Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 March 2021:
Africanist Press editors – Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, Matthew Anderson, and Mark Feldman last night published another shocking report of alleged unbridled corruption and abuse of office by president Bio and his wife Mrs Fatima Bio.
According to this latest expose by the Africanist press, the “Sierra Leone President, Julius Maada Bio, and his wife, Fatima Jabbe Bio, collectively withdrew a total of over Le30 billion Leones (more than US$3 million) from the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL), the country’s central bank, for alleged travel expenses in fiscal year 2020 alone, despite bans on international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic”.
“The Africanist Press discovered that the more than Le30 billion included a cumulative Le8,684,733,037 (over US $868,000) withdrawn by the President and Le1,847,601,064 (over US$184,00) by Madam Fatima Bio, all in foreign currencies. Two presidential aides, Musa K. Jajua and Mohamed S. Bayoh, withdrew a total of Le11,368,330,000 (over US$1 million). In addition, two SWIFT wire transfers totaling Le2,387,719,500 (about US$238,000) were allegedly used to pay Davis and Dann Limited (a private air charter service company) for round-trip airfare to Lebanon, and another cash withdrawal in foreign currency of over US$400,000”.
According to the authors of the report, “President Bio was elected on a promise to enforce fiscal discipline, and reduce waste and graft in public spending, including reductions in foreign travel by public officials.”
The report reminding that “President Bio announced in Parliament on May 10, 2018, during his state opening address: “My government will develop and introduce a standardized overseas travel policy for the public service and covering all categories of workers, including government ministers as part of additional expenditure control measures”.”
“An internal memo dated August 1, 2019, from the Office of the President addressed to all heads of government ministries, agencies, and departments announced a temporary freeze on overseas travel by public officials: “The President has directed that with immediate effect all ministers, ministers of state, deputy ministers and all other public servants should not embark on official overseas trips, except for statutory engagements, until further notice. Participation at statutory meetings must be cleared with His Excellency the President on the submission of concurrence for the use of public funds,” wrote Secretary to the President Julius Sandy on August 1, 2019.”
“However, despite these public pronouncements and promises, President Bio and his wife spent much of the first two years in office making frequent trips to Europe and Asia, drawing public criticism on the purposes and significance of these travels. Critics of the President say the number of overseas trips is now over 70 international trips in two years, a record that exceeds any sitting president of Sierra Leone since the end of the country’s civil war in 2002.
“Towards the end of 2019, however, Jacob Jusu Saffa – Bio’s finance minister – proposed a new legislative provision to grant President Bio unregulated access to travel money. The Finance Ministry’s Finance Amendment Act of 2020 called for an amendment to Section 65 of the 2016 Public Financial Management Act, which is the law that regulates government travel expenditure. The amendment substituted the law with a new provision that would have allowed Bio unregulated access to travel money. Section 42 of the proposed 2020 Finance Act requested Parliament to approve the new legislative provision for non-accountable use of travel funds by the President and his deputy for all international travels. The proposed law specifically provides in Section 42(5) for “non-accountable imprest to be provided for daily international travel expenses, excluding purchase of tickets incurred by the President and Vice President.”
“The first transaction on that day was an outward SWIFT (international wire) payment (FT2024015064) of Le1.088,781,100.00 (about US$108,800) made to a private air charter service company, Davis and Dann Limited as cost for a chartered aircraft from Lungi International Airport to Beirut. The second transaction (TT2024066186) was a cash withdrawal of US$410,000 (Le4,058,184,100.00) by the president on that same day – August 27, 2020 – allegedly for medical bills.”
You can read more on this latest Africanist Press (AP) report here, and take a look at the documentary evidence published by AP:
Dr Sorie Tunkara – It is only a thoughtful man with an impeccable insight that would be able to utter those shrewd heartfelt words of yours. I thank you for your kind encouraging words Sir. Indeed, I am one of those empathetic people who care deeply about the welfare of others especially people with disabilities unable to fend for themselves. In the United States of America and other advanced countries in the world the economic,social,moral and financial provisions that have been put in place to cater for the needs of citizens with disabilities have been more than sufficient to transform, sustain and restore human dignity,independence and honor that have been lost in attitudes of abuse and stigmatization perpetrated against people with disabilities.
It totally breaks my heart and shatters my spirit to fragments to see that in Sierra Leone there are no such provisions and considerations for those shackled in tears of pain and agony by their physical and mental setbacks. The same thing applies to ordinary people striving to make ends meet in a harsh, unforgiving terrain like Sierra Leone – I have many family members, neighbours and friends that are very productive market women, tailors, carpenters, barbers and food vendors and I care about their wellbeing very deeply.
