“ELIMINATE MONOPOLY, DISCOURAGE INCENTIVES AND FRUSTRATE OPPORTUNITIES, ARE KEY INGREDIENTS TO THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION” SAYS ACC COMMISSIONER

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In his model nationwide “Meet the people Tour” on 3rd June 2021, at the Kailahun District Council Hall, Kailahun District, Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, a JSS 3 pupil of the National Secondary School in Kailahun, Mamawa Nyuma, dazzling and confident looking, with the features of a promising lawyer, asked in simple and precise words.  “Mr. Commissioner, Ben Kaifala, let me congratulate you for your laurels, remarkable results and ever ready disposition to lead Sierra Leone to a win in the ongoing war on corruption. We are proud of you. But Commissioner Sir, what can you tell me what are the causes of corruption and how can we address them permanently?”

Responding to the question of Mamawa and many other concerns from the audience, ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., said, “Eliminating monopoly in the administration of our resources and institutions, discouraging the existence of incentives that drive people into corruption and frustrating the opportunities that would lure people into the acts of corruption, are crucial ingredients to winning the war on corruption, especially preventing it”. He told his listeners, that to address the root causes of corruption; we need a positive and unbiased introspection, as those who display unbridled monopoly, incentives and opportunities are those without regard for processes, procedures and best practices are flagrantly indulging in corruption and corrupt practices unchecked.

Mamawa as with others left the Kailahun District Council Hall with a smart answer to the problem of corruption. When further interviewed after the meeting, she said, “I wish as a nation, we will win the war on corruption, which is the major barrier to our fortunes as a country”.

Everyone has a role to play in the fight against corruption and we should not give up, she emphasized.

 It then became even more apparent that the Town Hall stakeholders’ engagement by the ACC Commissioner was a re-radicalization and re-orientation drive to canvass and sustain public ownership and support for the fight against corruption.

Earlier on the same day, June 3, 2021, Francis Ben Kaifala engaged the people of Pendembu, and updated them on the progress made so far in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone where he again requested the people to scrutinize and gauge his leadership as he is accountable to them.

The engagements attracted hundreds of residents, including, chiefdom functionaries, public sector workers, the business community, youth, women, health practitioners, school pupils and teachers.

The ecstatic and nostalgic son of the soil, Commissioner Kaifala was welcomed with colorful and irresistible pageantry as he danced with his mother Mrs. Tewa Kaifala, Paramount Chief, Upper Bambara Chiefdom, Hon. PC Foray Gondor and a galaxy of stakeholders to a local song produced and sang by a popular traditional singer fondly called Salia Bakavonday.

Delivering his statement at the two engagements, Commissioner Kaifala thanked the people of Pedembu and Kailahun for their support to him, his team and the overall fight against corruption.

Ben Kaifala told the gatherings that, “President Bio has waged war on corruption and he has sent me to pass on the message to every citizen of this nation that he is serious about it and the ACC under my leadership shall continue to act tough and I mean very tough against any person who will be involved in this wicked act of corruption, regardless of political and other persuasions”

 

He furthered that the fight against corruption is for the betterment of Sierra Leone, adding that, the engagements were meant to encourage and bolster public confidence in order to raise concerns regarding the fight against corruption, service delivery and accountability.

He urged the people to eliminate the spoilers’ mentality, which pre-supposes that once it is not mine, not yours, then no one cares what happens to it. He maintained that all state and public assets and resources belong to the people and should be protected. Mr. Kaifala re-affirmed the Commission’s commitment to protecting and safeguarding the interests of all Sierra Leoneans by holding duty bearers accountable.

In the separate engagements, whilst welcoming the Commissioner, the Paramount Chief of Upper Bambara Chiefdom, Pendembu, and the Deputy Chairperson of Kailahun District Council, PC Cyril Foray Gondor, and Doris B. Momoh respectively, said, they were pleased to host the Commissioner and his team for the first time in their respective jurisdictions, noting that such engagements will benefit the people and communities immensely.

 PC Cyril Foray Gondor, also stated that, the visit is an unforgettable history in Pendembu as their son Francis Ben Kaifala has returned home with laurels which demand celebration.

