Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 December 2020:
There is intense debate and speculation on social media and across the political divide in Sierra Leone, about what should now happen to the findings of the damning report into the government’s mismanagement of the country’s financial affairs, published last week by Audit Service Sierra Leone.
At least 177 billion Leones in cash cannot be accounted for by the government, along with millions of dollars swindled through corrupt public procurement arrangements, as well as the disappearance of many items bought by the government for public use – such as dozens of laptop computers and an electricity generator meant for assisting in the fight against the covid pandemic.
The 2019 audit report makes for chilling reading, for a president that promised to close what he referred to during the 2018 election campaign as “leakages” in the former government’s finances.
President Bio also promised to curb the abuse of office by government officials and the rampant corruption in high places, that is destroying the lives of millions of people in a country classed as one of the poorest in the world. Today, president Bio himself stands accused.
Many in Sierra Leone are now calling for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to commence immediate investigation into the findings of the report, and today the Anti-Corruption Czar – Mr Francis Ben Kaifala (Photo) said in a twitter post that – the ACC “will today commence immediate action on the 2019 Audit report working with Parliament”.
This is what the ACC said in a statement published today:
“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that the tabling in Parliament and publication of the Auditor General’s Report for the Financial Year ended 31st December 2019 and the COVID-19 Report by the Audit Service Sierra Leone have been brought to its attention and that it has commenced immediate examination of the same.
“The ACC attaches utmost importance to the Auditor General’s Reports. As such, in recent times, the Commission had provided and will continue to provide updates to the public through Serialized Media Releases on the many interventions and outcomes in regard the Audit Reports 2015-2018 which resulted in investigations, prosecutions, convictions, recovery of huge sums, prevention measures, and, in appropriate situations, exoneration and clearing of persons and institutions.
“More importantly, the Commission is also cognizant of the role of Parliament regarding this issue and it shall be collaborating with them.
“The Commission preliminarily notes that that there are various issues in the report that it had already commenced or concluded investigations into, either due to the fact that they arose in the year 2019 or, they were already the subject of investigations before the conclusion of the audit.
“For those still under investigation, it will continue and conclude them speedily. For the rest, it will work with Parliament and Audit Service Sierra Leone to ensure that each party performs its role to ensure that the various issues of concern are speedily and accordingly addressed without favour or anyone.
“The ACC is now examining the Reports with a view to ascertaining violations of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as Amended in 2019, or needs for intervention by the ACC; and/or identify system weaknesses within the audited institutions for appropriate prevention efforts to address them.
“It wishes to make it very clear that anyone found wanting shall face the full consequences prescribed by law with no exceptions. In this regard, the public is encouraged to exercise patience while the Commission does a thorough review and analysis of the Reports and thereafter commence taking action as may be expedient.”
But as the country’s parliament closed today for Christmas break, the National Grand Coalition Party leader in parliament – Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, reminded the Speaker and fellow MPs that over two months ago on October 22, he and a colleague MP tabled a motion, which was adopted unanimously by the House for a debate on the 2018 and 2019 reports of the Auditor General along with the specialized audits -including the COVID-19 report on how funds meant for tackling the pandemic have been spent.
Dr Yumkella said he wanted to make sure that the reports are put on the agenda when parliament reconvenes next year, and that MPs can use the Christmas break to study its findings.
It’s rather unfortunate that while countries around the world are spending their time trying to control this pandemic, because of the deadline given to the corrupt and destructive APC to return their looting, the Auditor General office is just trying to create sensational news by distracting the NACOVERC team that are in the process of sacrificing their lives to save lives and livelihoods in our beloved nation. Why should these people mortgage their integrity for just laptops and single generator.
Comparing pandemic which only happened in 1918 -1919 which was the influenza caused by the H1N1 virus that resulted in at least 50 million deaths worldwide with about 675,00 occurred in the USA and currently counting almost 350,000 deaths with the Ebola disease 2014-2016 which resulted in 11,310 deaths in only the Mano River Countries and only 15 deaths outside, is not only ludicrous but insane.