So you see Sir, it bothers and angers me whenever I hear about all these rampant thefts going on by our leaders holding positions of authority and trust – Sincerely, I don’t care if you are APC or SLPP – If we are able to find solid evidence of corrupt practices against anyone holding a public office as the Africanist Press has done; Be rest assured folks, there will be hell to pay.
They should be more concerned about these revelations than any other rhetoric about the Mayor.
Whosoever has been freely granted permission by our humble people to possess the reins of Power in Sierra Leone,that has grabbed it with both hands like a prey seized by the firm tightening claws of an Eagle,if they be found unworthy of holding such high positions of power,authority and influence because of any questionable criminal attitudes involving allegations of rampant thefts and blatant abuse of power should be duly reminded that betraying the trust of our poor people struggling to make ends meet is an unforgivable crime that equals Treason in its most appalling and alarming forms.
And he that proudly holds the keys to the livelihoods of the poor that is found guilty of causing the blind beggar to roam aimlessly for want of a guide,that has also wickedly allowed the crippled person to crawl like a snail towards a place of sustenance and hope under the scorching unforgiving African sun must also remember that it is benevolence not exploitation that opens wide the imposing majestic gates of Omnipotent Heaven so that all of Almighty God’s children would enter into his rest.
And to those living in denial who wave off abuses against the innocent like a barber brushing off unwanted hair from a client,I say to you,there will be no thieves anywhere becoming armed robbers,and no good leaders transforming themselves into ruthless Dictators if only you had a mouth that speaks the truth,eyes to see clearly and ears to listen to small inaudible noises of sincerity and hope.Stop the STEALING in STATE HOUSE Sierra Leone does not belong to any of you.(lol)
Mr Stargazer – Allow me to quickly say that it is with the great admiration I have been quietly observing your consistent efforts to always highlight the plight of poor disadvantaged people and many others who are suffering from mental and physical disabilities in Sierra Leone.Your inspiring references to the challenges being encountered by ordinary market women,street vendors and carpenters remind me that those among us who have already achieved success and our desired breakthroughs in our lives should never forget about others who are less fortunate we have left behind still struggling to survive.
Yours words of empathy have convinced me that you are someone that cares very deeply about the welfare of others – seems to me that the health,happiness and prosperity of poor people is always on your mind.And let me quickly add also that your words of empathy reinforces the true message and renewing spirit of the season of Easter that emphasizes and encourages the need to show genuine affection and appreciation not only to those closest to us but to outsiders also.
I thank you sincerely for your attention and wish all the members of this forum,Abdul and the noble Sierra Leone Telegraph a Happy and memorable Easter.
It all sounds and looks like a scene out of a Cowboy movie; A Potbelly wannabe Cowboy wearing a shiny belt buckle and tight fitting jeans and a renegade partner galloping into the night after going on an eventful robbery spree;The man in State House is a trickster that has been playing his cards very well,he played everyone for suckers in our gullible Sierra Leone except us, “The Sit Tight Crew.” My home boys and myself saw their shady game coming a long time ago,even though it was wrapped up in a nice bouquet of flowers as they advocated for change in government and an end to corruption. (lol) It was a cunning ploy equalling a shrewd magicians trick where he shows an object gets you fixated on it then transforms it into something totally different from what you believed it was supposed to be.
The good news – People of Sierra Leone you are still breathing and alive; The heartbreaking bad news – they played y’all for suckers;Yup, played you like a fiddle,jumped over you like a hurdle,trampled on you without regret like a puddle of mud until they finally achieved their ultimate goal – assuming the reins of power in my beautiful Sierra Leone. Brazen thieves are in positions of power; It is only in Sierra Leone that you will see a Shoe Shine Boy become a Minister and a President of the State; Now you tell me: what does a Shoe Shine Boy that used to shine military boots until they reflected like spanking new mirrors for extra rations of food know about sustainable governance?(lmao)
Since he was presented with US state department international Anti – Corruption Champion, and his new role in the African Union advisory board on corruption, on the 4th of February 2021,I think the focus of the ACC commissioner, Mr. Khalifa, and the zeal at which he was fighting corruption in Sierra Leone has all but been compromised . All indications shows, his efforts have ran out of steam or hit the buffers. Bio knew exactly what he was doing, when he nominated him. More like he was trying to avoid the headwinds of corruption cases heading his way, as alleged by The Africanist Press . It was too close to home. This allegations are damaging to public confidence in governance. Since Bio staked his claim on the fight against corruption in Sierra leone as his top priority, what has gone wrong?
He should take a leaf from the new Tanzanian president Mrs Samia Suluhu Hassan, that sacked a government official for being named as corrupt in an audit report. And she’d only been in the job less than a week. More like she is carrying the Anti Corruption baton she inherited from late president John Magufuli. So if corrupt Tanzanian officials thought they are going to have an easy ride with her, they should think again. Or the South African, President Cyril Ramaphosa, that issued a warning, anyone within his government or a member of the ANC party accused of corruption should resign. Why can’t Bio take such stand? These corruption allegations are not the best postcard to send to the outside world to attract foreign direct investments in our country. Guilty or not. The Africanist Press have let the cat out of the bag.