PUBLIC REVIEW ARTICLE

THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN

GREENLOVE S/ Leone to Sue CNN for $999.99 Billion

Zain Asher’s MARKETPLACE AFRICA programme on CNN, part of the “Profit Point”, sponsored by DANGOTE industries (Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian industrialist, is on FORBES list as the richest man in Africa) aired a programme about two weeks ago extolling reforestation programmes in Sierra Leone by the local timber industry. Zain Asher, a British-Nigerian, said that “Sierra Leone has lush forest cover”, with a “blooming timber industry”, which last year “exported just over $20 million” of timber products. Zain Asher said that Sierra Leone’s “natural resources are quickly disappearing”,  according to Global Forest Watch. The video then shifted to its real PURPOSE: to do public relations for  a company called “MIRO” that is planting trees in Sierra Leone, and other West Africa countries – for probable use as furniture, or, cooking fuel.  And to whitewash the horrific ecological degradation by largely Chinese-owned logging companies operating in Sierra Leone.  Another articulate lady was also featured in the video saying that MIRO industry has planted 8,500 hectares of trees. As if she was reporting a woman deciding to wear a  blue dress and not a  yellow dress to a party, she revealed this chilling stats: “West Africa alone has lost over 90 percent of its forest cover”, and is now a “net importer of timber products”.  Zain Asher then spoke of a global timber industry before COVID-19 that was valued at $536 billion, which is expected to rise to $720 billion by 2025 – which Sierra Leone can tap into – as if those tantalizing figures can compensate for the enormous species as a result of commercial logging. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Braima Sam-King,was also featured talking of the “huge marketing opportunity” of the emerging tree planting trade and timber industry, and about 2,000,000 trees Sierra Leone would plant, giving duty free privileges to investors so the country can take advantage of the timber industry. A white man in the video said “forestry is a fantastic job creator”-  which sounded like Justin Bieber-like music in a country where about 70% of youth of employable age are unemployed. It was really a dirge for the millions of Sierra Leoneans who would go through living-death and premature death scenarios because of the short-sighted actions of their government, and the cover-up of Zain Asher of CNN. Maybe, it was just sheer ignorance by those Africans who took part in it. Or, it manifested that “slave mentality” of Africans I have so often written about – blindly putting value to whatever the white man puts value to; and devaluing, and destroying, their invaluable resources like the tropical rainforests.  Whatever it was, I am suing Zain Asher and her ‘slave master’ CNN $999.99 billion for that programme which was a reprehensible cover up for the enormous damage commercial logging companies have done (are doing) in Sierra Leone, and West Africa.  Before we go to a legal  court in the United States, let me present my case in the Court of Public Opinion.

Loss of Forest Cover is an Existential Threat to Humanity

In May 2011, Sassan Saatchi of Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Lab and colleagues, published a paper in PNAS with new carbon stock estimates for global tropical forests; and it states that “Between 1975 and 2013, Sierra Leone lost 30 percent of its forest cover…”

 It is worse than that: especially with intensified activities of Chinese-owned  logging companies over the past ten years – what I have published as “ecological genocide”.  Sierra Leone has some 938 species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles; 2,090 vascular plants – according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Center. There is the Gola National Park in Sierra Leone. It is 700 square kilometers.  It has 330 birds species so far recorded – it includes the rufous fishing owl, the Gola malimbe, the white necked picathertes, etc.  There is also the elusive pygmy hippo; and an estimated population of dozens of rare species of chimpanzees and 49 species of larger mammals.  These species are endangered; they could go extinct; that is why global greens have recognized the area as a biological hotspot. (Tropical forests like are in the Amazon Forest in Brazil, the Congo Basin of D.R. Congo, or in Sierra Leone … are said to be the ‘lungs of the earth’ – absorbing the excess carbon dioxide humanity has  pumped into the atmosphere since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, and are a brake to global warming, and the Armageddon-like scenarios being predicted by credible scientists if carbon emissions are not urgently checked).

Tall Trees and Poor Soils!!

