First lady of Sierra Leone given contract to manage activities at Water Quay – Op ed

Gibril Conteh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 May 2021:

A registered company in Sierra Leone by the name of INTEGRATED TRADING SERVICES (SL) LIMITED, owned and operated by Mrs. Fatima Bio – the First Lady of Sierra Leone and wife of president Bio,  has through dubious means, signed an agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone, granting sole right to the company for the management of shipping activities at the Sea Port in Freetown Water Quay.

They have entered into this agreement, bypassing parliamentary ratification and there was no public bidding to the effect. See below.

The Government of Sierra Leone is losing millions of dollars, and all revenue generated from the air, land, and seaport, is going to the personal account of Fatima Bio’s Integrated Trading Services (SL) Limited.

This is daylight robbery, and the NRA are keeping tight lips on this development, while Sierra Leone as a nation is losing billions of Leones on revenue collection to the hands of a single individual and her family, and by extension – the president.

The ACC are also turning a blind eye on such grand corruption by the First Lady of Sierra Leone.

Such nepotistic activities and behaviours abridge the basic purpose of meritocracy, thereby leading to the destruction of morale that drives the process of running an effective governance in Sierra Leone.

This is typical of what is happening across our governance structures since Bio took power through the backdoor, reducing our governance structures to a dynasty system of government.

This kind of act is shattering our constitutional framework and fundamental democratic politics, causing a lot of misery on ordinary people in the country.

As president Bio continues to make tribalism and nepotism fashionable in his government, such acts have led to the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the Bio family, thus destroying the dream of inclusive growth of our nation.

Such level of corruptible act in our governance system violates the basic goal, ambition, and purpose of good governance, which is fuelling the gross exploitation of the masses and poverty.

And those who are charged with the responsibility of investigating this kind of daylight robbery, seem to care less about the ripple effects of such corrupt profiteering on the economy and people of Sierra Leone.

20 Comments

  1. A constitutional change is needed on the ethics of politicians and public servants holding public offices. I don’t think much will change in the attitude of this President before the next elections. President Bio is not interested in appointing people qualified for positions of responsibility, nor does he believe in a fair bid for government contracts. He knows very well that he is the man of the match presently. The opposition is nowhere to be seen scrutinising the President’s actions. Sadly, no law in Sierra Leone prohibits the President from giving his wife or anybody such lucrative business whilst in office. Nepotism, favouritism and cronyism are not illegal in any shape or form in Sierra Leone.

    However, we expect our leaders to show self-respect, have ethical discipline and bring pride to their offices. They should not behave like some bankrupt blokes who flocked into the country to help pay their mortgages that they could never have paid. President Bio is going to do loads of crazy things without check. Ladies and gentlemen, we have to live with that, unfortunately. The only solution is for favouritism, nepotism, cronyism, and lobbying to be made illegal for anyone holding public office.

    I’m worried about the day Sierra Leoneans elect a mad man, God forbids, to State State House. We will all forget about what President Bio is doing presently. Finally, it’s time for our parliamentarians to come together and make the necessary changes to the constitution to prevent such things from happening in the future. God bless this glorious platform and Sierra Leone.

  2. My brother from another mother, the great SAYEDNA, the intellectually acclaimed professor STARGAZER, nothing but RESPECT to you sir. You see, folks like Seneth Brown actually deserves to be educated on civic responsibilities. The indoctrination has taken so much toll on their reasoning that, some of them have been reduced into mere hunting dogs — attacking and subduing any prey/opposition, only to be fed with bare bones, once the catch has been prepared into a meal. Patriotic folks across the political spectrum have a responsibility to educate and redeem these guys from their mental slavery.

  3. Hahaha, it appears Young4na has struck a nerve and ruffle some feathers by simply stating this fact:— “SOME PAOPA diehards have been so indoctrinated in the art of lies, deceptions, tribalism……. they have lost a sense of identity”. Hey brother Hashim and Seneth Brown, if you don’t mind, I will like us to reflect on what the English grammar refers to as semantics (meaning of a word, phrase, text, or sentence). Now, the keyword here is SOME. It appears the 2 of you are misconstruing the meaning of this word, translating it to ALL, hence conflating the entire context of my phrase.

