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Sierra Leone News: “You name de de” – GTT names names

The Governance Transition Team (GTT) issued its report on Wednesday, 4 July 2018. The 136-page report reveals more than 50 names of high-ranking APC government officials who were allegedly involved in corruption during the party’s administration.
To date, there has yet to be an official investigation into the accuracy of the claims or a large-scale effort to arrest the individuals that were listed for their alleged crimes.
Within the report, the GTT lists four different sectors that were affected by the alleged corruption—finance and economic development, social and human development, infrastructure, and governance—but the majority of people named were in specific cases within the finance and economic development section.
There, the report detailed 12 cases that had grounds for investigation of corruption, naming powerful APC party members and prominent businessmen.
Former President Ernest Bai Koroma was named in the case of the sale of Sierra Rutile, where the government mishandled funds that were used during the sale of the mining company. Koroma was listed along with John Sisay (former CEO of Sierra Rutile), Samura Kamara (former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Bank Governor), and Frank Kargbo (former Attorney General) were also listed for alleged fraudulent behavior.
“All the allegations of corruption and other negative practices levied against my person in that report are complete nonsense. There is not even an iota of credibility to them. The allegations are maliciously contrived to smear my image,” the former President said in a response statement. He is currently out of the country.
Government properties were sold for prices lower than true market value and the buyers were all related to or were someone in the APC party. Victor Bockarie Foh (former Vice President now facing Hajj-gate charges), Alimamy Petito Koroma (former Minister of Works and Ambassador to China), and Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay (former Minister of Political Affairs and Minister of Works) were all named for their alleged involvement in the property sales.
Concerning the contracts involving Income Electrix and Aggreko, where multiple under-estimated multi-million dollar contracts were given to unmerited electrical companies to construct power plants, Afsatu Kabba (former Ambassador to Nigeria, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources) and Henry Macauley (former Minister of Energy) are listed as perpetrators.
The NASSIT Ferries and Sewa Grounds Shopping Mall cases involved government-funded contracts that were over-estimated resulting in massive waste and mismanagement. Edmund Koroma (former director of NASSIT), Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (former Attorney General, ACC Commissioner, and Prosecuting Attorney with the Special Court), Herbert Williams (former mayor), and Allieu Sesay (former NRA commissioner) are said to be at the heart of the deals.
A contract with a Chinese state-owned company to buy 100 buses was valued at Le26.5 billion, but more than Le61 billion was reportedly paid to the firm. Leonard Balogun Koroma, the former Minister of Transport, is the chief suspect in the matter.
In 2013, the Government awarded Nabih Basma, a friend of former Defense Minister Paolo Conteh, numerous contracts (totaling around US$190 million) that were overpriced by as much as 300%. Conteh and Basma are both called on by the report to be investigated.
Other cases that allegedly involve APC officials include the government renting buildings for “extortionate” prices, often from family or friends of the APC. The awarding of unmerited contracts during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, a deal with the epassport company Netpage allowed overpriced passports to be produced and sold to Sierra Leone citizens while also selling hundreds of diplomatic passports to ineligible citizens, and a deal that was made between the APC and a contractor to improve Freetown’s port system were other areas of concern and corruption.
Within the social and human development section, the report claimed that the likes of Sierra Leone’s poor adult English literacy rate (30%) and an increased effect from the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak resulted from the “neglect and corruption by Government officials, particularly those in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation”.
In the infrastructure section, the GTT stated that many of the large construction contracts that were given out under APC governance were ”undermined by the exorbitant costs of the road construction projects due in large part to rampant corruption”, resulting in the “poor quality of many of the expensively constructed roads and the triumph of tribal political instincts over national interests consideration”. In its report, the GTT noted that Alimamy Petito Koroma, the former Minister of Works and Infrastructure, was instrumental in awarding the inflated contracts and should be a focus of investigation.
Regarding governance, the report alleged that the APC government used favoritism tactics to promote supporters of the party to positions of power. The GTT noted, when the APC administration began in 2007, it “dismissed dozens of senior officials perceived to be supporters of the SLPP because they were of Mende and related ethnicity”. Then, the APC replaced them, “often without any consideration for merit and the imperatives of legally binding contracts”, with individuals that supported the APC. By the end of its second term in office in March 2018, more than 70% of senior and middle-level government appointments were done in this manner.
JR/5/7/18
By Jack Russillo
Friday July 06, 2018.

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