Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 July 2018:
Sierra Leone’s vice president in the former APC government led by president Ernest Bai Koroma – Mr. Victor Bockarie Foh, has been indicted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and will appear at the High Court on 30th July 2018.
Court documents seen last night by the Sierra Leone Telegraph (see below), reveal the charges made by the ACC against the former vice president along with two other senior officials, regarding the misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to support Hajj pilgrims going to Mecca.
The controversial former vice president Foh (Photo), whose record of involvement in corruption scandals, goes as far back as the 1980s – especially in the notorious vouchergate case involving APC government ministers and officials.
Many say that Victor Foh escaped vouchergate justice because of political connection, and that this time they are hoping that the Anti-Corruption Commission and the High Court will ensure that due process and justice are fully enforced.
In another development, Change Media -SL says that a Governance Transition team set up by the New Direction government on April 6th, 2018, only two days after the president was sworn in, has submitted the report of its findings to President Julius Maada Bio.
Change Media -SL says that the report is replete with damning evidence of corruption by the president and ministers of the former APC government.
“An astonishing level of fiscal indiscipline and rampant corruption by the former APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma had led to the near-collapse of the economy,” says the Transition Committee report.
The report reveals that the former government has left the country with massive debt of about USD$3.7 Billion, which is costing taxpayers a whopping USD$262 Million a year – equivalent to over half the government’s revenue – to pay off.
The Transition report notes that the Koroma administration increased the government’s wage bill to Two Trillion Leones, mostly due to partisan hiring and other frivolities.
On the issues of national cohesion and equity, the report reveals that despite the empty sound bites of inclusiveness, the Koroma administration “pursued a policy of ‘tribalism’ and regionalism in its recruitment and promotion of personnel at State House, in Government agencies, Commissions, and Diplomatic postings”.
It further notes: “ethnically favoured appointments constituted 71% of all senior and middle-level appointments and postings to the Country’s foreign missions”.
The same divisive pattern was also evident “in award of government contracts, scholarships, commercial bank loans and regional distribution of resources,” says the Transition report.
The report, Change Media -SL says, reveals that the ACC was “politicized and made ineffective”. The Transition report also noted that the APC government under former President Koroma “facilitated inappropriate acquisition of state’s assets and properties by relatives and close friends of former President Koroma”.
On the issue of fictitious contracts that have contributed immensely to the economic woes of the country, the report reveals that the government “inflated government contracts”, and “inappropriately” awarded those contracts to relatives and close friends of the former president. It concludes: “This unacceptable practice exacerbated poverty and illiteracy and helped erode confidence in the integrity of government”.
The Transition report which is expected to be published this week, made ten recommendations, including two critical recommendations that are geared towards making governance more transparent and inclusive, says Change Media -SL.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has seen official documents relating to massive abuse of office by former ministers of the Koroma led government in the disposal and sale of public property.
According to documents, in 2017, Minister of Works – Kemoh Sesay (Photo: Above), Permanent Secretary Joseph Tehman Kanu and Principal Accountant Amara Koroma, secretly sold 29 government quarters in Freetown, and paid the proceeds into a secret bank account – ‘Works and Emergency Infrastructure Account’.
The Government generated Le2.2 billion out of the sale of government property. Minister Kemoh Sesay who can be seen in an election campaign video doling out tens of millions of Leone to buy the support of local politicians, is said to have flouted all rules and laws in acquiring unexplained wealth. He is said to have personally withdrawn Le1.84 billion from the account in 2017. The ACC together with CID fraud department are investigating the matter.