Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 July 2021:
President Dr Julius Maada Bio yesterday departed Sierra Leone for London, where he will be attending the Global Education Summit: Financing GPE 2021-2025, scheduled for 28 – 29 July.
The President is attending the world’s biggest education conference on the invitation of British Prime Minister – Boris Johnson and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of Kenya, who are both co-hosting the Summit this year.
According to State House in Freetown, President Bio is one of few Heads of State invited because of his efforts in increasing access to education through the Free Quality Education Programme and breaking down gender barriers to increase girls’ enrolment in schools in the last three years.
Since its inception in 2002, the Global Partnership for Education has already contributed to getting 160 million more children in school and doubling girls’ enrolment in the countries they work in.
This year’s summit will raise funds for the Global Partnership in Education which last year launched a £5 billion funding target for the next five years calling on governments, businesses and individuals to invest in the future of children. The funding will ensure that 175 million children can learn in 87 lower-income million countries.
President Bio is accompanied by the First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio and family.
But critics are accusing the president of wasting public funds the people of Sierra Leone could ill-afford. One commentator said: “President Julius Maada Bio has done it again – lying and deceiving the people of Sierra Leone. President Bio chattered a private plane (Jet) and traveled to London, UK on Sunday 25th July for a week with his wife and children just to attend a virtual meeting. It costs the people of Sierra Leone for the Lineage Private Jet Charter Flight so that President Bio and his family can travel to London, the total sum of $300 000 (Le3Billion). This amount doesn’t include the 5 Star Hotel bills, food and other spending logistics for the president, his family and Twelve (12) entourage. Not to mention the daily per diem for the week travel. The total cost for the President Bio mini vacation at this dire moment is $520,000 (Le5Billion & 300Million Leones).
“I am putting up a challenge to President Bio and his government to publicly publish the cost of his trip to the UK of they want to dispute this amount of Le5.3Billion ($520,000). The people of Sierra Leone will be the Judges in the upcoming 2023 elections to decide if you serve them well. Please see evidence of the flight used, virtual meeting invitation, and fees associated with the charter of this flight.”