''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 3

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 October 23, 2016 - The nation-wreckers led by the smoke and mirrors rat at State House represent state lawlessness and disregard for law and order never before seen in Sierra Leone's history. The economic measures announced is just that - an announcement.

When from the lair of the rat came that announcement of cutting down on "wasteful expenses" and certain rules that would not be in place, we stated that we were not impressed and that it would be business as usual with the rat pulling the strings as the great puppet master of corruption.

A number of measures were announced which in our opinion was for the pleasure of the the reading eyes of the international financial institutions and not a commitment to economic measures that would limit the damage done by a corrupt and self-serving gang of lawless and anti-people operatives belonging to a joint criminal enterprise aimed at taking the country to the cleaners.

On the website of State House relating to this could be found a number of measures relating to travel, per diem and other wasteful expenses. True to form, the rat only announced these measures after using the peoples' money to take along a bunch of sycophants including the so-called Majority Leader of Parliament and the street urchin calling himself an Information minister of our great country to shamelessly dance on the streets of New York in praise of the rat for his gross disrespect for the rule of law and the essential elements of good governance.

Kindly take a look at the last item tucked below all those smoke and mirrors measures and you will find this -  

"Minimize discretionary duty waivers and rationalize statutory duty waivers".

Duty waivers represent one of the most corrupt and money-generating machinery that has been used and abused by governments of all sorts but which has been elevated to a policy issue by the thing which passes for a government in Sierra Leone.

It is this system that has seen a number of "businesses" springing up all over the country with the owners using their links to State House to evade due taxes while making a killing in profits - profits that are not properly accounted for to the tax authorities who could have been instructed by the "Executive President" to turn their eyes the other way.

Remember the India rice saga? This was rice from India that should have been sold on the market in Sierra Leone with proceeds used in development projects. His (the rat's) brother was given the contract and despite having to pay more than a million dollars in duty fees, this huge amount was allegedly waived contrary to the financial rules and regulations in force. How much money the country has been losing and still continues to lose is best left to the imagination.

And on this topic of duty waivers, let us take you back to the pages of a certain publication entitled - "Waiver of Customs Duties and Fees - Report of the Beccles Davies Commission of Inquiry Volume Five".

Under The 1986/87 Budget we find this.

"Dr Kanu in delivering the 1986/87 Budget Speech and Economic Policy said at Page 7 Paragraphs 32 and 33:-

"32...my Ministry carried out a review of Customs duty exemptions granted several individuals and commercial establishments. It has been decided that except where granted by treaties which are not subject to renegotiation, duty exemption cannot be justified in several cases. This practice amounts to Government subsidising commercial houses and has cost the Government dearly in lost revenue....

Take a look at this from the pages of the Inquiry - "We have so far in the course of this Inquiry discovered that duty payable on good imported into Sierra Leone were wholly or partly waived by some Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Ministers of State in the Ministry of Finance.

We make particular reference in the report to Mr Taylor-Morgan, Mr Leonard S. Fofanah and Mrs Emma Claye-Simbo.

The reckless abandon with which Mrs Claye-Simbo waived the payment of Customs duty is yet to be surpassed in the course of this Inquiry...It cannot be gainsaid that this country in the recent past had been in dire need of funds collected from revenue to run its daily affairs yet a substantial amount of that revenue was given away in the form of waivers to the detriment of its well-being by those to whom its financial affairs were entrusted..."

Let us leave you with this from those pages of the amount of duty that was waived by some key operators in the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Hassan Gbessay Kanu - Le50, 565, 223.33.

Mrs Emma Claye-Simbo - Le119,912,921.26.

Mr Tommy Taylor-Morgan - Le18, 498, 988.68.

Mr Leonard Fofanah - Le6,924,182.26.

This gave a Grand Total of Le195,901,315.53.

To appreciate the volume of funds lost as all kinds of deals were made with businesses that got away with the payment of customs dues, kindly take a look at the exchange rate as it was at the time of the financial malfeasance. Mind-boggling.

And still on the topic of lawlessness and the lack of accountability and the tenets of good governance, kindly consider the case of the buses that were imported into Sierra Leone from a deal with China - a deal that was never approved by Parliament as laid down by law in the Constitution.

The rat's arm-in-gloves criminal accomplice, one Leonard Balogun Koroma is reported to have gone to China with a delegation to seal a deal that has left a bad taste in the mouths of all those concerned about the way financial lawlessness has almost brought the country to its knees.

Here's a part of the Auditor General's report on the acquisition of the those 100 buses and the preparedness of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation to deliver the essential services needed for the efficient running of those buses.

"Overall conclusions - The Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation had been unable to efficiently and effectively manage public bus services and had limited facilities and expertise to operate a passenger bus service throughout the country.

The contract to purchase 100 new buses was signed by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation in May 2014, but there was no coordinated comprehensive plan for the introduction of the new buses into service.

As such, the Corporation was not properly prepared to operate and maintain the new buses when they entered into service in July 2015. The arrangements for managing the country’s passenger transport service are confused.

The respective roles of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and the National Commission for Privatisation are not clear.

The Project Steering Committee set up by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, to oversee the operation of the 100 new buses appears to be in conflict with the statutory role of SLRTC’s Board of Directors."The rat's mafia don Logus Koroma dancing the night away in the US while police were killing youths in Koinadugu.

Everywhere you turn, there's corruption and this gives rise to the fears of people who love the country that we are in for more woes on the financial front as all key areas that can generate revenue for the monstrous thieving cabal have been filled by special appointees of the rat. From the Financial Secretary, through the ogre at NASSIT to the Minerals and Fisheries ministries.

