From the Editor’s Keyboard

Take them to court!

21 November 2007 at 21:31 | 2774 views

Commentary

By Sorie Sudan Sesay, PV Senior Correspondent, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

There has been a massive public outcry over claims by
the SLPP of the ruling APC witch-hunting its officials
amidst calls for the prosecution of people found guilty of corruption.

The SLPP claimed in a press release that their
officials are being victimised and summarily dismissed
from office and this led to their unnoticed boycott of
the inauguration of President Ernest Bai Koroma last
Thursday.

However, according to our investigations, this has
attracted angry public reactions from many who believe
those making such claims are insensitive about how much
damage such officials have done to the economy of this
country during the SLPP’s reign.

It is generally believed that most of those dismissed
from office especially heads of parastatals have
nothing to do with their belonging to the SLPP but the
corrupt practices they engaged in during the SLPP
regime.

Apart from that, most of those political ’parastatal’
appointments were questionable.

Take for example, the case of Joseph S. Keifala,
former Director of the SLRTA who was maintained in
office simply because of his political affiliation
with the SLPP, despite having a number of
corruption cases in court.

He was believed to have flooded his office with his
tribesmen in order for his alleged corrupt practices
not to be exposed.

Another personality was Alhaji Kanja Daramy, whose
appointment into that office as Director of the
National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) was
highly questionable and criticized not only by the
local press, but also within the SLPP hierarchy
itself.

He had been banned from holding public office by the
Kamaray Commission of Enquiry following his alleged
gross embezzlement of SALPOST funds but former
President Kabbah against all odds and expectations, made him head of
that important commission only because he belongs to the same
ethnic group as the President.

The same can be said about the former Director General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), John Karimu. He had
been collecting huge sums of money as salary for doing
what many people describe as sweet nothing.

Meanwhile, the replacement of Kanja Sesay and
Justin Musa( both from NACSA) may not be
due to corruption but the fact is President Koroma
cannot continue to keep such officials in these
sensitive offices especially after they previously
declared their intentions for the presidency in the
just concluded elections.

"How can the President continue to maintain his former
rivals in office?" questioned a political analyst, who
believes it will be very suicidal on the part of the
President.

The case of the former National Ombudsman Francis
Gabbidon is even worse.

According to a leaked document from the Transitional
Team set up by the ruling APC to ensure a peaceful,
transparent and accountable transition from the
former SLPP government, most of the figures indicated in the
report are believed to be fictitious. And so far, both
legal practisoners Melrose Nicol-Wilson and Peacock
have denied receiving a dime from that office(Ombudsman office) as
indicated in the report

The Transitional Report of the President which was
leaked to the BBC revealed that $1.5 billion received
from foreign aid was never used for its
intended purpose.

The 100 million dollar question now is: In whose pocket
did this money go into?

What is clear is that the government of President
Ernest Bai Koroma needs to prove to the people of this
country and the international community that such
dismissals are very much necessary and not a political
witch-hunt.

And the only way to go about this is to
bring those responsible to book- which the general
public are very much agitating for- so as to serve as
a deterrent to others.

Photo: President Ernst Bai Koroma(in white gown) and presidential Affairs minister Alpha Kanu. Time for action.

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