I will robustly defend my reputation – former president Ernest Koroma tells Bio’s government

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 October 2020:

Former president Koroma of Sierra Leone has received an order from the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to attend an investigation at their office in Freetown next Monday.

According to the ACC, the investigation will probe into allegations of corruption and abuse of office, made by the Commission of Inquiry in their report and the government’s White Paper published last week.

The ACC says it is investigating a number of allegations of corruption involving the former president, including his link to a Chinese mining company named –  Xin Lin, the procurement of 100 public service buses, a NASSIT funded market construction project, and several properties believed to be owned by the former president.

The ACC investigation comes on the heels of a travel ban on the president and scores of his former ministers and government officials, imposed by the Attorney General early this week.

It is not clear whether the president who currently resides in Makeni – northern Sierra Leone will travel to Freetown for his appointment with the ACC next Monday, but what needs no second guessing is the former president’s response to the Commission of Inquiry Report and the government’s White Paper.

Writing in a sternly worded public statement issued yesterday, Ernest Bai Koroma reacted angrily to what he referred to as – “the government’s relentless heckling around me” that “has reached undue and unacceptable levels…”

The former president warns the government – “I will muster all available legitimate and democratic means to robustly defend my reputation which is being tarnished so mindlessly.”

According to the former president of Sierra Leone, this is his “preliminary statement on the release of the reports of the Commissions of Inquiry, the White Paper and other hostile government actions”.

This is what he said:  “I have learned with utter disappointment about some of the defamatory contents of the Reports of the Commissions of Inquiry and the White Paper thereto pertaining to some of the activities I undertook while  exercising my official functions as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. I have also noted with utter dismay the Government’s hostility against me and some officials who served in my administration.

“While it is apparent that the allegations against me are without merit and are a politically motivated charade calculated to impugn my hard – earned reputation, I further believe that the government’s relentless heckling around me has reached undue and unacceptable levels that amount to political harassment.

“For ten years, I served my country diligently, fairly and with honour and integrity. My government was widely recognised for its robust fight against corruption, for consolidating peace, rebuilding the country’s battered infrastructure, for improving the lives of our people in many ways and for the peaceful, smooth democratic transition I superintended.

“It is unfortunate that the government has chosen this route to unduly tarnish my reputation because of politics. Such ridiculous political witch hunt does not only scare good and well-meaning citizens from getting involved in governance; it also has the propensity of undermining peaceful democratic transitions on the continent as current leaders following these unfortunate events in Sierra Leone might find it difficult to readily hand over power, especially to opposition political parties.

“On my part, whilst I will always support the fight against corruption and the quest for accountability in public office, I will muster all available legitimate and democratic means to robustly defend my reputation which is being tarnished so mindlessly. In that vein, I will once again defer to my lawyers to look into the Reports, the White Paper and the series of maligning actions being instituted against me; to advise on my next course of action.

“Sign: Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone.”

Sierra Leone is once again at crossroads, sitting on what can be described as a political landmine which the Bio-led government must defuse very carefully while ensuring that those accused of corruption are held accountable and given a fair chance to prove their innocence at the court of appeal in the next few weeks.

However, what the government must avoid by all necessary means, is to use the Commission of Inquiry Report and its White Paper, simply to humiliate those accused in order to score political points that could result in heightening tension, chaos and violence in the country.

There is no doubt former president Koroma should be investigated by the ACC in pursuit of justice  – if there are holes in the evidence put forward by the Commission of Inquiry, but this should be done with common sense and political expediency.

19 Comments

  1. I guess this was how you were gonna “robustly defend yourself” Mr. Koroma? Not in a court of law but by surrounding yourself with hoodlums. Way to go sir. I pity you and the folks giving this misguided advice. The world is watching sir.

  2. Mr. Santhkie Sorie, please stop “beating a dead horse”. I hate to repeat myself that the APC party’s main ideology is STEALING. It’s very easy to “build a castle in the air” than convincing members and supporters of the destructive Arata Peoples Congress (APC) party that stealing with impunity must have consequences. As far as some of their supporters are concerned, you are a SELLOUT based on the fact that you are a Themne from the north and you supposed to support the lifetime leader of the APC who built a $5 million house in one of the most impoverished community in our country instead of building schools, hospital or any institution that was supposed to benefit the people of Makeni.

    The reality is, just like the NGC party, most of the founders of even the SLPP are not only Themnes but Northerners, but their ideology was based on honesty and integrity. Late President Stevens who was The Godfather of Stealing decided to execute most of the patriotic Temne leaders like the late Dr. Mohamed Sorie Fornah, Ibrahim Bash – Taqi and other prominent Temnes because they were against his ideology. My only advice for is continue to stay Neutral ( NGC) and to be very careful not to be dragged into the “ SNAKE PIT” of the destructive APC party.

