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Should Edmund Koroma be the sacrificial lamb?

Should Edmund Koroma be the sacrificial lamb?

The NASSIT ferry saga is still being discussed in the court of public opinion. Trials are still ongoing and from the look of things the ACC has first found the NASSIT Managers ‘guilty’ in the court of public opinion. And this is utter junk for anyone to think so. This came about after, the ACC worked contrary to the dictates of the ACC Act by leaking its investigative report to the Press. The fact should be stated, that what the ACC did was, in the first place completely wrong, by disclosing sensitive information to the press on matters under the Commission’s attention. (photo: Edmund Koroma)

Few weeks back a writer exposed that documentary evidence that were in his possession went as far as exposing  the conspiratorial moves by the country’s Anti Corruption Commission to bring down Edmund Koroma. Edmund Koroma has, in  my view, been able to make a name for himself  in this country. He was Director-General for NASSIT. At present; he is the Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

Edmund Koroma, being chased for acting in good faith.Efforts to bring down Edmund Koroma came about following the purchase of two ferries at 2 million Euros by NASSIT. The ACC, from the look of things had problems with the cost involved in the purchase of these ferries. They called in an outsider, to serve as an ‘independent expert’, who from reports has bones to pick with Edmund Koroma. Now, this was what the so-called ‘expert’ to the ACC did -he gave a value of not more than 500,000 Euros for both ferries; ridiculous, to say the least. How he came about this amount is everybody’s guess and even the ACC should be wondering as to how this ‘expert’ got that figure. If I were still a secondary school pupil, I was going to say, he arrived at that figure after ‘cramming’ that number at home to confront the ACC  with it- Great work!!! I know the ACC must have said; but oops!!! They got it wrong- this expert is a ship captain and how interesting to get a car driver to value and examine a car just because he is a driver. This is a charade to justice. LOOK, A VEHICLE EXAMINER SHOULD EXAMINE A VEHICLE AND NOT A CAR DRIVER!!! COME ON ACC, YOUR DECISION TO GET A SHIP CAPTAIN TO VALUE THOSE NASSIT FERRIES WAS WRONG, AND OUT OF CONTEXT!!!!!

Hold on!!!! Just a minute – how were contracts for the construction of the ACC offices in Bo and Kenema awarded by the ACC. Were  these contracts advertised by the ACC, or is it because they(ACC) are now semi-gods, so people can’t dig into their activities? Okey, Pa Ernest should be informed that some ‘dabaru’ must be happening within that institution ya!! The ACC should come out clean, in explaining to the nation how they have been giving out these contracts or we may be left to wonder what corruption they are fighting. But I will do my investigation into this particular issue and come out with my findings.  But the Independent Observer, a very credible newspaper in town, has been giving out some interesting items for the public’s attention regarding the ACC.

Anyway, back to that ‘independent expert’ I learnt, he is a major shareholder in one of the advertising companies in Sierra Leone. Then, he was given contracts by NASSIT, to erect billboards across the country. He could not meet deadlines. One clear case has to do with the procurement of three (3) billboards. On the 8th November 2006, the company, whose interest he was pursuing at NASSIT was written a letter by NASSIT in which he was informed that “…the service agreement expired on the 30th day of June 2006…” and that there were plans to terminate the said Agreement…”  He was required to refund the sum of fourteen million Leones and “…this is without prejudice to our right to sue you seeking damages for breach of contract…” This was how it all started between him and Edmund Koroma.  But God will one day judge in the world hereafter.

There is a much more intriguing aspect on this matter; the signatories to the payment voucher. There is a seeming blatant attempt by the ACC to chase only few people as far as the purchase of these ferries could go.  From documentary evidence, five (5) persons signed the voucher for the ferries on the   25th July 2008 and the 1ST of December 2008. People like Julius Michael, Sahr J.B Ngayenga, Sengu M. Koroma, Ibrahim Bah, and Gibriel Saccoh signed the payment. But alas!!! Only Mohamed Bah and Gibriel Saccoh were called in by the ACC. One is in no way serving as an advocate for Bah and Saccoh, nor Mr Edmund Koroma but the facts must be put straight and the ACC should stop deceiving people.

Or yet still, why also only targeting the Board Chairman, when even there were Board subcommittees, with a particular person serving as the chairman to that committee, or is this a window curtain type of justice that the ACC wants to get for Sierra Leoneans?  Yet still, I ask that we involve simple logic here; if the ACC is really convinced that the Edmund et al collected kickbacks from DAMEN, then it would be logically prudent for the ACC to also think of taking legal action against DAMEN and from there we definitely will know, if at any time, Edmund Koroma and others collected any money as kickbacks. In fact with the reputation of DAMEN, they would not allow themselves to be drag to the gutter as they would act speedily to put the records straight.

Edmund Koroma should not be a sacrificial lamb in this government; he should be appreciated for even taking NASSIT to its current status. Edmund Koroma and other Managers now at NASSIT may not be as perfect as an angel but their role in national development should not be put aside, when looking at other issues surrounding them.  Or are we implying that Sierra Leoneans should  now have the phobia of serving their country, as it is currently happening  within NASSIT, where reports have it that some Managers are now afraid of appending their signatures on documents for fear of being chased out, when they would be acting in good faith.

What we should also bear in mind is the fact, that Edmund Koroma and those now being chased by the ACC have tried, for the last 30 or so years to build up the image and reputation they currently bear and for such to be smeared in few minutes would be unfair. So, with all fairness, Edmund Koroma should not be the sacrificial lamb.

Alfred Sesay, Freetown

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