May God Almighty forgive the chief minister – Op-ed

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 November 2019:

Professor David J. Francis – the Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone, has spoken on the universally recognised Human Rights to privacy and good reputation.

He was specifically referencing his rights to protection of any data concerning his banking details, when a press release from his Office stated that the Chief Minister “wishes the public to know that he has instructed the bank to waive his data protection rights should the bank wishes to make any official statement on the allegation”.

This means Chief Minister knows banking details are private and can only be publicised if one waives one’s right to data protection.

Francis also said he “has built his reputation over several decades through hardwork, integrity, humility, transparency and high moral values”.

He said he decided to serve as Chief Minister “because of his love for country and passionate commitment to transform Sierra Leone…”

This writer empathises with ostensibly palpable pains that Chief Minister purports to feel. In that vein, I want to draw the attention of the Chief Minister to his July 2018 Governance Transition Team Report, as well as to some recent happenings at the Commissions of Inquiry – where other citizens, just like him, had to suffer the indignity of being labelled most egregiously.

Some had their private banking details publicly read, cheaply without any judicial merit – when they never waived their data protection rights.

I want Chief Minister to know that the exact same way he is feeling today is how many of us are also feeling, over the actions of an unfortunate set of events that they steam-rolled against us – just because we had chosen to serve, out of the same good motives as he now proclaims for himself.

May God Almighty forgive the Chief Minister for the pains his actions have caused so many patriots. Amen.

About the author

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR (Former Cabinet Minister in Former APC-led Government).

20 Comments

  1. Joe Koroma,thank you for your honest reply,particularly your admission that you are not on the ground to garner first hand information on the whole affair.Let me assure you that even if you were on the ground you would have had to cope with such a high level of obfuscation that you would have found it impossible to discern the entire truth.Our politicians are dexterous in generating unfathomable doubt when caught in a situation which carries the possibility of tarnishing their name.

    The behaviour or reaction of the Chief Minister upon the breaking out of the story can hardly be associated with a man with his level of education and sophistication; and leaves a trail of more questions than answers.Why did David Francis have to ring up both The Criminal Investigation Department[CID] and The Anti Corruption Commission [ACC] when he was contacted by the journalist,Sallieu Jalloh,to get his own side of of the story involving $1.5 million if he were completely innocent.

    A man of his standing in society and supposedly brilliant mind would have tempted the journalist to publish his story, knowing that both he and his medium were heading for disaster.The moment his dialogue with the journalist ended he would alert his personal lawyer and seat tight to wait for the story to be published.Once this was done the Journalist would be trapped,he could not retract anything anymore because it would be in writing.

    The chief Minister would then summon a huge press conference with his lawyer sitting by his side to deny all allegations and explain in plain English how he came to be associated with the money in question.He would end the press conference by emphatically letting the nation know that everything about the whole affair was/is legitimate and that his lawyer would now start legal action against Sallieu and his newspaper.

    Surely in the ensuing court battle the whole nation would have come to know whether or not APC were responsible for the whole debacle since the journalist would be forced under withering questioning to reveal his source.But for the Chief Minister to have contacted both CID and ACC so fast suggest panic and shock, something we don’t need in any of our leaders at this critical juncture in our nation’s history as President Bio is fighting to wipe our corruption.This makes him and the ACC boss,Kaifala, victims in this embarrassing affair.

    I detest both APC and SLPP,but I like President Bio Politically because of his determination to exterminate corruption in our dear nation.He does not need any of his top officials to be connected to any shady dealings – dead or alive.

    To you Momodu Njie,I first have to say that I am SANTHKIE not SANTIGIE because I am Thaimne. If I were Limba,Loko,or any of the other ethnic groups that have various versions of the same name I would probably be called Santigie. I urge you my brother to please read my comment again.If you do you will see that I made no allegations but merely asked a number of questions.Had the Chief Minister held a press conference to clear everything there probably wouldn’t be any need for such questions.I have never met David Francis and I have no grudge against him,what he does as one of the nation’s servant is all I am interested in.In this context mother Sierra Leone is first and last to me.Even though I like President Bio this will never stop me from critising him when in my opinion I consider him mistaken.

  2. Joe Koroma, I thank you very much for the update. You see, elements of the case surrounding the Chief Minister are moving so thick and fast that it is hard to keep abreast with them. Added to this we have other breaking news which divert one’s attention. For example the current headline in the Telegraph is about tourism, a potential economy booster, creating jobs for our restless population who are a danger to society because of lack of hope.

