''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke

Welcome

S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 7

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

HOME
Mission
Contact us
All Africa Conference of Churches
KING'S SIERRA LEONE
African Union Peace and Security
UK Serious Fraud Office
World Association for Human Rights - USA
Audit Service Sierra Leone
National Union of Journalists (UK)
BBC African Service
Daily Trust of Nigeria
UN Great Lakes
PEN
INASLA
Writer Adichie
Southwark Council
S.L. Web
All Africa.com
Africa Week
AWOKO
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
Trial Watch
International Criminal Court
LAWCLA
One World
Royal African Society
University of
East London
Nigeria Anti Corruption Commission
(EFCC)
Institute for Democracy in Africa
archive 6
archive 7
archive 8
archive 9
archive 10
archive 11
archive 12
archive 13
archive 14
archive 15
archive 16
archive 17
archive 18
archive 19
archive 20
archive 21
archive 22
archive 23
archive 24
archive 25
archive 26
archive 27
archive 28
archive 29
archive 30
archive 31
archive 32
archive 33
archive 34
archive 35
archive 36
archive 37
archive 38
archive 39
archive 40
archive 41
archive 42
archive 43

 

 

 

Thursday December 25, 2014 - Christmas Day - Even though our beautiful country is being hit by a vicious enemy that wipes out individual lives, lives of households and lives of communities tearing age-long friendships and communities apart, let us continue to give thanks. Let us continue to pray that the Almighty Lord will one day see Sierra Leoneans becoming themselves once more. Good Christmas to you all. Stay safe.William Pooley the UK nurse who survived Ebola Virus Disease. He is back in Sierra Leone helping in the fight against the scourge. A brave man indeed. May the Good Lord keep him and all those at the frontlines in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.Her Majesty the Queen

It is Christmas Day - a day that would normally be celebrated all over Sierra Leone where such events are observed by all faiths as people come together to give thanks to God for being alive with the refrain - "Appy Krismes mi nor die o" meaning - Thank you Lord I am around to celebrate Christmas. I am alive".

Many, we are afraid to say with sadness would not be around to say this on Christmas Day 2014 - ripped away to the great beyond by the terrible and devastating Ebola Virus Disease, EVD. We join the concerned people of Sierra Leone, friends of Sierra Leone and the international community for help in trying to arrest the rising tide of an epidemic that could easily have been contained had the authorities, headed by the clueless and rudderless rat at State House had the sense of direction and vision to know that once neighbouring Guinea and Liberia had been hit, we would be next in line given the free movement of people through the porous borders.

When journalists on the ground reported signs that people had been afflicted and were dying in unusually large numbers even for a Lassa infection-prone area of the country, they were condemned by the rat and his accomplices and labelled unpatriotic and agents of fear and panic, threatened and warned to desist from such reportage.

Many months on, we are still suffering from the ravages of the disease that has claimed many including those connected with the dilapidated health-delivery system. These include doctors, nurses, ward attendants, drivers, helpers and others trying to comfort those in pain and grief after getting attacked by the terrible disease.

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in her Christmas Day message paid tribute to those helping out -

"Of course, reconciliation takes different forms. In Scotland after the referendum many felt great disappointment, while others felt great relief; and bridging these differences will take time. Bringing reconciliation to war or emergency zones is an even harder task, and I have been deeply touched this year by the selflessness of aid workers and medical volunteers who have gone abroad to help victims of conflict or of diseases like Ebola, often at great personal risk.

For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role-model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christís example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none."

The Head of the Catholic Communion, Pope  Francis also made reference to suffering of children and the Ebola terror -

"May Christ the Savior give peace to Nigeria, where (even in these hours) more blood is being shed and too many people are unjustly deprived of their possessions, held as hostages or killed. I invoke peace also on the other parts of the African continent, thinking especially of Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and various regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I beseech all who have political responsibility to commit themselves through dialogue to overcoming differences and to building a lasting, fraternal coexistence. May Jesus save the vast numbers of children who are victims of violence, made objects of trade and trafficking, or forced to become soldiers; children, so many abused children. May he give comfort to the families of the children killed in Pakistan last week. May he be close to all who suffer from illness, especially the victims of the Ebola epidemic, above all in Liberia, in Sierra Leone and in Guinea.

As I thank all who are courageously dedicated to assisting the sick and their family members, I once more make an urgent appeal that the necessary assistance and treatment be provided."

William Pooley, the nurse from the United Kingdom who survived an attack from Ebola while working in Kenema and came back to Sierra Leone had a message for everyone including the international community. His message was broadcast by the Channel Four television channel in a programme called the Channel 4 Alternative Christmas Message.

"Six weeks after starting work in Kenema government hospital I developed symptoms. I was tested and later that day I awoke to find a colleague standing over me in protective gear. He told me Iíd been infected with Ebola. In the end I was extremely fortunate. My colleagues worked night and day to get me flown back to Britain for the best available treatment at the Royal Free in London.

After I recovered I decided that I wanted to return to Sierra Leone and continue my work there as a nurse. My exposure to this disease reinforced the belief that when people need help itís important that itís given. I realise I was incredibly lucky, lucky to be born in a wealthy country, lucky to be well educated, lucky to have access to the best possible treatment for this awful disease.