    Another misconceptions worth noting brother Hashim is, the notion of all SLPP supporters being PAOPAs. Couldn’t be far from the truth. It’s clear true SLPP supporters who embrace the ideals of their party’s motto — one country, one people; folks like brother Senesie Junior Boima, and many of my good diehard SLPP friends, detest the host of corruption and unpatriotic acts happening under the current regime. Unlike Seneth Brown, who appears to have identified himself as being part of the ‘SOME PAOPA diehards’ true SLPP supporters (who refused to be indoctrinated) couldn’t wait to get rid of the Bios and their partners in crime.

    Now on the issue of corruption and tribalism by either party, here are the irrefutable facts brother Hashim: The qualifier to obtain a job during the past APC regime was to be a party card carrier, any other qualification is secondary. On the current PAOPA regime however, the qualifier is to have originated from the South-East, or have strong ties to the South-East, with Bo school being a recruiting ground. Seneth Brown, I can understand your malice, having someone like Young4na holding your political demi-gods accountable. Let me hasten to remind you, for some of us, Sierra Leone is bigger than any party, personalities, or tribe. So I will always try to call things exactly how I see them, no hard feelings bro.

  4. Gentlemen – Yesterday as I was having dinner with my brother in law a businessman that I nicknamed “The Wolf of Freetown” he said to me after reading this article; ” Its seems to me we have not yet learned our lessons from the past; Maybe all these SLPP actors are on this stage for a reason; Maybe it’s time for another bitter taste of the flavors of War” I looked at him in utter surprise like a deer in the middle of the road mesmerized by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle on a dark night without the moon in sight – I was totally speechless. But this is how Political volcanoes and raging Social firestorms that destabilize any country actually begin; First a spark is needed, that is nurtured and fueled by anger and discontent; then follows the fanning by the restless winds of change – and again out of nowhere comes a frightening uncontrollable explosion and eruptions of massive suffocating balls of fire and smoke.

    Indeed, this criminal and his Gold Digger have overstepped all the bounds of decency, honesty and good judgement; They are a very tight crew working to rob our fragile nation blind – Husband and Wife in good times and bad, in thefts and robberies together and in exploitations, plundering, and siphoning of our meagre monetary resources in agreement, totally, until the end.(lol) The People of Sierra Leone have not learned their lessons well like my brother in law stated; Sometimes, when a fixed dose of a certain medicine is given to a sick patient, and it does not succeed in curing the disease, another round of dosage must be administered to achieve a physicians desired results for complete healing the patient.

    The corrupt shady attitudes of this President that compels him to shrug off issues relating to Conflicts of Interests just to satisfy the greedy impulses of his Wife is no laughing matter but something that is certainly bound to have dire consequences in the future for our tiny nation; Folks, sooner or later these vagabonds will be caught and shackled by the chains of Justice; Now, be rest assured – there will be Hell to Pay.

  5. When someone deeply immersed in thoughts of illusions and delusions comes to this forum and attacks a True Patriot like Special Agent Young4na majestic lions that are asleep are forced to arise with urgency and respond with ruthless intensity. Mr Seneth Brown – it is only a thief at heart that would support the criminal exploits and shady, questionable dealings of the Thief in State House. The Africanist press has gone to hell and back thrice, to provide us
    with credible evidence that the President and his Gold digger are tainted, rotten to the core with corruption like the carcass of animals left behind by hurrying poachers and yet here you are trying very hard to salvage that which is festering with pus that oozes with the stench of old maggots and flies that died hopelessly trying to feed to their hearts content Ugh! Now listen up, its time to bring the sledgehammer.

    Studies have proven that,” The Fish Does Not Take the Bait just Because it is plain STUPID or hungry but because it is”Curious” to know why a strange, lifeless thing is dangling in front of her eyes in the dark depths of the boundless oceans.Your assertions were way of the mark. So you see, you support the President with a myopic mentality that believes the Fish takes the bait because it Is Stupid – You were dead wrong in both instances – its time for SLPP supporters to reexamine their line of thinking.

