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After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves - Barack Obama

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Sengbe
Reply with quote  #1 
Here is an article I culled from FB written by John Moses Kamara about financial mismanagement in the mold of late Pa Sheki by the outgoing APC-led GoSL. Please read and cry for the mother country:

HIGH ECONOMIC CRIMES AND FINANCIAL MISDEAMEANORS OF THE KOROMA ADMINISTRATION

The Sierra Leone Government’s fiscal plight was laid bare this week by its newly elected president in a hastily arranged meeting with representatives of one of the country’s largest creditors - the International Monetary Fund - in which he revealed the scale of the nation’s crippling debt burden and perilous financial position.

Brigadier Julius Maada Bio addressing representatives from the diplomatic corps and the IMF team at State House confirmed that Sierra Leone’s external debt now stands at 2 billion dollars, with domestic debt of 4.9 trillion leones compounded by the government’s recurrent structural deficit due largely to its overreliance on short-term financing by overdraft facility at the Bank of Sierra Leone that amounted to a whopping 160 billion leones.

This is the sort of numbers that can lead to insolvency and financial meltdown for most economic entities. But not Sierra Leone, where voodoo economics have flourished for the best part of 10 years of the previous administration of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Small wonder the country’s major foreign donors including the IMF had lost faith in his government by suspending the implementation of the Extended Credit Facility Programme which was aimed at restoring the economic health and fiscal stability.

Since the late 1970’s, Sierra Leone has never enjoyed any semblance of a healthy and thriving economy. The decision to host the Summit of the then Organisation of African Unity in 1980 by the late President Siaka Stevens resulted in large scale fiscal misallocation and misappropriation of the country’s financial resources including the depletion of the central bank reserve and a rapid deterioration of the country’s balance of payment position leading to successive and massive devaluations of the now floating leone.

Poor political and economic stewardship under President Stevens’ successor, Joseph Saidu Momoh, and a debilitating 10 year civil war which lasted for most part of the 1990’s represented a nadir in the nation’s economic fortunes including a prolong government short down and the ceasing of most major economic activities, including mining and agriculture, the mainstay of Sierra Leone’s fragile and narrow economic base. However, for self-inflicted economic woes, nothing arguably matched the blatant financial vandalism witnessed in the last 10 years under the stewardship of President Koroma.

At the top of the hierarchy of economic and financial crimes committed by President Koroma are deliberate policies and actions taken by his government akin to economic treason, including being party to some of the worst mining agreements ever entered into by a sovereign government by allowing foreign commercial entities to operate in a way that has undermined revenue transparency and accountability for a prolong period to the detriment of the impoverished people of Sierra Leone. Maliciously drafted contracts were reported to benefit individuals in the highest echelon of government resulting in low mining royalty and tax intake from an industry whose strategic economic importance to the country is next to none.

At the centre of this leakage, as President Bio rightly calls it, is the generous tax breaks accorded to certain mining and agricultural business concerns that have cost Sierra Leone hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues. These incentives were promoted by the previous government as inducements to foreign investors but were granted by individual ministers with the full knowledge and, some say, with the active participation of President Koroma himself without any review such as a debate in parliament or scrutiny by an independent body to ascertain their benefits to the country.

At the heart of the allegations of economic treason are the increased economic and commercial activities of China in Sierra Leone’s economy. The Asian economic superpower has been growing its influence steadily throughout Africa for the previous 30 years in part to enhance further its growing diplomatic and military clout but in recent times it has accelerated its focused on its economic involvement in Africa particularly on mineral rich countries such as Sierra Leone to meet its insatiable demand for raw materials and new markets.

Whilst Sierra Leone stands to benefit from the Chinese increased involvement in infrastructure projects and the extractive industry, its indifference to political accountability and financial governance has fuelled corruption in its various undertakings with officials of the Sierra Leone Government including cabinet ministers at the detriment of the country’s long term national economic interests. The presidential candidate for the defeated All Peoples’ Congress, Dr. Samura Kamara, was believed to be a strong advocate for Chinese investment and was evident from his campaign of the Chinese influence and the mutual admiration and support; “we are Chinese”, chanted large crowds in unison at the party’s rallies.

