Sierra Leone ruling APC guilty of misappropriating public funds – IMF withdraws funding

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 January 2018

Sierra Leone’s economy is in tatters. IMF withdraws funding. A few months ago, the Sierra Leone Telegraph published a story about the declining performance of the Sierra Leone economy. It warned that the government is in serious paralysis, as funds meant to support economic growth were being siphoned by ruling APC officials to pay for election campaign.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph report also said that: “Key government officials and ministers – including the president, have in the last six months taken their eyes off the economy to focus on their political survival. The Koroma government has lost control of the economy. “ (Photo: President Koroma out campaigning with his party’s presidential candidate – the former finance minister Samura Kamara, who is being blamed for the country’s economic mess). 

“It seems the only job at State House now, is the packaging and selling of the president’s chosen candidates for the presidency and vice presidency at next year’s elections – Messrs Samura Kamara and Chernoh Bah, whose unpopularity has become a huge headache for ruling party rank and file members – who are deeply unhappy about the president’s unilateral imposition of their candidacy.

“Sierra Leone’s economy is in dire straits. Inflation is rising much faster than expected. Basic food prices – such as rice and cooking oil have gone up by almost 30% in the last six months. The government is struggling to pay the salaries of public sector workers.

“There is serious political tension in the streets. Investor confidence is at an all-time low. World Bank and IMF funding have been frozen until after the elections in March 2018, following allegations that ruling APC government officials are misappropriating and siphoning public funds to pay for their political campaigns.

“The value of the Leone to the dollar and sterling is declining fast. The country is importing far more than it is exporting. With its continuing reliance on falling international aid and meagre mining export revenue for its survival, the Koroma government is struggling to meet its basic financial commitments as foreign aid is cut by almost 60%”, the Sierra Leone Telegraph reported in November 2017.

And in March 2017, the Sierra Leone Telegraph also published these statements:  

“The economy of Sierra Leone is going through its toughest phase, since the end of the Ebola epidemic. The government has run out of cash – donor funds have declined massively, inflation is rising out of control, unemployment remains chronically high, taxation base has declined, public sector workers are going without pay, public services are facing huge financial constraints, and government contractors are not getting paid.

“The government has now realised that without private sector investments, it cannot diversify the economy and expand growth. Yet, public sector borrowing is rising fast – now standing at over $2 Billion.

“Foreign direct investments have dried up, as corruption, lawlessness, the arbitrary use of state powers, poor governance and impunity, drive away good investors from Sierra Leone. And with the economy stuck in deep recession, since the fall in global market prices of iron ore – the country’s major export, government’s revenue has dwindled. (Photo: Samura Kamara – the  former finance minister blamed for Sierra Leone’s economic woes, is seen here last  Friday in Freetown – in his red party shirt, among hundreds of okada riders campaigning to become president. What a funny old world). 

“But this decline in government’s ability to raise cash, has had little effect on government’s unscheduled spending. The ruling APC is spending far more on trying to win the 2018 elections to stay in office, than on real programmes aimed at addressing abject poverty and massive unemployment in the country.

“Ministers are now concerned more about bleeding every cent out of the treasury in preparation for next year’s elections, triggering an upward spiral in bribery and corruption in high places.

“International donor funds for next financial year – starting April 2017, are likely to face massive cuts – if not frozen. China’s promise of millions of dollars in cash aid has not materialised. The Chinese government has recently announced a rolling back of public expenditure in 2017/2018.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is once again looking to rescue the government, from what many analysts believe is an economic mess of the government’s own making.

“Despite warnings about reckless spending, poor budgetary allocation, and high level of corruption, the Koroma government has continued to spend its way out of an economic austerity it has created – by ramping up its infrastructure development budget, with millions of dollars in contract kickbacks going into the pockets of corrupt ruling APC party officials and ministers,” the Sierra Leone Telegraph reported in March 2017.

Today, there is further damning report published by the Africa Confidential publication. It confirms that the ‘The government is spending IMF money on trying to win the election, not on agreed measures for economic recovery. The Fund has suspended payments.”

According to Africa Confidential: “A confidential despatch by United States diplomats in Freetown has laid bare the cause of strained relations between President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government and the International Monetary Fund; the cable also voices what Sierra Leone’s international partners really think about its prospects for economic reform.”

At the conclusion of the IMF visit to Sierra Leone on 28th March 2017, the head of the IMF team – Mr. Wakeman-Linn issued this warning statement:

“While the economy is projected to expand by 6 percent in real terms in 2017, the macroeconomic situation remains challenging. End-period inflation increased significantly in 2016, to 17.4 percent from 10.1 percent in 2015. The fiscal deficit is estimated to have increased from 4.6 percent in 2015 to 8.2 percent in 2016.

