Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 November 2021:
There is only one B word that could land you in prison or face hefty fine in Sierra Leone. And that word is Bribery. Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone – Professor Kelfala Kallon (Photo above) caused panic in the country’s financial sector this week, when he told members of parliament that his bank had used $68 million in bribing businesses and individuals in order to stabilise the country’s currency – the Leone.
Although many Sierra Leoneans believe that his admission of bribery announced openly in parliament was a serious gaff and lack of communication skills, others see it differently.
Many regard his use of the B word as a “honest Freudian slip” – suggesting that the Bank Governor (Photo) was simply spilling out his and the government’s modus operandi.
“There is bribery and corruption across the government – from State House to ministries, departments and agencies, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” an opposition MP told the Sierra Leone Telegraph speaking under anonymity.
Critics of the government are calling on the Anti-Corruption Commission to question the Bank Governor.
But some supporters say that President Bio should sack him for making such a serious gaff that has brought another drama and ridicule for the government, if not panic in the financial sector.
“When the Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone openly confesses to ‘elected representatives’ of the people that he wasted US$ 68 million of tax-payers money to bribe, and not one of the members of parliament has demanded that the Bank Governor is shown the exit door and charged for corruption, speaks volumes of the character and makeup of those supposed to speak and act on behalf of the people,” one commentator said on social media.
Other comments have been more sanguine. “Lack of choice of words have landed many folks in big trouble. And not because one is super educated, so he/she has good public speaking skills or is a good communicator. It’s clear that the Bank Governor lacks good communication skills, hence the reason for him implicating himself unnecessarily. He should’ve used better choice of words to explain what they did as an institution to be able to solve the potential shortage of the Leone,” another commentator said.
So, what exactly did the Bank Governor say to MPs?
This is what he told members of parliament that got the financial market spinning this week:
“We wasted $68 million to bribe people who were hoarding Leones to bring it into the banking system. I asked myself: we have worked so hard during the past two years to build a reserve for this country. Is it going to be sustainable for us to keep bribing people to take Leones, and when we bribe them, they bring the Leones, then they take it back; then we have to bribe them again.’’
You can watch the video here: