Political tension in Freetown as opposition leader is questioned by Anti-Corruption Commission

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 05 November 2021:

The central business district of Freetown is much quieter this morning after heightened tension yesterday, when supporters of the main opposition APC party took to the streets in support of their 2018 presidential candidate – Dr Samura Mathew Kamara who yesterday was invited to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to answer allegations of involvement in the theft of millions of dollars earmarked for the renovation of the Sierra Leone consular building in New York.

Supporters of Samura Kamara are accusing the ACC of witch-hunt. According to reports, ministers, and officials in the current SLPP government have not been held accountable for the missing funds which supporters of Samura say disappeared under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio.

Accusations of partisanship and cherry-picking against the ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala is growing amid calls for his sacking. His critics say that he has been compromised by his close relationship with the president and his membership of the ruling SLPP party.

With hundreds of armed police on the streets of Freetown yesterday, supporters of Samura were defiant as they formed a ring around the vehicle escorting Samura to the ACC office, where they stayed until the end of his interrogation and was then released.

Samura says he is innocent, and that the reason for what he refers to as harassment by the ACC is because the ruling SLPP and president Bio want to take him out of the presidential race slated for 2023.

“Dr. Samura Kamara is as innocent as a dove.  In a bid to taint and smear the hard-won reputation of one of Sierra Leone’s finest, credible, sincere, honest and diligent Statemen by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Dr. Samura Kamara who’s committed in promoting Peace , Democracy and the Rule of Law has again availabled himself at the ACC to continue to show and manifest to  the world that he’s as innocent as a dove, and his commitment in fighting against corruption remains unhindered.

“After series of questioning by the ACC, Dr. Samura Kamara’s innocence has clearly manifested today, and  thus, he has been released. The desperate attempt by Ben Kaifala and cohorts to assassinate the good reputation of Dr. Samura will never and ever come to pass.  This is a democracy. Bring the others to book if you’re really serious in fighting corruption,” Samura Kamara communications team said yesterday.

 

This is the statement published by the police yesterday:

“Police Headquarters notes with dismay the habit of politicians to galvanise vulnerable supporters especially youths to demonstrate or protest on their behalf whenever they are required to appear before legally constituted investigating bodies like Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Police or the courts. The Sierra Leone Police wishes it to be known that such assemblies or protests are unlawful and thus infringe on the rights of other peaceful citizens.

“The SLP wishes to reiterate that Sierra Leone is a country of laws and that it stands ready to execute such laws without fear or favour. Henceforth, the general public is hereby warned that such assemblies or protests are banned and anyone caught partaking in them will be arrested and prosecuted. You have been warned.”

7 Comments

  1. The erudite Kenyan professor Dr Lumumba was wrote and I quote “in Japan, when people are found wanting for corruption, they hang themselves, in China, they are killed, and in Europe, they are jail. Unfortunately in Africa, they present themselves for election.
    When this issue about our diplomatic building In New York came up, several persons in the present regime and former regime where named. They have all been interviewed and released. Why Dr. Samura would rally APC supporters to disrupt normal business activities is beyond imagination.
    Parlo Conteh did a similar thing in 2019 only to end up reaching a settlement with the ACC by paying back some of the monies he was investigated for.

  2. As a nation called Sierra Leone, we are the only country in the face of this planet that citizens rises up to demonstrate in favour of those persons or individuals accused of corruption. In more enlighten societies, like Togo, DRC, Uganda, South Africa, Lebanon, Ukrainian, Indonesia, Russia, the United States, Black Lives Matter movement, against police corruption, the UK against stop and search which overwhelming targets black youths , in Nigeria against police brutality,and corrupt police officers, France the capital of demonstrations, where with the drop of a hat concerning any subject under the sun, French citizens are out in the streets making their voices heard. And many other places around the world , who have their citizens heads screwed on and knows exactly what is expected of their political leaders, and will demonstrate to hold their public servants to account. But for us Sierra Leoneans, tribalism, regionalism and party affiliations seem to trumpet everything else.

    We prefer to live in porverty and defend corruption and corrupt public officials than raise hell against corruption,so all corrupt public officials knows the Sierra Leonean public will not tolerate it any longer . We are sick to the teeth of corruption and corrupt public officials. That we want a better life for ourselves and our children and future generations to come. Nowadays judging by this scenes it doesn’t look like that. What this APC demonstrators have shown seemed to say, even if our families are buried knee deep in poverty, and can’t afford one square meal a day, or cloth our young, and live in a pan body, with pigs, or the slums of Kroobay, Susan’s Bay,Government Wharf, or Devil Hole, , we will put on our best Sunday dresses to defend corrupt politicians that put us in such wretched circumstances. No one is suggesting Dr Samura is guilty of corruption,we have to take him by his words, that is just the public perception and response to corruption allegations against their own kit and kin.