    In updating and correcting me however, you did not go all the way in your clarification. Please help me and others with answers to these questions:
    1. Which bank was used to deposit the $1.5 million associated with the Chief Minister?
    2. Doesn’t the said amount exist at all?
    3. Who gave the order for the journalist, Sallieu Tejan Jalloh, who broke the story, to be arrested and locked up?
    4. What was the initial response of the Chief Minister in his nervous and shocked state?
    5. If the Chief Minister was unquestionably sure that it was an attempt to soil his name, shouldn’t he have deployed efficacy by suing Allieu Jalloh and his medium for what they own now and what they will own in the future – in other words bankrupt them?
    6. Is it not probable that the moment the news broke that David Francis, in his powerful capacity as Chief Minister instructed Ecobank to delete all records bearing his name?
    7. Joe, if you are sure that it was an APC smear campaign, don’t you think the Chief Minister has the tools to mount an exemplary investigation to clear his name?

    I urge you Joe not to trust any of our politicians on sentimental grounds whatever party they belong to. If APC had not been dislodged from power in 2018 do you sincerely believe that all the revelations coming out of the Commissions of Inquiry would be possible? Let us allow our patriotism to supersede everything else to make all our public figures nervous all the time, otherwise our country is doomed. I am sure you know of many cases when our big diamonds have disappeared between State House and Lungi Airport. The last one was when Earnest was in power. I thank you very much for responding to me. Many thanks also go to the Telegraph for creating our little parliament as a source of educating each other.

    • Brother Santhkie Sorie, thanks for your keen interest in this story. Like you, I detest corruption and support any investigation that would lead to unearthing the vice no matter where that investigation leads. I have been following the allegations against the Chief Minister since it started to unfold. I did so simply out of patriotism. I am not an SLPP member and even if I were, I will not support any member of that party breaking the law. Having said that, let me state that I am not going to respond point by point to your questions due to time constraint.

      I am not on the ground, so all my information comes from people on the ground who have been following the investigations surrounding this case since it was initiated. My sources tell me that the Chief Minister does have an account at ECOBANK, the bank that was identified as where the money was deposited in the Chief Minister’s account. In fact, I will add that that money ($1.5 million) does not exist. Both the CID and the ACC have confirmed this.

      Further, the Chief Minister did not give an order for journalist, Sallieu Tejan-Jalloh to be arrested. It is my understanding that the Chief Minister contacted the CID and ACC to report an attempt by Mr. Jalloh to blackmail him. Thus, the CID arrested Mr. Jalloh on their own volition for attempting to blackmail the Chief Minister.
      The Chief Minister has not yet disclosed a recourse. But sources intimate that the journalist will be sued for damages.

      I think we must be careful if not suspect of information disseminated by APC media houses. The desire to disrupt the Commission of Inquiry has always been palpable. Yes, public officials should be monitored. But attempting to smear the character of an innocent man is a hit below the belt. Those who know the Chief Minister have vowed for his integrity. This notwithstanding, how can a man who has spent so many years living in Europe order a corrupt mining company to deposit such a large amount of money in an account that bears his name at a bank in Sierra Leone? It makes no sense to me. If that had happened, given the large number of APC stalwarts in the banking industry in Salone, this case would long have made its way in the mainstream media.

    • 1. Which bank was used to deposit the $1.5 million associated with the Chief Minister?

      Santigie, you are making the allegation and you expect the denying party (or innocent party in this case as per police, ACC and the Eco Bank’s replies to this frivolous allegation).

      2. Doesn’t the said amount exist at all?

      Santigie, see, the response in question 1 above and tie the nuts. You can likewise help us with the answer to this question as you are the alleging party. Note that although it is said that journalism is literature in a hurry, Hearsay when not investigated for evidence or collaboration, does not make good journalism.

      3. Who gave the order for the journalist, Sallieu Tejan Jalloh, who broke the story, to be arrested and locked up?

      The Chief Minister has said that he reported a case of blackmail to the CID. He forwarded the exchange between him and the Journalist to the CID. The CID is supposed to be a professional force with its head Frank Alpha having been enlisted into the police in 1989, has had training at a top British police academy etc. He should know when an offense warrants an arrest without a warrant and when it is not. No police man worth his salt would commit an offence for a politician. When somebody dies in police cell it is the arresting officer and not the complainant that is investigated. By the way, do you know that at the time of this incident, the Chief Minister was in France and not in Sierra Leone?

