Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 August 2018:
Rumours are rife about the whereabout of Sierra Leone’s former president Koroma, whose absence from the country for over a month now, has become the subject of immense speculation and debate.
Today, there was optimism among his supporters that those speculations could come to an end, when a report was published, suggesting that Koroma will return from Guinea tomorrow.
This is what the statement said:
“A high-powered All People’s Congress Party delegation led by its Secretary General Hon. Osman F. Yansaneh met with the Inspector General of Police and other Senior Executive Management Board members at Police Headquarters, in Freetown, on Tuesday 31st July 2018.
“According to the Secretary General of the Party, the purpose of the visit (among other issues) was two-fold:
“(1) To inform the SLP Management about the expected return of their Chairman and Leader – former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Thursday 2nd August, 2018; through Gbalamula, Kambia District. They called on the Police leadership to help with security arrangement for the home-coming occasion.
“As per the itinerary discussed with Management, the APC leadership will receive their Chairman at Gbalamuya, had in-house engagement with him inside the Party’s office in Kambia and then drove through Kambia, Port Loko, Lunsar to Makeni.
“The meeting resolved that at most fifty vehicles shall constitute the vehicular convoy, and that there shall be no stopover whatsoever after the convoy would have left Kambia for Makeni.
“In view of this, the IGP directed the SLP’s Chief of Operations AIG Elizabeth Turay to prepare a security plan for the reception at Gbalamuya and to also put in place convoy arrangement and crowd control measures.
“(2) On another note, the Sec. Gen. enumerated a number of cases he perceived to be harassment on his party membership in Freetown, Magburaka, Kailahun and elsewhere in Sierra Leone. The Sec. Gen. called on the SLP leadership to look into the cases he highlighted for police consideration.
“In responding, the IGP Dr. Richard Moigbe made it very clear that the SLP “is the only police service in this country and it does not belong to any individual neither to any political party.” That the SLP ‘belongs to the people of Sierra Leone’ he concluded.
“He directed the Deputy Inspector General Mr. Fodie U. K. Daboh to lead on the issue.
“Further, the IGP directed that Investigators must not attach political colours to crimes committed and under police investigation; insisting that disciplinary actions would be taken against police officers who sought to do otherwise.
“He appreciated the APC leadership for the engagement and continued to call on them to always engage the police leadership as and when the need arises.
“In closing, the IGP stated that the Police must at all times be non-partisan, do their work professionally and fairly.
“The meeting ended on a friendly note, with both parties (APC leadership and the Police leadership) pledging to work and cooperate with each other in future engagements.”
But this statement has now been debunked by Dr Sylvia Blyden, who many believe to be the publicist for the former president Koroma, whose whereabout is still unknown.
This is what she says:
“I can assure all that Ernest Bai Koroma is not even in Guinea, neither is he returning home tomorrow.
“I believe our competent APC National Secretary General Ambassador Osman Yansaneh and other capable APC executive members, may have been slightly mistaken and miscommunicated information…..Ernest Bai Koroma is not returning to Sierra Leone tomorrow.”
So, where is former president Koroma; and when will he be returning home? That’s the question many – in and out of Sierra Leone, especially his supporters, are now asking?
Critics of the former president say that he is afraid of returning to Sierra Leone to face corruption allegations, after the publication of a damning government report – the GTT Report, accusing senior officials and ministers in the previous government, including former president Koroma, of rampant corruption and abuse of office.
Supporters of the opposition APC say that the GTT Report is nothing but a witch-hunt.
But, cynics are of the view that the whole saga and speculation about the whereabout of the former president, is a stage-managed hype that is aimed at focusing the minds of the Sierra Leonean public on the former president, whiles whipping up popular sentiments against the Bio government.
President Julius Maada Bio has decided to establish a Commission of Enquiry to carry out an investigation into the findings of the GTT Report. Those found wanting by the Commission he said, will be charged to court by the Anti-Corruption Commission.