That rubbish from the dimwit and dishonourable leader in parliament – Ibrahim Bundu

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2015

Ibrahim bunduGovernance in Sierra Leone has descended into utter chaos, as the APC leader in the country’s parliament – Ibrahim Bundu (Photo), attempts to shield his fellow corrupt and thieving folks, that have pick-pocketed millions of dollars from the people’s Ebola fund.

Sierra Leone is fast descending once again to its previously known status of a failed state, which it carried for over two decades under the previous APC regime led by president Joseph Momoh.

And when everyone thought the country has managed to elevate itself from the bottom pit of corruption, poor governance and ineptitude, today, president Koroma and his cronies in parliament – led by the dishonourable majority leader of the House – Ibrahim Bundu, have taken a retrograde step towards anarchy and political instability.

President Koroma must take cognisance of the fact that, whilst he may have bought a good section of top military rank and file, who just months ago were expressing frustration and anger over the government’s mismanagement of the country, Sierra Leone is now on tenterhooks.

Political instability amidst an Ebola crisis – caused by the government’s lack of strong leadership, corruption and sheer stupidity, is now creating the return of some of the ugly conditions that led to the start of the rebel war in 1991.

Is president Koroma’s APC engineering chaos and anarchy, that could prompt the declaration of an indefinite and prolonged state of emergency, which could see the government continuing in power for another term?

This question is important, simply because the behaviour of president Koroma and some of his political cronies, such as the dishonourable and dictatorial Ibrahim Bundu, smirks of sheer provocation of the people’s patience and levels of tolerance – especially the military.

ParliamentariansThe statement by Ibrahim Bundu has not only brought parliament itself into disrepute with the public, but created an open confrontation with the judiciary – who are yet to express an opinion on the government’s naked abuse of parliamentary privilege and attempt to gag free speech in such a grotesque manner.

President Koroma must take full responsibility for the chaos that he has provoked, as a result of his decision to politicise the Audit Office report into the mismanagement of the Ebola fund, which the Anti-Corruption Commissioner quite legally is now ensuring that those responsible be brought to justice.

What is unconscionable is the president’s total lack of respect for legal due process in the face of serious criminality.

Palor ContehThe report of the Auditor General implies in its findings that serious wrong doing may have been committed by individuals in and out of the ministry of health and the national Ebola response centre – responsible for managing the Ebola fund. (Photo: Head of the Ebola Response Centre – Palo Conteh, responsible for managing the Ebola Fund. He must also be held accountable).

The missing Ebola funds report is not a constitutional matter, for which parliament has to provide guidance and interpretation of what should now happen. Even a child at kindergarten school can see this clearly.

So what is so difficult about that, for president Koroma and his political cronies to understand?

Under the powers granted the Anti-Corruption Commission by parliament itself, the Anti-Corruption Commission has the right to investigate anyone and any organisation, against whom there is reasonable evidence to suggest that public funds may have been misappropriated.

Joseph kamaraAnd it is for this reason that Joseph Kamara – the Commissioner of the ACC (Photo), rightly and bravely, decided to break ranks and published a notice to all those cited in the Audit Office report, to attend the ACC offices with any documentary evidence that could help his investigation into the missing funds.

President Koroma, as with other issues of national importance, has without doubt once again bungled, and it is clear the entire nation is supportive of the decision of the Anti- Corruption Commissioner to bring sanity and order to this matter.

It is worth noting that there is far more serious evidence of massive corruption right inside State House itself,  that is yet to see the hand of justice takes its course.

Richard ContehIn particular, no one knows what has happened to the $47 million embezzlement case, involving State House Chief of Staff – Richard Konteh (Photo), not to talk of the corruption case involving his brother, who was responsible for managing the country’s 50th Independence Celebration fund.

The Auditor General has in the last successive five years at least, accused the Koroma government of serious failings in the management and stewardship of the country’s revenue.

Every year, millions of dollars are reported missing from public funds across ministries, departments and agencies, for which president Koroma has never been able to give account to the people of Sierra Leone.

State House itself remains unashamedly uncountable for millions of dollars, after failing to produce documentary evidence to justify some of its spending and utilisation of public funds.

Is the dishonourable government leader in parliament – Ibrahim Bundu afraid of the ACC investigation, leading wherever the evidence takes it?

