Is the Sierra Leone Embassy in China a criminal syndicate? – A rejoinder

John Baimba Sesay – China

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 September 2013

victor-b foh- cowboyI read with great interest an article written by one ‘Sorie Bobson Evans’, touching on the Sierra Leone Embassy in the People’s Republic of China, now parading SLPP cyber discussion groups. (Photo: Ambassador Foh).

Firstly; an attack on the President and especially one spearheaded by someone he had once given the chance to contribute to national development, will be an attack on us all and such an attack will not be allowed to go free.

Let me also state that most of the issues have always come up, especially from a Sierra Leonean student, David Marcus Margai, reportedly pursuing a PhD degree.

Prior to and immediately after the 2012 general elections, this student was part of a group that called on Sierra Leoneans to adopt the Kenya and Ivory Coast model, by taking up arms to reject the outcome of the elections.

To claim that the Embassy has been ranked as the most corrupt is far beyond mere attacks, but a complete display of deceit, falsehood and cheap political gimmicks. Until the said report is produced, I will only treat such lies as an effort of a sinking swimmer to save his life.

Even though Marcus keeps writing against the Embassy – either using his real name or using a pen name, the fact remains, he has always enjoyed serving as the Opposition Party front in China to attack the President and government.

In recent time, Margai is fighting a proxy war on behalf of a fugitive Ambassador who was reassigned to the UN, but resigned due to ‘ill health ’. It is common knowledge that Margai and the then Ambassador are best of friends.

Margai used to share the Ambassador’s office for hours, when he would visit him; and would often get back to his normal Opposition propaganda to write whatever he may have been told by his embassy friend.

If he is not abusing the President, Margai will be defending his new found friend, referring him as a ‘junior officer in the APC’ that had come to clean the Embassy.

If he is not the “most moderate and decent diplomat”, for Margai, the then Ambassador would be a man marginalized. I am therefore not surprise that from his view, the fallen Ambassador was the perfect man for the China post.

It is not only a serious concern that the Opposition is praise singing the Psalms of a fugitive diplomat, illegally carrying a Sierra Leone Diplomatic Passport, and still staying in China, which gives cause for concern of ill motive, but what also captures the minds of people is that this fugitive diplomat is doing the rounds in China, working for a company, when he should be at the UN or back home to contribute to national development.

With his efforts to be more catholic than the pope, his decision to keep staying in China with a Diplomatic Passport is ill intentioned and unacceptable.

One cannot be more Catholic than the Pope. Promoting the image of multi-Kamara who took pleasure doing SLPP politics in China when he was Ambassador in post, will be addressed at the appropriate time.

However this is not the issue, but has to do with the series of misinformation and distortion of facts embarked upon, all in the name of scoring political marks, by Marcus, with the support of his trusted ally, thinking that Sierra Leone is still in an election mood.

To the real issues raised by Margai the author; the attacks on Ambassador Victor Foh are nothing new especially from the viewpoint of the Opposition Party attacking him.

If there is a way, they would rather see this political guru a dead man. Most of what Marcus wrote on Victor Foh could best be referred to as recycled write-ups, just as it is with those dealing with the Embassy here in Beijing.

Painfully though, attempts aimed at bringing up recycled stanzas on Victor Bockarie Foh are like raising Sir Albert Margai and Dr Siaka Stevens from their graves into a debate on the infamous 1967 General Elections, which the SLPP lost to the APC and the subsequent Brigadier Lansana/Hinga Norman staging a coup d’état against a legitimate government.

But again, His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has always appointed Sierra Leoneans to positions of trust and when he does that, the national interest is what he takes into serious consideration and not the political linage of the individual; not APC or SLPP or PMDC, and this often comes with the approval of Parliament.

In the case of Victor Foh, he got the highest number of commendation from the Opposition Party in Parliament when he was going through parliamentary approval.

On the student’s welfare, it is not true that they have been ignored by the Embassy. That is not the policy of the Embassy. It is the responsibility of the Embassy to ensure the wellbeing of our students in China and protect the interest of our country and our citizens.

When President Koroma visited China in June this year, out of his busy schedule, he met with a cross section of Sierra Leoneans, including students. Through the Embassy, a number of concerns were recorded by the students and forwarded to the President.

It was at the said meeting that Ambassador Foh publicly, in the presence of hundreds of people, presented a copy of the students’ concerns to the President who then instructed his Foreign Minister to act on the issues, much to the joy of students.

But again, when dozens of students arrived in Beijing, they did so with a view to meet their President and present him with a number of issues. For someone to suggest that the Embassy should pay their fares to and from their Universities is unreasonable as it is not the policy of the Embassy.

Desirous to cater for the good of the general student’s body in China, the Embassy works with the elected students’ Executive and our working relationship is good and smooth.

To suggest that the Embassy has closed all channels of communication with the students is not only outrageous but a complete display of the author’s proclivity to lies and falsehood.

In the coming hours, the Embassy in collaboration with the Students’ Executive will be receiving the 2013/2014 batch of the students who arrived today 5th September 2013. If there were no lines of communication, this would not happen.

On issue of allowances, the Embassy has a duty of making requests for students’ allowance through the Ministry of Education. The Embassy does not determine when and how government funds are allocated.

That notwithstanding, with the exception of 2012(election year) when allowances were late and their personal effects shipped late, students continue to receive their allowances and the Embassy coordinates shipment of their personal effects back home.

Also, it is the government of Ernest Koroma that increased students’ allowances from a paltry sum of 400 dollars annually to an encouraging 1,800 dollars!!! It is also that Ernest Bai Koroma that is today providing a 40 ft container for the shipment of students’ personal effects.

On the issue of local staff fighting at the Embassy, this is completely untrue and unfounded. There was indeed misunderstanding between two local staff. The appropriate administrative action has been taken to address this matter.

Marcus Margai was indeed present when the two workers were having an argument and whether he instigated the misunderstanding since he speaks Chinese well is a matter for him to explain. But for him to take pleasure in damning the Embassy has crookedness hidden in his bosom of tribal/regional SLPP politics.

The Embassy of Sierra Leone in China is determined to work in tandem with the President’s vision for the country, as contained in the Agenda for Prosperity. It is but right for the opposition to see the need to help Sierra Leone succeed.

Writing damning articles against the country or the Embassy is surely a way of exposing the treacherous desire of the Opposition to get power by all means possible and perhaps to replay the 1967 political debacle.

The Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing will continue to work in the interest of the Republic of Sierra Leone.