APC receives millions of dollars – what Sierra Leone newspapers say today

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 July 2019:

After last Friday’s inflation bursting award of Le66 Billion (Sixty-Six Billion Leones) in end of service payment to former president Koroma, his ministers and senior government officials by president Julius Maada Bio, the debate as to whether his decision is prudent continues, and may well come to define his image and leadership, as the 2023 elections approach.

While these end of service benefits are without doubt legitimate, what many are questioning is the timing. Sierra Leone’s economy is on the edge of bankruptcy.

Without financial bailouts by the IMF and World Bank, as well as foreign aid, the economy would have long collapsed.

Most Sierra Leoneans are struggling to make ends meet, with those in employment earning an average daily wage of less than $1.50.

Inflation is running high at over 17%, with unemployment constantly rising, and economic growth struggling to rise above 3%.

Life for the average Sierra Leonean is very tough. There is abject poverty everywhere in the country, which has been presided over by successive government.

This is why many are today calling into question the timing of the payment of these massive end of service benefits to the former president and his ministers, who in the first place had wisely not made any provision for these payments in the 2018 government budget, because of the difficult economic circumstances facing the country.

By honouring these payments at this time, critics say that president Bio is giving confused mixed messages.

On the one hand he says that the former government left nothing in the public purse to meet the cost of delivering vital public services; and yet last week, he managed to find millions of dollars to pay off the former president and his ministers, thus betraying his much touted image of a tough financial disciplinarian.

In any properly run economy or organisation, when there are financial difficulties, it is the interests of tax payers and creditors that must come first, not those of former managers and employees that are accused of bankrupting the economy or organisation.

Their benefit payment must always be considered after the needs of tax payers and creditors have been satisfied.

So what are the newspapers in Sierra Leone reporting on today?

 

14 Comments

  1. I am the first person ever to announced my disappointment about the actions and behavior of this president and his administration. As I have said it before, the commission of inquiry is over. Close the office and let all the staff have a complete relief. I never knew that Sierra Leone is so rich at this point, even the westerners are just watching. The APC’s are blessed indeed.

    We voted you in with our blood, sacrificed all our time and now we are totally disappointed Mr. President. But thank you. All these thieves can match out with bluff? Let the whole world see and witness.

  2. Thanks Mr. Bills Coleman for your contribution which I find great. However, there is no meat on the bone of your argument.
    Here is the deal. The C4C and the PMDC are no online political parties. They are just offline and working directly with voters on the ground. They are stretching their political tentacles throughout the country. PERIOD!

    Moreover, Chief Sam Sumana, former Vice President and potential next President of Sierra Leone is a very DECENT, DYNAMIC, DILIGENT, PRAGMATIC, TRUSTWORTHY, HONEST and COMPASSIONATE politician. Don’t get EXCITED or PANIC about the US$200 Million the government of Sierra Leone has to pay as damages to CHIEF Sam Sumana. I know many of his opponents are worried and jealous. Don’t worry Mr. Bilal Coleman.

    Chief Sam Sumana is just a kind and COMPASSIONATE GENTLEMAN. He knows the economic situation of Sierra Leone presently. So, he would do all he could to level the payments within the government’s means. So don’t worry about that.

    Taking about CORRUPTION by Chief Sam Sumana is a joke my friend. I advice you get more information on all your allegations before it’s too late. These are times when we talk of FACTS and not FAKES. Think about that Mr. Bilal Coleman. I also ask you to join me in putting pressure on the Bio administration to just pay what the Sierra Leone government owes Chief Sam Sumana. If you do that, then, you would have a place in putting Sierra Leone FIRST like President Bio has just done.

    Mr. Bilal Coleman there confused about the CAPABILITIES and POLITICAL POTENTIALS of Chief Sam Sumana. Thanks Bilal for your insight which I respect and GOD bless YOU.

  3. I find the headlines rather disappointing.One of the headlines should have been: MAADA BIO – MAN OR MOUSE?

    In the middle of ongoing commissions of inquiries into the Koroma government,in which most former ministers are expected to testify,as well as the former president himself,it smacks of unmitigated irony that President Bio should contrive to pay these individual whatever is due them because of their service to the nation,which should actually be called disservice to the nation, if the revelations coming out of the inquiries are anything to go by.