      4. What was the initial response of the Chief Minister in his nervous and shocked state?

      His response was to see a case of Blackmail and thus reported to the investigating authorities. That is the Police and ACC. Was he nervous, only people who look at everything form a political lens would tell us that.

      5. If the Chief Minister was unquestionably sure that it was an attempt to soil his name, shouldn’t he have deployed efficacy by suing Allieu Jalloh and his medium for what they own now and what they will own in the future – in other words bankrupt them?

      No blackmail is different from libel. You are talking about libel and the chief Minister did not sue for Libel. Now consider a simple matter like this, you have made so many inferences not believing any of the parties involving as long as they are not saying what you would like to hear, what effect could a suing for libel have on your ilk? Besides no libel was committed, the Chief Minister is saying that he as blackmail. Let us wait for the police report to confirm if the elements that constituted blackmail was committed or not.

      6. Is it not probable that the moment the news broke that David Francis, in his powerful capacity as Chief Minister instructed Ecobank to delete all records bearing his name?

      Now you are talking about probability. In criminal investigations even circumstantial evidence is not based on probability. Ecobank is a private entity answerable to its shareholders. Most importantly, it is not an indigenous bank. Why do you think a profit making bank that deals in hundreds of millions of dollars would soiled its name for a politician who would come and go? But I have forgotten that I am talking to a typical Sierra Leonean who sees no risk in smearing his or her reputation.

      7. Joe, if you are sure that it was an APC smear campaign, don’t you think the Chief Minister has the tools to mount an exemplary investigation to clear his name?

      That is why he has reported to the appropriate authorities. You want him to take his case to God/Allah? By the way only God/Allah is a Christian/Muslim.

  3. Since news about the $1.5 million broke we have been led into a murky world of conflicting narratives,insinuations,innuendos and more,with the Chief Minister right in the middle of everything and there is no respite in sight.Sierra Leone is indeed undergoing a revolution of sorts – thanks,in no small measure, to the advent of social media. Chief David Francis is finding out for the first time that there are Sierra Leoneans in sensitive places whose patriotism is second to none and are ready to reveal damaging information on public figures,especially those who claim to be super clean.

    We must all reflect on the fact that the Journalist – Sallieu Tejan-Jalloh, who shoved the Chief Minister into the sticky morass in which he finds himself,together with the embarrassment it carries,does not work for Eco Bank. Clearly,therefore,a patriotic official within the bank must have leaked the information to the journalist. Henceforth, all public figures will become extremely wary of using the banking system to launder their loot, thereby denying ordinary Sierra Leoneans from benefiting from what actually belongs to them.

    Now the Chief Minister is so confused that he is at loss to explain away how and why the $1.5 million reached his account. One moment Chief Minister Francis claims not be aware of the said money finding its way into his account definitely deposited by somebody who does not know his bank account number. At another moment it is suggested that his sister deposited the money into his account. And yet at another moment it was a debit card transaction. Can somebody please explain to the doctorate holder Chief minister that a debit card account only holds money deposited into it by the account holder or an authorised person and such an amount cannot be exceeded in any transaction? The poor chap is in sixes and sevens.

    It is hard to tell Dr Blyden’s state of mind while writing her piece. But I detect cold blooded sarcasm to draw the Chief Minister’s attention to the immediate aftermath of his party’s poll victory in 2018 when, as head of the transition team, kicked off the Commissions of Inquiry in which APC are now being chewed alive.

    David Francis has been caught with his trousers down. The veterans in corruption [APC] from whom he should have learned invaluable lessons in the art of covering one’s tracks after a heist, are at daggers-drawn with him.

    • Santhkie Sorie, It appears that you are not following the news as it unfolds. ECOBANK has long issued a statement that the Chief Minister, David Francis, does not have an account with their bank. This followed a thorough investigation by the CID. The Chief Minister is a victim of an APC smear campaign. The poor guy is innocent.

  4. Thanks for responding Patricia. I am patiently waiting for a communique from the Financial Crime Unit just like the one from the Chief Minister and Anti Corruption Unit. But for now I will personally treat it as a destructive propaganda against the Chief Minister who has spent most of his life to lecture on Peace and Security around the world. I hope and pray that the APC party will leave him in PERFECT PEACE to change our nation for the better.

  5. I would suggest you direct all your questions to the Financial Crime Unit who have been investigating the finances of our Chief Minister.

    But I also want to ask the government why the Chief Minister should allegedly have $1.5 million in his pocket, but the ordinary citizen should not transact any business in dollars or any other foreign currency. This is double standards.

