Doubts widen over ownership and authenticity of the alleged original picture of Bai Bureh

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 January 2017

As the plot thickens over claims and counter claims of the authenticity and ownership of an original Bai Bureh photograph, which the Sierra Leone government minister reverend Kabs Kanu claims to have been donated to him continues, one has to ask: what and who should the people of Sierra Leone believe?

It seems the story published by the Sierra Leone telegraph has touched a raw nerve. Some people are now getting twitchy, as they throw insults at the Telegraph for standing up for truth and justice.

Attempts to defend and justify the eyebrow-raising donation of one of Sierra Leone’s historic relic by a former Peace Corps volunteer – Gary Schulze, who worked in Sierra Leone in the 1960s to a government minister – the reverend Kabs Kanu, has reached fever pitch today.

It seems someone is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Sierra Leone to make a fast buck. The spirit of Bai Bureh will expose the lies and chicanery.

Peter Anderson – publisher of Sierra Leone.org and former press officer at the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, has now entered the fray. He has thrown in his two pennies in an attempt to clear the air over the Bai Bureh picture saga.

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Sierra Leone government minister plenipotentiary accused of corruption   

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 January 2017

Sierra Leone government minister plenipotentiary to the UN – the Reverend Kabs Kanu, who is also the proprietor and editor in chief of the Cocorioko newspaper – published in New Jersey, USA,  is being accused of corruption, after a significant historical relic valued at $1 million belonging to the people of Sierra Leone, was last month donated to Kabs Kanu by a former Peace Corps volunteer to Sierra Leone – Mr. Gary Schulze (Photo).

Since news was published in Cocorioko of what is now regarded by many Sierra Leoneans as the unlawful transfer of ownership to the Reverend Kabs Kanu, of an original photo of the Sierra Leonean warrior Bai Bureh, which was taken in the 1890s by a serving British soldier whilst on duty, accusations of corruption and calls for the photo to be returned to the people of Sierra Leone who are the rightful owners of the relic, are growing.

Writing in his Cocorioko newspaper, the Sierra Leone government minister Kabbs Kanu confirmed that; “The picture is worth a million dollars because of its historic value.”

According to Cocorioko: “Reverend Kabs-Kanu thanked Mr. Schulze glowingly for his immeasurable gesture to travel to New Jersey on his birthday to present him the photo. He told the iconic Peace Corps volunteer that he felt honored and was very grateful.  He thanked him also for the photo, whose historic importance cannot be measured by words . He said he will adorn his living room with such a very historic picture which will attract interest from his family and visitors.”

Is this not corruption? And where is the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission when you need them?

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Human rights group calls for Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission to be more effective

CHRDI

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 January 2017

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI welcomes the invitation for a genuine and transparent partnership to fight against graft in Sierra Leone.

This is a call that has been made by many Sierra Leoneans who reacted to our Press Release in December 2016, condemning the ACC for largely failing to address corruption effectively and asking the Government of Sierra Leone to do more.

We want to make it very clear to the ACC and the general public that our intention is not to undermine the ACC, but to complement its effort in the fight against corruption; and hold it accountable to its failures, as we have done and will continue to do with many other Government institutions.

We would like to make it clear that we are disappointed in the ACC, when responding to our call, by providing inaccurate and incomplete account of the recovered funds, information on pending appeal cases, and the challenges the commission is encountering which may include human resources and financial constraints.

They have rather indulged in empty and meaningless reactions to our demands.

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Senior SLPP national executives fallen on their swords as balance of power shifts

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 January 2017

There has been a seismic shift in power in the National Executive Council (NEC) of Sierra Leone’s main opposition SLPP party tonight, after the council voted at its meeting in the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown to expel and suspend some of its most senior executive members.

Among the list of those that have tonight fallen on their swords are Dr. Prince Harding, who just few weeks ago was unconstitutionally appointed at an irregularly convened meeting of the NEC to replace the elected and long serving chairman chief Somano Kapen, in what was described by the Sierra Leone Telegraph as a palace coup.

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Sierra Leone in 2017 – May our road be rough

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 January 2017

In the midst of our economic fog and descent into bleak house in slow motion, I had planned to reflect in absolute silence as 2016 gave way to this New Year.

I mean, we all know that we have a messed-up country and are equally aware that the damage is phenomenal. So the annual charade that surrounds the festive period is for me, very disheartening because of the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

I am sure you are aware that giving a lame man a pair of wedges is not charity, it is sheer wickedness.

And this is exactly what often happens as our politicians and other national predators, carry out their various circus and actions, which this time included the donation of solar power, lavish feasts and flowery speeches.

As their hypocrisy and vulgarity spoke truth to our national folly, it became more glaring that our leaders do not deploy funds for the public good, but for power acquisition.

Because of our seemingly genetically-embedded shallowness and mediocrity, they realise that the masses might sell their loyalty in exchange for crumbs that fall into their hands.

It occurred to me that our shallowness and lack of substance must be total and complete, if we believe that any politician is there for anything other than his pocket or his megalomania. It is why they strive with all intensity to become a colossus – economically or politically.

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Sierra Leone’s Anti-graft agency reacts to allegations in campaign group report

Nabillahi-Musa Kamara

Director – National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 January 2017

The attention of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been drawn to a publication titled:“CHRDI Condemns the ACC and urges government to do more to fight corruption;”authored by the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), which purported to have concluded a study on the national fight against corruption.

In another publication, CHRDI claims that the ACC has not published audited accounts in the past ten years.

The ACC wishes to state that these reports are misleading, malicious, and unfounded. ACC has no records of any CHRDI researcher speaking to any of its officials on the issues raised.

Furthermore, the facts and figures on the programs and operations of the ACC are contained in its annual reports and National Annual Audit Reports. It seems obvious that either CHRDI did not read these reports, or chose to ignore them.

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Rights group CHRDI alleges serious corruption within the Sierra Leone Anti -Corruption Commission 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 January 2017

Rights advocacy group in Sierra Leone – Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), last week published what it says is a damning report alleging serious corruption within the country’s anti-graft agency – the ACC.

According to the CHRDI report, “…the ACC has been engaged in shady activities, which the Commission is yet to provide satisfactory explanations for. There is a strong public suspicion that the commission is in the habit of diverting recovered looted funds into private ownership.”

Speaking to CHRDI about the allegations contained in their report, the Chief Executive of CHRDI – Mr. Abdul Fatoma, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that CHRDI stands by every word written in their report.

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