Salone News

Sierra Leone Government Debunks Newspaper Report

28 June 2007 at 18:21 | 554 views

Office of the President


27 JUNE 2007

Government wishes to correct the misrepresentation contained in the article published in the Wednesday 27th June edition of the Standard Times Newspaper captioned "BOMBSHELL - COLONEL GHADDAFI EXPOSES GOVERNMENT".

The said article refers to a statement allegedly made at the National Stadium by Colonel Ghaddafi on Tuesday June 26 2007 to wit - "At the National Stadium yesterday the visiting Libyan President revealed to the mammoth crowd which was predominantly Muslims, the numerous contributions he has made to this country through the Government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. Among the items donated were two shiploads of rice, money to the tune of two million dollars, fleet of vehicles, forty tractors, skip trucks, bowzers of fuel, nineteen buses and other items. . . The two ship loads of rice, the President could not explain how it was utilized. What remains of serious concern to the majority of Sierra Leoneans present at the National Stadium is that the Government of President Kabbah has never informed the people about these gestures from Colonel Ghaddafi and his Government".

Government wishes the public to know that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the publication. Colonel Ghaddafi never made such a statement nor did he make any reference to donations made to Sierra Leone . On the contrary, it was President Kabbah who, in welcoming the Libyan Leader once again reminded the public about the various items Libya has donated to Sierra Leone.

It will be recalled that on every occasion when donations have been made, the President has always informed the public either through press releases as in the case of the Libyan rice, when that rice was publicly sold and proceeds used as seed money to launch National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) or as in the case of the tractors, a public ceremony was held at the Youyi Building at which the President presented the forty tractors to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. So also in the case of the twenty buses, skip trucks and water bowsers a special ceremony was held at the National Stadium at which representatives of the Libyan Government were specially flown from Libya to Freetown to take part in the presentation. All these presentations were given the widest publicity on the radio, television and in the newspapers.

Apart from the public presentations President Kabbah has on numerous occasions all over the country referred to these gifts in his public speeches.

With respect to the one million dollars gifts, the cheque was prepared and issued in the personal name of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who nonetheless endorsed it to the Accountant-General for payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Again, a press release was made on that occasion.

Government considers the Standard Time publication as not only mischievous, malicious, inciting but also calculated to bring the President into hatred and excite public disaffection against the President and his Government.

The relationship between the Government and the people of the Arab Republic of Libya and the Government and people of Sierra Leone has been collaborative and transparent.

It is, therefore, the hope of Government that media practitioners would practise their trade with objectivity, integrity and caution. The referenced article in the Standard Times woefully failed to observe these basic rules of journalism.

Meanwhile, the matter has been referred to the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for necessary action.

Photo: President Kabbah of Sierra Leone.