    Again,I am not surprised that you got ticked off by the candid utterances of Special Agent Young4na – He is a hunter with a Precision rifle,a warrior with Cannons of Truth that fire with a thunderous and frightening noise. Now support the Gold digger and her old soldier all want but leave the poor people of our nation and Special Agent Young4na out of your petty SLPP games.(lmao)

  6. This is a business created by themselves,through lies, to fool Sierra Leoneans. Now just get this clear that these two have been looking for a plafom for their business. Maada Bio being the president gives Fatima the platform they ever wanted. Sierra Leone is gone. If you can remember Maada Bio’s first presidency debate when he said he can get money from water Quay as part of his government’s work, so now Fatima Bio is doing just that since he took over from EBK. All these dodgy businesses: Leadway Timber, the beech/Chinese fish project, and so many more are all Fatima’s businesses.

  7. The Bio dynasty is taking shape. King Julius Maada Bio has given his wife, Queen Fatima Bio infinite access to our sea port; next will be the airport. The name of the dynasty is TO ME TO YOU. Unlike other dynasties around the world who have lost executive powers, like the one in England, the TO ME TO YOU dynasty carries enormous powers. It is perilous to challenge them, which is why all opposition is subdued. King Maada Bio is notorious for locking up people without due process. Sylvia Blyden and others know all about it. The APC chairman for life, Earnest Koroma cannot dare cough, nor their leader in Parliament as well as their Secretary General . They have all been cowed.

    With the stage set we should now see other members of the Bio clan assuming key positions in government and society. These are the princes and princesses who will be given fabulous salaries and benefits never known to us ordinary mortals. The bridgehead for all this is the uncanny docility of Sierra Leoneans. We expect the Almighty to descend from the Seventh heaven to help us, even with all our senses intact. God “dae” is our typical cry.

    Queen Fatima Bio could not have wished for anything better. While raking millions of dollars at the Quay, she can now export our resources without any hinderance and import goods duty free to sell to us at prices which will make the statue of Sir Milton in front of the Law court building shed tears.

  8. Some of our Diehard PAOPAs have been so indoctrinated in the art of lies, deceptions, and tribalism so much that, these folks have lost a sense of identity. True. Many of them don’t even know what is good for them, neither can they relieve themselves from the slavery mentality they have subjected themselves upon—manifested by their usual tamper tantrum at the slightest observations of their political masters being call upon for accountability. With the exceptions of a few paid-up propagandist, exactly really cannot make sense of what is wrong with these folks.

    Have any of these political demi-gods you worship ever done anything meaningful to your village, town, community, city, neighborhood, that has change lives? If NO, exactly why are you allowing yourself to be used like a toilet paper? In this 21st century, it’s difficult to imagine even those who claim to be educated cannot distinguish what is good or bad for them. I am sure many of you have relatives living in the Salone, dealing with poverty, high cost of food prices, poor road networks, no electricity, no good medical facility, etc. One will think you should be fighting and advocating for the needs of these folks rather than those corrupt politicians whose sole purpose is to lookout for their own interests and families.

    Now when it comes to the Sierra Leone telegraph news publication, only an ill-informed reader will entertain such a thought of it being one sided political outlet. A quick revisit of its political news archives encompassing the entire former regime, leading into this current one, will prove that, those entertaining such thoughts are nothing but FOOLs. As far as the current headlines concerns, i am surprise this is just being reported here. This is old news as far as i am concern. Fatima Bio has been running things at the water quay since the earlier days of her husband’s presidency. Nothing surprising here or to doubt.

    • Young, your argument is cogent, but please take this ‘TRIBALISM’ out of the picture. Paopa is a national government, not a tribal arrangement. True that the entity is riven with pathetic corrupt practices. Corruption in sierra leone is not about tribe but institutions and entities. I’m an APC who had neither been good on prudence and probity but can’t recall anyone referring to the APC blunders as a teammate of limba configuration. Instead, everyone talks about APC corruption. So you boys and girls, stop mixing two vast separate items.

      Stop alienating a very large constituency you always need to win elections. This bigotry must stop, and now. Fatima Bio and her caboodle should be pursued with diligence and commitment. If possible, involve international donors in the fight, but don’t persecute the ‘Mende ‘ tribe that got almost nothing to do with this.

