We Need A Real Fight Against Corruption
Last Friday, I published a brief statement, with accompanying evidence, to demonstrate how frivolous and unchecked public spending has worsened in Sierra Leone since Maada Bio and his so-called anti-corruption crusaders assumed power two years ago. I mentioned in particular how SLPP party officials in Bo received Le347, 850,000 (three hundred and forty-seven million, eight hundred and fifty Leones) from the Finance Ministry to fund preparations for a three-day “thank you” visit of their party leader, Julius Maada Bio in early October 2018. This was within the first six months of the party’s arrival in power. That money in question is just a tiny example, and there are many larger examples of this nature that illustrate corrupt public expenditure since these so-called anti-corruption crusaders assumed office.
The Sierra Leonean public truly needs to be shown the colossal amounts of public money that has been wasted by SLPP officials in both domestic and international travels. People need to understand especially the ways domestic and international travels have been used by officials of this current regime to divert public resources into their own benefit in the form of per diems and related charges. But more people are taking notice of this political charade.
What Maada Bio and his group are failing to understand is the fact that the people of Sierra Leone are slowly beginning to realize the façade of their political crusade. People see through their effort to dupe and mislead poor, unsuspecting citizens into believing that their current public performance is a genuine commitment to ending the perennial problem of graft and the usual theft of public resources whilst it is not. The vast majority of citizens are awakening to the reality that the country is being short-changed by a tiny group of party leaders, the equivalent of a political militia, who are doing exactly the same or worse than what they claim to be fighting against.
If SLPP officials are really serious about fighting corruption, they would have first addressed the salary disparities within the civil and public service workforce. They haven’t done that. Over the course of the past two years, they have flooded the public payroll with political appointees with exorbitant monthly salaries that are almost the same as, or more than, the annual aggregate salaries of senior staff nurses and other such essential staff in the public service workforce.
Take the case of a political appointee of the president in the Water Resources Ministry whose monthly salary of Le21, 765,000 is the equivalent of the annual pay of all senior staff nurses in the Health Ministry whose annual composite pay is Le26, 290,656. This kind of payroll corruption, one that is promoted and enhanced by nepotism and the corrupt use of political power, is endemic to the Bio regime. We have these kinds of examples in the thousands across the board in government service. These examples lay bare the political hypocrisy, lack of sincerity, and banality of the current regime. We need a genuine fight against political corruption, public graft, and wanton mismanagement of public finance, not a political campaign waged against political opponents in the guise of fighting corruption. The attached evidence accompanying this short article speaks for itself. You have to first heal yourself of the corrupt disease you seek to cure in others.
By Chernoh Alpha M. Bah
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