    These are people who turned the nation’s bank to their personal piggy bank and sank millions of dollars into projects that did not exist. These are people in whose hands the biggest diamonds ever found in the country disappeared without a trace. These are people who bought us so-called new ferries which only worked for a few days before going out of commission.These are people who squandered money designated for refurbishing our university. The list is endless.

    While involved in all these satanic activities, the former president and his kleptomaniac gang watched the wrinkled stomachs of everyday people who could not afford a single decent meal a day.They oversaw the collapse of our education system.They took relish in our diminished national pride and still fell asleep at night.They had no conscience even though they called themselves muslims or christians. One is forced to ask what God they pray to.

    To therefore see President Bio,in excellent conscience,use the nation’s money to pay such a large sum of money to the most qualified crooks and thieves found anywhere, makes me want to vomit.

    The new direction compass seems to have miraculously dropped on the floor; and in that sudden movement of the head to pick it up, President Bio suffered spatial disorientation.

    When will the President’s head clear for him to realise that the most admirable move he should have made, was to say to us that even though the former president and his gang were entitled to some financial remunerations, he would withhold everything until the commission of inquiries were over to determine whether or not they should be fully paid or not – vis-a-vis if they owed the nation some money.

    We need a man as head of government – not a mouse. All President Bio has done is to add to the millions which Ernest Koroma and his gang stole. What a disaster?

    Please President Bio don’t make us the laughing stock of the world once more.This is a petty moment for you.

  4. If such payments are warranted by the constitution, I am ok with the decision. However, fiduciary duties and proper accounting were not done by the previous Administration. These are liabilities that should have been accrued and money set aside to recognize these by the previous Administration.

    We cannot use current funds meant for current projects and activities, to pay for the completely gross negligence and terrible accounting of the previous Admin.

    • While everyone that serves his country or organisation is entitled to his end of service benefit, I am perturbed to know that politicians do not get theirs from the NASSIT purse like everyone else but rather directly from the consolidated funds. Why such disparity is difficult to fathom.

      Because politicians are not contributing to the NASSIT purse, that is why they interfare with the finances of the trust as and when they wish.

      Now that these former APC functionaries have been paid these huge sums, can the Bio government make them pay back in full the billions of Leones that they took as loans from the Sierra Leone Commercial bank? This should not be negotiable or subject to COI findings. Ex president Koroma, Victor Foh and Sam Sumana for example owe the bank billions of Leones.

      May Sierra Leone be put at the forefront at this critical moment of economic hardship.

  5. I think Bio needs to dream with the people of Sierra Leone. You talk about social security? Where is the social security of the people of Sierra Leone? For Bio to payout this money, shows how our leaders are in deep economic sleep. Paying out this money is rubbish for the Bio administration.

  6. What President Bio has just done is a well planned and political strategy to win voters that are flooding to the PMDC, the C4C and the APC in the past few months. The worry is mainly with the PMDC which is slowly winning lost VOTERS back from the SLPP. The C4C has gained momentum since the last bye-Election and is spreading its tentacles in the SLPP strongholds of the nearby eastern and southern areas outside its boarders. The APC is slowly but surely heading with constant velocity northwards to win back lost VOTERS from the NGC.

    President Bio will not sit down and wait for the opposition parties to invade his political base to make it difficult for him to win in 2023. He just has to do something to reassure his supporters and the supporters of the other opposition parties that, he has no ill feelings against anyone and that he wants everyone to see him as the President of Sierra Leone and not the President of the SLPP. Also, the President has realized that, he can’t rule effectively without the participation of the opposition.

    So, a gesture like this plays well with his base and becomes a catalyst to win voters who are considering leaving his party for the opposition parties. It also opens a political atmosphere to work with the opposition who have been disruptive during the past year.

    Moreover, I reckon that, he wants to pursue some sort of political dialogue with the opposition. The president has also seen a future opposition coalition that will be difficult to counter if they spread their political tentacles allover the country.
    For all these reasons which I just mentioned, the President just have to BLINK FIRST. I say no to those saying that it is a sign of weakness. Absolutely not.