Now whether it was by accident or design, the ACC that used to update the general public about cases in their files has suddenly gone cold. International financial institutions should really take a close look and see where the debt burden that has been acquired on behalf of all Sierra Leoneans is really being spent to meet the needs of our people. One just have to look at Susan Bay, to realised we are not getting value for money. Instead monies loaned to the country through international financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank, has been laundered to private bank accounts of corrupt politicians. Our country is shackled in balloons of debt. Whichever government comes after, they have to repay. Western governments should help Sierra Leone fight corruption by imposing travel or visa restrictions on politicians accused of stealing from the state.
Do Bio and his wife realise that with this unending cascade of allegations of financial impropriety, or rather, criminality being made against them, they are fast becoming even in the eyes of their non-partisan fellow countrymen a couple involved in a feeding frenzy resulting in their gorging themselves to bursting point on their nation’s very life blood – its very limited financial resource? Are they so disconnected from the material hardship those they govern face day by day that they are unable to imagine for a moment that their vampirism may well trigger a complete national economic meltdown, threatening in the process the very political power they wield and that allows them to have so free a hand with the nation’s finances? If I were they, I would not take the people of Sierra Leone for granted.
Indeed it would be to Bio’s advantage to remember that President Momoh’s time in power came abruptly and unceremoniously to an end when he Bio and other soldiers from the rebel war front felt at the time that enough was enough and took it upon themselves to bring change to our country’s political destiny. We should all pray that the democratic institutions and processes that have risen from the ashes of the decade-long, national soul-destroying civil war are here for good. Nothing, I repeat, nothing should put those processes and institutions at risk, and hopefully if the couple do not mend their financially wasteful ways, the institutions and processes will allow the nation to see the back of them in 2023.
However, there is no way of predicting what may or may not happen before then. A nation’s political trajectory in Africa is still constantly fluid, and a leader’s insatiable greed and its resultant neglect of the needs of his people may well lead to his untimely departure from power. I wish the President and his wife well, hoping they will in the wake of the shocking revelations made by the Africanist Press, put from now onwards the welfare of the people of Sierra Leone first and their own personal desires and inclinations last. In so doing, they will save our people and themselves unpleasant surprises.
This is the worst time for the enemies, the 2023 victory alarm cracking like a thunder storm, that’s why all grumbles coming from all corners. President Bio is a no nonsense President that’s the fact. This man has stopped and blocked all mortgage payments abroad, now the sleepless calling him names; thanks Allah today. They used to call him a “Ghanian”. I don’t actually understand how people will just wake up in the morning, started fabricating stories without fearing their Almighty God, why would you just lie on an innocent man instead of saying “thanks to him for his sacrifice” for your country?
How dare you not to respect your President or leader in your own country? I can understand your frustration because, this president gave no loop hole for the corrupt people – period. All these are the work of APC. They ruled for 26 years, and another 11 years, why the APC party people think like they are the only ones that have right to rule? Bio is going to get his second term easily by the power of God. You can call this man whatever. Bio is among the brave men and women to give birth to our “DEMOCRACY”. God bless Sierra Leone and it’s people.
I wondered what Sierra Leoneans were thinking when they voted an unemployed man for over 25 years. The president is just looking after number one and it is true that one rule for himself and other rule for the rest of his ministers.
“My government will develop and introduce a standardized overseas travel policy for the public service and covering all categories of workers, including government ministers as part of additional expenditure control measures,” President Bio announced in Parliament on May 10, 2018, during his state opening address. What a hypocrite of a president? Now we know that they only came into politics to milk the nation dry.
Where is the New Direction? I hope the international community that handed power to Bio to achieve regime change are watching whats happening here in Sierra Leone. This government is the most corrupt we have ever had in this country. We cannot have another term of a Bio government. This tribalistic government are bleeding us dry and the international community are helping them. So sad.
The people of Sierra Leonean know who this man is; what he is capable of doing. He took Sierra Leonean money to Ghana and later come back with his wife to hide the people’s money in another country. God will fight the battle for the people one day.
Gentlemen – for those of you still struggling to know what today’s real super heroes look like,the search is finally over – the Editors of the Africanist Press,Mr Chernoh Alpha Bah,Mark Feldman,and Matthew Anderson are the REAL DEAL.There are no words that would be enough to express our heartfelt thanks to them for their tireless efforts to expose the shady dealings of a criminal SLPP government currently in Power.This is too hard to swallow – I will be right back.(lol)