Dr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 July 2018:
The public would recall that following the presentation of the SLPP Governance Transition Team Report to President Julius Maada Bio at State House on Wednesday 4th July 2018; the APC established a Committee to look into the said report and submit their findings to the National Secretariat.
I now wish to inform you that the Committee has completed its work and has presented its findings to the Leadership of the Party. I would like to share our assessment of the GTT Report to Members of the Forth Estate, Civil Society, the International Community and Sierra Leoneans at large.
The All Peoples Congress (APC) has read with dismay the recently released Government Transition Team Report to the public. This transition report is the second such report produced by a sitting government since democracy was reintroduced in Sierra Leone in 1991 by the APC party.
The Transition Report of 2007, produced under the APC Government immediately after it took over from the SLPP Government of President Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah (Photo), contained members of both the then APC Government and the out gone SLPP Government, and including members of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Party and other political parties.
The composition of the 2007 Transition team, by its very inclusion of SLPP members demonstrated a level of fairness and objectivity.
First, among many issues, the Governance Transition Team (GTT), comprising no experienced transition expert, ignored its Terms of Reference (TOR), and meandered into a proverbial witch hunt with a frenzy to traduce and place the APC administration, its adherents and even the judicial arm of Government in bad light. The Terms of Reference clearly instructed the GTT:
(1) to “Serve as Focal Point for the Interface with the Out-Going APC Government of former President Ernest Koroma and In-Coming Government of President Julius Maada Bio;
(2) “to Conduct an immediate Stock-Taking Exercise of the State of Affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs);
(3) Submit an overview of the current State of Affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
By contrast, the 2018 Transition Team is completely one sided and full of ONLY diehard SLPP partisans. Such partisanship is evident in the report produced by the Transition Team.
It is quite easy to comprehend the course set out by the Terms Of Reference, to conduct a government-wide agency review for the incoming administration. Experts in transition processes state the purport of agency reviews as captured by Lisa Brown, Agency Review Co-Chairman, Obama-Biden Transition Project:
“Agency review captures critical information that a new team needs to know to begin working the minute it walks in the door and identifies opportunities to implement the new President’s priorities.”
Agency review is not license to wage war on political opponents or dredge up matters that are inconsistent with the application of the rule of law.
“As part of this process, the agency review team, in coordination with the transition leadership, must select landing team members and prepare these individuals to go into the agencies and work directly with agency transition directors and other career employees after the election. Their job will be to gather first-hand-information that can be incorporated into agency planning, help ensure an orderly transition of power and enable early momentum on priorities.” (See US Presidential Transition Guide 2018, Third Edition).
The David Francis (Photo – Below) Transition Team woefully failed in this endeavor and instead delved into political fishing expedition and derailed the course of its mission into a tribunal of vengeance, recrimination; a method inconsistent with standard transition process between one administration and the other.
Rather than follow the terms of reference and submit its report to the incoming President for his consideration, the David Francis Transition Team threw all caution to the wind and published its report to the social media, heralded the report on television, radio and newspapers.
Instead of a transition process, the Government Transition Team was reduced into a mere tribunal to defame and make specious claims against the APC in the jurisprudence of the Red Queen as in the classic – Alice in Wonderland: first the judgment, then the evidence, later a commission of inquiry.
But what will any commission of inquiry look into with due process of the law when the GTT through the agency of its Secretary, Dr. Dennis Sandy, sallied forth like a raging prosecutor to the social media jury and judge, claiming the APC and its train of Ministers, adherents and others were reeking with a stench of criminality! The fact is that a proper commission of inquiry as the Constitution of Sierra Leone requires has been upstaged by a Kangaroo Court of the GTT.
Presumption of Innocence
In waging its assortment of allegations of criminal offenses, the GTT has disregarded the cornerstone of criminal procedure, that in a democracy, everyone accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court or tribunal.
The GTT Report refers to Dr. Ernest Koroma in a defamatory language amidst an array of allegations.
In his initial reaction to the allegations contained in the report he absolutely denied the falsehoods against him referring to them as nonsense.
The APC therefore stands by its Chairman and Leader and call on all Sierra Leoneans to regard him in the presumption of innocence along with every other person named in the report.
This presumption cannot be sacrificed in the haste to tar and feather political opponents.
In a well-ordered democratic society, the practice of the rule of law surpasses the rule of men. The GTT Report was issued in a hurry to sweep the cobwebs of an antecedent administration in fascist style.
The SLPP, by trusting their will more than democratic rule are bound to fail. The GTT report has called for restrictions on travel for those who the report says must be investigated. Regretfully, the Sierra Leone Police sought to implement same even before the report was accepted by H.E. President Bio and his cabinet.
Let it be known that the said travel ban is unconstitutional and violates section 18 of our national constitution.
The GTT report is full of unjustifiable, unsubstantiated and baseless claims of corruption with its real intent aimed at smearing and prosecuting former government officials, and party functionaries.
The GTT report aims to do what the SLPP has never been able to do; destroy the heart and soul of the APC. The SLPP is trying to destroy the very base of the APC and by extension destroy democracy.
A number of issues raised in the catalogue of offenses preferred by the GTT, are matters hitherto brought before competent tribunals of the law and resolved. Yet, the impetuous GTT has decided to recommend that some APC adherents be subjected to prosecution for the same offense.
