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.
Africa leaders are basically evil crooks. None of them can really be trusted.
In my opinion, returning our country back to peace, stability and democracy is priceless. So if the former finance minister Samura Kamara decided to reward Retired Brigadier Maada Bio with $18 million for sacrificing his life for our nation, I personally believe that he deserves it more than President Ernest Koroma who has consistently received blank checks from Samura Kamara who served as bank governor and finance minister for the past ten years.
I personally believe that based on the wealth President Koroma has accumulated from the sales of our natural resources through the help of Samura Kamara, was the reason why he decided to reward him with the flag bearer position for his party in order to protect their loot.
My advice to the President is to watch his back- because if Samura Kamara can throw his former boss under the bus just because he is losing a debate, only God knows what he will say about you when he loses the upcoming election.
In politics, people can throw dirt at their opponent to curry votes. Samura Kamara was with Bio. Many would want to believe if he says Bio took $18 Millions from the Sierra Leone coffers before he vacated office during his three months rule.
However, critical minds would like to ask how did this happen? Who facilitated it? Even under the Junta rule, the Head of State was not a signatory to the consolidated funds. Only the Minister of Finance, Financial Secretary and Bank governors were and are.
Since Samura made this allegation, I have not heard or read of any interview conducted by the Independent press to get the truth from him as to how Bio was able to enter the bank of Sierra Leone and transfer money from the then cash strapped consolidated fund.
Cocorioko online newspaper, the APC official Mouth Piece in the diaspora claimed that the money was from the sales of Diamonds that was paid into Bio overseas account instead of the consolidated Funds. Reading that piece should ring the alarm bell in critical minds as it resembles a similar APC propaganda used in 2012 by Samura Kamara’s mentor and benefactor -Ernest Koroma.
In 2012, it was sales of Passport that runs into thousand of dollars that was paid into Bio’s accounts even though Bio was not the head or deputy head of state, finance Minister or Foreign Affairs Ministers. Awareness Times that was then competing with Cocorioko to woo then candidate Koroma even displayed on its front page purported bank statement from Bio Bank account. They did not say how they obtained it and no Journalist investigated the authenticity of it. To them Bio was extremely corrupt, and so it was that the allegation stick.
Would it not be another convenience if the APC candidate can in the last big event throw such sand in Bio’s food knowing that Sierra Leoneans do not have the penchant to find out the truth?
In 1996, Kono and Tongo – two main Diamond areas in Sierra Leone were constantly under RUF attacks and occupation. Where would Diamonds come from in the three months of Bio’s Presidency which we all witness was not the best of time in the country as far as security was concerned? The RUF was in their prime.
The Government of Sierra Leone does not mine or export diamond of its own. Private businesses do and they pay tax to the Government. Even in peacetime like we have witnessed under Koroma’s government, can Journalist ask Samura if the Koroma Government gets $18M dollars every three months from Diamond alone?
I wish Sierra Leoneans will look at where the foul smell is coming from instead of bullying the one who has shown that he cannot make friends with those who shout the loudest. Samura is not saying the truth and he knows it.
Let Samura Kamara reveal more secrets as he did for his current boss – Ernest Koroma. Samura kamara is a big thief. Everybody who is corrupt would like to include him in his gov’t. Samura has exposed himself because of today, he wants to be a president and exposing Bio now if that is true? He is more than a stupid man I guess. Samura you are unfit to rule. You and Ernest Koroma have stolen millions of dollars – we know. But time will tell.
Thanks for this disclosure, but you have not disclosed the other revelation and acquisition against Dr. Kandeh of selling the only Oil Refinery in the country – how much was it sold for and how the money was spent. This newspaper always support Dr. Kandeh and often conceal his bad traits. All this newspaper portrays is the good side of Dr. Kandeh. This is destructive journalism and shows biasness and one sidedness as we approach the 2018 election.
The new airport in my opinion is not a necessity at this time. The government could use part of that money to upgrade lungi airport, purchase new ferries to make traveling more convenient like it was back in the 80s, improve road conditions to the airport and the lungi hotel, provide sustainable power to the airport and surrounding towns. Just like the Toll road a new airport is a misplaced priority.
Ah Salone. So people can even talk of huge amount of money (in dollars) in their own favour when we have nothing to show to the new born children for the past 57 years as Sierra Leoneans? ‘God get patient ooooh.’ We’re going into our graves faster through hunger. Please have some food for us and stop this stupid talk Mr Politicians.
The NPRC government was not a democratically elected by the People of Sierra Leone. Dictatorship was the order of the day. Everybody is aware of that, except NPRC and their supporters. So Mr writer, how do you expect Samura Kamara to expose such fraud?
Maada Bio was talking about reckless spending by the APC government and he Bio has a baggage of corruption. It is just like a cat accusing a dog of stealing, it sounds funny. One of the conditionalities the International Community gave to the NPRC was that if they handover power to a democratic government they are free to go to any country of their choice, without any hindrance. In such situation, how do you expect Samura Kamara to expose such fraud? he was not the President at that time but Pa Kabba, who was the right person to perform such act.
Late Pa Kabba exposed Maada Bio’s corrupt practices, because he was angry with Bio and he didn´t work directly with Maada Bio. Bio’s corrupt practices is affecting his Political career till today.
By the way I am grateful to AYV for organising the debate. It is from this debate we have the knowledge about Dr Yumkella (energy giant) didn’t electrify his hometown. Dr Samura Kamara told Yumkella that he electrified his home town and Dr Yumkella confessed that he has not.
What I observed was that the candidates went there with vigour to attack than telling us about their plans for the country. Samura Kamara was cool and calculated. He told us about his plans and the achievement of his government. The debate made it easier for us neutralists to know the fittest candidate among them.
Many will agree with me that Kandeh Yumkella won the 2018 presidential debate. The only thing I disagree with him on, was the MAMAMAH AIRPORT issue. The current Airport at Lungi was a Military Air Base during the British rule. It was handed over to Sierra Leone Government during independence. It’s not located inland and it’s a real heavy burden for travelers.
The IMF and World Bank are business institutions and since the credit was not taken from them they would oppose it bringing obstacles on the way. China loan or credit is quite different from the U.S or the Western financial institutions. China in many instances could even cancel heavy debts from poor countries like Sierra Leone. China has been doing that.
Money is not everything as IMF and world thought. They gave you money on credit, but most times ended up destroying you more than the credit. Sierra Leone Currency, the Leone is a victim of IMF conditionality measures called, Floatation. For me, MAMAMAH Airport is a blessing in disguise that every good Sierra Leonean has to embrace.
Mr. Alhaji Kandeh Yumkella did not use his common sense. This man could have stayed in SLPP, like today something else… but education and wisdom are two quite different things.
It is only a thief that knows another thief best. The question here is, how many millions of dollars has Samura Kamara stolen since 1994? Samura is extremely corrupt and not fit to run for an office of dog catcher anywhere in the world.
Thank you Mr. Fofana. This guy is extremely dangerous for the country. He enriched koroma that’s why he was selected to cover him up, but that will backfire on them. Who can say that Samura is a cool man? They are all thieves.