IMF approves US$187 million in new financing and debt relief for Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 March 2015

africa minerals railwaySierra Leone’s economy has been badly damaged by the Ebola crisis, as GDP, tax receipts and export revenues fall to their lowest levels since the end of the war in 2001.

With international aid now accounting for almost 60% of the government’s income, there are fears the effects of the Ebola crisis may now take decades to roll back, assuming corruption and poor productivity and public sector inefficiencies can be curbed.

The country’s debt has grown in the last eight years at an alarming pace, as the Koroma government embarked on a misplaced priority of infrastructure development, at the expense of investing in the country’s health systems, water and sanitation, education, and pro-poor initiatives.

It is estimated that Sierra Leone’s debt now stands at more than $1.5 billion. The country needs over $300 million to meet its pre-Ebola spending commitment, and more than $500 million to begin the hard task of post-Ebola recovery.

As hundreds of millions of dollars begin to pour into a governance system that most Sierra Leoneans describe as rotten to the core and riddled with corruption, there is an urgent need for the international community, the IMF and the World Bank to demand that the Koroma government undertake serious root and branch reform of the country’s governance and public finance management structures.

This demand is most critical, in the light of the Auditor General’s report into the mismanagement of $18 million Ebola fund, as well as eight years of successive national audit reports expressing dismay at the appalling levels of misappropriation of public funds, and lack of accountability.

Continue reading

Posted in News in Perspective | Leave a comment

Breaking News: SLPP Tamba Sam dies

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 March 2015

Tamba-SamThere are unconfirmed reports from Freetown this morning of the sad loss of Mr. Tamba Sam.

He was the national publicity secretary of Sierra Leone’s main opposition party – SLPP.

As yet there are no official statements from SLPP headoffice in Freetown.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph awaits an official response from the party’s national secretary general – Mr. Sulaiman Banja Tejan sie.

MusaTamba SamThe cause of death is yet unknown, but there are speculations Mr. Sam had suffered a short illness.

Tamba Sam is very well known for his highly principled, outspoken and tough stance on national issues.

Many outside the opposition SLPP regarded Tamba Sam as the leader the party never had.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you more on this story as it unfolds.

Posted in News in Perspective | Leave a comment

Did Obama snub president Koroma because of corruption and poor governance?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 March 2014

president koroma and obamaMuch has been said about president Koroma’s poor leadership and lack of vision in running Sierra Leone.

And few would expect president Obama not to turn down a request from State House in Freetown, for a visit by the Sierra Leonean president to the White House.

But president Koroma is no stranger to the White House. In March 2013, Obama welcomed president Koroma, along with president Macky Sall of Senegal, president Joyce Banda of Malawi, and prime minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House.

President Obama and the visiting leaders discussed how the United States can expand partnership to support efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic opportunity, both in their countries and across Sub-Saharan Africa.

And of particular focus in that meeting was the importance of transparency and respect for human rights, which many in Sierra Leone believe to be more important now than ever, in the wake of the Auditor General’s report into the missing Ebola funds, and last week’s revelation of a criminal syndicate harvesting and trafficking human bloods and tissues.

Continue reading

Posted in News in Perspective | 1 Comment

Today our story is a tale of a failed state – a pitiable advert of self-rule

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 March 2015

kroo bay1I am not really dumb enough to draw from my realm of imagination, the fanciful idea that the contraption presently known and called Sierra Leone, is anything near the entity that was wrestled from the British colonialists.

Today though, our story is a tale of a failed state. A pitiable advert of self-rule. It has become a big contract that attracts termites.

It is the playground of the bulldog. It is the chessboard of vampires in human skin, who are ready to put the rest of us between the chipping blades of their deadly guillotine.

But despite the nondescript country that we have finally turned the nation into, I will not subscribe to the idea in some quarters that we be re-colonised.

True, the process of ensuring that we do not end up a banana republic is long and weary; and likewise drastic filth like the one in which we find ourselves, requires drastic cleansing.

I do not however believe that our solution is unearthing the ghost of Napoleonic rule as a magic phrase.

Continue reading

Posted in Editorials | Leave a comment

Missing Ebola funds – Sierra Leone health minister Vows to restore integrity

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 February 2015

health minister fofanah 2Addressing members of the country’s health sector coordinating committee yesterday Friday, 27 February, 2015, in Freetown, health and sanitation minister – Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah (Photo) said that he is determined to restore the glory and integrity of the health ministry.

This comes in the wake of a damning report by the country’s Audit Office into the mismanagement of over $18 million meant to tackle the Ebola virus, which has taken the lives of over 5,000 people, with more than 10,000 infected.

Over two hundred nurses and health workers, including 12 doctors have so far died of the virus in Sierra Leone, as the ministry of health and State House itself, becomes embroiled in another scandal involving the exporting of human bloods and tissues.

Minister Fofanah discussed the need to clean up the ministry’s payroll system, the use of donor funds – focusing on the May – October 2014 Audit Report, the performance of donor partners, the National Pharmaceutical Procurement Unit’s capability to deliver positively, NGO Mapping, transparency, accountability and probity.