The whole world is now suffering from not only health crisis but also financial crisis then decided to pour millions of dollars into Sierra Leone just to prevent the Ebola from spreading around the world but unfortunately was stolen by the APC government during the deaths of almost 4,000 of our citizens.
The reality is the laptops and generator are not missing and the 177 billion of missing Leones are cumulative amounts from 2015 based on the fact that government is continuity and some of the unaccounted monies are still rolling in the current audit report until they are accounted for, so let’s continue to follow the process and give time to the parliament and ACC to continue to perform their constitutional duties rather than drawing hasty conclusions based on revenge and propaganda.
I am in a state of confusion; how can a government that pledged their loyalty in the fight against corruption find themselves in a big mess?
I do agree with your analysis. The main thing that puzzled me is the timing of the submission of the Auditor General’s report, just after Sierra Leone qualified to get $400 Million from the MCC (I am not referring to the Monrovia City Corporation MCC) but the Millennium Challenge Corporation from the USA, immediately the 99 Tactics took to the roads of Salone. I hope the ACC investigate it well.
This is not about party or personal interest. But for the betterment of our one and only mama Salone; as the Krio man say “eat small N lef smoll” duya papa Government.
There is a reason why the international community institutions and the USA government rated our country as the least corrupt country in our region with 81% ratings. The credibility of Sierra Leone plummeted in two years under the new direction government after the 11 years of the misrule of the destructive and thieving APC party rating of 40%. The reality is, even during the 10 years of the past SLPP government under the leadership of late President Tejan Kabba, our country experienced this same destructive propaganda and the destructive APC party then succeeded in brainwashing some musicians to release music accusing the government of corruption, but after the commission of inquiry by the APC, no evidence of corruption was discovered.
Within a year of the destructive APC Party in power, based on the massive corruption that was discovered, the same musician released “ Yesterday betteh pas tiday” and later when the looting intensified and Austerity was declared, ”Munku boss Pan matches” was released which was the final nail on the coffin for the destructive APC party.
I hope and pray that the ACC will not listen to all the noises of the destructive APC party and just work with the parliament and recommendations by the Auditor General report, because I personally believe that by the end of the day after all the relevant documents which are still needed by the institutions are tendered, most of the new direction government officials will be vindicated based on the fact that they respect the fight against corruption.
You know Mr Fallay, having people of your type in the midst of us sierra Leoneans is really disheartening and disappointing. Not even the culprits of the Ebola and mudslide saga are close to this level of kleptocratic and inhuman nature. At least those folks were not out there flaunting a defenseless point like what you are doing now. Even though that is still not to give them a pass for what they did, but as “OL KABOR NA KABOR” so too is “SOME KABOR PAS KABOR”. As in this newly dubbed “new direction” the latter applied most fittingly. As King Masco once said in one of his songs that:’SIERRA LEONEANS, WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE IF WE ARE TO MOVE SIERRA LEONE FORWARD’
Guys like you out there really need to put down your ego of blind loyalty to rest for the sake of Sierra Leone in general and us the people in particular. No one is condoning evil but once we make up our mind as people in moving forward to a new chapter, that should be our only focus and determination to succeed in achieving goals in the said chapter. I believe that was the principle nature behind the birth of the NEW DIRECTION. Unlike you and some of your maniacs who cannot tell the difference between water and blood, many of us are against corruption, since day one and will continue to do so till it is minimised if not eradicated.
Some of us have been critical of the previous administration of EBK for not doing much in the fight against corruption even though there were great strides made, but what we are seeing happening right now under this BIO administration, is a total disgrace to Sierra Leoneans. If you can’t tell the difference between a goat and a duck, sit down, be quiet and let us show you the difference ok..
Hey Dan Kamara, are you asking me to wait and see what Ben Kelfala will do to his bosses who stand accused of pillaging our nation’s resources? Hahaha. Perhaps you have just waken up from a deep slumber, or else you would not come to this glorious intellectual platform to declare outright propagandist statement to satisfy who knows what! Now before wasting anyone’s time in this noble platform, here are a few corrupt acts that have taken place almost a year now, with the culprits being Bio and his henchmen—the missing 140 billion in 2018 report, the over 50,000 bags of Chinese rice stolen, the chief minister’s 1.5 million dollar saga. Please Dan Kamara, provide to this noble platform exactly who Ben Kelfala has named and shamed publicly, in addition to being asked to repay any stolen resources. Just name us one corrupt Bio official that Ben Kelfala has dealt with, to convince me otherwise my friend.
