Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 July 2018:
Reactions from the opposition APC party to the publication of the Governance Transition Team report by the SLPP government of president Julius Maada Bio, may seem disjointed, uncoordinated and incoherent, but today the former Attorney General Joseph Franklyn Kamara has spoken out.
Writing in a public statement he had sent to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, Joseph Kamara pointed out what he calls serious flaws and inaccuracies in the report, and is asking the government to retract. This is what he said:
“I write in respect of the above and constrained to comment so soon on the recently released Transition Report authored by a Team of which you were the Chairman. Let me hasten to state, that this is an attempt to put the records straight and not designed in any way to undermine the desire to curb corruption in our beloved country. To that, we have a symmetry.
“However, I note with consternation, the last line on page 17, through to the findings on page 18. The statement refers to a meeting held in June 2014 at the Offices of the former Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, wherein the Sewa Gounds Market Company Limited was formed and project cost agreed at US$36.1 Million.
“The allegations are factually inaccurate and meretricious. (Photo: Mr Joseph Kamara).
“For ease of reference and understanding, I will restate the impugned dictate : “In June 2014 at a meeting in the office of the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Joseph F. Kamara, the Acting Director of NASSIT, Mayor of Freetown City Council, Herbert Williams, agreed on a project to transform Sewa Grounds into a Shopping Mall and parking lot. For this purpose, they formed the Sewa Grounds Market Company Limited. The Project cost was agreed at US $36.1million, of which US $27.3million was to be used for “construction engineering and consultancy”. NASSIT was to invest US$7.5millions as well as provide a loan amounting to US$13,908,057”.
“Mr. Chief Minister, let me make it categorically clear that on the said date of June 2014, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, was not Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, as alleged, and at no point in time in my entire life was a meeting held to which I was present and matters of the nature as described above were discussed, nor such conclusions reached.
“Without holding brief on behalf of Herbert George Williams, I wish to state that, he was not Mayor of the City of Freetown, in June 2014 as alleged in the Report. Herbert George Williams, ceased being Mayor in 2011.
“A simple diligent inquiry would have averted what now appears to be a deliberate attempt to cast a slur on my integrity and reputation that has been duly earned in the course of over 40 years.
“Importantly also, the comments on paragraph 21 regarding the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” are unfortunate and regrettable. I wished you would have sought the advice of the Attorney-General in that regard.
“But of course, even the language used to describe my person in the referenced material speak volumes also – “the politically ambitious Attorney-General”.
“To be politically ambitious is suddenly a ‘corrupt’ and an ‘unacceptable’ conduct under the ‘New Direction’ and therefore, must be investigated. To that end, I say no more.
“In any event, grateful if you could review and revise objectively and do the needful to meet the needs of fairness and quality investigations.
“Meanwhile, please accept the assurances of my regards and wish you well. The whole country stands with the Government in the fight against corruption, where the evidence is “irrefutable, cogent, reliable and not politically motivated.” (End).
The Sierra Leone Telegraph also contacted the former head of the Anti-Corruption Commission – Mr Ady Macauley for his reaction to the report and the allegations made against him.
He replied: “My brother I don’t need to send a rebuttal. What I will say is this: They are going to investigate me for failing to investigate Ebolagate and Hajjgate. The facts are out there. I indicted Hajjgate on 12th June 2018 – the same day that I was sent on leave.
“I was made ACC Commissioner two years after Ebolagate. I think it’s for the press to pick out these issues from the public domain and run commentary on them,” Ady Macauley said in a short statement.
Government sources have informed the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the government’s legal team are believed to be going through the GTT report with a fine tooth comb, to ensure there are no factual inaccuracies which may seriously prejudice and call into the question – the veracity and legality of the report as a basis for legal action against those cited in the report.
In another related development, the former minister of mines – Minkailu Mansaray along with the former vice president – Victor Bockarie Foh of the Koroma led APC government, were today arrested by police on corruption charges.
Their arrests came after High Court hearing was filed early this week, relating to allegations of misappropriation of funds meant to support the 2016 Hajj pilgrims, many of whom were left stranded at Lungi Airport unable to pursue their pilgrimage.
Both the former vice president and former minister of mines are currently having their bail applications being processed.
Letter written by Joseph Franklyn Kamara to the chief minister – David Francis: