Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 January 2018:
World Bank Country Manager of Sierra Leone – Mr Parminder Brar is no stranger to controversy. He is fast becoming the vice president or ex-officio minister in the limping koroma government. A few days ago, he made another mockery of himself whilst delivering a political speech in Freetown in defence of the Koroma government.
Elections are due in Sierra Leone in just a few weeks, as political tension continues to rise in the country, in what has been described as the most hotly contested ballot since Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961.
But Mr Brar has shown time and again, his sheer lack of political sensitivity. And one wonders how he became qualified for such an important job at the World Bank. So how did he step the mark this time?
Speaking early this week at the opening of a new housing scheme in Freetown, alongside president Koroma, Brar warned the people of Sierra Leone not to accuse president Koroma and his government of stealing funds meant for mudslide victims. “Let no one accuse this government of stealing funds, because I know they have not,” he said, with confidence.
This man is disingenuous, dishonest, and has lost the trust of the people of Sierra Leone.
Dozens of readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph have contacted this medium, expressing their disgust at Mr Brar’s political meddling, and naked support for a corrupt African president, who has presided over hundreds of thousands of deaths in the country, because of corruption.
When a World Bank official becomes a foot-soldier and election campaign mouthpiece for a failed and corrupt government in Africa, then one must ask questions about their role in the post-colonial development of Africa.
Take Mr. Parminder Brar – a World Bank official from the Indian subcontinent, who many in Sierra Leone believe has acquired unexplained wealth in the last few years, working in Sierra Leone. He is believed to have leveraged millions of dollars in contracts and dodgy deals for his Indian counterparts who are doing business in Sierra Leone.
Is Parminder Brar afraid of losing his gravy train after a change of government at elections that are due in a few weeks? Is he desperate to keep the Koroma government in power to protect his loot?
Mr Parminder Brar is suspected of having shares in key foreign businesses registered and operating in the country, including mining. But is that a good enough reason to risk all that the World bank has achieved in Sierra Leone, by getting involved in Sierra Leone’s politics – so close to election?
If Mr Parminder Brar thinks that protecting and putting his personal financial interests ahead of his World Bank job is a good enough reason to become president Koroma’s ex-officio minister of finance and elections spokesman, then he must resign his job at the World Bank now, or be recalled by his bosses in Washington.
He can no longer be seen as an honest and independent broker in Sierra Leone’s economic development. He cannot be a catalyst for change in Sierra Leone, now that he has become part of the problem that the people of Sierra Leone are trying to solve.
Sierra Leone’s national debt stands at over $3 Billion. And, hundreds of millions of dollars borrowed from the World Bank and other international financial institutions by the Koroma government, cannot be accounted for. What does Mr Brar have to say about that? Nothing, but dirty cover-up.
Talking about the millions of dollars donated to the Koroma government for victims of the deadly mudslide, which took place last August in Freetown, killing over one thousand people, Mr Brar – acting as Accountant General of the Koroma government said this, in response to those accusing the government of embezzling funds:
“No one must accuse this government of stealing those funds because I know they have not. The funds have been well spent and the government has appointed an independent Auditor to audit the account.”
But Mr Brar did not provide any evidence as to how the millions of dollars have been spent, nor did he point the people of Sierra Leone where such evidence can be found. And if the evidence does exist, then he has failed to publish it on his World Bank website for all to see.
A few months ago, Mr Brar was shamelessly happy to stand in sunny and sweltering Freetown, to tell the World on behalf of president Koroma, that his government has performed brilliantly in managing the economy, since coming to power in 2007.
But what he did not say, is that in ten years, hundreds of thousands of people in Sierra Leone have died needlessly because of abject poverty, including over 4,000 that died of preventable Ebola virus in 2014.
Sierra Leone is ranked as one of the poorest nations in the world, despite the World Bank and international partners pouring over $30 Billion in foreign aid and other assistance in Sierra Leone, since president Koroma took office in 2007.
Unemployment in Sierra Leone is over 70%, with fewer than three in ten young people able to find lucrative employment in the country. Pregnant women and children aged under five, are dying needlessly because of poor healthcare.
Mr Parminder Brar – acting as ex-officio Finance Minister in the Koroma government is personally presiding over one of the most corrupt and poorly governed nations in the world. Perhaps he should officially join the ruling APC party, where he will be granted a party symbol to contest the forthcoming general elections, after becoming a naturalised citizen of Sierra Leone.
Being a foreigner will not be a problem as long as he is a member of the ruling APC party, where the president will be prepared to turn a blind eye on the Constitutional requirement for contesting elections and being appointed to ministerial positions, as the president has done over the past ten years with impunity.
Should Mr Brar fail to resign his World Bank position in Sierra Leone so that he can officially work for president Koroma as his political adviser, he must be recalled by his bosses in Washington immediately.
Mr Brar’s decision to meddle in Sierra Leone’s politics, especially so close to general and presidential elections, is not only unacceptable, but dangerous. He must leave now.
In response to the mudslide disaster in Freetown which took the lives of over 1,000 people, of which the remains of over 500 were never recovered, the World Bank announced immediate grant-in-aid package for Sierra Leone of about US$13 million.
US$10 million was to support the government’s budgetary requirements, and $3 million to pay for so called existing projects, which no one knew about except president Koroma and the corrupt World Bank official – Mr. Brar.
The Koroma government has run out of cash to even pay public servants – such as teachers and nurses, let alone honour their financial obligations to private contractors.
The $13 million World Bank funding was also to help the country rebuild critical infrastructure that were damaged by the floods, especially the rehabilitation of the capital’s drinking water source – the Guma valley dam.
But today, hundreds of thousands of homes in the capital are still without adequate clean drinking water, while World bank official – Mr Brar is busy going out and about shamelessly campaigning for the re-election of president Koroma’s ruling APC party.
The World Bank says that it will be doubling its IDA funding for Sierra Leone for the next three years, which for the entire World Bank Group – IBRD, IDA, IFC, and MIGA, the total funding available for Sierra Leone will be more than US$500 million in the next three years. This is the cash Mr Barr and senior grandees of the ruling APC are hoping to get their hands on. Hence the desperation to hang on to power at any cost.
According to Mr Brar – this $500 million will include grants, loans and guarantees. The Bank team in Sierra Leone he said, will discuss priority areas for deployment with the government. These areas would include environmental protection, urban planning and improved land management. Another World Bank scam in Sierra Leone, presided over by Mr Brar to keep the people of Sierra Leone in abject poverty.
The World Bank has deployed a specialist Disaster Management Team in Freetown to work with the government, United Nations Agencies and other international and local organizations to assess the immediate, and short to medium term needs of the country.
Two World Bank Disaster Management Specialists are leading the team, yet today, hundreds of the flood disaster victims remain homeless. Many have returned to rebuild their lives at the disaster site.
Around twenty other World Bank sector specialists are working on this assignment along with experts from other agencies. The team have presented their recommendations to the Koroma government, but the report is now gathering dust at State House.
Both Mr Brar and president Koroma have set aside the effective running of the country, to focus on the re-election of the corrupt and inept ruling APC.
What happened to the $13 Million that the World Bank gave to president Koroma? Does Mr Brar know, or is he too busy campaigning for president Koroma and his cabal to remain in office? How much did Mr Brar receive from the $13 million for his efforts and for meddling in the politics of Sierra Leone?
Mr Brar must leave Sierra Leone now. He has become part of the problem in Sierra Leone, and cannot therefore be a part of the solution.
Listen to Parminder Brar speaking here:
Mr Brar must leave Sierra Leone now, because he is not doing his real job as World Bank representative, but leaving everything stolen. Such a person must not be trusted. I mean the fund donated for the rest of the crisis and followup problems which have decreased to the point as Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries on earth with debt that makes any Sierra Leonean to be a millionaire.
