Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 February 2015
It is very disheartening that the Auditor-General’s report released on Thursday, February 12, 2015, has highlighted an indefensible mismanagement of Ebola funds by your government. (Photo: Alie Kabba)
Every Sierra Leonean, regardless of party affiliation should be outraged that official corruption in your administration, this low and tawdry, is still going on at a time when this disease has ravaged our country and killed many innocent citizens.
What is particularly disturbing is that, instead of taking muscular action to show your disgust at this corrosive corruption by your government, you have shoved the audit report to your rubber stamp Parliament, where it will be throttled and buried.
Mr. President I urge you to use all legal means at your disposal to ensure that the Le7 billion in Ebola funds that have either not been properly accounted for, or just straight up pilfered by your thieving government officials, is returned to the national coffers.
It is not their money. It is the people’s money! Those who steal this money, which should rightly have gone toward saving lives in this unfolding Ebola tragedy, must know that it is blood money that they have tampered with.
I plead with you, Mr. President, to make sure that this crime that has once more tarnished our country does not go unpunished, and that your friends, associates and relatives who have anything to do with this daylight robbery-at-the-grave, do not go scot-free, as did those in the NASSIT rotten ferry fiasco. (Photo: Is president Koroma truly sorry for mismanaging the country’s affairs?)
I implore you to fight for the honour of our country by making sure that the Ebola funds are returned ASAP.
This can only happen when you take ultimate responsibility for the rampant corruption of your ministers and associates, because it is you who appointed them in the first place, at your pleasure, as you always say with flourish in your official appointment announcements.
Mr. President, the ghosts of Ebola victims will not rest until you assume your responsibility to rectify this, as it all happened under your watch.
I appeal to you to launch a thorough investigation not just for the Le27 billion that has vanished with impunity, but also of the Le57 billion that was seemingly disbursed with documentation.
Let the people be assured that no law was subverted in the disbursement of a single Leone, by nepotism or the corrupt networks that are bedevilling our country’s developmental goals.
Mr. President, the audit report covers only six months of funding by the Ministry of Health. It did not cover the hundreds of millions of dollars donated by our international partners, nor did it cover the billions of Leones that were donated by fellow Sierra Leoneans.
Please do your due diligence to ensure that the country gets a complete and truthful accounting of all these monies. The pictures of you sitting in your office at State House, lovingly collecting donations from individuals and businesses, are very touching.
These funds were given to you in trust for our people; it is your fiduciary responsibility to ensure appropriate use of the funds and to account for every last penny.
I entreat you, in the name of patriotism and love for country, to please be forthright and account for all the money. People died in this Ebola catastrophe, Mr. President. Loved ones left too soon, and were buried without dignity.
Every region, ethnicity and party has been affected. Schools, colleges and university have been shut down and students deprived of their education. Businesses shut down and many went bankrupt, but through all this the country persevered and our people held on.
To think that your government presided over such ignoble corruption with money that should have gone to the Ebola response is a depressing day indeed for our country.
I hope that you will do the right thing for our country and the memory of our people who have been snatched away from us by Ebola.
The sad thing is that, even as your corrupt government functionaries live in luxury off this detestable exploitation, a resurgence of the disease has caused 700 homes to be quarantined in Aberdeen today. Clearly, the Ebola battle is not yet over.
Mr. President, I hope that you will own up to your fiduciary responsibility and do the right thing, and that all the Ebola funds, from domestic and international sources will be accounted for with full transparency.
I assure you that this matter will not disappear from public discourse until we get a full and honest accounting of the Ebola money. This is money that should never have been tampered with by anyone representing your government.
Your Humble Private Citizen,
US President Barack Obama
US Secretary of State John Kerry
Congressman G. K. Butterfield, Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus
Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman , House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Africa and Global Health