Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 February 2018
Sierra Leone’s televised presidential election debate which took place on Thursday, 15th February 2018, was not for the fainthearted, as war of words was fought across the podiums by the six presidential candidates who took part in the debate.
One of the key highlights of the evening was the row that broke out between the SLPP presidential candidate – Julius Maada Bio and Dr Samura Kamara of the APC, when Maada Bio, accused Samura Kamara’s APC government of spending money like they are ‘drunken sailors’.
That accusation by Bio provoked an instant reaction from Samura Kamara, who was then forced to unleash a deadly image destroying bullet on his former boss – the retired Brigadier Maada Bio.
‘You are unfit to criticise me, because in the three months of your reign as Head of State under the NPRC military dictatorship, when I – Dr Kamara was Financial Secretary, $18 million disappeared from the government of Sierra Leone and was paid into the private accounts of the NPRC leadership,’ Samura Kamara salvoed into the bow of Bio’s presidential aspiration ship.
The question many viewers were left asking was, why Samura Kamara waited for twenty-two years before revealing to the people of Sierra Leone, that Maada Bio had stolen $18 million from the treasury before leaving office.
What is clear though is that, for a government minister to withhold vital public documents showing evidence of grand corruption that could have led to charges being brought is grossly immoral at best, and at worse criminal.
This has prompted critics of Samura, accusing him of criminality. They say that by concealing vital evidence of corruption at a grand scale as Financial Secretary and Minister of Finance in the military regime of Maada Bio, as well as the Koroma led APC government, Samura must have been an accomplice to corruption in high places.
According to critics, Samura, sat on public information about serious financial wrongdoing whilst serving as financial secretary and finance minister respectively, and is now using that information for personal political advantage.
How can the people of Sierra Leone trust Samura with high public office, let alone the presidency?
Samura should have handed the evidence he had kept about the $18million he now accuses Bio of stealing to the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission. Samura is unfit for the presidency, say critics.
Dr Blyden was sacked by president koroma because she exposed corruption in high places. Now the people of Sierra Leone are aware of who is covering up corruption in high places. Can Samura be trusted?
Some analysts say that “the Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2008 was curiously drafted by the former ACC commissioner – Abdul Tejan Cole and his team, for the law on corruption not to be retroactive. This means that no act of corruption prior to 2008 can currently be prosecuted in Sierra Leone. There are other crimes they can use to hold to account but no one can be prosecuted by the current ACC for any corrupt act committed prior to 2008.”
But Section 141, subsection 4 of the 2008 ACC Act states that ‘all investigations, etc, instituted or commenced under the repealed 2000 Act, and which have not been concluded before the commencement of the 2008 Act shall be continued and concluded in all aspects, as if the 2000 Act had not been repealed’.
Sources close to the late former president Kabba, has informed the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph, that when president Kabba accused Bio of corruption he had in fact requested the ministry of finance and treasury department to investigate the alleged missing funds.
What this means is that, the investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds during Bio’s term of office was in its infancy when APC took office in 2007, and at the time the ACC Act of 2000 was repealed in 2008.
Furthermore, with Samura Kamara serving as a senior public official from 1994 to 2007 – before the 2008 Act came into effect, Samura must have conducted his departmental investigation into the alleged misappropriation of the $18 million and may have kept whatever evidence he had found.
Surely Samura’s investigation file could not have been satisfactorily closed by Samura, if today 2018, he is still making those same allegations against Bio as president Tejan Kabba did. Samura’s official investigation as finance minister is work in progress, which therefore could not have been superseded by the 2008 Act.
$18 million is a lot of money Samura Kamara is accusing Bio of stealing, which if true, must be and ought to have been brought to the attention of the ACC for further investigation. So, let the evidence now speak for itself if Samura’s credibility is to remain intact.