Now I know why Sierra Leone is so indebted. The country is being sold to foreigners like Brar and others. Business is the voice we often hear about development in Sierra Leone. Developing their bank accounts. Are Sierra Leoneans deaf and dumb without knowing anything about their country?
I am 100% sure, the answer is No. To drive this kind of person out of the country is easy – vote the incumbent political party out of office.
GOD SAVE SIERRA LEONE AND SIERRA LEONEANS.
I agree with you, if you are a foreigner in a foreign country, and you are not part of a good solution for that country, then you should leave.
When playing Partisan Politics, we should not touch Foreign Diplomats and members of International Agencies or it will backfire on the Country.
I honestly believe that these people are eating from the mouths of their own people. Just May of 2017 they found a diamond worth over 15 million dollars. It was all over social media in the USA and the news. And once again we hear no words where this money went.
God bless them with that diamond; and 4-6 months later it was a big mudslide. So Salone get money. I want Mama Salone to get a new president.
I think you people have no love for your country. Upon all the good things President Koroma have done for the country, you people can not publish an article on them and display various beautiful pictures of mama Salone. Instead you are displaying such pictures like these.
Let’s put politics aside and give praise to whom praise should be given. Let’s put Sierra Leone first. President Koroma has really done well so publish his good work too at the time of election, so that this Telegraph will not be seem as one side page. It hurts me to see bad images (pictures) of my country when there are good images.
I respect your opinion because in any democratic system, regard resides with anyone’s opinion. Nevertheless, before praising the Koroma government, please check the number of children dying of malnutrition since he took office. In addition, hundreds of pregnant women are dying in hospitals all over the country because of medical delinquency.
I could understand why you felt such strong support for the president and his government in regards to the road project in the city. However, projects like that supposed to create jobs for locals as well in order to reduce poverty, especially amongst young men and women. But that was not the case, instead, must of the lucrative jobs that came with those road projects went to foreingners.
Furthermore, if you only going to base your support for Koroma’s government on the roads, have you checked the outlets roads in the capital. Take lumley for instance, the motorway entering to Babardorie is horrible, so too are the others around the city. You can’t get full praise for partial work done.
In fact, the roads are worst in other parts of the country. This is not a critic to support any political party, rather, to look at the facts. Education is at its lowest ratings since he took office. The entertainment and sports spectrum are dead.
Instead of promoting local youths to excel in these areas, they choose to promote Nigerians over Sierra Leoneans. For instance, in December of 2016, the government chose to celebrate the end of the year with Wiskid, a Nigerian artist while our local musicians were left in the dark.
Governance required justice and competency. This man lacks both. At the end of his term, his legacy would be the “new city” his accumulated wealth, and the “main roads” in Freetown.
Dr. Jim Kim a honorable medical practitioner who built his career and reputation on strategic and pragmatic solutions to saving lives, especially those who lived with aids must act fast to remove any official representing the World Bank who does not understand their role and official duties of the Bank.
Mr. Barr is that World Bank official. He has no business appearing with president Koroma at an official opening of buildings for mudslide victims that has nothing to do with the World Bank. This is an APC government affair that is being used as a political ploy to win votes, after they have neglected the people of Sierra Leone for the past ten years.
Thousands of Sierra Leoneans had no business dying in mudslides if the government is a responsible government. Therefore the World Bank is larger than any one party or their official representative who is blurring the line between a representation of the World Bank, a reputable international finance agency and a corrupt, incompetent, criminal, rogue, antiquated spent force light the APC outfit passing as a government in Sierra Leone.
The Sierra Leonean people are ready to replace them come 7th March this year and no obfuscation, and gimmick will save them this time around. Mr. Barr, it is mortgage or rent the World Bank’s credibility to a spent force like the APC criminal gang and cabal.
You either remove yourself from the charade and continue to do your work as a professional Bank representative or ask for reassignment to another country. Its your call, because failing to act now, will leave us with no other option but to ask for your reassignment. A word for the wise.