Either Zain Asher deliberately lied, or, is terribly ignorant: Sierra Leone does NOT have “lush forest cover”. Over half of Sierra Leone is in the tropical rainforest zone.  The soils in tropical rainforests are very poor. According to the textbook “Tropical Rainforests: Latin American Nature and Society in Transition”, edited by Susan E. Place, these are reasons for the poor soils. They are highly acidic. The roots of plants rely on an acidity difference between the roots and the soil in order to absorb nutrients. When the soil is acidic, there is little difference, and therefore little absorption of nutrients from the soil. Even if humans artificially add nutrients to the soil, the nutrients mostly wash away and are not absorbed by the plants. The high temperature and moisture of tropical rainforests cause dead organic matter in the soil to decompose more quickly than in other climates, thus releasing and losing its nutrients rapidly. The high volume of rain in tropical rainforests washes nutrients out of the soil more quickly than in other climates. When farmers – using environmentally-unfriendly slash-and-burn methods in Sierra Leone – cut down tropical rainforests and use its soil to try to grow crops, they find little success because of the poor nature of the soils. In most parts of  Sierra Leone, farmers  whose agricultural output is about 60% of the country’s GDP, are finding it increasingly difficult to get higher yield because of poor soils. Youth are fleeing the rural areas for cities in droves.  After about 100 years of industrial mining for Sierra Leone’s high value diamonds, iron ore, rutile, bauxite – which also have caused irreparable and irreversible loss of forest cover – there are almost no industries in the cities the youth rush to. 

Rainforest Plants Produce Life-Saving Medicines

Nearly 90% of human diseases known to medical science can be treated with prescription drugs derived from nature, especially tropical rainforests. Billion-dollar drug  companies today cooperate with conservationists, native groups, and various governments to find and catalog rainforest plants for their medicinal value, and synthesize their bio-active compounds.  It is estimated that 120 prescription drugs sold worldwide today are derived directly from rainforest plants. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, more than two-thirds of all medicines found to have cancer-fighting properties come from rainforest plants.

Some of the compounds in rainforest plants are also used to treat malaria, heart disease, bronchitis, hypertension, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, arthritis, glaucoma, dysentery, and tuberculosis, etc. Many commercially available anesthetics, enzymes, hormones, laxatives, cough mixtures, antibiotics, and antiseptics are also derived from rainforest plants and herbs. (SOURCE: By Earth Talk; February 18, 2019; Tropical Rainforests Are Nature’s Medicine Cabinet; thoughtco.com).

 Scientists all over the world still know less than one percent of the medicinal use of plants in the tropical rainforests. Traditional herbalists who live in these forests have more knowledge on the uses of them than the best scientists in the world.  When you cut a huge tree down in the forest, it is not only the many plant and animal life that live on and depend on that one tree that would be  lost, but, the rarest of knowledge of the utilization of these forest’s species by the traditional herbalists that risk being lost – forever.

Reforestation is Not Substitute for Deforestation in Tropical Rainforests

Over millions of years, tropical rainforests have evolved dense vegetation, plant and animal and microorganism life that intertwine and are interdependent in a wonderful display of predator-versus-

prey and symbiosis. For example, “lianas” – they are vines that grow in tropical rainforests.  They begin their life on the forest floor but depend on the support of other plants for growth and survival. Lianas have thick, woody stems that attach to the tendrils or sucker roots of other plants.  Lianas can also wrap or wind around the trunks of trees and reach greater heights…. Near the top, lianas usually spread onto other trees or intertwine with each other to create a kind of network of vines. Such a network allows arboreal animals to move from one tree to another easily. One mature tree in the tropical rainforest could have taken hundreds of years to reach maturity and could be home to 20 to 50 other plant and animal life, as well as micro-organisms.  You don’t chop off that tree and glibly say you can plant a new tree as substitute.