The "grateful appointees" have made it a duty to surrender all or nearly all stolen funds to their master, the rat at State House.

We hear that the rat has been making a loud squeak over criticisms levelled at his uncaring and corrupt government after it was forced to admit in public that the economy was in shambles.

We had said it before. The thieving cabal don't like to be criticised as they want each and every Sierra Leonean within and without the borders of Sierra Leone to sing praises to his uncaring and lawless cabal. Something that is best left to the shameless band of "writers" who feed fat on the droppings of the rat and who never tire of calling him "The Father of the Nation" as if all Sierra Leoneans are rats.

Even some sections of the independent press who had some kind of sympathy were not amused by comments the rat is reported to have made while at a ceremony at the Quay in the east of the capital where pictures showed him sitting by his chief of staff in all things corrupt one Balogun Logus Koroma of the 100 buses fame and the third term ploy who still owes the country an explanation over the Kono Road Development Fund and the Sierra Leone airline venture that never took off.

Calm Down, Mr. President, Calm Down! advises the Global Times newspaper which added - "It is rare for some print media Journalists to openly criticize President Koroma in the pages of their newspapers. Afterall, they still consider him as a friend of the Press.

President Koroma’s open criticism of the media, last Friday, came as a shock to many media practitioners. That was least expected of a man who has enjoyed a cozy relationship with the local media since he came to power in 2007.

What has the media got to do with the collapse of the country’s economy?

What has the media got to do with Koroma’s diminishing popularity in the country?

What has the media got to do with the severe suffering of the average Sierra Leonean today?

What has the media got to do with the rampant corruption and lawlessness that has spread throughout the country today?

Our friend should not look for scapegoats in his failure to address the bread and butter issues in the country.

Our media friend should admit that he has run out of ideas to govern the country.

He should not blame the media for his failure to implement hard-hitting measures in order to curb rampant corruption and institutionalized leakages in his government.

What does the President mean by “incoherent newspaper articles”?

So, newspaper articles that do not support the government’s austerity measures are incoherent?

A good leader should always maintain a calm and controlled demeanor in public. You don’t lose your cool under pressure! Having served as President for eight years, President Koroma should have gotten used to public criticisms.

To his credit, President Koroma has been a very tolerant man. But his recent ill-advised outburst at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay at Cline Town leaves much to be desired."

One-time SLPP Minister of Information, one Julius Spencer, one of Sierra Leone's chief exponents of the film and theatre had this on his Facebook page -

"Since President Koroma came to power, he has seemed determined to bring about real change and development because, as they say, he seems to “be making the right noises.” Some of his actions too speak of someone who wants to move things forward and create an impact. To do this successfully, however, he and all those in government need to do what most people in government find extremely difficult to do, which is to listen to the critical voices.

Knowing this, I wasn’t surprised at the President’s outburst while speaking at the launching of the Freetown Containers Terminal Extension Project, as reported by the State House Communication Unit. I was, however a bit surprised that after eight years in office, he would be used to criticism by now and be able to take it in his stride.

I was also a bit taken aback by his characterisation of the criticisms. “incoherent newspaper articles and radio talk shops,” he is quoted as having described the criticisms. He also spoke about “layback theoretical prescriptions and half-hearted political grandstanding.” Strong words, but in my view not entirely justified...

It is usually difficult for a leader in this part of the world to listen to critical voices because the critical voices tend to be drowned out by the sycophants and praise singers. These sycophants will tell you what they think you want to hear, they will flatter you, they will be more than willing to do your every bidding, but behind your back they will crucify you.

They are usually consistent in one thing, which is getting close to those in power, and you will see them hobnobbing with any government in power, seeking favours...

Many leaders have made the mistake of ignoring the critical voices. Some have even gone out of their way to silence them, but at the end of the day have discovered that by doing so they did themselves a disservice."

Ben Cambayma, writing in the AWOKO newspaper had this headline to an article - "The growing sycophancy and Fanaticism" which among other things noted -

"When fanatics and sycophants infiltrate governance, it becomes really very difficult to realize the effective roll out of the very tenets of democracy, the Rule of Law and human rights.

The constitution gives sweeping powers to the Executive presidency and anybody succeeding to play the fanatic and sycophant within this setting also end up thinking he or she can exercise some of the powers of the promoter. The hell that is being created for the ordinary Sierra Leonean under the rat and his gang.

Kenya had to review their constitution in order to avoid concentrating power into one person’s hands.

Of course we are all privy to the many years of abuse of powers in some distant past. We might do well to avoid a repeat of that lost era in our lives.

Most times Fanatics and sycophants are the ones that practice political intolerance. It is the fanatics and sycophants that attack opponents and create a godlike awe around their godfather.

One thing we need to do as a nation is to stop all the things that make some people appear far above others. We cannot afford to have some of our compatriots to be so unpatriotic and unnationalistic as to think they should have all the goodies when the rest of the country lives in gross depravity.

The national constitution stipulates that citizens should cultivate a sense of nationalism and patriotism so that the loyalty to the state shall override sectional, ethnic, tribal or other loyalties. In other words, in all what we do the state remains our number one focus?

We should be above political trappings that blind our collective resolve to uphold our territorial integrity and seek to promote good governance, development and harmony.

Those who play the sycophantic and fanatic games ironically end up as mere nonentities when their patrons are no more in power. For these, working conscientiously in a lawful and chosen occupation and abstaining from any activity that is detrimental to the general wellbeing of others is not part of their doctrine. They will never participate in the defence of democratic processes and practices as their kind will not survive in this dispensation.

They are the real cankerworms of state craft."



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