When the APC Administration where implementing massive raods in the country you the opposition name them ´´CORRUPT GOVERNMENT“ whiles the funders never gave them that name, after the rebel war, the infrastructural development was very bad, energy was zero, safe drinking water was 45%, sanitation was 35% and they implemented 150 Agricultural Centres in the country to improve the agricultural sector, the types of Politic you guys are playing will not give you any good dividents, because the Projects implemented by the government are tangible, may be you guys have another meaning of the word “CORRUPTION“ the funders never call them what your´e are calling them.
As a neutralist I want Sierra Leone to develop, because I dont think of Party Politics. I was in the country and I saw lots of changes.
When the Ebola came, you guys call them all such of names, the International Community who gave them the money and logistic said, I quote “among the three countries that were affected by the ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone is the only country that implemented Audit Report and the funds were transparent and accountable” end of quote.
These words are enough for any reasonable person to understand. I do well understood the Projects the APC administration are implementing in the country is causing lots of headache for you the opposition, but for the non-Politicians it is marvellous because the people need them.
Now the mudslide and flooding of Freetown came, the government promised the victims that they will not leave them to solve their problems alone, three Sierra Leoneans who were encouraged through the local content Policy decided to pay back to the country by constructing fifty two houses for the victims. The opposition spread false news as they did after the ebola that the government have squandered the mudslide and flood money again, where did Mr Parminder Brar go wrong?
The man is not playing any Politics tricking here, he is saying the truth, because I listened to the video clips. He even says, the World Bank gave twenty million dollars and it remains ten million dollars, the rest of the money is in the bank for any questioning.
I strongly believe, the opposition want the man to lie that the government mismanaged the funds then you should be happy. Please, we the non-Politicians need clean Politics. I will like to quote what Campaign for good governance asked the People of Sierra Leone in 2007 to vote for, I quote “Elekshon bizness na all man bizness. Think Right, Vote Right for Power supply, Good Roads and water supply,” end of quote. These are the exact words from Campaign for Good Governance, within the framework, I will rate the APC administration as 75% in these areas.
The 3 billion dollars you are talking about, where did you expect the government to generate that sum of money for what they have done? Unless for the person who is suffering from eye problems that cause him or her not to see the works done by the administration.
Any good minded Sierra Leoneans will like to see the country to be developed, unless some of you who are in the opposition. Another question I am asking is which change you people are asking for? This APC Government did tremendously well, you can travel to any major town and city without any problems, every major towns and cities have safe drinking water, energy modernise hospitals, health Centres in towns and villages with solar Panel with modern equipments.
Let the International Community ask we the non-Partisans how we feel about the activities of Mr Brar in Sierra Leone, all what you wanted is for Mr Brar to lie that the APC administration squandered the mudslide and flood funds then you will be going from spot to spot dancing.
The man even said the rest of the money is in the bank with all documentations. If you the opposition want to challenge that, please ask him to present the statement of account and documentations. By using that phrase that he should leave Sierra Leone because he speak the truth and he is doing his work without any Political strings, that is an understatement, because Sierra Leone belongs to all of us, not only you the Politicians.
“THE SPEAKER OF THE TRUTH HAS NO GOOD FRIENDS” – Marcus Aurelius a Philosopher says, I quote. IF IT IS RIGHT DO NOT SAY IT; IF IT IS NOT TRUE DO NOT DO IT; end of quote.
WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE TOGETHER AS BROTHERS OR WE PERISH TOGETHER AS FOOLS, Martin Luther King Jr. Mr Brar is doing his job as a World Bank officer in Sierra Leone. Do your Politics, but the People of Sierra Leone need Progress and development and this administration didn’t make any false promises during their electioneering campaign in 2007. Any reasonable person can give them 75% for their work. Long live Sierra Leone. Stay Blessed Sierra Leone Telegraph for democracy to prevail.