Arms shipment to war torn Syria – the Sierra Leone connection

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

5 July 2012

Wow! Danger ahead! Did you hear the alarming news on the BBC yesterday morning?

A ship carrying Sierra Leone’s national flag was seized in Lebanon carrying arms, which the authorities believe were meant for war torn Syria.

Obviously it is one of those ships, which sail under a “Flag of Convenience.” The scandal itself does no good to the image of our country, especially coming in the wake of the cocaine scandal.

What is alarming is the response of our minister of information. He had heard the news earlier. Instead of telling the people, he and the Foreign minister sneaked out of the country to Lebanon to investigate.

But, because of the situation in Tripoli in Lebanon – where the arms were seized, the ministers returned home and still KEPT MUTE; that is until the BBC Network Africa broke the news yesterday, Wednesday morning.

 

What did the two ministers go out there to do; identify the ship, the owner or the arms?

Is that how other countries deal with such matters?

Are there not diplomatic channels that could do all the investigation and report back?

Our ministers only made fools of themselves by their ill-advised trip.

This is a very serious matter and the opposition would do well to ask for an emergency debate.

Our country’s reputation is being plunged into the mud. First it was over a cocaine plane and now an arms smuggling ship.

The correspondent who spoke to the BBC was quite certain that the government of Sierra Leone was aware of what was going on.

Are the two incidents not enough reason to vote President Koroma and his APC out of office, before they involve us in a proxy war?

It is up to us the citizens to put Salone above pious sentiments. The only way out and the only way forward, is to vote them out and follow a New Direction – with Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP.
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Another interesting development in Sierra Leone this week, is the court matter involving the opposition SLPP member of parliament, whose arrest was politically motivated.

The honourable Robin Faley – Member of Parliament for constituency 07, Njaluahun chiefdom, Kailahun district was released on bail on Monday.

At the hearing, the state was represented by the learned Attorney General himself, honourable Franklin Kargbo, assisted by the Principal states counsel Gerald Soyei.

Interestingly enough, bail was granted with the same Martin Banya as surety; the Attorney General’s team had raised no objection to the validity of the documents presented by Martin, who had stood as surety from the day honourable Robin Faley was arrested.

One wonders what all the fuss was about, when every household document available in Kenema had previously been rejected as surety.

Also in court to give moral support to the accused, was no less a personality than the national chairman and leader of the opposition SLPP – John O Benjamin, along with John Karimu and the usual eminent SLPP supporters, who were always in court – contrary to the trash put out that Faley had been abandoned.

There is something curious about the Robin Faley case, which “If I were man enough I would ask”: what is underneath it all.

But then trust the people of this country to always dig out the hidden motives behind every action of this APC administration.

There is a story going around in the Kailahun district that the APC are out to get at the honourable Member of Parliament for alleged breach of a gentleman’s agreement.

It further alleged that the aim is to demoralize him to the point of cowering him to submit to their proposal. It is further alleged that a large sum of money changed hands.

These may of course be the product of peoples’ fertile imagination, but the question has been asked.

There are other cases of attempted fraud during the last biometric voter registration; many cases were brought to light of people having been arrested and charged to court, or should have been charged to court for double registration and other related offences.

None of those cases has attracted the personal interest and intervention of the government’s highest legal adviser and minister of justice, to cause the latter to travel all the way to Kenema TO PROSECUTE A MATTER IN THE MAGISTRATE’S COURT.

Some day before long, whatever is hidden in the dark, will come to light.

The trial should resume on Monday, July 9, and in Kenema; or will the Attorney General request that it be transferred to Freetown? “He who lives shall see!”
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There was a story in a local newspaper last week, of a quarrel breaking out among the supporters of the All Peoples Congress party APC in Conakry, the Republic of Guinea.

They were transported to Kambia in vehicles hired by our Ambassador in that country, so as to enable them to participate in the voter registration exercise.

The quarrel is reported to be about accountability or the inequitable distribution of the largesse.

While the outcome of the reported ‘palaver’ is not yet known, the wonder is whether the Ambassador in Guinea and his counterpart in Liberia would repeat the process of hiring party members (rather than Sierra Leone citizens) from their respective countries to come and collect their voter cards.

This government is doing everything to stay in power after next November.
But despite the hullaballoo about no runoff and similar slogans the handwriting is already on the wall.

This government will be voted out of office on November 17. Mark my words.

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There was a lot of fanfare at the time over the news item that for the first time in the history of Africa – the President’s supporters crowed, a sitting President had declared his assets.

All ministers and public officials were expected to do so according to Law. And although by 2009 – after two years in power, only nine ministers had done so, it is hoped that by now – all concerned would have declared their assets.

Anti-Corruption Commissioner

That brings me to the question, which “If I were man enough I would surely ask;” now that his Excellency President Koroma and his government have less than five months in office, when will the Anti Corruption Commission review their assets and report the result to the general public before November17?

There are mansions and other landed property and investments being built all over the place.

Mr. Anti Corruption Commissioner, will you take time off from romancing with students, bankers; health workers, etc., for a moment and carry out this very patriotic exercise?

Do you think the result might be both revealing and interesting? I only asked!

 

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