Investigation into alleged corruption at Sierra Leone’s ministry of social welfare continues

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2016

Ady Macauley appointed by president Koroma

Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission seems to be going where it has never been before – investigating an alleged criminal Mr. Momo Bockarie Foh – the younger brother of the country’s vice president for alleged corruption. (Photo: President Koroma welcoming the new ACC chief – Ady Macauley to the job). 

No sibling of a sitting president or vice president has ever been arrested and, or investigated for corruption in Sierra Leone, despite evidence of massive corruption and malfeasance.

Mr. Momo Bockarie Foh is still being held in custody by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), after failing to fulfill his bail conditions last week.

Observers say that, this is a clear sign that for now, there are no ‘orders from above’, preventing or attempting to subvert the course of justice, as is usually the case in such high profiled cases in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Ady Macauley, the ACC Commissioner who is fast proving that he has the mettle to walk a straight line and keep on the right side of justice, is fully aware that the whole world is watching the outcome of this investigation.

Momo Bockarie Foh - Sierra Leone permanent secretary ministry of social welfareVP VICTOR FOH - Oct 2015The investigation is seen as a test case of whether someone so close to the seat of power – the vice presidency, can be arrested and held in custody for alleged corruption and misdemeanor, and possibly charged to court. (Photos: The accused permanent secretary of the ministry of social welfare – Mr Momo Bockarie Foh, left; and his older brother the vice president – Mr Victor Bockarie Foh, on the right).

The ACC investigations swiftly began last Thursday, 25th August, when evidence of a secretly recorded conversation between a minister of state in the office of the vice president and the permanent secretary of the ministry of social welfare, about an attempted withdrawal of cash from the social welfare ministry’s bank account without the knowledge of the minister was published.

As the investigations continue today, it is expected that witnesses from the Commercial Bank and the social welfare ministry will be called in by the ACC to give evidence.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph is expecting the letter signed by both Momo Foh and the ministry’s accountant – Mariatu Harding, who it is understood was granted bail last Thursday, but had to be quickly re-arrested for attempting to tamper with vital evidence back at the office, to be at the centre of the ACC investigations.

On close examination of the letter signed by both Momo and Mariatu (see below), the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph can see that the stamp on the letter appears to have been a forged ministry official stamp, with spelling mistakes.

Forged stamp on letter signed by senior official

The inscription on the stamp reads: MINISTRY OF SOCIAL WELFAIR and CHILDRENS. It appears those responsible cannot spell WELFARE and CHILDREN’S.

But putting aside the seriousness and incriminating possibility of this evidence (the letter to the bank requesting withdrawal of $3,000) against Momo Foh and Mariatu, what most Sierra Leoneans would find pathetic and worrying is the low intellectual calibre of the people heading government ministries and departments in Sierra Leone.

For a permanent secretary to append his or her signature on an official letter bearing the stamp of the ministry with such stupefying spelling mistakes, one has to ask how on earth he was appointed into that job.

Is this the best government can produce to run the country’s crippling public service?

Ernest SurrurIf this level of competence is representative of senior civil servants across the country, then is it a surprise that Sierra Leone is classed as one of the poorest nations in the world?

Perhaps all senior government officials, including ministers, should be forced to take the Secondary School Certificate competency test. We must now weed out the chaff from the wheat.

Every year the people of Sierra Leone are being told that the head of the country’s civil service – Mr Ernest Surrur (Photo), who is also the secretary to the cabinet – is doing very well in managing the service.

But if this is the result of his performance, then perhaps he too must now consider his position – over to you Mr President.

More than 70% of ministries and departments are failing to achieve their annual performance contract agreement, signed with the president.

Ministers and senior civil servants must be held accountable, and if found to be incompetent, must be relieved of their posts. There are far too many squared pegs in round holes in the government.

5 Comments

  1. I am not surprised about the glaring spelling mistakes on the inscription of the stamp. The calamitous educational standard in Sierra Leone is no secret, and this is not exclusive to educational institutions. It cuts across all (public) institutions of Governments and most private institutions as well. The Athens of Africa has crumbled!

    The name “Bockarie-Foh” is synonymous with financial impropriety/hanky-panky in Sierra Leone. Was it not the elder brother, i.e the Vice President, who was at the helm of the infamous VOUCHERGATE scandal during the 1980s? And look where he is now! Wonders will never end in Sierra Leone.

  2. This is not good for a country that is very poor in development, and rich in minerals. The government has to do more to deal with the law. No one is above the law. We need to know everything about this case please.

  3. Now it seems pretty obvious that the political campaign is now in effect, and the question now is who should replace president Ernest Koroma?

    It is an open secret that the APC establishment are against the idea of a south easterner heading the northern dominated APC party under any circumstances, so as they did to the late Francis M Minah and most recently Sam Sumana who is still lucky to be alive.

    They are now digging the hole to bury the current vice president’s political career, by using his younger brother as a means to achieve their goals and objectives.

    Alpha Kanu who is the God father of hajj corruption should have been investigated and thrown in jail years ago, based on his past records. And I suspect he knows exactly what’s going on in that ministry, hence he dispatched shekito from State House to expose the younger brother of the Vice President. And when was the last time anyone has heard about hajj fund, since the Ebola crisis?

    How can a decent man (Alpha Kanu) declare his candidacy for president before the 40 days ceremony of his friend and neighbor (late Moseray Fadika), who suddenly and mysteriously passed away in London after the day he declared his candidacy.

    Kanu was the spokesman for the APC to console and deliver the “casankay ” to the bereaved family at magazine cut.

    How can they even keep a suspect in jail before the conclusion of the investigation? The answer is they are trying to push the Vice President to the brink, and the prospect of him succeeding the president depends on his reaction towards this political crisis that has been manufactured by Sylvia Blyden and the APC establishment. And they will definitely use Momoh Foe’s whip to punish Victor Foe.

    The only genuine way to stop corruption is to start from the top, and unfortunately it happens to be the president, which is far fetched.

    • My apologies Alusine if I appear to sound insensitive. But do I really care that Alpha Kanu declared his flag bearer candidacy for the APC before the 40th day ceremony, marking the death of Moseray Fadika – absolutely not.

      Nor do I care, in any shape or form that the APC establishment may now be seeking to undermine any presidential aspirations Victor Foe may have harbored, through his younger brother’s suspected misdemeanor.

      Aside from the fact that it is only right and proper that any suspected misdemeanor is properly and thoroughly investigated in accordance with the law of the land, no matter the perpetrator’s connections we should all (including Victor Foh) learn from history.

      I beg to differ from Henry Ford, but history cannot be bunked, in my view. We cannot just live in the present but must learn from the past. APC will always be APC as history teaches us.

      When push comes to shove they will resort to all the dirty tricks in the book to achieve their goals. That is after having ran our beloved country to the dogs. Nothing new there either. Victor Foh should have known that those who sleep in glass houses should not sleep naked.

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