Thousands of people here in west Africa have not had that luck. They have died often lonely, miserable deaths without access to proper medical attention. This is a good time to think about the sheer fortune of where and when we happen to be born.

If anything Christmas should focus our minds on our kinship with people in all corners of the globe. We are all brothers and sisters. Iím sure we would all help a brother or sister in need."Pope Francis

We would continue to blame the smoke and mirrors occupant of State House aka the rat who has been at the forefront of ignoring all the financial and other malpractices unearthed in the annual reports of the Auditor-General. As she noted -

"...with a stronger commitment and willingness to address public financial management reform and strong enforcement of existing well-established laws and regulations, the matters could be put right quickly as other countries have done. That is the responsibility of the government and all public officials. Parliamentarians, Ministers and public sector managers at all levels need to provide leadership in not accepting petty and grand corruption as normative. Those in position to do so should follow the money when things go wrong.

As citizens, none of us should ever accept fiduciary irresponsibility from those charged with holding the strings of the public purse. To do so is morally corrosive, erodes our civic rights and damages our hard-won young democracy." 

No commitment was shown by the rat and by so doing gave the nod to government operatives to plunder the resources of the people.

If the oversight committee in Parliament and the Anti Corruption Commission had done what they were set up for, the audit report especially on health delivery systems should have alerted them to the near-wreck and wretched state of affairs of the country's health delivery system. But none cared hoping that only the poor and unconnected would suffer and perish while their operatives would be quick to rush overseas for medical treatment. And all this at the expense of the people whose resources get plundered on a systematic and competitive basis.

The Anti Corruption Commission set up to investigate such anomalies has become just another toothless paper tiger, a cynical joke whose top chief Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, JFK, remains in office at the pleasure of the rat.

Parliament where representatives of the people should be taking such action remain largely compliant looking up to any crumb that would be thrown their way by a nasty and corrupt executive arm headed by the rat.

The Judiciary, the law-interpreting arm of governance is in the same quagmire of corruption, not daring to question the Executive lest some members lose positions and with that the perks that go with the office.

Sitting in Parliament at this moment are two so-called representatives of Constituency 005 and Constituency 015 who were not elected by the people to represent them. They were ordered to sit with duly elected MPs on the orders of a compliant Judiciary.

The editor of the Global Times news outlet Sorie Fofana in an article headlined - "CORRUPTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROBLEMS IN SIERRA LEONE" - highlights these problems and the lack of commitment to stem the massive plunder of the peoples' resources.

"Successive governments in Sierra Leone have never treated accountability and the fight against corruption seriously. Harassment of the media through orders from above, executive orders, tax havens, weak civil service, weak rule of law, weak judicial independence, over centralized public funds, tribalism, sycophancy, nepotism and cronyism have all combined to provide favorable condition for the germination of corruption in Sierra Leone.

Unlimited political appointments of cronies to public offices have also contributed to underdevelopment and poverty depriving the people of their fundamental common good...

The greatest liability Sierra Leone has ever created for herself is the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Despite the unimaginable monthly salaries (by Sierra Leone standard) of Le48, 000,000 and Le36, 000,000 respectively, paid to the ACC Commissioner and Deputy, they have spent their valuable times signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some of the worst corrupt institutions in the country such as the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Ministry of Education, National Social Security Insurance Trust (NASSIT), Sierra Leone Police, the Privatization Commission, etc...

Assets tracing and recovery by ACC are totally neglected. The question that bugs everybodyís mind is how little if any, proceeds from criminal proceedings recovered from perpetrators are distributed to their victims. In Sierra Leone even when fraudsters are actually criminally prosecuted and convicted, it is rare for a meaningful recovery of stolen assets by their legitimate owners.

ACC does not seem to be mindful of the conflict of interest engulfing the insurance industry and bad cooperate governance practiced in our major government- owned banks Ė the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and the Rokel Commercial Bank. Bad debts are given out by the two banks to politiciansí relatives, friends and cronies which are not likely to be recovered, and the refusal of World Bank and IMF to cancel out debts because of corruption.

Sierra Leone faces the daunting challenges of proving to national and international donors that the management of their donations in the forms of materials, logistics and money to fight against the Ebola virus is corruption-free. However, from the start of the fight, when concerns were raised about how the Ebola funds were utilized the real enemies of accountability and the State (worse than the Ebola virus itself), retorted that we must fight the Ebola virus first before we talk about accounting for the huge donations that were received. Audit report 2011 shows massive corruption - from ministries and government departments to the seat of political power - State House. A real shame.

They did not foresee the implications of overlooking accountability...

Lest I forget! One may want to know how much the Public Account Committee (PAC) has recovered so far from those firms found wanting in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 of Auditor Generalís Report for the misappropriation of public funds.

PAC Report on the Auditor Generalís Report, for accountability and transparency which parliament stands for should by now be in the public domain. Fighting Corruption goes beyond mere public relations outfit and political propaganda. It is the true and honest synergy between all the key stakeholders involved that will help eradicate the ingrained corruption permeating every facet of our society.

 

Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002