“The budget was under severe pressure, leading to expenditure overruns in goods and services and domestic capital expenditures late in the year and arrears to domestic contractors and suppliers.

“On the external front, renewed iron-ore exports contributed to a strengthening of the trade balance, but it was not enough to compensate for the decline in donor support.

“As a result, the current account deficit is estimated to have widened from 17.5 percent in 2015 to 19.9 percent in 2016,” the IMF said in March 2017.

Today, there is confirmation by the latest Africa Confidential report, that the IMF has indeed stopped throwing money into the ruling APC’s big black hole that is fuelling massive corruption in high places and used for funding the party’s election campaign,  as government ministers and officials down tools to head for the election campaign trail.

There is only one job in town now (Photo above), for all ruling party government ministers and public officials: Election campaign to keep their jobs and stay in office for another five years, despite serious economic mismanagement and poor governance.


  1. No wonder what is happening in Sierra Leone. It seems anyone in the ruling party is partially and absolutely corrupt. Money sent for the country for all the things that have happened in Sierra Leone since APC came to power tells us that the government continue using the tactics developed by late Stevens.

    If you want to survive under Dr. Koroma you must accept his wishes if not you are immediately fired. How can a country be like this where there is no control: financially, corruption, violence and misjudgement of the people for doing nothing, just refusing to act on the wishes of the people. Will Sierra Leone ever survive under APC?

    I am sure it will never and they will build another focus where human life is nothing. I do hope Sierra Leoneans will do all they can to drive this purging party from power. We cannot do anything without the votes of Sierra Leoneans to push this man from power. We do not want another war.

    Please brothers and sisters, vote for Sierra Leone and for a person who is ready to work hard for the decrease of corruption that has become the bread of the day. IMF must close its office in Freetown as their representative is not a man acting just as the APC leader. United States, the European Union and UK must also stop all their financial help for the country, until a reliable president has been elected.

    Having read all the news reports, I am happy USA has finally taken position for the people. China is however reluctant to see the truth and continue to finance the APC government. I am sure the donor countries will work hard to stop this APC government.

  2. Oh my God, some of you are writing like Earnest Bai Koroma didn´t change the bad shape of the country, when someone hate whatever you do he or she will hate you.

    My question I have for some of you, can you compare Sierra Leone from 2006 to now? At least the people of Freetown are enjoying energy for more than fifteen hours; you can travel to any part of the country at least 75% with peace of mind, from Port Loko, Lunsar, Magburaka, Kambia, Makeni, Koinadugu, Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Pujehun, Bonth etc.

    All of these places before 2006 you cannot find safe drinking water, energy, good road network, refurbished hospitals with modern equipment. And you guys are still calling them corrupt government. What would you call the last SLPP government who the international community gave more than one billion dollars (DDR Programme) to uplift the bated infrastructural system in the country?

    You see these are some of my reasons why I refuse to join and support any Political Party in the country, because you the opposition are talking like you are more better than the APC government who have transformed the country, from energy to safe drinking water, to modern road network; constructed health centre in many part of the country, where there was no health centre and they refurbished every main hospital in all major towns in the country.

    With such works you guys are writing like they didn’t do nothing in the country. Instead you are supporting people who were in power and they cannot point their fingers to any tangible activities they implemented in the country.

    You guys are writing like your Politicians in your party are more better than the ruling party. There are lots of in-activeness in most of your Politicians you are failing to write about. Unless if your are not a Sierra Leonean, we know their past performances in governance and you are writing against the present ruling party like they have completely messed up the country.

    I can give my score card on four past leaders in my life time, namely; Joseph Saidu Momoh, NPRC, late Pa Kabba and Ernest Bai Koroma. President Ernest Bai Koroma is the best among those leaders. My reason is when you read his campaign programme he promised to take energy everywhere in the country – 65%, road 75%, health 65%, safe drinking water 65%, agriculture 55% and security 90%.

    You guys are not writing any good thing about that. You pretend like the Politicians you are supporting are better than APC. I am not saying you should campaign on their behalf, but you should give praise where praise is due. Thats why Africa will continue to have problems.

    In the West, after elections all and sundry work together for the development of the country. Nobody have the time to talk about politics, unless the Politicians who have time to debate about Political issues.

    My prayer is God will guide the country from bad leadership and God will give us another leader like Ernest Bai Koroma. Amen.