    This is the best political strategy any President can adopt in the present political atmosphere in the country. In fact the payment is not 100 percent complete. However, it is the right thing to do. So, I urge everyone to support the President with this move although he failed to include the payments that should be given to the former Vice President Chief Sam Sumana. I hope he does that very soon.

    Finally, the newspapers as always are very divided like the forumites. They all have almost the same headlines on the matter, but different opinions.
    GOD BLESS YOU President Bio for putting Sierra Leone FIRST.

    • Mr. Sahr Matturi, since when did the payment of pension and gratuities to former employees of the Sierra Leone government become a strategy for winning votes? Did the government of Sierra Leone have a choice between paying and not paying the pensions that were legally mandated to be paid?

      When was the last time that you were in Sierra Leone? This question is relevant because you are mentioning the names of political parties that are more active online than on the ground in Sierra Leone. PMDC? Does that party have any spine? What have we heard about that party since its leader was disgracefully fired by president Bio after being in Bio’s cabinet for just a couple of months?

      C4C? Who knows about C4C outside of Kono district? What do you think would happen if C4C’s leader, Samuel Samsumana, is determined to have stolen public funds by one of the Commissions of Inquiry? Don’t forget that at some point in the future, Samsumana will appear before a Commission of Inquiry to account for the shady deals that he was involved in during his tenure as vice president.

      Additionally, do you remember the Al Jazeeira video a few years ago showing Samsumana breaking the law in his office relative to the illegal timber trade? And do you remember how recently Samsumana was caught on tape engaging in a shoving match with the police in PortLoko and blatantly lying to the police that he was invited by a local football club as a special guest to a football match? Is that the type of man you would want become president of a country?

      President Bio is not an insecure man. He is a man who believes that at the end of his mandate, his good work will speak for him at the polls.

  7. That’s over 700 million dollars, 550 million English pounds. Who gets paid this much. And such a poor country.

    • Who is/are advising President Bio? I think he needs more creative advisers. Good and thoughtful political/economic advisers must always know that perception and timing in politics often determine the electoral fate of many a government. Lose sight of this, and you stand the risk of paying a high price at the polls down the road.

  8. I really don’t understand what the fuss is about payments of end of service benefits and gratuities to former employees of the government of Sierra Leone. Are such payments not stipulated in the laws of Sierra Leone? If yes, then why should economic conditions determine them?

    The last great recession in the United States lasted from 2007 to 2009. Did the US government stop making social security payments to members of the opposition? No way. Social security payments are entrenched in the permanent laws of the United States.

    President Bio cannot circumvent the law to deny making what are considered legitimate payments to members of the opposition. Even when many of these folks are suspected of having enriched themselves through the pilfering of public funds, president Bio cannot serve as judge and jury in determining their guilt. Let the law take its course.

    Many of the alleged APC crooks worked in foreign missions and virtually became homeless when they were fired without the payments of any benefits. I believe that president Bio did the right thing to give to these guys what is due them.

    Lastly, without diminishing the significance of the amount involved, 66 billion Leones converts to about 6 million dollars. Revenue mobilization in Sierra Leone has improved under Bio. I read somewhere that the country collects about 15 million dollars in taxes every week. So, for those asking where the government got the money to pay the gratuities, there goes your answer.

    • I think they should be paid. That’s good governance. What the government should have done in my view is suspend payments for those who have been called to appear before the commission until they are cleared. But paying them now is like awarding them for bad behaviour. I just hope they know what they are doing.

  9. About damn time,the right things finally begin to get done. Rightful pieces,falling in their rightful places -This is how sensible governance is done. Finally,exactly what I have been saying all along is being done – they are leaving the pettiness,trivialities,and finger pointing aside,and are now up,and doing.

    It seems clear to me,that the SLPP has now understood the importance of separating reality from illusions…Word to the,PROVINCIAL TIMES – EBK Security Detail is restored is great news… Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • 3rd world politics. All of these “Big Men” getting billions, while the people struggle. Sierra Leone will always be a 3rd world nation. Unless this practice stops. I have experienced this first hand as I was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1979 to 1981.

      38 years has went by and the average per capita income is virtually the same. One thing remains a constant,the politicians get rich and the people remain poor. I served in the village of Konia in the southern province.

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