President Koroma’s economic policies, which emphasized infrastructural development, provided opportunities for mass scale bribery and corruption involving senior members of his administration. Its therefore no surprise that some of the roads constructed, for example, are amongst the most expensive in the world measured in per unit price. Perhaps the proposed building of a new international airport at Mamamah at an estimated cost of over 300 million dollars - a legacy project for President Koroma - represents the extent of the reckless economic choices pursued by President Koroma and his administration that has left the country virtually bankrupt.

It is one thing for a government to misallocate and another to misappropriate its scare resources and revenue. It was revealed that in the midst of the previous government’s struggles to pay its employees, active efforts were underway only 3 days to the presidential election run-off, led by the Minister of Transport and Aviation Logus Koroma, widely regarded as one of the most dishonest in the previous government, to authorise the approval of a proposal to supply brand new vehicles each for Paramount Chiefs worth around 25 billion leones in what can only be interpreted as a bribe to traditional rulers to support the APC’s sinking efforts to hold on to power.

It was evident to many Sierra Leone that some senior members of the previous government have few or no scruples in converting state resources for party or personal use, be they official vehicles or cash withdrawn from government financial institutions for political campaigns.There are other lesser but nonetheless serious financial misdemeanors committed under President Koroma’s term that constituted at least conflict of interests or breach of ethical standards that could have led to grounds for his removal from office or resignation as president. A case in point is the pervasive practice of many government parastatals of obtaining insurance policies from a company – RITCORP – in which it is widely believed he still holds a controlling stake in and, therefore’ personally benefiting financially from the actions of government agencies in which he ultimately presided over.

A reasonable conclusion can be made therefore that the defeat of the APC in the presidential elections was primarily due to its unenviable record of financial management and poor accountability and transparency. Many members of President Koroma’s administration made little efforts to demonstrate that they were beyond reproach in their stewardship of the nation’s revenue and wealth. This is not only a question of lack of pride but a cultural deficiency pervading the party or even the country as a whole in disregarding the taint of financial delinquency.

All this was possible due to the ultimate political control exercised by the previous president including riding roughshod over parliament. As for the Anti-Corruption Commission, it proved to be ineffectual and had limited success in prosecuting handful of notable officials suspected of financial impropriety and therefore ceased to inspire confidence for most part of the previous 10 years. As an institution, the government or administration of President Koroma was consistently issued with adverse audit opinion by the Auditor General with the government’s revenue division – National Revenue Authority – featuring prominently in most of its negative findings as well as the transparency of its External Public Debt disclosures. It’s therefore no coincidence that the issue of public debt has reemerged as an important topic in these early days of President Bio’s administration.

It is therefore understandable, albeit inappropriate, when supporters of the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party speak of arresting or confiscating properties owned by senior members of the previous administration which goes to show how the public’s anger is palpable of the misdeeds of President Koroma’s administration and its apparent disregard for upholding the responsibilities of providing good stewardship and custody of the nation’s financial affairs. There will be ample time until the end of his first term for the administration of President Bio to initiate a commission of inquiry into the financial conduct of the entire previous administration or launch criminal investigations into individuals for specific actions that they believe have been committed illegally and are able to unearth sufficient evidence to prosecute them, and if found guilty, punish them accordingly.

But for now President Bio has to get on with the business of taking stock of the nation’s economic wellbeing and setting his economic and financial priorities right for the near and medium term. It is not going to be easy and there will be no quick fixes as the economic and financial problems are not only man-made but structural in nature. Perhaps there is enough goodwill for the international community to write off the bulk of the country’s external debt as a gesture as it was in 2002, after what has been a bonfire of fiscal imprudence and financial impropriety by President Koroma and his maligned administration.