The Government of Sierra Leone is one! If every new administration were to exhume settled matters as raised by the GTT in the Nassit Ferry, Income Electrix among others, it will verily appear the will of the incoming SLPP administration in spite of noisy assertions on the rule of law at campaign time, has now settled to harass, intimidate and threaten its political opponents using its own new-fangled justice.
The GTT report focused on certain areas and unashamedly tries to paint the APC as corrupt, tribalistic, and inept in managing the economy and state resources.
Let us state categorically that the APC as a party, and when it was in governance, frowned on corruption and has taken a strong stance in preventing, prosecuting and strengthening the fight against corruption.
The public may recall that the previous SLPP Government had restricted the prosecution powers of the ACC by having it obtain approval from the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (who is invariably a politician), and thus created an avenue for political interference in the activities of the ACC.
This anomaly was corrected by the APC in 2008 when the APC Government passed one of the strongest anti-corruption legislations in Africa. Indeed, under the APC Government, Ministers and Senior officials within the APC party where prosecuted by an unfettered and independent Anti Corruption Commission.
Here are some of the alleged acts of corruption, some of which are so baseless and and will not survive in the face of judicial scrutiny.
In presenting the GTT report, the chairman of the GTT made assertions about known APC officials and supporters with reckless abandon. The GTT report itself recommends investigations, presumes guilt and prescribes fines and prison sentences, pre-empting the regular judicial processes and recommends a Judicial Commission.
In the case of Ebola funds the GTT makes broad statements about corruption, and casting a wide net of culpability, but failed to recognize that the current permanent secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr. Kapuwa, and the current CEO of NPPA, Mr. Ibrahim Swaray, were also found culpable by the Parliamentary Committee for their role as outlined in the Ebola Audit Report.
As a reminder, Mr. Kapuwa and Mr. Ibrahim Swaray where fined, sent on disciplinary leave, and in the case of Mr. Ibrahim Swaray, further banned from any procurement position in any of the big priority ministries of Health, Education, Energy, Agriculture, and Defence.
The public needs to know that instead of ensuring that the likes of the above-mentioned individuals be kept away from sensitive positions of trust, the SLPP has rewarded these individuals with even higher offices, and called the previous Parliamentary Committee of which SLPP was a part a “whitewash”.
Further evidence of malicious injustice is the citing of former Mayor, Herbert Williams and Former Attorney General, Joseph F. Kamara, as parties to be investigated for the Sewa Grounds matter when both maligned gentlemen were not holding the offices at that time. What an indictment on the GTT for its indecent haste to castigate the innocent.
Sahr Jusu, the current Financial Secretary was the Head of the Public Debt Unit for ten (10) years of Ernest Koroma’s APC administration and he was responsible for guiding the APC into all it’s debts financing including the negotiation on the 100 Chinese Buses which the GTT report now seeks to discredit.
The GTT report presented a picture as inheriting an economy in a state of shambles. Contrary to the assertions made, the APC Government managed to salvage the poverty reduction and growth facility programme (PRSP II), which the APC Government inherited from the Tejan-Kabbah Government in a floundering state.
The APC Government successfully concluded the PRSP II using prudent macro-economic management, which allowed us to graduate to the extended credit facility programme; spanning 2010 – 2013, among others.
In terms of debt inherited, contrary to the GTT report, we inherited about US$700 million (Dollars) external debt, even after US$1.6 billion (Dollars) was forgiven under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Programme.
Furthermore, to address a few inconsistencies as asserted in the GTT, the APC Party wishes it to be known that at no time did the the APC Led-government of Sierra Leone own 30% shares in Sierra Rutile on account of a 25 million (Euro) loan given by the European Union.
Further to this, we encourage the public to make enquiries about the shareholding status of Sierra Rutile on the London Stock Exchange and get more information on its shareholders.
The GTT report is very explicit in making assertions that are dangerously tribalistic in nature. It seeks to paint a picture of an APC administration which was numerically biased in favor of the North (a very ethnically diverse and densely populated) and promoted Northerners only.
It fails to acknowledge the fact that many senior South Easterners, who have been given high offices in the ‘New Direction’ served without prejudice in the APC administration. The list of senior positions with South Easterners could be endless, since South Easterners make up more the 50% of the civil service.
In the case of infrastructural development, there is reference made in the GTT to Kono and Kenema as having NO infrastructural projects implemented during the APC administration. Contrary to the assertion by the GTT, several projects were implemented in Kono and Kenema as in every other district across the country.
For example, with regards to roads constructed, more than 21 km of roads were constructed in Koidu City and more than 15 km of roads were constructed in Kenema City.
The APC rejects the GTT report in its entirety.
It is a partisan document which stokes the dangerous flames of tribalism, tells a false story of APC’s stewardship and seeks to persecute key APC functionaries and former Government officials.
The GTT report is an SLPP wish-list to annihilate its main rival in a web of deceit, lies and fabrications.
We had not included all our observations of the GTT Report here.
But the APC is mindful of the numerous allegations against the APC Chairman and Leader, its Ministers and adherents.
They should be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent court of law or tribunal.
From this day forward the Party intends to focus on the thrust of the Report.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have concluded our observations of the GTT Report.
The thing to keep in mind about the quality of this report is Professor Robert Dahl, an eminent political scientist who admonished citizens in all Democracies to have reliable and trustworthy surrogates with civic competence.
The citizens on the GTT are not reliable and trustworthy in their findings and recommendations.
Therefore, we call on all Sierra Leoneans to read this report with a grain of salt because it is a bad government document.
Signed : Amb. Dr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General – APC