In Sierra Leone: As Described by the GTT Report …
SLPP Government Harbours ‘Criminal Racketeers’
‘‘As I have said repeatedly, this war against corruption is a war we must win. I have fully empowered the Anti-Corruption Commission to use all its legal powers to relentlessly investigate and prosecute all cases of corruption even in my administration. Therefore, let me make this solemn promise to the nation that anyone found wanton of corruption in my administration will be promptly removed from public office and subjected to the full force of the law.’’
The above is an excerpt from President Bio’s speech during the launch of the Commissions of Inquiry on the 29th of January 2019 at the former Special Court Building on Jomo Kenyatta Road, Freetown; a statement that was welcomed by majority of the Sierra Leonean populace.
However, the way things are unfolding under his New Direction does not seem in tandem with what he has been saying in relation to his zero tolerance to corruption since coming to power some ten months ago.
Many level-headed Sierra Leoneans are now beginning to question the sincerity of President Bio’s stance on fighting corruption because he seems to be keeping and protecting alleged corrupt officials in his government.
It could be recalled that upon his election into office in April last year, President Bio immediately set up a Government Transition Team headed by the current Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, to look into the state of affairs the former All Peoples Congress (APC) Government left the country. The report of the GTT was therefore presented to him at House and one of the recommendations of the said report was for the current government of President Bio to set up Commissions of Inquiry to investigate the level of corruption the former government engaged in. The report further described the past administration as a bunch of criminal racketeers who almost collapsed the country.
President Bio therefore in response to the GTTR, announced in a State House Press Release, the setting up of three Commissions of Inquiry to investigate all Presidents, Vice Presidents, Ministers and their deputies, heads of Parastatals, Boards and commissions who served between 2007 and 2018.
By that announcement/ press release therefore, all those who fall within the above category are by law subjects of investigation and hence must be excused from holding public offices until the end of their investigation. But on the contrary, President Bio is seen having individuals in his government who fall within the category earlier stated
These officials, including his current Minister of Lands, Dr. Dennis Sandy, the Minister of Trade, Peter Bayoku Conteh among others who according to his government’s Press Release, are clearly subjects of investigation and therefore requires them being set aside or relieved off their duties in order to face the commissions. But unfortunately, these people are still very much key in President Bio’s government without anything been done by him to set them aside as required by law.
This act by Bio’s SLPP to keep or protect persons in his government, who the GTTR that brought about the Commissions of Inquiry, described as ‘Criminal Racketeers or better still, ‘Ayampis’, is a display of insincerity on his part on the fight against corruption and also, according to many Sierra Leoneans, lends credence to the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) claims of witch-hunting and selective justice surrounding the entire Commissions of Inquiry.
How can you claim to fight corruption when you protect and pamper corrupt individuals in your government?, concerned Sierra Leoneans queried adding that before someone goes to clean another man’s house, he/she must first clean his.
Many citizens believe that President Bio must first of all weed out corruption within his government and party members by setting aside those persons of interest to the Commissions of Inquiry who are members of his government if he is really serious about fighting corruption otherwise all those bogus talks about war on corruption will be regarded as mere empty talks aiming at scoring cheap political points.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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