All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ - Edmund Burke

Sept 4, 2008

S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 6 No 8

The Truth Shall Set You Free----------The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth---------Exposing human rights abusers


State House and  "new" APC activists (including the ubiquitous Task Force), desperate to give President Ernest Bai Koroma a gloss of respectability and credibility have been busy shouting from the rooftops about the declaration of assets by their man now occupying the top seat in the mother country, Sierra Leone.

Here's part of how Gibril Gbanabom Koroma (yes the same unrepentant junta apologist) reported it

A press release from State House Press Secretary Sheka Tarawalie today states that President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared his assets and signed into law the new Anti-Corruption Bill 2008...after performing the function, the President said it was a clear indication of his government’s commitment to remove the “cancer” of corruption from Sierra Leone. “This is unique not only for the sub-region but for Africa as a whole. And it is a clear message that this cancer must be taken seriously,” he emphasized. The President said he was fulfilling a long desire he had even before taking over the reins of government.

A point of note though is that he is not the first in the recent history of Sierra Leone to do that!!!!

Some time back in the days of the khaki boys, one Captain Valentine Strasser did the same while in office at State House!!!!

It could well have come a bit late in the evening given the President's high-pitched call for transparency in governance when he was occupying the opposition front row as well as his promise to Sierra Leoneans and the world that he would do the most honourable thing expected of him.

Well done Mr President - well done - except that there's a worm in the sandwich!!!

Oh yes - why keep the declaration of assets by the President a secret?

Why don't we have this whole thing made public so that Sierra Leoneans can see for themselves what the liabilities, assets and interests of the President are?

If the President and his men (and women) would want us to believe that he is sincere, let him then make his assets known to all and sundry for public scrutiny.

What if the man says he has say 25 million dollars stashed somewhere? How can Sierra Leoneans know about this for them to ask the appropriate questions?

And what about his interests?

What is President Koroma's interest in a new company said to be run by his brother and engaged in rice trading?

No Sir we, at the Sierra Herald are not impressed by this attempt at pulling the wool over the eyes of the electorates, the people of Sierra Leone and the international community. Sierra Leoneans are far too savvy nowadays to be carried away by such "conman tactics" and would want to know just what is contained in that so-called declaration of the assets of the President.

It is necessary for this document to be made public because President Ernest Bai Koroma as the Head of State and the nation must lead by example and should not set a precedent that does not augur well for transparency and accountability in Sierra Leone.

Others holding public office are also expected to declare their assets (and liabilities) and is this to mean that their declarations would also become secret documents?

We think not and we would urge President Ernest Bai Koroma to do what is expected of someone who has nothing to hide and make the document public.

There are provisions in the new Anti Corruption Commission Act that make for the public to question the acquisition of public office holders.

Corrupt Acquisition of wealth

26. (1) A public officer commits an offence of corrupt acquisition of wealth if it is found, that he is in control or possession of any resources or property or in receipt of the benefit of any advantage which he may reasonably be suspected of having acquired or received corruptly or in circumstances which amount to an offence under this Act.

Possession of unexplained wealth.

27. (1) Any person who, being or having  been a public officer (a) maintains a standard of living above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments; or

(b) is in control of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his present or past official emoluments, unless he gives a satisfactory explanation to the court as to how he was able to maintain such a standard of living or how such pecuniary resources or property came under his control, commits an offence.

How can these people be questioned when the very basis, the very foundation for those questions are hidden from public view?

We sincerely hope that the ACC Chief and President Koroma would make this much-publicised venture truly meaningful by making public the President's assets, liabilities and interests.


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©Sierra Herald 2002