  3. One only need to look at the recent budget delivered in October 2017 which clearly shows that the APC government like its previous ones under Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh have failed woefully in managing our economy leaving us in more debt. But this is where our Parliamentarians have failed us by not holding this Government to account throughout its 10 years in Office.

    Their very own budget shows that during the first half of 2017: Public debt, Domestic Debt, Trade deficit and overall deficit have all increased and forecast to increase further by the end of the year. To divert our attention from these declining economic indicators they refer to the road construction and blame Ebola.

    They are desperate to win this election in order to continue looting from our resources and mismanage of our economy that could see inflation further rising and our people getting poorer.

  4. With a lot of heartache, I have been reading and listening to a lot of pundits, newspapers, and friends about the coming elections and the pluses and negatives of the different parties and the individual leaders themselves. Let’s face it: poor governance is a systemic problem in Sierra Leone.

    The political leadership can be blamed; but more importantly are the people. Politics in Sierra Leone is not about good governance, especially for economic development of the country. It is about ‘power’ ‘position’ and ‘perquisites’ of those individuals who will govern the country. In this election, some people that I like and respect are going around thinking that they have a candidate who will be somehow different from those who have come before as governors of the system.

    Well, my view is that what happens after the coming presidential election will be no different from what we have seen so far, without social movements within the country that put pressure on the political leadership. Most of those very active in politics and supporting the current parties running do not seem to realize that nothing will change without serious social movement pressure.

    There is no alternative: ordinary citizens have to organize social movements to put pressure on the leadership and the political party in power. This is what world history shows. I especially laugh when I see some politicians trying to convince the elites of the country that they should support them; that they are somehow different from those ruling the country now.

    Take it from me, they are not. They do not have the moral foundations and the fundamental governance, intellectual and moral background to be different from those whom they criticize. Of course, there will be a few (within each political party, for instance) who have these qualities. But not only are they very few, to be insignificant, but also in the hustle and tumble these few “good” characters “never” win.

    Whoever wins the current election for President and whoever are the executives in the governance of Sierra Leone, ordinary Sierra Leoneans have to organize social movements to put pressure on them to do the right thing for the development of the country.

    If not, more people like Donald Trump will emerge in the Western World and even in other parts of the world, especially East Asia, who dismiss our country and many others in Africa, as you know what!!! And they will be right.

  5. Hi just a small. Correction. As of today, the iron ore prices have sky rocketed. So that is not what is causing export revenues to dwindle. Its shandong steel’s operations that have permanently damaged our export revenues. Raw iron ore is back to its peak prices as we speak.

  6. In spite of the many promises made by Ernest Bai Koroma to rebrand the APC party and to part ways with the corrupt, divisive and untenable policies of his predecessors, we now know that he was just uttering liberal platitudes. Ernest Bai Koroma came into office following great hardship to Sierra Leoneans after years of a bloody civil war that left our country destitute, our economy pulverized and government institutions destroyed.

    The late President Ahmed Tejan Kabba fought very hard to leave our nation on a sound financial footing with enough money in our state coffers before his tenure ended.

    Even the contracts for the infrastructural developments that Ernest Bai Koroma and his thieving APC party are taking credit for today were all secured and guaranteed by the Late Tejan Kabba’s SLPP administration.

    But instead of continuing on the path of sustainable and prudent financial policies, Ernest Bai Koroma decided to run our country as a private enterprise benefiting him, his family and his syncopathic hand – kissing cronies.

    Today our country is tottering on the brink of the worst austerity measures we have experienced in years, whilst he and his party members have become millionaires. Ernest Bai Koroma is clueless and out of step with the plight of the many Sierra Leoneans who go to bed hungry every day. His attempt to impose his hand-picked successor to continue with the plunder and looting of our economy should be stopped by any means necessary.

    It is no surprise that the IMF and other international organizations are withholding funding from this government that does not care about its citizens, but only about advancing kleptocracy. Which other government do you know of that is capable of spending a colossal amount of our hard earned public funds on building a million dollar party building, or importing custom made chairs for their party convention and custom made motor bikes for political campaigning around the country, when so many of our young sons and daughters go to bed hungry and have to sit on the bare floor in their classrooms?

    If your guess is the APC party, you are correct, and have a moral obligation as a citizen of Sierra Leone to kick this unfeeling and uncaring APC party to the dust bin on March 7, 2018.

  7. Very very ruthless group of people who do not care if their people eat grass. Get them out. Our people are starving; no clean water; everything is down the hill in just 10 years. Please United Nations get them out.

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