Sierra Leone government – Chinese rice corruption scandal – ‘Chinagate’ ministers sacked

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 January 2020:

State House in Freetown today issued a press statement reporting that President Bio has this afternoon sacked four of his senior government ministers and officials. The sacking State House said, relates to serious allegations of corruption involving the sale of several tons of rice donated to Sierra Leone by China to feed the hungry.

The four officials involved in what is now dubbed – Chinagate, include the minister of Labour and Social Security – Alpha Timbo, who is also the former minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Mrs. Emily Kadiatu Gogra – deputy minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Mr Charles Kamanda – Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education; Ms. Mamusu Massaquoi – Director of Nutrition, also in the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.

According to the release, the four officials are helping the Anti-Corruption Commission with their investigations.

In August 2019, the Sierra Leone Telegraph reported that China has sent almost 7,000 tons of food aid to Sierra Leone to help cushion the effects of the growing hardship facing millions of Sierra Leoneans, as the government struggles to manage the economic downturn.

Millions of people, especially children are at risk of severe malnutrition as food prices continue to rise.

Speaking to president Bio at State House on 13th August 2019, the new Chinese ambassador to Sierra Leone – Hu Zhangliang, said that the first two consignments of 2,000 tons of food aid had arrived in Freetown and are being delivered.

Another 1,500 tons of food support also arrived a few days later, with 3,400 tons on its way, said the ambassador, who according to State House report was in State House to discuss bilateral relations and development projects with President Julius Maada Bio.

“But there has been no information from the government as to how this large consignment of food aid from China is being distributed and where,” the Sierra Leone Telegraph commented, fearing corrupt public officials selling the rice for their personal gain.

And if today’s allegations are true, this will vindicate many critics who say that while president Bio may be committed to fighting corruption in the country, he must clean up his ministries and departments that have become a haven for corrupt official.

Tonight, many Sierra Leoneans are questioning the role of the chief minister of Sierra Leone – Professor David Francis, in this Chinese rice scandal – dubbed ‘Chinagate’, estimated at millions of dollars.

There must be no scared cows in the Bio-led government. It is understood that the Chinese government are deeply unhappy about the disappearance of tons of rice meant to feed millions of hungry children in the country.


  1. The pilfering of rice donated for the poor and including hospitals and old people’s homes is unforgivable and should be condemned. However, this is nothing new as I recall similar incidences over the 40 years I worked as a Physician Specialist in Freetown, including teaching in our medical school and examining candidates for their final MB exam. In addition, as far I recall,the pilferers enjoyed their ill-gotten gains with no retribution. “Nar arata eat di ress” was the common saying.

    • Indeed Dr. Michel A. Aboud. Den Anyampi don eat the ‘less’ under this administration.
      Thank you very much for your insight and contribution on this glorious platform Dr. Aboud. God bless you and may God help “get SALONE sorted”.

  2. Thank you Greatsayedna for being so patriotic and bold when speaking out the truth. Stealing rice intended for the poorest people in SALONE is a terrible, disgraceful thing. Thank God those involved have now been sacked.

  3. It is fast coming up to two years since President Bio assumed the presidency and still cannot point to any major development that he has undertaken and successfully completed. His effort to physically bring in foreign investments can at best only be described as being borne by an uncountable number of memoranda of understanding and nothing more.

    To add to the woes of the President, his administration has been inundated with one scandal after another; one of them involving his Thief Minister, David Francis, who has become prone to not being too far away from controversy, always ready to arbitrarily lock up people.

    This latest imbroglio, now referred to as “chinagate” may well just be the thin edge of a far bigger callous and sadistic happenings that have not yet reached the public domain. How come the donation of the luxurious cars by China promptly became public knowledge but not the donation of the tons of rice? Could it be a case of the President’s attention being drawn to the matter by an official who was denied his own cut? Was President Bio aware of the arrival of the rice?

    Riding on the presumption that the President did not know much about the rice before the scandal broke, he did extremely well in swiftly dismissing all those involved,who must have gone to bed tonight hoping that it is just a bad dream,brought about by eating too much of the rice they stole before going to bed.

    There are many more like them in the administration who President Bio must see as a drag or his presidency is over. The problem Maada Bio has is that he blends leadership with emotions, which makes it impossible for him to kick some people out of his sight. He completely forgets that when things go wrong it his political head that the nation will want on a plate unconditionally.

    It is a problem which Ernest Koroma also had,which helped to destroy is presidency and legacy.The difference between the two men in this context could be that while Ernest had a revolving door which he used to bring back sacked officials, Maada Bio may not have or tolerate it. We shall see.

  4. I once saw an amateurish fisherman,that got mistakenly entangled in his own net,who was then also dragged by a speeding canoe that wasn’t aware he had fallen overboard as he was attempting to cast his net into the angry, frothing, unforgiving Sea. He reminds me of our man in State House! Overzealous he is, yet still in all aspects of governance, still a creepy, snoozing amateur. How do you fight corruption when your house is not in order?(lol)

    Of what benefit is it to our people,for you to sack the small squirmy fishes like Mr Alpha Timbo, Mr Charles Kamanda, Mrs Emily Gogra,Ms Mamusu Massaquoi, and other delusional Caterpillars who have been steadily,and hungrily,nibbling,and gnawing here and there at meagre government revenues? When will the inept,insouciant ACC ever decide to seriously look into,and examine the spending habits,and gross misuse,and mismanagement of Public funds by the Freeloading Finance Minister,and the Chief Minister?

    Again,we need clarity on why the 1.5 million bribery scandal was swept quietly under the rug by the ACC, and this shady,SLPP government now in Power. And lastly if this President is really serious about fighting corruption,in this crooked nation of ours,let him,and all his ministers show and prove to us that they really mean business.

    I now challenge them to do the honorable thing for the benefit of our beloved nation: In the interest of transparency, credibility,and accountability,let them all boldly,voluntarily release all their financial records,transcripts, and other viable,relevant documents,including evidence of ownership of liquid and fixed assets,insurance policies,and other lucrative entitlements,for the purposes of scrutiny by the curious general public…Gentlemen, it is in your hands! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. Please note that the Anti-Corruption Commission this morning confirmed to the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the ministers and officials involved, have been sacked – not suspended. We have revised our headline accordingly.

  6. Reports of corruption again within the PAOPA team in GREEN uniform. I am anxiously waiting to hear from die-hard party supporters in this platform. My guess is, they will point the fingers at the former APC officials since all SLPP officials descend from heaven.

    Poor mama Salone, no were to turn to. The good news is that, president Bio is at least attempting to do the right thing this time around, suspending these greedy crooks. What a bunch of wicked souls!! D country tranga, D chinese man den sorry for we, wuna take all share among wuna sef, instead of the intended beneficiaries. How pathetic!!

  7. The thief that you should fear the most is not he who steals ordinary things,but he who is able to reach deeper into the innermost beings of the most wretched,miserable,poor,and rip out their fragile,eternal souls,robbing them of all happiness,joys and peace forever,as the thieving SLPP has done. Indeed,just when you thought,that these Criminals wouldnt sink disgracefully lower than where they were presently – KABOOM – they suddenly surprise everyone – they jump up,dive,and plunge themselves headlong,into the lowest,most humiliating depths you never imagined was possible (lol)

    I have always maintained that the SLPP is a corrupt,lawless,incompetent entity that has no interests,or desires whatsoever in improving the livelihoods of the struggling masses at all. Folks, its all a daylight puppet show,a brainless charade,that shouldn’t be taken seriously – a Puppet President being controlled by two loose canons, Saffa and Francis, who are also hand puppets,being controlled by their insatiable appetites for power,fame,and riches.

    But these men are not just ordinary thieves…far from it – they don’t snatch wrist watches,ladies handbags,men’s wallets, phones, or jewellery – they are experts at mercilessly milking and robbing nations of truckloads,and shiploads of money through their disingenuous scribbling of a pen. There’s a shady thief that overspends an allocated budget,and there’s another that receives huge bribes to the tune of 1.5 million US dollars – remember that! And there’s yet another,that steals food that is supposed to be served on the empty plates and tables of the poor,hungry people. Lord have mercy!

    These people,I admit, are a disgraceful and outright deplorable bunch,of good for nothings.(lol) And who is it among you,that wouldn’t agree with me,that the disorganise ACC doesn’t have its priorities in order? I mean seriously,their incompetence is truly shocking, and confounding.(lol) While their “Grasshopper Squad” was out there bullying,harassing, and humiliating school teachers, “Chinagate” was happening right under the noses,and these tribalists in green pretended that didn’t see,hear,or smell a damn thing.(lol)

    The whole government is corrupt – it is overcrowded with opportunists from BO school…and who has ever seen,bump into or came across a freeloading, arrogant,tribalistic, opportunist with untainted,squeaky clean hands in beloved Sierra Leone, my only Home….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  8. Thanks to The Sierra Leone Telegraph, the Chinese seem to change course. Remember the Christmas gift of Limousines and despatch motor bikes I termed as BOMBASTIC Christmas gesture? What a ridiculous Christmas gesture I have ever heard of.
    I am quite confident that the Chinese have been reading this reliable, globally read online newspaper and the commentary which made them furious and now want answers. They’ve got the message loudly and clearly.

    To the Chinese I say, more Rice, Rice and Rice for the hungry people of Sierra Leone. Help feed the people of Sierra Leone. That’s the only way to win their love. Maybe, you – the Chinese, will get the contract to build the so called lungi bridge. Stop sending limousines and despatch motorcycles. The people won’t benefit from them. Anyone involved in this blatant corrupt practice must be dealt with according to law.

    God bless the Chinese for sending ship loads of rice and condiments to feed the poor and hungry. God bless The Sierra Leone Telegraph for holding this government to account. God help “get SALONE sorted”.

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