  3. Special agent Young4na, hahaha!! gentlemen, the scholarly acclaimed professor Alimamy Turay, and the brilliantly, artistic, indomitable lion of the APC, my brother from another mother, emperor STARGAZER!! You guys are the STARS in this platform, I am just aspiring to follow your footsteps, hahaha!!

  4. Young4na, I brought in Donald Trump only because you brought in Obama as an example – I am not mixing things up. Never forget your preceding piece; also look at the context in which I used Mr Trump. You keep failing to see the snare which the Bio government is springing, but I see it clearly. For the sake of the progress of Sierra Leone I do not want Maada to retreat. Here’s the fundamental reason : As things stand we already know a number of people in the Bio administration who a future APC government will get hold of within minutes of assuming power.

    Take David Francis, the chief minister for example, I can see him being held by an inquiry set up by APC, tied up with the law and laid flatly on his stomach and the equivalent of the bags of rice he stole piled on top of him, with just a little vent left to stop him from dying. Once so trapped he can be questioned about the billions which went missing at various government departments as well as details about the $1.5 for which he had a journalist locked up. The background music to all this should be his video tape recording of encouraging corruption.

    Who can doubt your allegations of poor record keeping in our country. I know what I went through to obtain a copy of my birth certificate. To say that I was livid is a gross understatement, I thought I would turn green. But these are the things which turn me off both APC and SLPP which heighten my hope that one of these days they would both be given a break by the people. Poor record keeping is a real threat to our security, into which I won’t go right now. It may may send tremors down your entire being to know that when Ernest burst onto the scene in 2007 I felt that our saviour had at last arrived.

    I would quite often pray for him and during sujud (prostration) I would ask Allah to smite anyone at his feet who stood in his way. How I wish I could retrieve everything that I wrote about him from the archives of The Sierra Leone Telegraph. But then I started observing some startling developments, all associated with corruption. We know the cases of Logus Koroma, Kemoh Sesay and Afsatu Kabba, just to name three. My administration for Ernest thus quickly evaporated. Now we know the level of corruption he presided over.

    If Maada Bio goes through with everything Sierra Leone will become a better place because government functionaries for once will start hesitating or completely desist from corrupt practices. This time SLPP has the advantage. The fear that the tide is bound to turn should keep them straight. Maada Bio said as much in a BBC interview. Perhaps mother Sierra Leone will start seeing some light. This epitomises my position.

  5. Well, it has been confirmed and certified by the ‘awesome’ STARGAZER. So, ‘Special Agent Young4na’ then. I thought ‘007-Young4na’ sounds better.

  6. My advice to the former President is to think long and hard about the order handed to him by the ACC before leaving a safe zone, and venturing into a territory where wolves and hyenas have the upper hand. Answer – whats to stop these criminals from flipping
    like a coin and changing their tune from a legitimate interrogation into an illegal arrest?Do you trust these arrogant tribalistic men Sir? Hey if this was legitimate and they had questions that they needed answered they could have easily arranged a meeting right there in Makeni where the former President resides.

    After all, a simple notepad and laptop loaded with the relevant information needed will be quite enough to get their jobs done. I think it is a trap! When the former President is there, the call will come from State House to arrest him, UNLESS of course, he has been given assurances and guarantees by our International partners and stakeholders that no arrest was going to take place; otherwise just forget it – The old soldier is going straight for the jugular by arresting EBK for the purposes of making history.

    Do not underestimate the ignoble tendencies of an arrogant,corrupt disgruntled old soldier anxious to settle stale grievances. Stay in your loving, peaceful home Sir and let your
    lawyers do the talking, and if they are going to come for you let it be known that it will happen right where you have the advantage,total control and SUPREMACY – A word to the wise!(lol)

  7. Santigie Sorie says “The nation may be bad in record keeping, but go to the office of births and deaths and you will see records of the time for as long as former President Koroma has been alive……. A future APC government will politically strip Maada Bio and his gang naked in the middle of Freetown if they smell corruption around them.” Honorable Sorie sir, with all sincerity, you happen to be among those forumites whom I have a lot of respect for due to the patriotic nature of most of your commentary on this platform.

    Nonetheless, aI am not really sure how long you have departed the shores of Freetown or when was the last time you actually did any administrative or personal dealings with any of our local governmental departments. The facts are, like majority MDAs, the births, deaths, and recording keeping departments you mentioned are in shambles. Over the past several years, each time I visited these MDAs, the impression has always been disappointing. Almost majority of the accounting and record keeping is still done as we speak in LEATHER BOOKS, with more than 60% of old records illegible or unretrievable.
    To crown it all, almost anyone can obtain duplicitous documentations with money upfront. In other words, a chinese citizen in Salone can obtain a birth certificate in Freetown and have it back dated to the 60s or 70s.

