18, 2011 - Are we
missing something? What about the "good news" as
proclaimed by the government of the one and only APC
party, the offer of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) which
according to government agents, means that all is well
with the economy and that the management of our economy
has never been so expertly handled, so professionally
managed by so patriotic a personnel put in charge of our
fiscal and monetary policies?
There appeared quite recently an article in one of
the pro-APC (meaning pro-Ernest Bai Koroma) outlets that
the International Development Association and we are
told" which is a wing of the World Bank" offering 16,
700, 000 SDR units to Sierra Leone. According to Pasco
Temple who we understand is the "new Press Attache" that
this offer shows just how well-managed our economy
continues to be and so we have been rated "high in its
ranking for the country’s sober and operative fiscal
This despite the examples of financial impropriety
discovered by auditors when they went through the books
of our overseas missions. And by the way lest the
toilets start flying in our direction, please be advised
that Pasco was the only one of all those who applied for
the job of Press Attache and who went through the Public
Service Commission and was passed fit for the job in
terms of qualifications, experience and dare we add
sobriety? Yes we can safely and without hesitation say
yes - he is a sober man and worthy of his appointment.
As for the others - well they performed so badly that
the matter had to be laid on the table of the President
who used his executive pen to recommend them. So do not
be disturbed or perturbed when these other "Press
Attache" take upon themselves to scrawl/scribble all
manner of "articles" on the internet that damn, curse
and abuse all those perceived as critics of the
government. Just as you have in the Police, members who
would never have even been invited for an interview,
much more get to PTS, Hastings when law and order as
well as respect for procedures were elements of good
governance then, so it is with the magician's
appointments and it comes as no surprise that some of
his envoys have been "re-branding Sierra Leone" in such
a disgraceful and scandalous fashion.
But back to the point of the SDR. Every time we hear
of SDR, we get worried, very worried because our memory
goes back to the time when one Christian Alusine Kamara-Taylor
(C.A.) was Finance Minister and one Siaka Stevens was
President. When the government wanted to introduce the
SDR regimen in Sierra Leone at a time when our national
currency the Leone appeared to be in freefall, the
excuse given then was that "now that we are a fully
independent and sovereign state, we no longer have to
get our own money pegged to a foreign currency of the
colonial masters." The true reason for accepting IMF
intervention was never revealed nor were Sierra Leoneans
told just what this would mean in terms of the
devaluation of the national currency, the Leone.
And today, close to some four decades later, from out
of the blue, we see a similar pattern of deceit
Has the government really signed up to the
offer? Did it have a choice? What does this mean in
terms of inflation and how is this new arrangement going
to affect the ordinary Sierra Leonean?
Kindly recall that last year, 2010 on the 46th
anniversary of the founding of the Bank of Sierra Leone
in 1964, we brought you
this article on the
travails of that institution.
Kindly recall how our national currency took a
nosedive with reports rife about the smuggling of the
currency abroad by Sierra Leoneans and their agents so
that those wishing to conduct business in Sierra Leone
come in laden with our money and not having to go
through the banking and other legal channels.
If you really believe that inventing and concoction
of stories to suit political goals is something new to
the All Peoples Congress party, think again and go back
to those days when stories were planted about one Hassan
Gbassay Kanu, who was a Finance Minister under the Momoh
regime and who dared to resist some measures which he
thought would be inimical to the interests of the
country - and not that he Hassan Gbassay Kanu was an
angel on the index of corruption, but it showed just how
some APC members felt the need to speak out then when
the country was being taken to the cleaners.
Hassan Gbassay Kanu was no angel when it came to
using his political office for his own good more so when
contrary to then laid-down rules that public servants
like Government Ministers should not be active in
business. He had among others, such companies like
Transworld Insurance Company Limited, Lioness Motor
Company and Kanfish Company Limited.
Hassan Gbassay Kanu was alleged to have been caught
trying to smuggle the national currency out of Sierra
Leone in drums and
He lost his job but got the opportunity to clear his
name when after the overthrow of the APC in 1992, the
Commissions of Inquiry set up by the NPRC of Captain
Valentine Strasser presented an opportunity for him to
give his own side of the story and he made this
revelation about how our currency started taking a
"There was a time when the leone was one leone to one dollar.
Then we devalued, until eventually we floated in June 1986 at nineteen leones.
