Is the Sierra Leone Embassy in China a criminal syndicate?

Santigie Bobson Evans

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 September 2013

APC gone communist4The Sierra Leone Embassy in China is ranked by the International Institute for Democratic Governance as the most corrupt Embassy in the world. (Photo: Ambassador Victor Foh).

For the past six years, since APC came to power, it has been the epicentre of diplomatic misconduct; ranging from rape to colossal extortions and money laundering.

Aside from the notorious extortion crimes against the Chinese Business Community, committed  by the APC-appointed Ambassadors (at the rate of one Ambassador per year), other specific acts of misconduct stood out glaringly.

There is the soul-tearing rape by Ex-Ambassador AKK; the Robin hood style of defrauding of a Chinese business tycoon by Ex-Ambassador Fornah; and the insubordination arrogance of Ex-Ambassador Munu Koroma.

Victor Bockarie Foh is now the substantive Ambassador of Sierra Leone to China. But the mere mentioning of the name makes decent Sierra Leoneans sicken at heart, as they still try to come to terms with one of the worst financial crimes ever committed by a civil servant in the history of Sierra Leone, notoriously known as the ‘vouchergate’ scandal.

Victor Bockarie Foh, known to many as a shrewd ‘conman’, was also the all-powerful Finance Minister in the highly infamous AFRC military junta, brought to power by a spirally anarchic brutality.

Under that brutal regime, Victor Foh managed to keep the entire Sierra Leone Civil Service working for over one year without remuneration. This highlighted Victor’s talent at embezzlement.

KOROMA CHINAIt is this ‘con man’ who was the ruling APC party’s Secretary General, and who President Koroma (Photo) has now appointed as his top Ambassador to China, to complete the diplomatic fraud, started by former Ambassador Fornah.

Ambassador Foh, the “unbeatable vouchergate chief”, has now officially taken over the reins of Ambassadorship from Ex-Ambassador Multi-Kamara. At this point, it is worth mentioning that Ex-Ambassador Multi-Kamara is regarded as the most moderate and decent diplomat amongst the number of APC-appointed ambassadors to China since APC came to power in 2007.

Ambassador Foh has wasted no time in flexing his muscles in the truest sense of the 99-APC tactics of exclusion, disinformation, misrule and corruption.

As the substantive Ambassador, Foh has closed all channels of communication with the students’ community in China. He has completely ignored the students’ presence in China and made no effort whatsoever to seek students’ interests or solve existing students’ problems.

For instance, students graduating in 2012/2013 academic year finished their programs in June 2013, and have since left for Sierra Leone without getting their annual allowances. Also the students’ shipment, which is meant to help students take back home their learning materials after graduation, is yet to be honoured.

It could not be entirely unreasonable to begin to think that Victor Foh might even contemplate starting another vouchergate mission here in Beijing. He has made an alliance with ‘Criminal Turay’ – the APC Asia Branch Chairman, which is gravely worrying for the Sierra Leonean Community in China.

Turay and his boys are frequently seen these days running suspicious errands for Victor Foh. These errands could not be unconnected with defrauding the Chinese people and businesses.

In fact, Foh has ordered the removal of a Notice in the Embassy, warning all who wanted to do business in Sierra Leone to go through officially laid down protocols or have themselves to blame.

Foh has removed this Public Notice so as to cruelly fatten his ever-demanding pocket. As the saying goes: “Once a vouchergate – ever a squandergate.”

Indeed birds of the same feather do flock together. There could be no other perfect match, than Foh and Turay in terms of criminal mindedness. With this new bond of high-profile criminals, may we all pray that the Good Lord our God have mercy on Sierra Leone, by striking these guys out of any position of public trust.

It is told from credible quarters that after his orchestrated appointment as Ambassador, Foh vowed to siphon whatever wealth Ex-Ambassador Fornah could not extort from the people and businesses of China.

Little wonder Foh has embarked on an aggressive and high-profile drive in the bid to build not only Sino-Sierra Leone people-to-people cooperation, but also a cooperation of African Ambassadors serving in china.

Foh is hoping to operate under the auspices of these so called co-operations to establish personal contact with as many people and businesses as possible, so that he can execute his fraudulent plans to the highest level.

Also, hell has broken loose at the Embassy, involving the local staff, which has every sign of engulfing – at an epic magnitude – the home-based staff too. It all seems like Foh is desperate about building an unusual alliance with unusual quarters for an unusual purpose.

Embassies are meant to represent their respective countries in the foreign lands where they operate. Diplomatically, it is duty-bound on all workers (home-based and local staff) to uphold and protect the image and values of the countries which employ them.

But with Ambassador Foh working hand in glove with the head of mission (HOC), Mr. Minah, the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing is fast being transformed into the proverbial Animal Farm.

All decent Sierra Leoneans, especially those residing in China, restlessly wonder when these irresponsible APC diplomats will finally stop bringing shame and disgrace to our beloved Sierra Leone.

It is all but clear now that President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC Government have not only failed Sierra Leone at home, but are also incapable of managing the country’s embassies and diplomatic missions abroad, with pride and dignity.

It is a total leadership failure on the part of President Koroma, the APC Government and the APC-appointed diplomats in Sierra Leone’s Overseas Missions.

It was on August 29, 2013 at about 3:00 pm Beijing local time, when what has been brewing since Foh’s takeover as the substantive Ambassador of Sierra Leone to China, turned into a physical fight involving the local staff at the Embassy.

It was not only a diplomatic misconduct and catastrophe of the highest level, but also a face-down disgrace to all decent Sierra Leoneans on that unfortunate day, when fighting broke out between the Secretary to the Ambassador and the Receptionist.

The fighting was witnessed by scores of passers-by and journalists. Had it not been for the selflessness of a highly courageous Good Samaritan who happened to be passing by at the time of the fight, it would have been far messy.

This Good Samaritan horridly jumped out of a taxi, rushed onto the scene to quell the violence. He took the women fighters back into the Embassy building and kept off the scores of onlookers and journalists without further incident.

To the ordinary Sierra Leoneans and outsiders, a lot of unsolved puzzles surround this unspeakable physical confrontation involving the female staff at the Sierra Leone diplomatic mission in Beijing.

Although it was 3:00pm on Thursday, a working day in both China and Sierra Leone, not a single one of the home-based staff was in sight at the Embassy at the time of the fight.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the fight was over the control of visa and passport fees at the Embassy. It all seems like conflicting orders were issued separately by the Ambassador and the HOC, to the Secretary and Receptionist respectively, regarding the collection of such fees.

This leaves us wondering as to who was in charge at the Embassy of Sierra Leone in China.

But it seems Victor Foh has found his well hatched and rehearsed plan crumbling right in front of his own face. This disgraceful episode clearly tells us a lot about the woeful leadership failure of the APC Government, both at home and abroad.

In an establishment where everyone engages in some form of unofficial business, discipline always comes last. Ex-Ambassador AKK raped and went scot-free; Ex-Ambassador Fornah extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Chinese and also went scot-free; Philip Kargbo (the former Second Secretary in the Sierra Leone Embassy) sold scores of Embassy Vehicle License Plates and went scot-free; Aminata Mansaray was caught money laundering – selling copper dust for gold to Chinese businesses, on behalf of the APC Asian Branch and also went scot-free.

So why should we not believe that those fighting at the embassy will also go scot-free?

They may even be promoted or further rewarded in several other ways for such serious misconduct, committed on the premises of a Sierra Leonean Embassy and Diplomatic Mission.

Will it surprise us to see the motherland – Sierra Leone, one day put up for sale under an APC regime?