Continue reading

Posted in News in Perspective | Leave a comment

Sierra Leone – human tissues and organs harvested for trafficking?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 February 2015

Human organs and tissues harvested for trafficking in sierra leoneA disturbing report from Freetown of State House complicity and cover up of allegations, involving a syndicate of senior government officials, running an operation which is harvesting and trafficking human organs and tissues removed from patients, has caused worldwide consternation and disbelief.

According to the report, a 250 kg container carrying human hearts, livers and lungs was confiscated by Security agents at the Lungi International airport in Freetown last night, as it was being prepared for loading on to a plane bound for Brussels.

The container which is also believed to contain human bloods, is the sixth known shipment of harvested organs leaving the shores of Sierra Leone for overseas markets.

The letter authorising the shipment, effectively and officially endorsing the illegal harvesting and trafficking of human organs, bloods and body parts, is understood to be dated 24th September, 2014.  But a police source strongly suspects that this operation has been going on for several years.

The stealing of funds meant for healing of Ebola sick is inhuman, but the harvesting and trafficking of human organs and tissues for international export is crime against humanity, and must be fully investigated by the international community.

Continue reading

Posted in News in Perspective | 1 Comment

Missing Ebola funds – Lootocracy is fuelled by human ATMs in leadership positions

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 February 2015

President Koroma greeted by Traditional LeadersAn African proverb says that; ‘What the dog sees and barks at, the sheep has already seen and remained silent.’

We are travelling a familiar road – that pathway of universal deceit, on which the more you look, the less you see.

The street of righteousness where we put on sack clothes, expecting to go to heaven, but definitely not prepared to die.

You know what I mean – that lane of hypocrisy and tomfoolery.

Politicians will always produce enough hot air to turn the turbines at Bumbuna. Despite the fact that they sometimes appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet, they are rarely in harmony.

And this is what the aftermath of the release of the Ebola fund forensic report is now turning into. The exposé confirms that some of our leaders are happy to paddle in the creamy waters of moral decadence, having lost their sense of propriety, decency and shame.

Continue reading

Posted in Editorials | Leave a comment

Missing Ebola funds – Julius Maada Bio writes president Koroma

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 February 2015  

Maada Bio 2014Dear Mr. President,

For the past week, I have been following with dismay the events at home, surrounding the publication of the Report of the Auditor-General on the Audit of the Management of the Ebola Funds, covering the period from May to October 2014. (Photo: Julius Maada Bio). 

Like many Sierra Leoneans, I am utterly disappointed that at a time when we should all be focussing on eradicating the terrible Ebola virus from our country and redirecting our resources to rebuilding the broken lives of our people, the international spotlight is once again on Sierra Leone and all for the wrong reason – the alleged mismanagement of the Ebola Funds.

Even more disheartening is the fact that amongst the countries worst hit by the disease, Sierra Leone is so far the only country where an audit report has emerged revealing such large-scale misappropriation and mismanagement of Ebola Funds.

Apart from this being a most serious indictment about the handling of the Ebola outbreak, the media both at home and abroad have generated so much adverse publicity that it is likely to undermine the country’s international reputation and development effort for a considerable time in the future.

Continue reading

Posted in Editorials | 1 Comment

Reckless information minister calls missing Ebola funds audit report baseless, fallacious and a distraction

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 February 2015

Auditor-General-Mrs.-Lara-Taylor-PearceAccording to reports, Sierra Leone’s reckless and infamous minister of information – Alpha Kanu, has now turned his poisonous fangs on to the credibility and hard earned, no nonsense image of the country’s astute Auditor General – Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce (Photo).

The Auditor General’s report into millions of dollars stolen from the Ebola fund, has irreparably ruptured trust in the government’s ability to manage public funds, as the number of new Ebola cases rises once again.

And serious questions are now being asked as to whether the Koroma government should, and can ever be trusted with managing foreign aid, which accounts for over 60% of the country’s revenue stream.

Corruption is now seriously hampering efforts in bringing the Ebola crisis to an end, whiles in neighbouring Liberia today, the government of president Helen Johnson Sirleaf is cautiously declaring Liberia – Ebola free.

Critics are asking: If the government of Sierra Leone cannot be trusted to properly manage and account for $18 million dollars meant for the sick and dying, how can they be trusted with the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been lined up by the World Bank and others, for tackling post-Ebola economic recovery?

But it is clear that with ministers like Kanu, who is not a public finance expert or a lawyer, attacking the Auditor General with such venom, for merely doing her job – which has once again exposed the culture of corruption and hubris that pervades the Koroma government, the future of Sierra Leone is bleak indeed.

Continue reading

Posted in News in Perspective | 8 Comments

Missing Ebola funds – Women’s Response to Ebola Campaign (WRESL) demands impartial police investigation   

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 February 2015

Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff & Aisha Fofanah Ibrahim

ebola sierra leone222​​Women across our beloved country that is slowly emerging from a year of the devastating EVD, realise that despite all national and international efforts to date, our nation still has a big fight ahead of us.

We know that Ebola can only be defeated when citizens and all arms of government come together to take collective responsibility for our own national health & welfare.

It is in the spirit of sisterly love and solidarity that we hereby make this call to you – our Honourable Women Members of Parliament.

As you prepare to debate the Audit Office report on the management of ebola funds, recently laid before you in Parliament, we kindly ask that you take our following concerns into account:

Continue reading

Posted in Editorials | Leave a comment