I am the brain, and was the CEO, of the SAVE MY FUTURE CONSERVATION SOCIETY (SAMFU) in Liberia in 1987; and SAMFU was financed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WFF)-International and the German Forestry Mission to Liberia, collaborating with the Society for Nature of Liberia (SCNL) and the governmental Forestry Development Authority… to produce and publish GREENLOVE magazine in1989, which I was Editor for.  Since the early 1980s, I started writing  for  Africa to save its tropical rainforests and use them as  bargaining chips to support demands  for Reparations for Protracted  Holocaust of the Atlantic Slave Trade, and Trans-Saharan Slave Trade; better international trading terms with the West, and a form of ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa – my appeal is more urgent now as Climate Change emergency means that no African country has the financial and human resources capacity for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation measures.  That is why in the organization I am Founder and CEO for, the SLAVE SHIP-FREEDOM SHIP (founded in Nigeria in 1992), my mantra has been: “$2 trillion annually for man-made Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Measures for Africa from the richest nations of the world (And Arab nations that took part in the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade)”.  In suing one of the television giants of the world, CNN,  I aim to give greater visibility, and traction, to my $2 trillion demand. And help save all humanity! Green Lawyers, be alerted!!!

I pause,

Oswald Hanciles, The Guru.

Africanist Press Is The Antidote To SLPP’s Lies

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

Some Sierra Leoneans would say it is pointless to whip a dead horse because it is already useless for any horse race. But when the supposed dead horse is feigning lifelessness just because it is afraid of racing; then it will be more than necessary to give it some lashes for it to come out of its feigned death.

This brings me to the topic for today’s One Dropian dropping, which is the issue of how the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has been pretending to fight corruption when corruption, in fact, appears to have permeated the entire government. It seems the zest with which the SLPP government started the fight against corruption was only meant for stalwarts of the erstwhile All People’s Congress (APC) government and to qualify for the Compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). After the Commissions of Inquiry and the MCC Compact qualification; the Bio-led administration is now running the country like a “drunken sailor” who suddenly found a keg of Vodka in a brothel!

Corruption has become so rampant in the corridors of power that even President Julius Maada Bio is now at pains to defend allegations of misuse of public and donor funds by himself, his wife Fatima, and his once-upon-a-time Chief Minister Professor David Francis. Every day majority of Sierra Leoneans are appalled by revelations of alleged massive corruption and maladministration which have now defined the Bio-led administration. And each time these allegations pop up, the SLPP government reacts with more lies to cover them up.

But the Africanist Press, based in the United States of America, has become an antidote to those lies and cover-ups. Take the issue of the alleged “unpaid” hotel bill in Japan. This issue was purportedly first guinea-pigged by President Bio while on an official visit to Ghana where he was said to have addressed a Sierra Leonean audience. But since he was not challenged there, he thought it fit to export such allegation home. And since the President made that allegation on national radio and television, we are yet to see any evidence (like receipts et al) to prove that the Bio-administration paid an unpaid hotel bill left in Japan by the erstwhile APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma. And knowing the SLPP and its operatives for their propagandistic appetites, they would have brought down the heavens with evidence if they had, and still have!

And now the SLPP government is enmeshed in another corruption scandal involving Sierra Leone’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. According to the Africanist Press they have “…evidence of wire transfers and other banking transactions, [which] show that despite the transfer of over US$3.2 million on June 14 and 5 September 2019, for the renovation of the country’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations in New York, no substantial work has been done on the renovations, raising questions regarding the potential use of the funds that were transferred for the project since 2019”.

Yet with these glaring allegations, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is now trying to muddy the already muddied waters by proposing to take its investigations as far back as 2011. But the timeframe for these allegations is specific. The ACC is expected to investigate the period “between 14 June 2019 and 5 September 2019” when the “over US$3.2 million [was transferred] from the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Sierra Leone Mission in New York for renovation and construction work at the Chancery Building….”

Dr Ali Kabba was the Foreign Affairs Minister when the “over US$3.2 million” were transferred and he was Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations when those renovation and construction work at the Chancery Building in New York were supposed to have been completed. In plain language, Ali Kabba has been in the thick of things—albeit officially. But today, the ACC is yet to call Dr Kabba for questioning to assist them in their investigations. And Dr Kabba, who was once one of the heirs apparent (allegedly competing with Professor David Francis) to President Bio, is now Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Egypt. Again, another seemingly example of the Orwellian “some animals are more equal than others.”

