Over $500,000 withdrawn from Sierra Leone government’s bank account to pay for President Bio and his wife’s trip to New York

Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, Matthew Anderson, and Mark Feldman: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 September 2022:

Details on bank transfers and withdrawal records from the President’s Office in Freetown show that over US$500, 000 was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) to allegedly fund personal expenses of the country’s president, Julius Maada Bio, who is currently visiting New York for this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Africanist Press discovered that five transactions amounting to US$513,073 were processed between 2nd and 14th September 2022 by officials in the President’s Office, the Ministry of Finance, and the Bank of Sierra Leone for the President’s trip to New York. Official records state that the funds would be used on hotel bills, transportation costs, and per diems for the President and First Lady while visiting New York.

The five transactions included three international wire transfers totalling US$353,346 and processed diversely between 2nd September 2022 and 13th September 2022. In addition, two cash withdrawals amounting to US$159,727 were also processed on 14th September 2022 as per diems for President Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio.

Bank records reviewed by Africanist Press show that on 2nd September 2022 alone, two transactions amounting to US$215,769 were processed in separate amounts of US$107,884.50 each and transferred to New York.

The first amount was sent to New York through the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB), while the second amount was processed through Standard Chartered Bank – South Africa (SCB/SAF).

Both transactions – in amounts of US$107,884.50 each – were processed as payments for “hotel accommodation, transportation, feeding, and hall rentals for the President, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.”

Africanist Press also found that on 13th September 2022, another US$137, 577.94 was likewise processed and transferred to New York, also through the FRB. This transaction was similarly processed as “payment to cover costs for event to launch Sierra Leone’s campaign for Security Council seat.”

Thus, we discovered that between 2nd September 2022 and 13th September 2022, a total of US$349,346.94 in three separate bank transfers were sent to New York by the Bank of Sierra Leone to allegedly pay for the President and First Lady’s hotels, transportation, food, and other costs associated with UNGA meetings.

In addition to the three bank transfers, Africanist Press also noted that two additional cash withdrawal transactions amounting to US$159,727 were processed on 14th September 2022 by BSL officials as per diems for the President and First Lady. The transactions include an amount of US$94,700 for President Bio and another US$65,027 for First Lady Fatima Bio.

Overall, Africanist Press found that an aggregate amount of US$513,073 was withdrawn from the Bank of Sierra Leone between 2nd September 2022 and 14th September 2022 in relation to the President’s trip to New York for UNGA meetings.
We note also that these transactions do not include funds transferred for chartered flights and other costs associated with the President’s travel to New York for the UNGA meeting.

UNGA is an annual gathering that brings together world leaders and policy makers at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss a broad spectrum of global issues. This year’s gathering is scheduled from 17th – 25th September 2022 and will be the first in-person meeting post Covid-19.

Sierra Leone recently launched a bid for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a position once held by the country in the early 1970s. The UNSC is one of six UN organs responsible for maintaining global peace and security.

 

3 Comments

  1. This unending systematic depletion of our finances by those who govern us is astonishing. On what planet do our kleptocrat of a president and his administration think they live? Is our country an Eldorado where money is in abundant, limitless supply?

    Think of the good schools, hospitals and road infrastructure – so cruelly lacking in our country – that we could have if we used these colossal sums of money to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

    n June this year, the Africanist Press reported how the sum of nearly one hundred thousand British pounds surreptitiously wound its way to London for Bio’s personal use. This report of five hundred thousand US dollars being used to cover the costs of attendance at the UN General Assembly meeting this year confirms further a pattern of insane and sustained profligacy within government circles.

    It is a pattern of large-scale corruption and financial criminality. And the perpetrators act with impunity; they are answerable to no one, using their positions of authority to do as they like. This madding extravagance is state capture par excellence. The ball is now in the court of Sierra Leonean voters. We must ditch Bio and his fellow kleptocrats at the polls next year if we want to save our country from certain financial ruin

  2. This is the same President who declared that the coffers were empty upon taking office. Is this the same President who accused the APC of ‘spending money like drunken sailors’? Sierra Leone needs serious prayers for the right leader that will transform the lives of our people.

    Galivanting all around the world in the name of bringing in investors is not the way to go. Serious Investors do not just invest for sentimental reasons but do so firmly focused on their return on investment. Any serious President will focus on developing and creating the right and conducive environment.

    It is clear that this President is running a traveling scam whilst trying to build his battered image. It is now left with the voters to decide in 2023.

  3. This September month is the silly session events of the United Nations General Assembly where all the good and great of world leaders gather to chastise and praised the worthy and not so worthy of praise of political leaders around the world .Bio our President who have never shy away from attending this sort of international events , has once again taken the opportunity to travel to New York , even though his presence in this garthing of the great and not so great , will have very little effects on the domestic problems facing our country , nevermind the African continent . The war in Ukraine, have dominated the agenda at the UN General assembly .Meanwhile , millions of Africans are dying through wars , famines , hunger and diseases .Bio is like an owl waiting for someone to shake the trees so he can jump on the opportunity to fly away .He seemed to be running away from the cost of living crises he and his government have helped to created, by pursuing tried and tested failed economic policies that never took off the ground .One thing that is clear this jet setting president , that is clinically addicted to clocking air mileage ,from one airport to the other , have produce zero results for our country .At last year’s Glasgow COP 26 climate change, conference , Bio has to cut short his stay to return to the fuel tanker tragedy that hits our nation in which more than hundred young people lost their lives .Recently ,during the cost of living demonstration Bio was in London. Again he has to cut short his stay and return to Sierra Leoen , because at the time he feared his government might just be given the booth by his the military .Hence the reshuffling of the decks of the Military hierarchy .Once he felt confident he gate crashed the
    inauguration ceremony of the Kenyan Peesident William Ruto. The first remote control president we have elected .I hope he was listening to Joe Biden’s speech .The US will not stand by and allow autocratic goverments abuse the rule of law and the fundamental human rights of their citizens .At the end of day , the economic mess Boi helped to create will still be waiting for him at Lungi International airport .My advice to Mr President is to cut down on his air travels and try and address the real cost of living crisis facing our people in Sierra Leone .His presence in New York is just like his ab

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