leone: an MP acted as representative for Addax Bioenergy and a well-connected individual acted on behalf of Quifel.

The US-based think tank Oakland Institute should be congratulated for bringing this to the ears and eyes of all those who are interested in the development of the country and here we would like to particularly stress the unwholesome role of the World Bank and other Bretton Woods associates in encouraging a deal that robs the poor of land which could be used for food production into a massive enterprise aimed at satisfying the needs of the fuel industries of the western entities. In a report entitled "Understanding Land Investment deals in Africa", the organisation has this country report on Sierra Leone - Country Report: Sierra Leone - which paints a picture of deceit, bullying and exploitation by these so-called investors actively encouraged and in connivance with government and associated officials from President Ernest Bai Koroma himself to his minions who are paid from the backs of the taxpayers in the UK and Sierra Leone.

A part of the conclusions in this report also highlights the lack of transparency over how these land deals with foreign "investors" are manipulated to suit government officials at the expense of land owners whose fear of the government coupled with a high level of illiteracy creates a suitable environment for deceit and thieving at the highest levels of government. What land owner in Makeni would say no to a lying and sugar-tongued President who has expressed an interest in his/her land? None would for fear that State House would use all its intimidating tactics to coerce such a farmer into agreeing. Any resistance to such a plan forwarded by the President would be interpreted as being anti-government and worthy of a treason charge and while the hapless landowner is forced to eat humble pie, he/she has no idea that it is all a part of an anti-people initiative by the same government that has sworn to defend the rights of the people.

Everything is cloaked in secrecy, officialdom and all the instruments of intimidation at the beck and call of the government. The report noted:

Local community members do not receive full disclosure from “coordinators” (agents hired by investors to convince locals to agree to land leases). Local communities, town and section chiefs, and landowners are generally persuaded that investments will only bring benefits, whether employment or other forms of “development.” Potential negative impacts,such as loss of farmland, social tension, and food insecurity are rarely predicted or acknowledged. In none of the case studies do investors provide landowners and chiefs with copies of the lease agreements. Furthermore, there is evidence that, when locals are unable to read, only parts of the lease documents are read aloud to them before they sign. With the exception of one Paramount Chief, all landowners and chiefs interviewed during OI fieldwork asserted that they had not been given copies of leases they had signed, nor were they able to recall the contents of the agreements.

And this from a government that gets praised to high heavens by the government's Goebbels and his array of internet flying toilets whose constant and never-ending praise-singing is now the butt of jokes whenever serious-minded Sierra Leoneans and friends of the country talk about how to move the country forward.

[As we published in one article - with the Ernest Bai Koroma internet flying toilets, read one (we know it is quite an effort), and you know what will be in the rest with "editors", "managing editors", "chief executive officers" and others harvested on a daily basis from the gutters of ill-informed beggary.]

What is even more worrying in this report is the role of the international financial institutions in all this, including but not limited to the World Bank. One would have thought that these organisations would be development-oriented having at their core a poor people-friendly face - a face that would ensure that the poor and disadvantaged are given their just dues, respect and recognition. They have been a complete disappointment in this and one may begin to question the role of these institutions in creating food sufficiency/scarcity in Sierra Leone. Here's what the report has noted:

The World Bank Group has been instrumental in increasing foreign investment in Sierra Leone by funding institutions and leading reforms to attract investors and to ensure their access to land and resources. In particular, the IFC provides financial support and works closely with SLIEPA. The World Bank Group is also financing a hasty process of land tenure reform. There are concerns that reform measures, in their desire to accommodate foreign investors, are overlooking the issues of equitable and secure access to land for all Sierra Leoneans, particularly women farmers.....They do not respect usufruct rights to land use or local needs for water and farmland, and there is little or no accountability. There is no proper regulatory framework to deal with FDI in land resources (all those materially affected are not consulted), and they do not strengthen food security.....The World Bank promotes and enables land deals that clearly do not respect their own principles of responsible agro-investment.

As the report has noted the sugar cane plantations are meant to fuel the vehicles and other mechanised sectors of the western countries who see the use of ethanol in combinations as the new way forward in fuel-efficient vehicles. However it is not lost on anyone with the least training in agriculture to appreciate that if an ecology can support the growth of sugar cane, then that same area could be used for the production of rice - both crops being a member of the grass family. So if Addax claims to be using "under-utilised farming areas" why not utilise these same areas for the production of the country's staple rice?

It is quite a depressing read to true Sierra Leoneans of Boliland becoming sugar cane producing lands more so as all those in the know including President Koroma and some of his close associates know that Boliland is another word for rice production in Sierra Leone.

What obtains is that these lands are fertile during the rains and are bare and hard during the dry season and so if Addax is really interested in helping the people of Sierra Leone, would use irrigation methods to make these areas productive all the time when needed for the production of rice.

The revelations in this report are, we think, just the tip of the iceberg of massive money-generating deals Ernest Bai Koroma and his minions are actively engaged in at the moment and we would urge transparency in all the deals involving minerals and other natural resources that have become money-spinners for the corrupt and unpatriotic.

Given all the secrecy surrounding the exploitation of Sierra Leones' resources under the Ernest Bai Koroma thieving cabal, that Freedom of Information Act will take quite some time to ever become a reality.

Addax - we are not impressed. Take a look again at your Question and Answer page on your own website and see how hollow and insincere you look.

Your organisation is just another exploiter working in collusion with the rapists of the land posing as government officials with a mandate from the people.

Do the Swiss know what you are up to?

We would urge any human in your organisation to search his/her conscience.


Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002