Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 June 2017
J.B.Dauda aka ‘Jam Body for Development (JBD)’ led a very successful political life, albeit in our murky political scene in Sierra Leone. And I am seized of the need to write something about this industrious son of Kenema who has been called to rest by nature.
JBD was SLPP through and true. As a student both in and out of Sierra Leone in the 60s and early 70s, he never shied away from SLPP activities and meetings. While he was in the UK pursuing his law degree he was the SLPP student chairman at some point.
On his return to Sierra Leone as a young lawyer, he together with other young lawyers like Charles Margai, PPB Kebbie, Banda Thomas and Lawyer Kpakra expended their monies, knowledge and energies to defend the numerous SLPP political victims who were arbitrarily rounded and lock-up all over the country by President Stevens on trumped-up charges.
My uncle – the late Mr Prince Bona of Jaiama Nimikoro was a beneficiary of their kind gesture when he was arrested in the 70s and sent to Mafanta for treason. This was after his house and properties had been razed to the ground by APC thugs and ISUs.
He had no money. JBD (Photo) and Charles Margai took up his case and they defended him for free. This kind of service to the party was done all over the country.
In 2005, during a Radio Democracy interview of would-be SLPP presidential hopeful, JBD and Charles Margai accused Solomon Berewa on air that he never identified himself with the SLPP cause, even though Berewa and Gavez Betts had a powerful and famous chamber in Freetown.
It was further revealed that when Betts and Berewa were approached to support and defend political victims mostly from the SLPP in the 70s, Berewa blatantly refused by telling JBD and his colleagues that he was not a politician.
Therefore, it was a shock to see the late President Kabba imposing the candidacy of Solomon Berewa on the very SLPP he had refused to help or associate with, during the bitter times.
Another quality of JBD that was not mentioned in your article was his straightforwardness and uncorrupted nature.
During his short spell in the Momoh administration before it was ousted by the NPRC, he held the positions of Economic and Development Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Second Vice President.
When the NPRC took over, he was the only former minister not found wanton for graft and corruption by the Commission of Enquiry.
In the Kabba government, he was first made Local Government Minister. When James Jonah decided to leave, he asked President Kabba to make JBD his Finance Minister as he was one of the few uncorrupted ministers in the regime then.
As the Minister of Finance, JBD was very reluctant to give out unscrupulous contracts and to sign out checks without proof of accomplishment by contractors. This did not go down well with Kabba and Berewa who were recommending their friends, girlfriends, and acquaintances for contracts.
Kabba responded by putting Berewa his VP directly in charge of the award of all government contracts. Surprisingly, the Minister of Finance (JBD) was not a member of that committee.
In the same 2005 radio discussion programme mentioned above, a caller asked JBD about the corruption that had marred the awarding of contracts and the non-completion of public contracts in the country. (Photo: Berewa and Kabbah).
JBD told the caller and by extension all Sierra Leoneans that were listening, that Berewa was responsible and that he as Minister of Finance had no knowledge as to who, what and how much were awarded by the government as contracts to contractors.
After that Radio discussion, the international community stopped the funding of most projects that were under the supervision of the government. Because JBD exposed and explained what I have just enumerated above, Kabba saw him as a thorn in his flesh. He was then eye-marked by Berewa and Kabba for humiliation.
Surprisingly, he was kept in his position until after the SLPP convention in Makeni. Once it emerged that Berewa had corruptly clinched the SLPP flagbearership for the 2007 elections, JBD and his friend Banda Thomas – together with the wife of Banda Thomas Mrs Gina Banda Thomas – who was the acting director general of the SLBS, were sacked with immediate effect while they were still in Makeni.
JDB did not resign from the SLPP even though he was side lined and made irrelevant by Berewa and his gang who hijacked the party.
Therefore, it was very hypocritical that the same hypocrites in Berewa’s SLPP turned out to suspend JBD, after he had accepted a position from President Ernest Koroma.
President Ernest Koroma in 2010 was in need of some honest people in his government that was already marred by a series of corruption allegations. He saw JDB as one of those he could call on, even though he was an opposition politician.
JBD served President Koroma’s government honestly. He left by concession in 2016 to take care of his failing health. The APC did not disgrace him as his boyhood party – the SLPP did.
The SLPP needs to do a retrospect, if it is to gain back its relevance and dominance in the political spectrum in Sierra Leone. So much has gone wrong because of the bad blood spilled by Kabba and Berewa on former die-hard party members and supporters between 1996 and 2007.
Rest in PEACE “Jam Body for Development”