President Koroma mute over Le800 M
Ever since we uncovered the disappearance of the lump sum of eight hundred and eighty million leones (Le880,000,000), being money donated by a private company towards the Freetown market development project in 2008, we have not rested in raising questions about the whereabouts of the money. (Photo: HE President Ernest Bai Koroma)
The cheque, according to reports, was handed over to President Koroma during a brief ceremony at State House in March 2008 in the presence of the then Trades Minister, Alimamy Petito Koroma and his Deputy, Madam Mabinty Daramy.
We have not been able to see the President on the issue so far, but we have heard from the Minister, Alimamy Koroma who admitted receiving the cheque but could not tell it present destination though.
The Minister sounded evasive. He was not sure whether the cheque was still within the Ministry of Trade or with the Freetown City Council.
But he agreed however that the donation was made towards the construction of an ultra modern market project in Freetown by Milestone Trading Sierra Leone Limited.
He confirmed the amount to be Le880,000,000 and this press has proved that the said amount was an initial payment from a total of Le1.5 billion.
Three years since that money was donated for the construction of an ultra modern market for city traders, we are yet to see the completion of one.
The question then is where is the money? What has happened to it or the Freetown Market Development Project?
This is the question we have been asking for an answer, but it seems no one is listening to us.
We believe President Koroma, who actually received the cheque from the company, should be held primarily accountable for the missing cheque.
We say so because the issue of providing suitable market facility for traders in the municipality, the bulk of whom voted massively for him in 2007, formed part of his agenda for change.
Also, given his slogan of transforming Sierra Leone into a business place, the traders have responded accordingly making the city very unsightly, reason being that there are no adequate market centers in Freetown.
The erratic street trading and its attendant social consequences explain the need for more market places in the capital.
Which is why the President must pursue this matter vigorously. We expect him to set up a committee to investigate the matter or hand it over to the Anti-Corruption Commission for the public to know the truth about the missing money.
For the purpose of confirming to our readers, we have earlier published a photocopy of the cheque bearing the said sum in our Friday 16th December 2011 print edition plus all the details.
This is to confirm that indeed the money was donated, but no one knows it whereabouts.
We shall not rest until the truth is unveiled.
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