AFK
Reply with quote  #2 
There is not much substance in the article. The article is shallow on facts. Do you want me to list the assets and developments in Sierra Leone since 2007 that came about under EBK but will now be under the SLPP government's control. You will not have to pay too much attention to infrastructural programs anymore. Most of the work on energy production has been done you simply need to follow up. Don't forget that Sierra Leone hass been transformed into a cashew growing nation and we exported cashew last year for the first time. I believe that this development is significant. Please nurture the cashew program for new monies. Water development and Health has seen tremendous progress. Those sectors would need continuity in program development not re-invention. There is Bunbuna phase 2 that would need continuity. Already massive effort has been done throughout the country to situate the new infrastructure for the Bunbuna program. Please make sure the program continues or else we stand to lose everything. 
I believe that we already have a contract signed for the new airport. As a member of the civilized world of nations we should honor the contracts lest we be sued in the international court of justice. And remember please not to introduce Junta style administration. 
Macroeconomist
Reply with quote  #3 
AFK,

Please tell us how come all the rubbish that you itemized could not move our GDP and our GDP per capita over the ten years that your useless APC was in power? Our  GDP per capita is still well below $1,000.00.
Sengbe
Reply with quote  #4 
"...There is Bunbuna phase 2 that would need continuity. Already massive effort has been done throughout the country to situate the new infrastructure for the Bunbuna program..." AFK

If I recall correctly, the outgoing SLPP-led GoSL of Pa Kabbah intimated in 2007 that the Bumbuna project was 95% completed, and here we have AFK telling us that "Bunbuna Phase 2" needs "continuity" in 2018, and "to situate the new infrastructure for the Bunbuna program".

Something is grossly amiss in this scenario; either Pa Kabba was lying, or the outgoing APC-led GoSL is fraudulently conning the peoples of Saro, as delineated by AFK.

Folks who is telling the truth here? How can there be a "phase 2" relative to a project that was 95% complete eleven years ago?
AFK
Reply with quote  #5 
Sengbe, you are beginning to learn about the deceitfulness of your SLPP compatriots when you ask these sensible questions. It was not just about the Bunbuna project that kabba lied about, he also lied about constructing the Lungi Bridge and that Sierra leone would become a member of the oil producing nations by the end of 2007. 
It is this same proclivity for telling lies by SLPPers that Bio intimated that there would be free education for all when he takes control of the ship of state. 
Sengbe
Reply with quote  #6 
Furthermore, as per AFK:
"...I believe that we already have a contract signed for the new airport. As a member of the civilized world of nations we should honor the contracts lest we be sued in the international court of justice..." AFK

Honor what contract? For the new Mammama Airport which is only really needed for the importation of hard illegal drugs from South America, and possibly Afghanistan, in transit to be distributed worldwide by the likes of Kemoh Kocaine Sesay and his Port Loko Mafia's kin and kith to supplement Akata Party income?

My recommendation to the newly elected SLPP-led GoSL is to abandon this project completely, and use the funds to rehabilitate/rebuild the infrastructure of the regions and districts that were utterly disregarded by the outgoing APC-led GoSL of EBK.

What is the rationale for building a new international airport in the same district (Port Loko) where Lungi International Airport is situated? If a new airport is sorely needed, and it is to be built in the Western Area, why not just expand Hastings Airport to international standards? Is it not more cost-effective that way, and to the satisfaction of the geographic location?

Have you all seen Demby and Blama roads in Kenema lately? And the roads leading to Kono and Koindu? just to name a few of the problem areas.

Well! SLPP be wise and lookout for your constituencies that made it possible to kick out the Akartas from power in na we Saro!!
Sengbe
Reply with quote  #7 
"...It was not just about the Bunbuna project that kabba lied about, he also lied about constructing the Lungi Bridge and that Sierra leone would become a member of the oil producing nations by the end of 2007..." AFK

And what was EBK's contribution to the "lies" Pa Kabba told, AFK?

Did EBK and Co. not state about a few weeks before the elections that they have secured funding for the construction of the Lungi bridge? Was that a lie or not?

How about the contract given to the Ruskie company to prospect for oil? How much did the APC secure fraudulently for the purchase of oil blocks circa 2013/4/5? Was it the SLPP that sold those blocks?

How about the national Rutile company that was sold to the Australian conglomerate by that Sesay chap for coco-ebbeh?

I will go on when you answer these questions in all honesty.
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