FLASHBACK : Ernest Koroma is far more serious with fight to eradicate corruption than Tejan Kabbah

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 PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA

We publish yet  another old article from the Cocorioko archives  to press home our point that SLPP journalists should stop trying to capitalize on the disgusting and disappointing behaviour  of corrupt Sierra Leoneans who have disappointed President Ernest Bai Koroma with their irredeemable corruption .

 

They should stop writing as if President Koroma endorses the corruption. President Koroma’s government  has a ‘Zero Tolerance’ towards corruption and  will definitely penalize the culprits (Whoever they are ) as soon as the investigations are concluded. No corrupt  public official found culpable by credible investigations has gone unpunished during this Ernest Koroma era of ” No Sacred Cows”.  We expect SLPP Journalists to acknowledge this fact and give President Koroma credit for that when cases of corruption are unearthed. They should at least be fair to President Koroma by acknowledging that this government is doing a marvellous job to ameliorate the corruption plague which affects governments all over the world, even the advanced democracies like the U.S.and Britain.

The reasons that there seems to be many reports about corruption today is that due to the government’s zero tolerance policy, nothing remains hidden as it used to be in the past. The President has empowered the Anti-Corruption Commission and the press not to treat corruption with kid gloves .Because of this, everything shady is being exposed the moment it happens, unlike the past. Secondly, Sierra Leoneans in general have now become so conscious and aware of wrongdoing by public officials that they do not flinch to blow the whistle the moment they smell a rat. All these factors have given rise to the situation where corruption is now being exposed on a daily basis by the press, public or the ACC. It does not mean that there is more corruption now than in the past.It means that corruption is being exposed more today than in the past when nothing was done about it.

The fact remains that there was far more corruption during the SLPP era than today and we post another old article to prove this point. The Director  for the Department For International Development , Mr.  Hogg , on a visit to Sierra Leone, described corruption during the Kabbah era as the country’s worst enemy. Read the story below to see how corruption was free-for-all and the complaint by the DFID Director and notice too that unlike today, the article says that little was being done by the Kabbah Government to launch probes into the charges of corruption involving public officers .

 SIERRA LEONE’S MAIN PROBLEM IS CORRUPTION —DFID Director states

Cocorioko Newspaper Report

Friday October 7, 2005

Sierra Leone  needs to do more in terms of generating its own domestic revenues so that dependency on foreign aid could end. As a matter of fact, Sierra Leone could manage her natural resources well for economy prosperity but corruption is the country’s worst enemy . This diagnosis of the Sierra Leonean dilemma was made by the Director of British Department For International Development ( DFID ), Mr.  Hogg, at the opening ceremony of  of a strategic planning meeting of Orphans And Vulnerable Children  In Africa ( OVC )

The DFID Director said further that graft has continued to undermine the proper management of the Sierra Leone , AFP  reported yesterday. Mr. Hogg stated that Sierra Leone was not under-aided  but he emphasized that apart from war, corruption  has caused poor management of the economy.

The remarks of the DFID Director struck a familiar chord in the minds of many Sierra Leoneans. It is no secret to citizens of the impoverished nation that corruption by her public officials and leaders had been the prime cause of the economic collapse in the country that was making life intolerable for her people.

As President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah approaches the end of the final term of his rule, Sierra Leoneans have continued to blame him for what some of them regard as his lukewarm attitude to the fight to end corruption in the country.Sierra Leoneans complain frequently that the ministers of Kabbah’s government were living flamboyant lives that were inconsistent with their salaries  and that many of them have built mansions at home and abroad  but so far, little has been done by government to launch probes into the charges of corruption by government functionaries.

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Two years after this , in another separate row between the SLPP and the DFID,  An AWARENESS TIMES report of April 19, 2007   said that the DFID Director was “given marching orders out of the country”  after  accusing the SLPP Government of corruption. READ THE REPORT :

 

Government under fire

Awareness Times Report

It is alleged that the Department for International Development has accused the SLPP government with corruption. The report stated that the Anti- Corruption Commission is ineffectual in fighting corruption. The international community regards the war against corruption as a litmus test as regards the government’s desire to tackle poverty and overhaul the country’s infrastructure. Because of this alleged endemic corruption, some consultants have recommended the withdrawal of funds by the British Government. The head of state is said to be displeased with this damning report, and the DFID Director has allegedly been given marching orders out of the country

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Corruption , whether during the SLPP time or the APC era , is not excusable . Nobody with his right mind will excuse corruption. Corruption is a scourge that every government in the world has to fight to make the lives of the people better  and Sierra Leone is no exception, but if a government is doing a great job to punish the miscreants, it should be acknowledged by the press. Let us stop overly politicizing our social problems or giving them a partisan spin. Even the U.S. with all its advanced detection techniques and  solid legal system, is battling corruption. We have not arrived yet but through punishing public officials for their corrupt acts, we will end up setting a deterrent that if a minister or director or what-have-you steals government money he will pay direly for it , and through this we will be able to minimize or eradicate corruption in our country. The APC Government should be given the credit due to it–It is doing pretty well to stamp out corruption in Sierra Leone.

 

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