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.

5 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.

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