When we floated at nineteen leones Government was able to put enough currency in
the system only to take care of the transactions requirement of the exchange
rate at nineteen leones. Therefore, when during the floating the leone
depreciated to fifty five leones to one dollar we were not as a Government able
to put currency in the system to take care of the transactions requirement at an
exchange rate of fifty five leones to one dollar. So we had that gap.
We had ordered five billion worth of currency from De La Rue of
Fifty leones and one hundred leones. Not a single cent from them had come. I
have a minute here from the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone to me, telling
me that the money "was not coming and the currency was short because we owed De
La Rue Six Million United States Dollars which we had to pay; and that if we did
not pay, the money would not come"
He also told the Beccles Davies
Commission of Inquiry of how he crossed swords with then
President Joseph Saidu Momoh before he got sacked as his
Finance Minister. There are a number of scandalous
episodes...to disgraceful and best read in the Volume
Seven edition of the Commission together with the
Government White Paper Thereon.
These are just 2 items to show how
Sierra Leone was ripped apart through greed, more greed
and massive greed with insensitive people holding the
nation to ransom...while competing/fighting for selfish
His Refusal To Pay for the Hashim
House at Wilberforce
He had described this topic as Item No.
2 and his evidence was;-
"It ...had to do with a payment of TWO
POINT EIGHT MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$ 2
million, eight hundred thousand) to a person called
Samir Hashim for his house at Wilberforce. The
documentation had already been done and the former
President was committed to this purchase. He told me to
take the papers, all of them, from my immediate
predecessor, Dr Sheka Kanu, who gave me a run down on
the matter. I proceeded, when I took over, to State
House and spoke to the former President about it. I
wanted to know what we were going to do with the house,
and I argued that I did not see any house, private
house, that would carry a value of TWO POINT EIGHT
MILLION DOLLARS and that I was not going to co-operate
in the purchase of the house. He told me that he was
already committed to the Hasims and that I should
proceed with it. But then I refused. Up to the time I
left the Ministry of Finance, I made sure I did not
touch those papers."
His refusal to pay Mr Jabbi of Messrs
This is topic 'No. 4'. It had to do with
the purchase of military and police uniforms. Mr Kanu's
evidence was that former President Momoh had;-
"contracted, as Minister of Defence, to
pay TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY MILLION BELGIAN FRANCS, at
that time the Belgian Franc was more valuable than one
leone, to a company called Arzoni, headed by a Mr Jabbi.
When the documents were sent to me I walked again to his
office on an appointment and wanted to know why we were
giving the contract to a Guinean, with respect to the
State of Guinea, whilst we had Sierra Leoneans like
Foday Sayenu who had factories to satisfy the same
purpose. I stated in my argument that if that amount of
money was given to Mr Foday Sayenu, or even
we would be investing in local industry and creating
employment. He argued that he had known Mr Jabbi for a
very long time since he was in the army. They were very
close friends, and Mr Jabbi, would keep his
confidentiality, and therefore I should make this
payment to Mr Jabbi.
I also refused. I did not only refuse I
even went to Foday Sayenu behind his back and said,
please help me; go try to convince State House not to
send a contract worth so much to Guinea. Convince them
you can perform; or talk to SIVCO. But no; it was given
to Mr Jabbi of ARZONI. I was in Washington. I had kept
it for quite some time on my desk before signing it, mid
September, 1989, to early October, 1989, negotiating
this International Monetary Fund Programme that we have
today...It was I who negotiated this programme, brought
it and passed it in Cabinet in November, 1989.
Three weeks after I had passed it, he
sacked me from the office and robbed me off the credit.
But that is not the issue. Whilst I was negotiating it,
he instructed one of my ministers of State (Mrs
Claye-Simbo) to sign this payment instruction for Mr
Jabbi...I came back and discovered this action. Again I
went up to State House and protested. But he said to me
that he had already told me what his position was; that
contract was that of Mr Jabbi of ARZONI, and I was
He, as President, had taken a position
and that was it. But for the short period that I stayed
in the Ministry of Finance, I made sure that no fiscal
disbursement was made on that contract while I was
So there you have it.
Only the Good Lord knows what the
present State House occupant could be doing in terms of
contract awards, dubious deals and outright thieving of
the country's resources.
There will be a day of accounting, yeah
reckoning one fine day.
The graph on the right gives a 30-day
history of the value of the national currency the Leone
against the UK Pound.
Is this a result of the SDR that has
created this sudden jump in just one month?