The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 June 2013
The disgraced minister plenipotentiary of Sierra Leone – Dr. Arthur Porter who is under investigations by the Canadian authorities for alleged fraud amounting to tens of millions of dollars, has had his ministerial credentials withdrawn by president Koroma.
In an unexpected though not surprising public statement published today by the government of Sierra Leone, Dr. Porter’s reputation took a further battering, despite his strong support for president Koroma.
The statement reads: “The Embassy of Sierra Leone in Washington DC also accredited to Canada, wishes to inform the general public that the appointment of Dr. Arthur T. Porter as Ambassador at Large for the Republic of Sierra Leone, has been revoked with immediate effect by the government.
“Dr. Arthur Porter was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador in 2010 when he was resident in Canada.
“The Sierra Leone Diplomatic Passport no: DE000116 issued to Dr. Arthur T. Porter has been revoked and withdrawn by the Government of Sierra Leone.
“The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol, all Diplomatic Missions and International organizations accredited to the United States of America and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada have also been duly informed.” The statement ends.
But the doctor is now facing fraud charges in Canada, for a $22 million fraud. According to Canadian newspaper report: “Now he is the target of three lawsuits, all claiming that he has defaulted on loan payments that were made to him while he was in Montreal.”
“The Quebec government has also released a report accusing him of allowing the McGill University Health Centre to slip into financial disarray and has assigned the network of six hospitals a special financial overseer, a move the government says is one step short of trusteeship.”
Three years ago, Dr. Porter was involved in a multi-million dollar fraud scandal. He said he was trying to help secure hundreds of millions of dollars for the government of president Koroma.
There are rumours that president Koroma has surrounded himself with international fraudsters and criminal syndicates, who are using Sierra Leonean passports and official credentials to escape international justice.
President Koroma is currently visiting China, where it is believed he was advised to extricate himself from the negative publicity that will follow, once Dr. Porter appears in Court in Canada.
Many believe that no matter what the president does, the damage to his reputation cannot be undone.
Analysts believe that the decision of president Koroma to revoke the diplomatic status of Dr. Porter may have come too late, and may well be counter-productive.
Dr. Porter is understood to have invested heavily in Sierra Leone’s mining industry and other sectors. But it is not clear whether he is paying taxes in one of the most impoverished countries in the world, or enjoying tax exemptions granted him by president Koroma.
What is certain though, is that president Koroma’s shrewd decision to turn his back on the disgraced doctor is nothing new. He recently arrested and detained Dr. Charles Margai – one of the country’s main opposition leaders and a close friend, who was responsible for his 2007 electoral victory.