Friday June 9, 2006
Address: 112 N.Broad street
Comments: HOW CORRUPT IS SOLOMON BEREWA?
By Mohamed Sesay
“He however conceded that government vehicles and drivers paid by the government are used. Petrol is also bought with money from government coffers” (Patriotic Vanguard).
These are the exact words of the former Sierra Leonean Ambassador to the United States John Leigh on the campaign trail with Solomon Berewa. Leigh was conceding to the facts we have always been stating. The corruption and desperation of the present SLPP government could not be overemphasized. As Leigh rightly states here, Solomon Berewa is using monies from the coffers of the government of Sierra Leone to further his Presidential goals. Indeed, even the Americans will agree with me that corruption remains the most potent setback to development programs in Sierra Leone as evident in this statement posted in the State Department’s website, “Corruption and incompetence remain serious problems at all levels within the government of Sierra Leone”.
Those SLPP stalwarts blind to the truth will continue to argue with foolhardiness in disputing these cogent facts about the excesses and aberrations of the current government. From John Leigh’s statement, it is abundantly clear that the resources of Sierra Leone, provided mainly through donor funds and loans are effectively and abusively used to promote the political agenda of the ruling SLPP government in fighting political opponents to ensure that Berewa wins the elections in 2007. These are the same funds that the international community allocates to Sierra Leone as grants but mostly loans, repayable with high interests. This is how people like Berewa continue to pile the debts of Sierra Leone just to satisfy the greed for power.
NACSA is funded by donors for the overall socio-economic and infrastructural development of post war Sierra Leone, but in present day Sierra Leone, when the director of NACSA sneezes, the rest of the government catches cold. The Director is reportedly the wealthiest government agent in the country and his prominence is such that many political stalwarts in the Kabbah led government believe that he is an enigma-the force that is standing in the way of the president’s choice Momodu Koroma in the race for Berewa’s running mate. Owing to the unfettered access to NACSA funds, as reflected in his pseudo-micro credit projects in the North lately, the NACSA boss is indispensable to Berewa’s campaign since funding for developmental projects continue to be diverted towards the campaign effort as evident in John Leigh’s statement.
Just recently, the minister of information, Prof. Septimus Kaikai was lashing out at the recent report by the NMJD that seriously implicated the office of the vice president Berewa as a biased report. His argument was based on the fact that the government was able to accomplish 24% of the expected goals of the HIPC projects through the contractors, but fell short of implementing the 76%. Well, the truth is hard to tell and to defend a corrupt servant like Berewa is difficult as the figures speak for themselves. The fact of the matter is that the award of the HIPC contracts as substantiated by the NMJD report was based on partisan considerations and cronyism- a flawed method. The failure started from the day the contracts were awarded under the auspices of Solomon Berewa the SLPP flagbearer.Shouldn’t Berewa be also investigated in the first place for corruption?