Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2016
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.
The 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.
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?
If 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.