Timbergate corruption scandal – justice delayed is justice denied

Vice president Sam Sumana

Alpha Kawusu

7 December 2011

Vice president Sam Sumana

It’s been over a week since Vice President (VP) Samuel Sam sumana was caught on tape, negotiating a bribe for personal financial gain.

One would have expected a swift resignation to follow the unfathomable brazenness and world class stupidity, exhibited by the man occupying the second highest office of the land.

Indeed, the words and actions of the VP, as presented in the tapes are so preposterous that, it would not be far-fetched to suggest that should he hurled before a court of law, the VP will plead not guilty by reason of mental defect.

However, Sam Sumana has been silent, which may not be unconnected with assurances from pro-government media outlets that the VP has done nothing wrong.

Additionally, some outlets, in their usual display of unbridled sycophancy, have sought to overthrow the merits of Sorious Samura’s operations on the grounds that what was captured on tape did not take place in the VP’s office.

But reasonable minds can agree that it matters not where the transactions in question took place. Correspondingly, in a world of improved communications systems spurred by rapid technological progress, political systems have evolved to a magnitude where offices like the VP’s have become more of a process than a place.

This signifies that Sam Sumana’s office can rightly be held accountable for transactions done in its name at any physical structure, over the phone, over the internet and in any geographical location whatsoever.

Yet, even more egregious is the argument from the VP’s friends that the VP is a victim of a vicious tribalism within the ranks of the APC. Accordingly, the “Bombali Mafia” is identified as the group after the VP’s head. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Political crooks in Sierra Leone do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or regionalism. They are all united on a common purpose – loot as much as possible from the public coffers.

Many, who hail from the business sector, see politics as a fertile ground for furthering shady and unscrupulous ambitions nurtured in the business world.

This explains why President Ernest Koroma of Bombali is attracted to Sam Sumana of Kono. It also explains why Sam Sumana of Kono was attracted to Alex Mansaray and Momoh Konteh, two Bombali crooks, who reportedly have now fled to the United States.
Thus, to suggest that the VP is a victim of tribal hatred is not only presumptuous but totally absurd.

Ultimately, the VP’s continued service will pose a serious embarrassment to Sierra Leone in international affairs.

Where else in the world has a sitting VP been captured on tape attempting to fleece foreign investors with such wanton sordidness?

Appropriately, like the tragic Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, Sierra Leone will continue to wear a badge of sin, dishonour and guilt in international relations as long as Sam Sumana remains in public office.

This does not augur well for a country trying to gain relevance in an age of massive international capital flows. Would foreign investors be attracted to Sierra Leone when a tape exists depicting the VP as a reckless extortioner?

Frankly, Sam Sumana’s baggage is so feculent that if this guy is not kicked out of national politics, Sierra Leone will continue to pay a high price in dwindling inward foreign direct investments.

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