      • Brother Hashim, I understand perfectly why you are dead set against anything that smacks of what I will call ethnic group bashing – that of the Mende people in this case. And you are right, one hundred per cent. This is because while the party – the SLPP – currently in power has the predominantly Mende-speaking South-Eastern region of our country as its main base, it is itself a national entity, and would certainly not have gained power nationally by relying solely on the votes cast for it in the region. Similarly, Ernest Koroma and the APC would never have ruled for a whole decade if they had relied on just the electoral votes they gained in the predominantly Temne-speaking Northern region of our homeland. However, should the need for sensitivity to the mathematics of national electoral victory foreclose altogether debate on tribalism for fear of scaring away potential voters from a given region of our country? I honestly do not think so. When and wherever this festering wound of ours, this besetting sin that threatens national unity and cohesion rears its ugly head, it must be confronted and roundly condemned. Granted that discussions of tribalism do not make for pleasant reading.

        The discussions poison the air, make people feel awkward, ill at ease, uncomfortable, especially so if they are at the receiving end of the blame. It is like having accusations of racism or misogyny thrown at you when you are perhaps no racist or misogynist. But assuming that there are indeed grounds for such accusations, do we then remain tight-lipped about it just because it is the smartest to do for electoral purposes? But does saying or doing nothing make the odious reality go away? Does such a stance not amount to abdicating one’s responsibility as a citizen – burying one’s head in the sand, pretending this well-known cancer within our body politic will heal all by itself? I think it is by constantly calling out tribalism that we can hope to outgrow it as a nation. To come together as a nation that is one and indivisible over and beyond our diverse ethnic and regional formations, means being able and ready to confront the divisions and antagonisms these formations engender and foster across our nation. Being silent about the divisions and antagonisms would be a pointless procrastination.

        The sooner we are open about the disease of tribalism the closer we are to a society regulated by the values and virtues of tolerance and inclusivity. Believe me, tribalism is lodged deeply within us, within our institutions and in the way they operate, whether such institutions are social, economic or political. Our politicians whose actions impact directly and profoundly these institutions, live and breathe the repugnant affliction. It is their goose that lays the golden egg of political survival and unfettered access to our country’s riches. Bio who now presides over a rampantly corrupt administration owed his political fortunes, in part at least, to the overwhelming electoral endorsement he received from South-Eastern Sierra Leone. Were he to lose that electoral endorsement in 2023, would his and his spouse’s unfettered access to our riches not come to an end, giving the nation a chance to vote for a new leader, and this, on grounds other than grossly ethno-regional ones? We must eradicate the disease of tribalism for the sake of our collective, national sanity and survival. And confronting the problem without restrictions as to time and place is to my mind the way forward.

    • “Some of our Diehard PAOPAs have been so indoctrinated in the art of lies, deceptions, and tribalism so much that, these folks have lost a sense of identity.” – Young4na.

      Unfortunately, when we point a finger, the other four points back in our direction. This is an intellectual forum that informs, entertain and critic situations that affect everyone in our country. Nonetheless, when faceless people makes assertions that are not backed with evidence, even if one’s voltage in his or her intellectual battery is low, it is prudent to ask some questions that can help you decipher the truth from the lies and propaganda.

      So someone send a public document that mentioned a company call “Integrated Services Sierra Leone Limited” and besides his allegation he claims that the company belongs to the first family, and folks here expect everyone to be so deficient to accept it as the gospel truth? I have not seen any post here in this thread alluding with evidence that indeed The Integrated Trading Services is owned by the first lady, or an associate of hers. When that is done, we will all join on the bandwagon. Whilst none is saying that the first family are saint, but we are all not myopic to believe things because one Young4na who has consistently shown his hated for the first family and who has been so indoctrinated in the art of lies, deceptions, and tribalism said so. This is akin to a stupid fish that swallows bait without checking because he wants to devour the worm used as the bait.

  9. Years ago there was a very good and famous song in sierra leone – I remember: “corruption, corruption”

  10. Investigative journalists in Sierra Leone? Please dont make me laugh. They have all been bought. And those that are trying to stand for the truth cannot get information from government agencies, not even the Rights to Acess Information Commission that is nothing but a government lapdog. These guys are jokers coming here talking belly-full talk about doing investigative journalism. Dont make me laugh.

