Sierra Leone is a curious country where upright men and women are judged by villains – Op ed

Samuel Jones: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 November 2021:

First, Francis Gabbidon who has a previous conviction for fraud, and who now masquerades as a legal luminary, was on AYV TV where he declared that the suspension of the Auditor-General is procedurally correct. I dread to think what students of Law at FBC are being taught by him and the implications for the integrity of the Legal profession in years to come.

This afternoon, the Judicial and Legal Service Commission is believed to have met to appoint the tribunal that will investigate the ASSL. According to sources at State House, Chief Justice Edwards was at State House this morning, where he is likely to have received instruction about appointees to the panel.

The panel will send its recommendation to the President. Is Chief Justice Edwards a fit and proper person to chair the tribunal?  In fact, Justice Edwards quickly convened a JLSC last Friday to hurriedly set up the tribunal after the suspension announcement in contravention of laid down procedures (as noted by lawyer Bastia Michael who is a member of the JLSC).

Once the tribunal reaches its recommendation, Parliament may be given an opportunity to deliberate the tribunal’s findings.

We are concerned that Parliament is presided by Speaker Abass Bundu, who has had his own running with the law over illegal passport sales and is known to have the habit of ramming decisions through parliament. The approval of Zainab Moseray’s appointment as NEC Commissioner for Western Area, despite a walkout by opposition parties is proof that any Executive decision that is brought before Parliament, is likely to pass, notwithstanding complaints or objections by opposition parties.

This gives President Bio the opportunity to ensure that the 2020 Audit Report is framed in a favourable manner.

For their sins, Lara Taylor-Pearce and Tamba Momoh are accused of trying to embarrass the President, by exposing racketeering and false accounting by very senior officials within government and the Presidency.

Now, why does this happen, you might ask. It happens because the good men and women of Sierra Leone bury their heads in the sand and refuse to stand up and be counted. They refuse to take to the streets in protest and in defiance of the Bio government.

One by one, every good and upright person in Sierra Leone will be taken like a lamb to the abattoir to be slaughtered, while the nation looks the other way, in much the same way as was under the reign of terror under Siaka Stevens.

What was the outcome of our inaction in the 1970s and 80s. Our inaction definitely led to terminal economic decline, breakdown of governance and institutions, rampant corruption and civil war. The price we have paid for our failure to stand and be counted, is much worse than the personal cost we try to mitigate.

Coming back to Justice Edwards, sources at NASSIT confirmed he also previously faced disciplinary proceedings at NASSIT, which was instigated following a report by his line manager at the time, one Sengu Koroma.

I understand that Sengu Koroma who is now a Supreme Court Judge, would be appointed to head the tribunal or excluded from it.

4 Comments

  1. Whoever wrote this article has an enviable sense of history. He/she has reminded us of our recent history, to highlight where we started losing control, regaining of which is not in sight, because we have the likes of Abass Bundu, Francis Gabbidon, Babatunde Edwards and a host of others still alive – most of them convicted criminals. Siaka Stevens passed the baton of criminality and corruption to them, and they’re busy passing on to succeeding generations. Our only hope of respite/salvation is to sweep SLPP and APC out of power and bring in Dr Kandeh Yomkella.

  2. Now, why does this happen, you might ask. It happens because the good men and women of Sierra Leone bury their heads in the sand and refuse to stand up and be counted. They refuse to take to the streets in protest and in defiance of the Bio government.

  3. Sierra Leone, a nation that continues to be counted among the poorest of the poor in the world. In our own backyard, the West African subregion, we remain the least develop when compare to sisters nations like Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana etc. With such undisputed facts, my heart bleeds for our nation and generations yet unborn in observing that those whom we have entrusted power not only enrich themselves against our backs, but uses those levers of power to subjugate us in a vicious circle of abuse, hardship, degeneration, and servitude.

    In the case of the current regime, since coming into office, we are constantly reminded that our president has been busy on ‘an image cleaning campaign’, with over 100 international flying trips so far taken, running into millions of dollars travel expenses, not accounting the per diem accrued by the presidential entourage each time he leaves town. However, at home, hardship, starvation, lawlessness, and corruptions continue to be on the increase. In other words, instead of the president investing the IMF loans with huge interest to be repay for generations in mitigating these challenges, he prefers giving it out to international media consultancy firms, so they can falsely announce to the world that, our nation has transform overnight, with a stable, progressive, law abiding citizens and corruption being a thing of the past.

    In return for monies spent at the international level, our regime can boast of more IMF loans approvals to be looted and stash away at offshore accounts, with passing MMC scorecards serving as propaganda tools. On the ground however, Corruption, lawlessness, political instability, unemployment, hardship, continues to worsen, with the campaign on annihilating state institutions independence increasingly being mounted. Today the judiciary, law enforcements, parliament, Electoral Commission, and as we speak, Audit Service Sierra Leone, all being cowed under the control of the presidency. With such a climate which serious investor won’t have a second thought?

  4. Unfortunately, Sierra Leone is still filled with criminals in the justice system, ministers, government etc. Misuse of covid money, basically holding up of legal processes because of bribes, lies to IMF, tons of scammers in the minerals are, scammers work with the police and government officials. Still too much corruption. Investor beware. It’s a shame because corruption is at highest level. They like to make investors feel sorry and exergerate the opportunities. Be very careful. Too sad.

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