Sierra Leone vice president Foh and mines minister Minkailu Mansaray implicated in corruption – Op ed

Mohamed Karankeh

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 August 2017

Before I comment on the merit or demerit of the criminal aspect of this case, I want to ask and, or to know why so much money is expended on a single religious activity by our government in a secular country like ours.

If such much can be given to people to go to Mecca, why not give similar amounts to lecturers, teachers, students, and pupils to better the country’s human resource pool?

Why withhold salaries of lecturers endlessly for months?

Of what use is Hajj to the generality of the country?

Did not the pillar of Islam state that one must only undertake Hajj if he or she can afford it, and after such individual has address his or her basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and health care?

Do the majority of Sierra Leoneans meet these basics needs, or has the government been able to provide these basics needs for its citizen?

If no, why are we putting so much money on something that has no immediate impact on the lives of the majority of citizens?

Now, I will dwell on the core of this article.

In 1971, former President Kabba when he was permanent secretary in the ministry of trade, was banned from holding any public office after a commission that investigated him, found out that although he was not directly linked to the unscrupulous sale of our produce and that he did not receive part of the proceeds from that fraudulent sale, however as permanent secretary – who was in charge of supervising the ministry responsible for the produce, he did not show due diligence in his work; and because of his omission of duty, fraud occurred right under his nose.

He was therefore recommended not to hold any public office in the country again. As to how he became president in 1996, that is something that could be discussed in another article at another time.

Similarly, the current Vice president Mr Victor Foh has today been delegated by the president to be in charge of the Hajj program.

Currently, it is alleged that several thousands – if not millions of dollars, have been embezzled or fraudulently collected and stolen by people in a committee that is under his nose.

If this was a serious country, the dragnet should start from the VP. Is the VP a sacred cow?

By the way, was this same VP Foh not banned from holding any public office in 1981 by another commission that investigated financial improprieties in a Ministry he worked for? Why is he in public office?

Like Kabba before him, why are we always making the same mistake of recycling questionable characters that end s up exhibiting the same traits that first caused their banning from holding public offices?

Editor’s Note

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  1. The notion that the Sierra Leone government sponsors the pilgrimage to Mecca may be erroneous. The story is that, these are scholarships given to the Sierra Leone government by Muslim countries in the Middle East, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc for the poor to have that once in a life time opportunity.

    It is supposed to be given to the most deserving. Sadly, our politicians use it to buy party loyalty and sell to foreign and non deserving malcontents of our society. What a sad state of affairs. As the saying goes, a man is known by the company he keeps.

    Our president has kept a bad company.

  2. I think the people of Sierra Leone should sack this President and his administration. He is unpatriotic and absolutely useless. Is there no law that provides for this type of thing?

  3. APC through the office of the president is about to get rid of Victor Foh, which started in Sylvia’s office last year. And now they’re at the final stage of elimination, so let Victor Foh just wave goodbye to the idea of being the president’s successor.

  4. My intention is not to make excuses for the mistakes made by Tejan Kabba when he was a civil servant. However, let me state that he was never convicted and was in fact cleared of any wrong-doing by the very commission that was set up to investigate the allegation.

    President Kabba, in my view, atoned for his mistakes made in the past by contributing immensely to our nation’s development when he was President.

    Victor Vouchergate Foe on the other hand was deeply mired in the infamous Vouchergate corruption scandal and was said to be the principal architect.

    Even his boss, the late Siaka Stevens, revered his genius when it comes to stealing and looting and would always jokingly say “Wu dat dae tiff pass Victor Foe”. It is a shame that Victor Foe was not appropriately punished for his crime.

    But what is disturbing and perplexing to many is the audacity of President Koroma in appointing Victor Foh as Vice President following the coup d’état orchestrated by his APC party. To say our President is not aware of the background of Victor Foe and many of his kind in his administration is baloney.

    It remind me of an adage that says ‘’ A crook does not hire a honest man for fear that he would be asked the source of his ill-gotten wealth”
    But to hear his supporters say that he is not responsible for all the scandal and corruption that has plagued his administration is utter rubbish. Ernest Bai Koroma is in the driver’s seat and we cannot hold his passengers responsible for his reckless driving.

    We the people of Sierra Leone have had enough, and I encourage anyone of voting age to come out and vote out the APC, otherwise, the APC party will lead our country into an abyss.

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