- Sierra Leone Parliament in corruption net as poisoned
javelins and threats are hurled against anti-corruption
body that refuses to buckle under pressure. Time for the
law makers to come clean.
The recent days have seen
a clearly rattled Sierra Leone Parliament looking for
any weapon it can hurl against an anti-corruption
activist that has dared to shine the spotlight on the
finances of Parliamentarians who are accused of
collecting huge amounts from the peoples' kitty without
properly accounting to the public on how these funds are
It all started after
the Campaign for Human Rights and Development
International (CHRDI) issued a press statement in which
it accused Parliamentarians of failing to account for
funds they had received over the years as monies to be
used in developing their various constituencies.
This statement got
Parliament and MPs rattled and desperate measures could
be clearly discerned as the MPs, both from the ruling
APC party, the main opposition SLPP and others suddenly
realised that someone was now calling them to face the
court of the people and account for all the funds they
have been receiving from the purse of the people.
The CHRDI wants the
Parliamentarians who just love to have the title
Honourable before their names to act honourably and
reveal just how they have been spending constituency
development funds as well as those received from the
coffers of state during the Ebola Virus Disease crisis
that saw some four thousand Sierra Leoneans going to
Desperate to ward off
these questions, Parliament called what many see as an
unprecedented press conference in which outrage was
expressed against the CHRDI leader, one Abdul Fatoma
whose organisation was only doing a civic duty of asking
questions that are on the minds of many Sierra Leoneans.
The press conference clearly showed the fear in the eyes
of those under scrutiny as MPs suddenly realised that
they are being called to account, brought down from
their high horses and asked to serve the people by
accounting for funds garnered on their behalf by MPs.
Thanks to one media
outlet, the African Young Voices television on the
internet we clearly saw the MPs desperation on full
display. There was one Special Adviser called Ibrahim
Ben Kargbo, IB, who quite forgetting all his experiences
as a journalist was heard threatening media outlets who
printed or broadcast the accusations of CHRDI as being
party to "a libelous" matter even though he still has to
prove to the courts that asking a question on the
accountability of Parliamentarians was now an act of
libel under the laws of Sierra Leone. All we can state
here is that IB Kargbo would need to go through his
notes on libel so that he does not come out with those
unfounded and veiled threats against media outlets who
see it fit to publicise the demands of CHRDI.
Another not so
surprising member of the band of shameless defenders of
the Parliamentarians was one Allieu I. Kanu who loves to
see his name prefaced with the title Ambassador, the
country to which he represents Sierra Leone is only best
known to him and his associates like one Yansaneh who
was at one time President Momoh's aide at State House.
Allieu Kanu, in a
desperate bid to hang on to his Chairmanship of the
Independent Media Commission, the IMC, promised to
investigate and bring to book all media outlets that
published the accusations of the CHRDI - and this from
an organisation that is supposed to be an independent
There was the so-called
Majority Leader of the House - the self-serving RASSin
Bundu a troll who actually believes that Parliament was
above the law; that Parliament was not accountable to
anyone; that Parliament could usurp the powers of other
bodies set up by Parliament itself as was witnessed in
the fight over the Auditor General's report on the Ebola
Virus Disease funds.
He, this troll, told
the press that they had looked at all the books - from
those to be found at the offices of the Ministry of
Justice, to the Ministry of Finance and beyond and that
CHRDI was not a registered organisation in Sierra Leone,
indicating that CHRDI had no business asking questions
that had been on the minds of Sierra Leoneans - to whom
should Parliamentarians account?
And this brought quite
a lot of questions - among them - do you have to be a
registered and recognised body to ask MPs or indeed any
other body to account to the people?
Concord Times in an
online report noted this - "The Chief Executive of
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International
(CHRDI) has stated that no amount of intimidation by
Members of Parliament would prevent the organisation
from moving ahead with their accountability campaign.
Abdul M. Fatoma’s
statement came following reaction by some Members of
Parliament to a CHRDI press release dated 26 July, 2016
which alleged that parliamentarians and parliamentary
officials have failed to properly account for over Le120
billion spent on Parliament by government in the last
“We are aware that in their feeble attempts to threaten
our organisation for asking these questions, they have
indicated their intent to use “Contempt of Parliament”
as provided for in the Constitution, to intimidate and
silence us. No amount of intimidation from corrupt
individual(s) in and out of Parliament would prevent us
from doing that,” he said.
He noted that as a
reputable and respected Human Rights, Social Policy
Advocacy International Organisation that only cares for
the welfare of the poor people, who are being blatantly
cheated by their representatives in Parliament, they
consider such reaction as outrageous, wicked and
absolutely uncalled for by MPs.
He urged Parliament to
handle the issue responsibly through public disclosure
and meaningful deliberations, not through intimidation
and threat of Contempt of Parliament.
Mr. Fatoma assured of
their determination and readiness to continue to
reiterate their call to ensure the effective
implementation of existing anti-corruption legislation(s)
in respect of parliamentarians and other government
“Our parliament has to
be accountable to the Sierra Leonean public.
Parliamentarians are servants of the people for whom
they make laws. They are not exempt from the laws they
pass and Parliamentarians are reminded that they are not
above the law but subject equally to the law in similar
manner as their constituents,” he maintained."
It would be recalled
that it was this same horror who openly challenged the
Anti Corruption Commission head when its then head one
Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara indicated that they would be
quite interested in talking to those found wanting in
that report. We noted then that this RASSin Bundu troll
was in breach of the provisions of the Anti Corruption
Law of 2008 and that he should be taken to task for
impeding the work of the ACC, an offence under the laws
of Sierra Leone.
The indignation of
Parliamentarians is now spurned by Sierra Leoneans who
would want to know more about the accountability of MPs
and have called for them to come out clean instead of
hurling veiled threats in all directions.
This caused us to take
a second look at the report of the Parliamentary
Accounts Committee, PAC, after the Auditor General
issued that damning report on the management of the
funds allocated in the fight against the Ebola Virus
As one online
Sierra Leone Telegraph
noted - it was a whitewash in which Parliament quite
forgot is role as a law maker, but took upon itself the
duties of the police, the law officers department, the
Anti Corruption Commission and all those institutions
whose duty it is to investigate and bring to book all
those found wanting as revealed in that damning report.
The news outlet noted
something we had reported on for quite a while.
reaching its role as a law-making body.
"The long awaited
parliamentary report into the missing $14 million Ebola
funds, that was last Thursday presented to parliament by
committee chairman Chernor Bah, is nothing but a
whitewash and a travesty of justice. The publication of
this report follows the strong criticisms and misgivings
raised by the Sierra Leone Telegraph, regarding the
controversial decision of parliament, which prevented
the police, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the
judiciary, from carrying out the investigations and
prosecuting those charged with criminality.
motivated action by a parliament dominated by ruling
party members, is not only regarded as contemptuous of
the people’s liberty, but undermines the independence of
the criminal justice system and the credibility of the
Above all, there are
fears such precedence will also undermine efforts to rid
the country of the culture of corruption that sadly
defines its international image, and is responsible for
the sickening levels of poverty it suffers, as well as
decades of under-development.
and parliament have no business interfering in the due
process of law, when citizens are being held accountable
for their actions by the Anti-Corruption Commission."
Despite the huffing and
puffing, the flapping of wings and expressions of being
the right body to investigate and report on the findings
of the Auditor General, we are heartened to note that in
the closing lines of
the PAC report,
there's an acknowledgement that the PAC report should
not stop any other body from carrying out its own
investigations and brining to book all those found
Indeed we noted this
line - 5. The Committee hereby advises that this report is not
a bar to other actors or/and other competent bodies or authorities that might
consider other actions as appropriate.
This means that the PAC
has now come to the realisation that it can only comment
on the report but cannot stop bodies like the police and
the ACC to carry out their own investigations and bring
all those found wanting to book.
Parliamentarians are not above the law and they should
be held to account like anyone living off the peoples'
Also read this to see
that the PAC recommendations not heeded with those asked
to account treating the PAC report with contempt if not
Auditor-General's second report
(Pictures of IB Kargbo,
RASSin Bundu and Allieu the self-designated Ambassador
to no country on earth from African Young Voices video -
WAKE UP SALONE)