Sierra Leone, as a nation recovering from war, can never progress socio-economically and politically if the caveat of financial accountability, especially, is not given it’s desired place in nation-building .
It is becoming another distressing and discouraging phenomenon in our country that despite all the bitter lessons we have learnt, we are not making government and other public officials accountable for their acts
Despite all the outcry about the alarming rate of white collar crime , misfeasance and malfeasance by public officials, nothing absolutely is being done to those found to have ripped off the nation, economically. Economic saboteurs ( for that is what our corrupt public officials are ) continue to roam the country free and in some cases , enjoying bigger government appointments.
The Anti-Corruption Commission , set up to fight public officials who think that Sierra Leone’s economic and natural resources are there for the taking , has not made any marked success in prosecuting corrupt government officials because the Commission does not seem to be enjoying the independence that such an institution should be boasting about . If not, why has there been no significant instances of prosecution of corrupt officials, with all the revelations being made in the press and the evidence that stare us in the face ?
Some people think that the Press is only creating unnecessary hysteria about corruption , but to every speculation or exposure made by the press, there is always an iota of truth . Take the Momoh Pujeh case. The newspapers , few months ago , were abuzz with reports that Pujeh was about to be let off the hook, thanks to interferance from State House. Since then, who has proved the press wrong ? Yet there are those who think that newspapers should only write straight news and not delve into matters that they construe embarrassing to government .
As Journalists, we have had far too many experiences with corruption, sterility and rottenness with the system in Sierra Leone that we do not flinch to speculate about matters, especially of lack of accountability, when it becomes necessary. We are almost always right.
The nation is losing millions of leones daily due to the nefarious acts of pilfering public officials .They are virtually sabotaging the economy and undermining economic recovery and growth, but what is the government doing about it ? Sweet nothing.
It has come to the point where we are receiving reports that some nation-wreckers are even bragging that nothing will happen to them. And they are right. We could count all day the number of public figures holding top positions who have been implicated before in large-scale corruption and public misfeasance.
When there are so much thieving, pilfering and misappropriation of precious public funds, it is the poor man in the street who suffers most.The economy stutters and his interests are never attended to by government.
It is high time this SLPP governments developed “Shame face” and started redeeming its good name which has been tarnished because it is treating economic saboteurs and nation-wreckers with kid gloves.
Before the SLPP came to power , we thought it was an APC or military junta thing, but the SLPP too has disappointed the nation in its handling of national matters, especially financial accountability . Thieving and all forms of corruption have continued to flourish during SLPP rule, with no action against perpetuators .
How much more economic harm must unpatriotic officials do to the nation before the government starts acting ?
UNSCRUPULOUS BUSINESS PEOPLE PILING UNTOLD HARDSHIP ON POOR PEOPLE : WHEN WILL GOVT.ACT ?
The petrol crisis has shown once again that business people in Sierra Leone thrive on creating unnecessary and untold hardship on the ordinary man in the street.
Shortages of basic commodities hit other nations other than Sierra Leone. But things would not have been that miserable for our poor, suffering masses if business men and women had not tried to exploit the situation for their own personal ends.
In Sierra Leone, shortages of commodities like petrol are soon seized upon by business people as Devil -sent opportunities for them to enrich themselves and impoverish the people more.Everybody starts looking for ways they could use the shortage to send prices of their commodities trottling up, through the roof.
The petrol dealer begins to hoard the little fuel he has to create a more chronic shortage so that he could triple the price at the pumps. As if not to be left out, transporteeers, especially taxi and Poda Poda drivers seize on the opportunity too. They do not only send their fares sky-high , but create more hardship for the poor by establishing new stops and depots , with hapless people having to shell out huge sums for each stop.And the market women , street peddlers, grocery store and supermarket merchants too take a cue from this and begin tripling the prices of their commodities. At the end of the day, the poor Sierra Leonean finds that conditions of living have been driven way beyond his reach while the business people enrich their coffers.
It all happens so swiftly and one thing that could be assured is that prices and fares never return to their original states, even if the shortages blamed for the hiking of prices and fares are cured.
The people must not be allowed to continue suffering unnecessarily like this. The government must act to make sure that unscrupulous business people do not exploit shortages to create more harship for the people.
READ PART 2 LATER FOR OUR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO AMELIORATE THE SITUATION.