The ACC has repeatedly shown the penchant for catching only the small fishes and letting the bigger ones slip through the dragnet! And each time specific allegations are made against either the SLPP government or particular members of the ruling class; the ACC will downgrade its investigations into generalities! This has been the tried and tested tactic of the ACC to cover-up the SLPP’s “financial crimes”, to quote the Africanist Press. It started when the current Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. Francis, who was the then Chief Minister in the Office of the President, was accused by a local newspaper of allegedly receiving a bribe of US$1.5 million. The ACC swiftly came to Prof. Francis’s defence and even made mincemeat of the whole accusation. Then came the current Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) Alpha Timbo, who was accused of being one of those responsible for thousands of missing bags of rice donated by the Chinese Government. The ACC deliberately botched the investigations and prosecution which led Mr Timbo to slip through the dragnet. 

And the manner in which the ACC treated allegations of misuse of public funds by the Office of the First Lady is truly comical. The Africanist Press has alleged that Fatima Bio has been using monies from the Consolidated Revenue Fund as if they are her personal savings. Instead of the ACC investigate the allegations adduced by the Africanist Press; it muddied the waters by stretching the investigations to past Offices of First Ladies. Even when the 2019 Audit Report by Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) shows concern that for 2018  and 2019 “…serious internal control weaknesses were identified in the management of funds allocated to [Fatima Bio’s] office, mainly due to the lack of competent personnel in the finance division…”; the ACC has still not done anything. And to date, both the ACC and President Bio are still at pains in trying to defend allegations of misuse of public funds by Fatima Bio’s Office.

And it is now being alleged in some diplomatic circles that kickbacks received from the “over US$3.2 million”, that were transferred for renovation and construction work at the Chancery Building in New York, were used by some of the ruling elites to buy houses for their former spouses in the USA. Although this is just another allegation, but it sounds like the “chichidodo” in Ayi Kwei Armah’s novel, “the Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”, which hates faeces but feeds on worms found inside latrines!

It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from the former United States’ President, Ronald Reagan, which says, “The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.” The SLPP government appears to be showing recklessness in handling monies in the Consolidated Revenue Fund and donors’ funds; just like the other end of a baby’s alimentary canal!

 

PUBLIC REVIEW SPORT

 

FIFA President sends Special Compliments to Hon. Minister of Sports Ibrahim Nyelenke

 

The Honorable Minister of Sports Ibrahim Nyelenkeh on Wednesday June 9th, 2021 received with thanks a ‘special compliment’ message from the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino.

The Secretary General of SLFA Chris Kamara handed over a pennant to the Minister with inscription “To Ibrahim Nyelenkeh Minister of Sports of the Republic of Sierra Leone…with Compliments”.

The pennant is a symbol carrying special respect and recognition from FIFA that shows satisfactory values and contributions to the development of footbal in Sierra Leone.

The Honorable Minister expressed gratitude and appreciation to FIFA President Mr. Gianni Infantino for such a laudable recognition which is an emblem of astute leadership.

“Sports is one of the core values of President Bio’s agenda; and we are going to do more to improving the face of Sports including Football-the most popular sport”* the Minister noted.

The accolade was also shared with the Deputy Minister of Sports, Kai Lawrence M’bayo for his continued support to President Bio’s agenda.

Yeami Dunia ruled out of Sierra Leone squad against Benin

 The skipper for Sierra Leone home base team and East End Lions FC Yeami Dunia will miss Sierra Leone important Africa Cup of Nation qualifiers match against the Squirrels of Benin, whilst the national team skipper  Umaru Zaingalay Bangura remain doubtful.

Yeami Dunia has been very instrumental towards Coach John Keister AFCON 2022 journey and had a perfect partnership with FC Kallon defender Abu Bakarr Samura  precisely the two previous matches at home against Nigeria and away to Lesotho with out conceding a goal.

‘ Well… it gets worst… before it gets better….another injury….need a Miracle for my Defence ahead of my qualifiers ‘ Coach John Keister  posted on his Facebook account after Yeami Dunia sustained an injury during East End Lions 2-0 win against Mighty Blackpool on Sunday at the Siaka Steven Stadium.

However, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) defender David Mendy Janneh received a called up to replace Yeami Dunia.

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Happy birthday to Brenda Mak-Kamara of 14 Mackdonald Street Freetown.

As she will be celebrating her Natal day on Friday 11th June, 2021

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