As a struggling citizen of this country (Sierra Leone), I would like to encourage the ACC to use all its anticorrosion power to deal with whosoever is found guilty of the misappropriation of the said huge and colossal amount of money, as politicising their act will serve as an image for H.E Maada Bio’s administration which I don’t personally wish for. Please ACC Commissioner, Sierra Leoneans EYES are on you until for positive outcome of your response. Thanks.
Instead of Sierra Leoneans celebrating Christmas singing Jingle Bells, Sierra Leoneans have found themselves crying Jingle Hell under this Bio SLPP kakistocracy den. All the money destined to allow the people celebrate Christmas by singing Jingle Bells, has been squandered by some unscrupulous and rogue Bio SLPP kakistocracy officials. What the hell is the ACC boss and his department doing? Now, the can has again been kicked down the road to allow these rogues to get rid of any evidence. Is that fair to me and the people of Sierra Leone? Anyway, all of them will face justice for their corrupt practices against the people of Sierra Leone. God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.
It’s So Heart Rendering to see when these wicked souls (Politicians and Co) are perpetrating injustice on the very land they claim to love so much. Le.177 Billion in just one year my goodness.
“Anti-Corruption Czar – Mr Francis Ben Kaifala (Photo) said in a twitter post that – the ACC “will today commence immediate action on the 2019 Audit report working with Parliament”.” SL Telegraph
This is exactly what I expected. The 2019 audit report talks about missing funds and funds that are unaccounted for. This cannot be interpreted to mean stolen funds without a robust parliamentary and ACC investigation. Folks should give these two powerful institutions space to do their statutory work. It is a forgone conclusion that President Bio will accept their verdict.
So the missing bags of rice cannot be interpreted as stolen right? The nacoverc laptops cannot be interpreted as stolen right? $5.4 billion timber funds cannot be interpreted as stolen right? Missing funds for hondas, generators, SUVs etc all cannot be interpreted as stolen right? Levi fofana please tell me what you’re smoking..or what you last ate before you dropped down your comments…ah dae wait duya…I wanna know if you do wash your face upwards.
In 2018 the audit report over 140 billion was reportedly unaccounted for. Now compare to the fanfare and thunderous approach in holding former APC officials found wanting based on audit reports done under the APC tenure, why are we yet to see the same zealousness from Ben Kelfala, which involves the publications and shaming of regime officials found wanting in this government as was done against former regime officials? With another 178 billion unaccounted for in 2019, is Ben Kelfala suddenly telling us the audit reports under the SLPP can all be swept under the rug by him fabricating a bunch of defense excuses for his bosses, while those under the APC were all guilty, even though more and more monies are being unaccounted for under SLPP?
I say to Ben Kelfala, stop fooling yourself my dear brother, we know your hands are tied when it comes to fighting corruption against your bosses. So please avoid making flamboyant and empty ferocious statements when it comes to fighting corruption in the nation. You have already exhausted your easy targets (the opposition), now that you are facing the actual gang of thieves, with all of them fully weaponized with bazookas, and ready to bombard you in a blink of a second out of your position, All what is left of you now is to bark and howl pathetically.
Can’t you wait and see the outcome? The ACC Boss has assured the nation that his administration would do the needful to bring all those who are involved into book to answer to issues pointed at them. You can’t now attack FBK as yet while he is still examining the Auditor General’s report. Don’t rush, this man actually is worth his salary unlike Ade who was the ACC boss and now defending all those who were reported on the auditor’s report during His tenure.