    We ever wondered why we can’t fight corruption, and corrupt public officials like some of Bio’s handpicked government ministers or fomer APC government ministers that think they can steal from the public purse and get away with it look no further. They will do it because there is no public backlash against their corrupt ways. Back in the 1980s an American Ambassador remarked Sierra Leoneans are the easiest people’s to rule. In other words, we Sierra Leoneans don’t know how to fight for our best interest. Our corrupt politicians knows this. Ben Kalifala the ACC commissioner knows it too. That is why he pursue corruption cases that only fits his agenda. Ultimately, through his actions or the lack of it, Stoke the fires of division in our country. Under those circumstances, we will never able to get rid of of corruption in Sierra Leonean society. More like we are banging our head against a corruption brick wall.

  3. Thanks to the Almighty God, the one that created all of us, proportioned us, and also balanced us in whatever form He willed and assembled us the ways He like. My good respectable fellow noble people and readers, this country is going bad. The whole world watching sierra Leone, let me ask this simple question, who’s above the law of the land in this country?. I believed that we have three arms of government (a) The legislatures (b) the Executive (c) and the Judiciary. With all these makings of the laws, amendment and interpreting, who is above all this?. Are we laughing at ourselves?.
    Dr. Samura Kamara was invited individually alone to the “ACC” building to clear himself of the alleged allegation against him, is that a crime?, was he invited with his supporters to create violence? where is the rule of law then?. In the year 2020, the former president H.E. the life chairman Ernest Bai Koroma was invited on the same issue, the response was a violence, APC think you that this country run by a violence party again? we are tired of war, this is unheard of. Have a look, what is going on in South Africa, when “Zuma” was indicted and the process is ongoing, what is wrong with the constitution if Dr. Samura Kamara being accused by wrongdoing if he is respectively invited to clear himself to the authority?.
    This is a wake-up call for the other APC contenders comes 2023, especially Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana of Tumbudu. Stay tune….

  4. It is pathetic that Africans adore their politicians like demigods, and refuse to hold them accountable for their misdeeds. In the West, the law is supreme, and even a former president can stand trial and be found guilty without a demonstration by his supporters. In Africa, the people encourage politicians to practice corruption and misadministration.

    Alf-Paul Aruna (APA)

  5. This disgraceful behaviour of APC supporters cannot be dismissed as angry mob of Dr Samura ‘s supporters that came out to support him as he visited the office of the ACC in the hope answering allegations of corruption, in refrence of the refurbishment of the Sierra Leone Chancery in New York. To the outside observer, it might look like a spontaneous decision by his supporters to come out, and support him in his hours of need. But given the levels of political polarisation and the failure of Ben Kalifala the ACC commissioner to look into similar allegations of some members of the Bio government, it is clear to see where this is leading our country to .

    If this disgraceful secenes that appears to be highly organised, choreographed, and synchronised, with majority of the APC supporters decked in party uniforms and carrying placards, they most have been made aware that Dr Samura will be visiting the ACC headquarters to answer to this allegations of corruption,which by the way he strenuously denied. Or who in their right mind will ware APC or SLPP party colours as their pyjamas.? I don’t care who you are, if you are tried and found guilty of misappropriating public funds you should be punish and forfeit your assets. At the same time we have to respect what the law states “An man is inocent until proven guilty”. So far this are allegations so is nothing to get hot under the collar for. The finger of blame will be pointed at this APC supporters, but that is not to give Ben Kalifala, and his boss Bio a clean bill of health.

    When it comes to investigating corruption allegations, Ben Kalifala claimed to be blind like a bat, but we all know he will never investigate some of Bio’s handpicked ministers accused of allegations. And this is where the anger of this peoples are firmly rooted. The fairness of the justice of the injustice that only applies to fomer APC or high ranking public officials. If the pope is guilty of corruption we should try him. Period. One rule for one set of people and a different rule for the rest of us. Our country will never able to fight corruption. The foot dragging from the ACC needs to stop.

  6. No surprise based on the fact that after the humiliating defeat which Samura Kamara suffered in the 2018 presidential election, he promised to “cause all sorts of problems”. President Bio even prepared the nation by stating that “Corruption will fight back” I hope the security forces will continue to protect the lives and properties of our citizens while the Anti Corruption Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala is continuing his constitutional mandate to hold any corrupt officials accountable. I believe that the other alleged corruption officials who are also part of the investigation have cooperated quietly without inciting our citizens, but unfortunately the APC are bent on “making our country ungovernable”.

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