    • Patricia, I hope I am not lost in this. I have checked and asked questions about the so called Financial Crimes Unit you are referring your readers to. The closest to it that I found is the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)- https://fiu.gov.sl/

      Be it was you want us to erroneously buy into your cheap propaganda, can you help us with the answers instead of referring us to a ghost institutions. The FIU I have been told is not investigating the Chief Minister or any of his siblings. So please, help us to get the answers to this important issue as it is about mama Salone.

  6. A hell of a thing fear can be,(lol)All the stratagems and tactics, the SLPP has used against me on this forum, because they just cannot cope has failed miserably and will continue to fail.(lol) An excruciatingly painful, hell of a thing fear is indeed! Rest assured my sincere, candid, attacks, crafted with laser-focused precision will intensify and not go away anytime soon.

    I’m just getting warmed up gentlemen!(lol) Hey, fearless young cubs, come and go, but Saidu is different, rare because he was born and bred in the dens of the most ferocious and merciless lions of the APC. Gigantic creatures that never retreat, surrender or back down. So you see, unlike you caterpillar, the blood that runs through my veins is red, not slimy, yucky, greenish hemocylom. (lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  7. Here we go – agents of the Criminal SLPP government, now insisting on knowing the confidential sources from which she got her credible information.(lmao) You can’t cover this one up or sweep it under a rug, no matter how hard you try. This is what happens to pretenders, to self-righteous, self conceited people. All their promotions in Life will end in humiliation and complete disgrace. What you had whispered quietly and privately with your corrupt Cabal,has now been made public (lol) A damn shame! These incompetent people do not know that – WALLS HAVE EARS! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  8. “Chief Minister says his sister gave him this money in installments that’s now amounted to $1.5 million. In that case, the sister should be investigated to make sure she is not laundering money. Where did she get that kind of money from? She MUST give account.”-Patricia

    Patricia – When and where did the chief Minister say that his sister gave him $1.5M? This is new and I would appreciate you to direct us to your source or reference. Or is it the adage “when you tell lies repeatedly it might hoodwink the weak minds that it is true?”

    The last time I checked, the Police and ACC reported that their findings indicate that Chief Minister does not operate an account with ECO Bank and that he has only a Credit card with them which he has not used or remitted with funds. I have an Apple Silver card even though Apple is not a banking institution. But it is supported by Visa and so I can use it anywhere where Visa cards are accepted as long as I remitted money into it?

    To Madam Blyden, the analogy you are drawing from the Government Transition Report which the Chief Minister co-authored and the journalist SMSing questions to the chief Minister at night demanding a true or false answer, or else he was going to Press does not correlate.

    The government Transition Report is a report on an audit of outgoing holders of public offices by the Transition Team. Because it is an audit report, it was recommended for a legal inquiry to be instituted to either corroborate or dismiss the audit findings. This culminated to the setting up of the COI.

    With the journalist, he said that he had information. However, he was not willing to share his information with the bodies constitutionally tasked with investigating such matters contained in his information. He did not find any witness, no effort to get a corroboration from the bank or a third party, rather he confronted the suspect directly with some “yes or no” multiple like question in an SMS – and you want to call that investigative Journalism?

    If the target who in this case is the Chief Minister alleges that this is not the first time that this journalist has tried this colophon like behavior. The Chief Ministers saw the situation as blackmail and he reported to the authorities charged with investigating blackmail. The Police are trained to carry out their job professionally. What they did is no business of the Chief Minister as long as his complaint has been investigated. And I hope an example would be set in this, as this is not how investigative journalism is conducted.

    So where is correlation in the two incidents? Fact Findings and blackmail is not the same madam.

  9. “Chief Minister says his sister gave him this money in installments that’s now amounted to $1.5 million.
    Patricia, where did you get this information from? Is it from your fake Facebook or WhatsApp page or forum? Because nothing of that is mentioned in either this credible newspaper, Radio Democracy or AYVTV. Can you please verify or substantiate that statement. Thanks.