    The truth is that Fatima Bio owns that company and many others that are being fronted by shadowy Directors on her behalf. The Bios are very corrupt.

  11. Mrs. Fatima Bio, the First Lady of Sierra Leone and wife of president Bio, is now one of the richest women in Africa with the many lucrative contracts she has delivering gods and services to the government through her private firm which is fronted by SLPP party yes-men. This is nothing new. Her company has been running Water Quay since her husband came to power in 2018. Nothing moves in Water Quay without the first lady’s say so.

    She is another Mrs Mugabe. You remember her? Sidom look, see what happens when a new government comes to power in 2023- the Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of the Bio will be very busy and interesting.

  12. Then President Bio said he is fighting Corruptions. Fatima Bio’s company has been operating at the Quay since her husband came to power. The ACC is more corrupt than the All the political parties put together in Sierra Leone. He too should be investigated for failing to investigate/ collaborating with corrupts politicians.

  13. Is this medium political or not? I mean do you talk on issue in the interest of people or that is basically on the ground? If this medium is a political product then I’m not ready to take part.

    • Mr Lahai Mustapah thanks for asking that question. Maybe if you had taken your time and read the Sierra Leone Telegraph since its inception in 2009, it is beholden to no one as the editor Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas likes to point out to his fellow Sierra Leoneans seeking the truth, nothing but the truth, without any fear or favour from any politician or political party in Sierra Leone, you might have asked a different question. The truble with some of us Sierra Leoneans, we like to be spoon fed with lies. We like to heap praise on politicians that have done nothing for our country. We all know the facts about our country. We have our God given natural resources, but since independence, we have nothing to show for that. Unless the existing extreme poverty amongst the general population.

      Unless of course you are talking about a different Sierra Leone, where a certain President Bio is the head of state, and through his good leadership, we have paved roads crisscrossing Sierra Leone, clean water, best education for our children, 24hours electricity, good health care, unemployment amongst the youth is the lowest in the western African region. And since Bio came to power, and through his good leadership and government intervention to help our farmers, we no longer import our staple food – rice. Tribalism is thing of the past. According to recent IMF report, Sierra Leone is the best performing economy in the African continent! And through government fiscal discipline we have managed to pay off our debt.

      And just incase you are still in doubt, read the publication of the Sierra Leone Telegraph, when the APC government of EBK was in power. And make your own determination. I cannot for the life of me understand, why some of us Sierra Leoneans support a government that have shown little in wanting to develop our country. Bio has failed us. So have previous governments failed us. The truth hurts, but thats the only way we are going to confront our political leaders that are busy enriching themselves at the back of us Sierra Leone. Maybe you are better going off reading government propaganda news outlets. Thats what some Sierra Leoneans that can’t think for themselves deserve. Not in my name.

      • Well said, well said. I remember when Olu Awoonor used to lash EBK and his henchmen. This medium is neutral, however, facts are facts. It is a pity that the president, as a former soldier is supppsed to be an officer and a gentleman. Methinks, that has gotten lost in translation.

  14. “A registered company in Sierra Leone by the name of INTEGRATED TRADING SERVICES (SL) LIMITED, owned and operated by Mrs. Fatima Bio – the First Lady of Sierra Leone and wife of president Bio, has through dubious means, signed an agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone, granting sole right to the company for the management of shipping activities at the Sea Port in Freetown Water Quay.”- Gibril Conteh

    This is an interesting information. But just to be sure has someone cross checked to confirm that the said company is owned and operated by Mrs. Bio as alleged. This is where investigative journalism comes into play. We have Freedom of information right which can be invoke by every citizen and the Director of the Freedom of Information Rights Dr. Shaaga Shaw is not one to bend the rules.

    I know that many of us think president Bio is a fool, but I don’t think he can be that stupid to have his wife enter into a business that benefits directly from Government contract without any competitive bid. There is much to this than meet the eye and I think the informant and all well meaning journalists needs to help their readers get the true story behind this.

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