After all, members of parliament themselves will soon personally be facing the music, when the Audit Office starts to hold them to account for the millions of dollars received from president Koroma last year – supposedly to help fight Ebola.

MPs are not doctors; they are not nurses; they are not Ebola burial personnel; so the question as to why millions of dollars were placed in their pockets to help curb Ebola by the president, remains unanswered.

MPs were handed out million of dollars to carry out sensitisation in their constituencies, despite the government itself and the WHO having spent millions on sensitisation. Was this not DOUBLE FUNDING?

In the early days of Ebola last year, there was only one game in town – and it was sensitisation. Too many bigwigs were far too busy making money, pretending to be involved in sensitisation.

Monies that could have gone to the country’s media to pay for radio airtime and newspaper space, went instead into the pockets of MPs and the government’s political cronies.

Was this value for money? Was this money well spent? only the Audit Office can tell us now. And the people are waiting impatiently for an account, as to how members of parliament have spent the millions that went into their Bank Accounts.

How many MPs will be able to provide legitimate receipts for every cent they claim to have spent on the fight against Ebola, will soon be unravelled by the Audit Office.

In the meantime, the constitutional battle continues to unfold in Freetown, between the corrupt political cronies of the government on the one hand, and the Anti-Corruption Commission, the media and the country’s Bar Association on the other.

law_court_buildingJulian Cole Esq., who is the Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, said yesterday, 18 February, 2015, that the Association which represents all barristers in the country, will publish a statement of its position today, 19th February:

“The Executive of the Sierra Leone Bar Association on Tuesday 17th February 2015 reached a decision to make a statement on the address to Parliament made by the Majority Leader of the House of Parliament Honourable Ibrahim Bundu on the incidence of public discussion of the Auditor General’s recent report on the receipt, use and management of Ebola funds and other relevant matter(s).

“The Executive is  now working on the Bar Association’s statement on same, which would be published not later than Thursday 19th February 2015. Long Live the Sierra Leone Bar Association! Long Live the Republic of Sierra Leone!”

And as the crisis engineered by president Koroma deepens, the ire of the people of Sierra Leone is becoming more obvious by the day. This is what Bankole Johnson said yesterday, in reply to the trash published by the dishonourable APC leader in parliament – Ibrahim Bundu :

“Ibrahim Bundu, Standing Order 75 is for the conduct of Hon Parliamentarians in Parliament.  It has absolutely nothing to do with our fundamental constitutional freedoms, nor can it fetter it, as your public utterances would want to suggest.

“This country has past that archaic, retrogressive, tyrannical, despotic and zombie-mindset stage long, long ago.

“The APC Party Secretariat has done well to issue a press release that might – just might – help stabilize its fastly eroding public credibility,  and a continuation of your utterances will only accelerate the erosion of whatever dregs are left of it.

“As I have always been telling you and a few other Honourable Parliamentary acquaintances of mine, you have not only occasionally attempted to exceed your remit to the serious detriment of your esteem in the electorate, but have also come to believe -and very wrongly so – that by simply getting elected into political offices automatically confers superior political knowledge on you the elected, which is why you hardly countenance our valid early warning advices.

“The Audit Report became a Public Property, long before it reached Parliament and the public has a right to discuss it as freely as it wishes.

“I will close by reminding you Honourable Bundu that as our most respected elected officials, WE HIRED YOU and so we HAVE the RIGHT to INSTRUCT YOU on what to do.

“IT CANNOT BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND.”

The Sierra Leone Telegraph now calls on the dishonourable Ibrahim Bundu to bow his head in shame, apologise to the Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as the people of Sierra Leone, and above all – retract that stupid parliamentary statement which can only come from dimwits.
Ibrahim bunduThis is the statement to parliament by the dishonourable APC leader – Ibrahim Bundu, on the missing Ebola report:

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the Public Accounts of Sierra Leone  and all Public Institutions established by an Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument or otherwise set up partly or wholly out of public funds, shall, pursuant to Section 119(2) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991, be audited and reported on by or on behalf of the Auditor General.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, other key Institutions, some Civil Society Organizations and individuals have been factored in the report on the Audit of the Management of the EBOLA FUND for the period specified in the Report, (i.e.) May to October 2014.

The funds utilized in the fight against the EBOLA constitute public funds pursuant to Section 111 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991, which must be accounted for.

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, let me at this juncture express profound gratitude to all donors, not forgetting NGOs, INGOS and even individuals for providing the necessary funds and materials to fight the EBOLA.  If we are to succeed in this fight, it is because of our collective efforts in this great battle, which is not yet over. It still requires fortitude and courage to continue the fight unabated, without distractions that might lower the morale in the battle against the Ebola.

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, the audit exercise on the Ebola Fund was carried out with the Audit Service Sierra Leone as per its mandate and pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No 6 of 1991 and the Audit Service Act, 2014.  The report on the Management of the Ebola Fund was published and laid before Parliament on 12th February 2014.

Mr. Speaker,  Honourable Members, this report has attracted wide publicity in the electronic, print and social media on issues bordering on accountability, transparency, probity and disregard for procedures.

Parliament as a legislature therefore, needs to clarify its position for the general public to be guided on matters of procedure regarding the Audit Report and the role of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, pursuant to Section 119 (4) and 119 (5) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991:

(4) “The Auditor General, shall within twelve months of the end of the immediately preceding finance year, submit his report to Parliament and shall in that report draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited and to any other matter which in his opinion ought to be brought to the notice of Parliament.”

(5) “Parliament shall debate the report of the Auditor General and appoint where necessary in the public interest a Committee to deal with any matters arising therefrom.”

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, the Auditor General has accordingly expressed her “Opinion” on the Audit of the Management of the Ebola Fund and has also submitted the report to Parliament, which the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has laid before the House on 12th February 2014.

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, Section 93 (1)(e) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991, established the Public Accounts Committee.  Standing Order (SO) 68 (6) describes its constitution and mandate which includes the examination of the Audit report with powers enshrined in Section 93 (6), 95 and 96 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991.  The report of the PAC after examining witnesses on oath on the Auditor General’s report, is therefore laid before the House and debated and a certificate of ratification sent to the Executive for appropriate action.

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, in accordance with Standing Order (SO) 75

(1) “Evidence given before or any papers forming part of the

records of a Select Committee may be printed for the exclusive information of the Members of the Committee but shall not be published before the proceedings of the Committee are reported to Parliament.”

(2) “The evidence given before any Select Committee and any documents presented to such Committee shall not be published by any member of such Committee or by any other person before the Committee has presented its report to the House.”

(3) “Contravention of this order constitute contempt of Parliament.” (Reference Section 95 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991.

The Auditor General’s Report on the Management of the Ebola Fund falls within the provisions in the Constitution and the Standing Order which are now before Parliament but have not disposed of them for public consumption.

Any attempt therefore to discuss the Auditor General’s opinion on the management of the Ebola Fund in any media will be tantamount to undermining the relevant provisions of the Constitution and those of the Standing Order. 

Therefore, the responsibility to host discussion on Radio and TV programmes as well as other media, lies squarely with the presenter  in accordance with the Media Code of Practice which states among other things that:

“All stories aired by Radio Stations must be presented with due accuracy, truth and impartiality.”

“Phone-in and live programmes must be managed by Radio/TV Stations in such a way that they do not lead to public disorder.”

“For live phone-in programmes, the Radio/TV Station must have the capacity for screening in-coming calls before putting the caller on air as well as the capacity for delayed broadcast.”

“The management/ownership of Radio/TV Stations shall take full responsibility for the content of live broadcasts.”

Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, we therefore appeal to all concerned to allow Parliament to do its work and wait for the action that the Executive will take from the report of the PAC than to prejudice the general public with statements that will only kill the morale of our vigilantes in the fight against the Ebola, and create a bad impression on our donor partners.

Parliament will not therefore allow or entertain a breach of the statutory provisions bordering on matters pertaining to the procedures dealing with the Auditor General’s Report.  I therefore appeal to all and sundry to remain calm, with the firm belief that Parliament will go all out to do justice in dealing with the report, via the Public Accounts Committee.

I thank you all for your attention and God bless.

Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu

Majority Leader of the House and Leader of Government Business

17/2/2015

End of statement

The Sierra Leone Telegraph now calls on the dishonourable Ibrahim Bundu to bow his head in shame, apologise to the Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as the people of Sierra Leone, and above all – retract that stupid parliamentary statement which can only come from dimwits.

 

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