  10. There you go – that mean-spirited, wicked, resentful attitude of SLPP supporters in full display. The Former minister said; “May God Almighty Forgive the Chief Minister,” Now that sounds like a brief,kindhearted,thoughtful, reflective prayer,doesn’t it? And then a Caterpillar dressed in green comes along and says the silliest thing ever spoken by any human being; “But until you ask for forgiveness from the people of Sierra Leone,for betraying their trust,the Almighty will not forgive you “(lmao)

    Sounds like the spokesman for the SLPP doesn’t know the difference between his knees and his elbows. Listen,Its not up to a Caterpillar to decide who the Almighty should,or should not forgive. In the bestowal of spiritual gifts,mercies,and consolations,there is no favouritism, discrimination,tribalisms,or marginalisation – everyone qualifies for Almighty God’s eternal mercy,and forgiveness;listen again; ” In him we have redemption,through his blood,the forgiveness of our trespasses,according to the riches of his grace.(Ephesians 1: 7)

    According to this verse,it was Christ Jesus who died for mankind,so that everyone can be forgiven by Almighty God for their mistakes,and sins. And remember,Christ has the final say,on all things Mercy,and forgiveness comes from him,not from a leaf chewing,plant gnawing,delusional Caterpillar dressed in green(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Saidu Conteh, to be honest I am most of the time lost in your post. I am lost not because of sophistication but because of the rambling and incoherence that have nothing to do with the topic under discussion. Can you try to stick to the point and topic so that the thread can remain meaningful?

      I know the first person who made that name Saidu popular was incoherent and always rambling his words until he was driven out of that important office. But this is an interesting forum created by our good-hearted brother ART for all of us to contribute, learn and share ideas. Rambling should be the last thing expected here.

  11. Fighting corruption in Sierra Leone especially in the mining sector. What a shame. Dont blame chief minister; blame Sierra Leone. We are the children of the proud kono district; most of us don’t even know what is a diamond. Pa siaka sell our land to the NDMC; after to the lebanese business men. So stop the stupidity and hypocrisy. May God bless sierra leone.

  12. Indeed,Almighty God will continue to show his mercies, of that I am quite sure,because,with the Master of creation,who sits unchallenged on his tremendous throne “the quality of mercy is not strained,but droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven,upon the place beneath” (William Shakespeare). That place beneath he was referring to centuries ago, perfectly fits our corrupt,tribalistic Sierra Leone today.Since this criminal SLPP government came to power,disguised as priests and religious monks,all they have done is harass,bully,and intimidate the opposition APC. True.

    Instead of celebrating with smiles,handshakes, laughter,and joy for a smooth transfer of power,that they received at the hands of the APC,they came belligerently like guerrilla fighters,frothing at their mouths with guns drawn,ready for war.The Chief Minister,followed by Bio’s handpicked stooge Kaifala, are the ones leading the mindless assault against the APC; And heaven knows these two good for nothings are gravely in need of copious,ceaseless showers in divine mercy.

    So many families have been torn apart,ruined,shattered to unfixable pieces like broken glass,by Sierra Leone’s power hungry, questionable, tribalistic Chief Minister. Didn’t the Professor know that karma is the most merciless,and ruthless of all hunters? That it is unrelenting, and tireless in its pursuit of Justice, like a lioness,whose young cub,has been brutally killed by the hands of poachers? Well,now you know – knock, knock! Whose there? Karma! Karma who? Karma that y’all know is a…..(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  13. The last time I checked, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, gender and children affairs exposed her boss the then Minister Dr. Sylva Blyden of massive corruption and abuse of office. The only thing Chief Minister has done is to give you an opportunity to defend yourself. But until you ask for forgiveness from the people of Sierra Leone for betraying their trust, the Almighty will not forgive you.

  14. oh, sorry for me the whole affair is very mysterious. When will the truth come to light? But again the action against this journalist is no glory for a country with a democratic claim.

  15. According to Professor Francis, ‘he has built his reputation over several decades through hardwork, integrity, humility, transparency and high moral values”. Well if you say so Sir. But I heard differently; anyway that’s another story for another day.

    Chief Minister says his sister gave him this money in installments that’s now amounted to $1.5 million. In that case, the sister should be investigated to make sure she is not laundering money. Where did she get that kind of money from? She MUST give account.

    Also if Chief Minister cares so much about his intergrity and his beloved country, when his ‘sister’ contacts him and says she wants to send him this amount of money, he should have refused point blank, because it looks very very suspicious. If she sent it to his bank account in the UK, the UK government will investigate and probe her to trace how she came about such a huge sum of money. And they will not stop until the truth is found and they are satisfied.

    Anyway I do not believe this sister story. I say this because there was a video done of Professor Francis, making a speech sometime this year. He said if you have a $100 million contract to do roads, make sure you do the road, and if you keep $1 million for yourself, ‘no to bad tin’. That is terrible. In fact it is theft. If something does not belong to you, you have no right to take it.

    Let us see what will become of the investigation in SL.

Tell us about your views

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.