    Now when it comes to the fight against corruptions, majority of the citizens, including our fellow APC forumites in this platform are in support of the fight, if done within the confines of sustainable legitimacy.

    With all due respect Mr. Sorie, are you not aware of the corruption practices taking place under this very regime that you seem to have embrace as the MESSIAHs? Yes former EBK officials are corrupt to the bone but please tell me what differences you see now with the annual 2018 audit report, china rice gate, chief minister 1.5million dollars and the multimillion dollar mansions being erected by ministers across Freetown? Oh, how often have we seen this PAOPA regime changing the rules of the game to suit their personal selfish agenda, since they assumed governance, for you to gullibly believe the same will be done to them once they leave office? I believe you are aware of offshore stacking of loot and other investments options outside Salone. Please honorable Sorie, wake up sir!! I think you are abit sleepy on this issue sir.

  8. Young4na, it escaped me to mention that the Inquiries were not set up to investigate anything spanning twenty five years and I don’t think ACC has the time or resources to do that either. As I understand it the investigation only covered the decade when Ernest was in power. If I have missed something please draw it to my attention and I am ready to skin Ben Kaifala alive to remind him that anything beyond twenty five years amounts to a perpetration of personal hatred. Over twenty five years ago Ernest was in his thirties, a young man trying to make it. I am not out to rationalise anything.

    If it were a blood relative that was involved I would take the same stance that I have taken on the white paper. Knowing myself from the moment my relative took office I would caution him to be totally professional about his activities. Let us not forget that the white paper completely exonerated a few people and they are now walking around like angels. These are the people we should target to lead us.

    The white paper is dominated by northerners because they dominated Ernest’s government. But I did see some Mende names too. Just a little note: I am SANTHKIE NOT SANTIGIE because I am Thaimne. If I were Loko or Limba I would be called the latter. It is the same name with a little variation.

    • You are talking like a stooge. Whoever you are, you are not coming out like someone who is not a Themne. The stereotyping of themne people is telling from your undercover name. How can such an educated and clever guy you cannot spell your tribe? One can see it crystal clear that you cannot differentiate between Santhikie and Santigie. God help you

  9. Fighting corruption in a country is not an easy task at all. The term “Corruption” you can also find in Arabic – FASSAD. I am personally happy that our former President, the life chairman of the APC party has agreed and accepted the invitation to appear to the ACC court to thoroughly defend his reputation in the eyes of the public, to prove his innocence. A man who abides by the law of the land, should act this way. As we all knew, no man is above the law. I was really terrified when some fake news carriers were predicting saying “EBK won’t be there it’s ridiculous”, in my sense that would bring some chaos, and brought unnecessary rough arrest. Under my little shelter, trust me I was worried.

    Let’s take some examples from other African countries like Zambia, President Chiluba after he left office he was prosecuted for corruption. Zuma of South Africa as well, then why not in Sierra Leone? I believe Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh is getting ready for another defense. But let no one get jumpy into any conclusion right now. When EBK reports to the ACC on Monday, at the end of the day we will start getting something to say. My main advise to H.E. President Bio is, the critics are going to throw all pebbles on you. Do not listen to them, re-assure that you are doing the right thing. God bless Sierra Leone.

  10. Youn4na, yes you can lose a bank statement but the title deeds to your property? Common let’s think again. Even when it comes to accounting figures, you give me one or two figures and believe me I can tell you what the rest should be. The nation may be bad in record keeping, but go to the office of births and deaths and you will see records of the time for as long as former President Koroma has been alive. And with many things being computerised these days, it’s even easier to retrieve records. I am ready to bet anything that outside of what we are dealing with, if anybody tries to take over any of Earnest’s property he will take them to court with supporting documents.

    You see Young4na, we must cast all emotions aside and take on corruption wherever it may lead us. It was present in the sixties when we gained independence , it has become worse. People go into politics to become rich instantly at the expense of the down trodden. Most of them still go out onto the streets to dance for the people who keep them malnourished, poorly housed and vulnerable to an early death because of poor medical care. It’s because they are not sophisticated enough to understand that the people they dance for are their oppressors.

    Let me marshal my entire being and faith to tell you that I am supporting President Bio on this issue as a strategy – I am not SLPP or APC. A future APC government will politically strip Maada Bio and his gang naked in the middle of Freetown if they smell corruption around them. Therefore (and this is the most important thing) Maada and his people will try to walk straight and narrow. Sierra Leone should be the beneficiary. Can you tell me in the name of your conscience that all those in the white paper are innocent? When we defend them for whatever reason they take us for idiots and infants. President Bio should stay strong, firm and unyielding. I wish him Allah’s/God’s guidance on the issue of corruption in our country.

