Eddie Turay Executed Before Judgment

12 July 2009 at 06:11 | 772 views

By Alpha Rashid Jalloh Patriotic Vanguard Freetown Bureau Chief.

I have been following events in the media with keen interest and have been compelled to empathize with a man who has been “executed” before judgment.

I have always heard the saying, “It is better to set ten guilty men free than to hang one innocent man”. But I have seen a man executed before judgment and that man is Eddie Turay. I have known Eddie for decades not only as a politician but as a crusader against corruption, but paradoxically the same man has fallen into the trap of corruption. I say has been executed before judgment because no one has waited for the allegation against him to be proved before making conclusion. Characteristic of the Sierra Leonean media, some news organs have even come up with fabulous figures he allegedly paid for state land. It all started when the minister of lands Housing and Country Planning was invited by parliamentarians because he stated in the media that parliamentarians are involved in buying state lands, (which are meant only for the poor). It did not go down well with the parliamentarians. The minister was invited to prove his allegations.

But it seems he is a warrior. Being aware of the attacks he was going to face he got himself armed with what he believed to be evidences against some parliamentarians. Those evidences were tendered in court. That apparently invoked a media hysteria. But even though a note of caution was made by the speaker Abel Stronge that those documents tendered had to be scrutinized to prove whether the dealings were illegal, journalists came to conclusion that Eddie was involved in dubious land deals. He himself had caution that as a lawyer he was entitled to prepare conveyances for clients and that should not be presumed to be outside the precinct of the law.

What has baffled me is the varying figures of the land allegedly purchased by Eddie Turay. Some newspapers put the figure at 20 million others at 40 million. Which one should be accepted as the accurate one? How can one embrace such stories when the inconsistencies are more than the facts?

With my not less than 18 years of practicing journalism, I have always known that when an individual or a group of people want to destroy some one the stories in the newspapers come out simultaneously. I am still probing this issue. As I stated above I have known Eddie as a crusader against corruption since the days of President Jospeh Saidu Momoh. He was a lone man who waged wars against unscrupulous businessmen who succeeded to have government ministers in their pay roll. He never got ministerial appointments because of his stance.

To date he is a lone man. In a country like Sierra Leone were foul becomes fair and fair becomes foul, I am not surprised that he has fallen into a net and now being dragged to the slaughter house. I believe that if Eddie had wanted to become a millionaire he would have joined Joseph Momoh’s bandwagon and became filthily rich. But he always stayed on the wayside waiting for opportunities to spring on unscrupulous elements in the government and in public offices. He was the country’s self appointed Anti Corruption Commissioner. What Anti Corruption Commission is doing today, Eddie has done in the past. But even though the investigation in the matter is on, some sections of the media say he is guilty. He is not the first. Val Collier waged war against corruption but was hounded out of office.

Sierra Leone is a country full of intrigues.