From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown
Ernest Koroma: Beneficiary of Corruption & Intrigues in Sierra Leone or a centurion for an old APC clique?
By Saidu B. Turay, Ph.D (USA)
Aug 3, 2007, 20:39
I consider myself a member of the APC, and I still believe in the core ideals of the APC. But I do not believe in a leadership that continues to deceive the people of Sierra Leone with pretences that it is unblemished. I also do not believe that the APC leadership should make grand promises which it knows it will not fulfill in four years.
For this reason, I consider in this article, some particulars about the background of APC leader, Ernest Koroma who is, coincidentally, my second cousin from my mother’s side and who also taught me at St Francis in 1976-77. I do this because I believe that honor resides in how a person presents his/her integrity.
Ernest Koroma has been going around telling people that he is unblemished, he is new, and he is a successful business man. But the facts are that he is not new, he is as blemished as the rest of the foul lot, and he has gained ascendancy in the APC because of intrigue, manipulation, and intimidation. For me, Ernest Koroma lacks credibility, and cannot be entrusted with the leadership of that country at this time.
A Murky Background of Intrigue: RITCORP and Jamil Sahid Mohamed
I was a solid admirer of the young and smartly dressed Ernest Bai Koroma when he had just graduated from Fourah Bay College at the stunning young age of 23 and teaching us at St. Francis. But beneath that veneer of decency, I was soon to discover a murky underworld of personal indiscretions and compromised integrity.
I will not speak about his personal life because there are way too many dirty things to reveal and my purpose here is to focus on Ernest Koroma, the politician.
This was 1977 – the year of radical student militancy against the corrupt and dictatorial excesses of the APC. But that was the year that Ernest Koroma opted to cozy up to the APC leadership that was looking for its next generation of leadership praetorians that would protect the dastardly legacies of the corruption, bad governance, and the mass executions of some of the best northern Themne intellectuals and leaders like in Dr. Sorie Forna, Bash Taqi, Brigadier John Bangura, and several others, as well as the flight into exile of Dr. Karefa Smart.
Just after these pogroms, Ernest Bai Koroma, my cousin, voluntarily joined the APC and was drawn into an emerging Limba inner circle from the Bombali area. This special interest group which would later wreck the APC and Sierra Leone was to later become the “e-i-kute.”
I had nothing against the emerging Limba group because, (to be totally honest), I personally gained from their nepotistic practices by getting a foreign scholarship ahead of more deserving Sierra Leoneans simply because of my connections to the Limba inner circle. I will not name names because some of the people are family members who are my benefactors. But let us focus on Ernest Koroma.
For the APC, 1977-1978 was a period of political consolidation in Sierra Leone. Siaka Stevens had removed foreign oversight of the Sierra Leone economy, declared Sierra Leone a one-party state, and indiscriminately used the Internal Security Unit (ISU) paramilitary force to bludgeon all opposition into submission. In the face of all of this, Ernest Koroma quietly joined Siaka Steven’s maniacally destructive political project.
At this time, Siaka Stevens and Jamil Sahid Mohamed were looking to establish a Sierra Leonean hold on economic interests like the fisheries, diamond mines etc. This is when the young, impressionable Ernest Koroma was recruited with the traditional APC largesse of a managerial position in RITCORP. As Jamil Sahid’s personal protégé, he was used by the APC to displace the Indian chief executive of RITCORP.
It is credibly alleged that he cooked financial books to not reflect the large payments he made into Jamil Sahid Mohamed’s personal accounts at various banks that I will not name here. For Ernest Koroma’s alleged dishonest services, Jamil Sahid and Siaka Stevens replaced the Indian owners of RITCORP and promoted Ernest Koroma.
But this Jamil Sahid honeymoon would not last. Ernest Koroma was again at his manipulative best. With the ascendancy of Major General Momoh, the ekutay clan in which Ernest Koroma was a prominent member had started placing a stranglehold on political power at the expense of the Themne constituency of SI Koroma that had sacrificed most to keep the APC in power. Well, what did we expect?
Ernest Koroma was to continue this later when he totally sidelined and excluded Themnes from prominence in the APC even having the gall to appoint an unknown young man from Kono in spite of advice from the Themne leaders of the APC (who I will not name here). I was privy to some of those conversations here in the USA when Ernest Koroma was here on tour.
I am a family member of the late Dr. A.K. Turay whose silence or contemptuous laughter about Ernest Koroma always said a million words. He never trusted Ernest Koroma, and he would always say that Ernest Koroma is more destructive for the APC than anything.
Having captured political power in 1985, the Limba core set about installing the Limba praetorian guard in strategic places. One area of wealth gathering was the Risk insurance and management business at RITCORP. The Limba core wasted no time in displacing Jamil Sahid Mohamed and even framing him with a coup plot.
There is reason to believe that Ernest Koroma was aware of this set-up, and he benefited from it by being appointed overall boss at RITCORP. The idea had been that with Jamil Sahid out of the way, proceeds would be shared among the three key parties – who I will not name in this article because two have passed away, and one of them is a close family member.
With this history of aligning his loyalties with cliques and special interest groups, I was not surprised to hear complaints from Mr Adikali Kamara and other APC bigwigs like Uncle Birch Conteh, Uncle Eddie Turay, Uncle Yambasu, and others that Ernest Koroma had tried to use his supposed clean boy image to illegally appoint a National Advisory Council that would rubber-stamp his leadership. This is APC at its worst. This smiling con-man who hides behind the veil of decency has been neck-deep in dirty APC politics since he graduated from college and has gained from the corruption, bad leadership, and malaise that resulted in a brutal civil war. This man was part of that group that brought our country to its knees. How he can present himself as clean just beats my imagination.
He is either assuming that Sierra Leoneans are very gullible. No wonder Dr. AKT refused to re-join the APC after he returned from exile in London. He knew Ernest Koroma very well, but could never trust him. The senior APC leadership has simply buried the hatchet, but they do not trust Ernest Koroma and his rhetoric.
The man has just recently shown his hand again by appointing an unknown running mate who cannot even sing the APC party song very well. Ernest Koroma’s ungratefulness and lack of integrity shine through that again. He completely ignored those who have committed their entire lives to working for the APC for someone who is alleged to have bribed him on behalf of a foreign mining company.
Well, fellow countrymen, THE DANGER BEGINS ON AUGUST 11 IF YOU ELECT ERNEST KOROMA.
© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Source: Culled from Facebook https://www.facebook.com/milly.terry.3/posts/10214613439393001