What we have is a case of SLPP and APC vying for supremacy in stealing the nation’s resources. The Commissions of inquiries (COI) revealed the heartless and uncontrollable corruption which took place under Ernest Koroma’s leadership, a man who came to power promising to run the country “like a business “. Indeed he ran the country like a business, only that all proceeds went into his and his gang’s pockets. Those who failed to cover their backside, like Afsatu Kabba and Logus Koroma, and were caught, were let go with a slap on the wrist. Ernest Koroma would then bring them back through the revolving door which he had perfectly constructed for them to continue with their criminality against the nation. If this does not tell us that Ernest himself was involved in the criminal acts I don’t know what can.
Now we have Bio and the criminality continues. The chief minister could not explain how $1.5 million ended up in his account; following that we had “China gate “ in which thousands of bags of rice went missing. The current trend is for billions of Leones to disappear from government institutions, confirmed by the auditor-general. It reveals the partial or total impotency of Bio and ACC to put an end to corruption because they are part of it in the same way as Ernest and his lame ACC were partners in crime.
Bio came in with his “new direction “ slogan. The man cannot steer anything beyond giving directions to his driver to get him to Lungi Airport for him to board a hired jet which we have to pay for. With his wife in toe Maada flies all over the place having fun under the guise of trying to attract business to the country. We see none of it, Billions went missing under Ernest. Billions are now going missing under Maada. Who will be on top by the time Bio exits the scene? I am not bright enough to have a guess. I need help. I am only bright enough to say that mother Sierra Leone is in the severest trouble – an orphan who everybody takes advantage of because there is no one to fight for her.
This Government claims to fight against corruption, however they are the most corrupt government ever in the history of Sierra Leone
In fighting corruption in our country, Bio needs to be in the driver’s seat, if we are to see any meaningful success in the fight against this cancer we call corruption. That has so far denied us the development we so anxiously need in our country. President Xi of China did it by putting two Billionaire brothers, Yuan Boajng, his brother Yuan Boaqi and their cousin Yuan Boasen, on public trial for corruption, and excecuted them once a guilty verdict was established against them. We should treat these corrupt public officials like terrorists or enemies of the state. Now I am not advocating for the death penalty, but a long prison sentence and forfeiting your family crown jewels will send a clear message, that we are turning a new page in the fight against corruption in our country.
I was heartening to hear finally Ben Khalifa, and the ACC he leads, is taking a firm lead in looking into the allegations in the Auditor General report under President Bio’s watch. But reading between the lines, my heart sank, when I read the part of his intention to take the report for parliamentary debate, as he will say the law demands. But we shouldn’t be in a situation where we only follow the law when it suits the agenda of the law breakers. Indeed the parliamentarians that makes this laws in the first place. There are laws against stealing against the state. Now my fear, once this report goes to parliament, then MPs of various parties will go back to their trenches and start the debate on tribal, regional and political lines.
Nothing to do with the interest of Sierra Leone. Indeed, they will try to poke holes where there are no holes. Maybe we will never see this report again. The ACC will go into hibernation to protect those found wanting in the report. Whatever recommendations come out of it, through debates and obstructions of the audit report, it will come out of the wash not as it appears to us now, but as a diluted version of it. Rendering any cause of action the Ben Kelfala and his team had in mind obsolete. The reason or reasons, the report is hugely weighted against Bio, and some of his closest confidants including the vice president Juldeh Jalloh . It is like asking the foxes to look after the chickens. The parliamentarians will close ranks to protect anyone in government accused of wrong doing.
Illusionists and magicians running around everywhere in Sierra Leone, my only home. This President although corrupt to his innermost core has somehow convinced himself that he can wave a magic wand and corruption will vanish into thin air; And sadly the delusional criminal ACC has also bought into such an impressionable view.(lol) These are the most insensible people you can find anywhere holding on to power.
Instead of looking at the root causes of corruption and trying to uproot them with diligence and precision and care they are using flimsy methods that completely lack credibility and substance, just like someone using a screwdriver to remove a bolt and nut instead of a socket or a wrench that fits the task. What exactly is the puppet ACC going to do or say now about this shocking auditor’s report? The ACC are terrible underachievers with tarnished images and tainted reputations – No one should believe or listen to a damn thing they say. Their opinions and findings are all superficial and worthless!
His Excellency Madaa W.Bio is encountering what is said to be ” internal governmental acts of arbitration” which are elements trying to defame his noble leadership.