  11. Keep holding them to account, Monsieur Young4na. Some of the commentators are unpatriotic and seemingly suffer from short-sightedness in their thinking capacity. They are only interested in face value in order to quench their hatred or wicked impulses – never about the implications of ‘TOMORROW’. To say the least, they are deficient of pragmatism.

    On another note Young4na, I always see you as someone bearing the qualities of a meticulous Policeman. Perhaps, next time I will call you ‘Special Agent’ Young4na (or ‘007Young4na’).

    • ‘Special Agent,Young4na’ – Ingenious! My brother from another mother,the’Illustrious’
      Alimamy Turay truly has a keen eye for detail, and has been known to always exhibit a clear understanding of our beloved nation and its people. Yippee! Things are getting better and better by the minute on this glorious forum – Special Agent Young4na, keep on doing a fantastic job by exposing blatant lies and falsehoods that will make Mama Sierra Leone proud – Congratulations!(lol)

  12. I’m not against fighting corruption but the government must be very careful in doing this, because there are series of unfortunate happenings also in this present dispensation that are related to corruption from the office of the first lady to the Chief minister, the president himself and almost all the ministers and Senior public servants in this government. I know of ministers who never had anything before, when I said nothing, I mean nothing absolutely, but today they have two houses in Kenema, one in Freetown, one in Kailahun and a petrol pump station in Kailahun. When did they get all the monies from to do the work?

    I’m really not impressed with this government in their fight against corruption. My advice to them is to stop the witch hunt as it will go against them tomorrow. I rest my case.

  13. Honorable Santigie Sorie, thanks for your response in regards to my posited enquiry. Now while one can give you credit in trying so hard to rationalize your earlier assertions, I am afraid, you are more so looking at things from an idealistic point of view, rather than practical. In other words, how could you expect someone to provide tangible evidence in respect to his/her financial earnings and other business dealings spanning a period of over 25 years; particularly in a third world country like Sierra Leone, where record keeping or business transaction invoices barely exist?

    Since we all know EBK owns properties and other assets prior to him becoming president, are you now suggesting that he must provide physical evidence for those properties along with his newly acquired ones while being president , else the state should confiscate all what he has worked for his entire life? Please help me understand which modern day nation exercise such justice system. Now forgive me, but I thought we were talking about ex-presidents accountability here, so I am a bit lost why you will even mention a sitting president like Donald Trump in this debate. By all indications, you seem to be mixing matters sir.

  14. This is the first time in the political history of Sierra Leone that a sitting President is so conscious of the achievements and popularity of his predecessor that he has devoted all his term in office in stirring up scandal, propaganda and blackmail against his predecessor. The manifestation of a situation wherein the country has inherited a fake and lousy President whose preoccupation is to UNDERMINE the worth or importance of his predecessor whilst professing his ability to offer better solutions. And, in the absence of the right level of intelligence to measure up to such ill-informed promises, the tendency is to keep looking over his shoulder.

    Today, the country’s development programme has been put on hold in favour of a ‘fight’ against corruption of the previous administration. Every patriotic citizen welcomes the fight against this endemic disease that has the propensity to stall the social and economic development of the country; though when the objective of such a challenge borders with emotional and sentimental values, then there is a danger of rendering the process into a meaningless charade that will subsequently plunge the country into lawlessness and chaos. The key component in the fight against corruption is the incorporation of stringent controls that are devoid of tribal and regional considerations.

    From the onset, the illegitimate SLPP government believes that in order to monopolize the political space is to establish a bogus and selective Commission of Inquiry that will bankrupt the APC party. The SLPP have no genuine resolve to eradicate corruption. Ironically, the methodology they have chosen – to confiscate the assets of persons of interest – has the byproduct of intensifying the act of corruption. As the precedent that the SLPP is setting implies that there will be similar Commissions of Inquiry in the event of any change of government. Therefore the present cohort of SLPP fraudsters will ensure that they keep most of their loot in offshore bank accounts. Consequently, there will be a more complex and sophisticated siphoning of resources out of the country.

    • “Therefore the present cohort of SLPP fraudsters will ensure that they keep most of their loot in offshore bank accounts. Consequently, there will be a more complex and sophisticated siphoning of resources out of the country” exactly my earlier assertions sir, professor Turay. The Bio regime is taking gullible Sierra Leoneans on a joy ride. It’s really sad to observe a host of educated individuals buying into this charade. It’s all common sense folks!!

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