When the United States based online news portal raised alarms on the misappropriation of $3 million at the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission in New York, accusing fingers were initially directed at the former Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Alie Kabbah and his team of unnamed diplomats. Meanwhile, Commissioner Kaifala said on social/new media that his commission was actually looking into a misappropriated $4 million matter.
A comment posted on the Facebook wall of the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Francis Ben Kaifala on May 29th, 2021 in connection with the allegation in question reads: “The ACC has commenced full forensic investigations into corruption allegations relating to the re-construction/refurbishment of Sierra Leone UN Permanent Mission’s Chancery House in New York where over $4 million was transferred to complete the building by now but the building remains far from complete and the money paid is in limbo. The Head of Chancery, Finance, etc. are in custody assisting us with speedy investigations and ensuring anyone found wanting faces the full force of the law”.
Why for God’s sake is the ACC deliberately refusing to expose, name and shame these unnamed diplomats to the public and the world as a whole? The commissions is by all means expected to be accountable and very much transparent in the discharge of its work but has refused to tell the public who are its diplomatic suspects currently in detention at the Criminal Investigations Department – CID helping the ACC with investigations into the matter. No need to hide these from the public and donors/development partners who actually bankroll the ACC. The protection of certain people as sacred cows is not the work of the ACC and Commission Kaifala should be seen doing the right thing in the fight against and not protecting party sons and daughters. You have a reputation to save so do what is expected of you regarding international best practice. The Africanist Press has unrecovered it all for you; it is left to you now to advance with the fight at the real battlefront.
The claims emerged from procurement processes relating to what the mission had described as a facelift to the mission, which was somehow abandoned up to the time of the relocation and demotion of the country’s Permanent Representative from New York to the Arab Republic of Egypt as an Ambassador. That clearly speaks to the fact that something indeed went wrong at the SL UN Mission in New York that is tantamount to the sacking of Dr Alie Kabbah from government.
But President Bio would hardly touch him owing to the fact that Dr Kabbah was his campaign manager during the last presidential and general elections. Instead he transferred him from the UN to another diplomatic mission in an Arab country.
What is clear here is that the alleged conduct of the former diplomatic mission staff including Dr Alie Kabbah is shameful and disgraceful for Sierra Leone – for a whole team of diplomats to be found wanting for corruption in a resident country of operation. The more reasons the President should have fired Dr Kabbah and his entire team right from New York rather than recycling him to some other place with probably the same tendency to do something similar.
And now false alarmist and noisy absconded Bradford Professor turned Foreign Minister David John Francis, who was never sworn in before taking up office is all over the place trying to secure credit for uncovering the whole mess at the SL UN Permanent Mission in New York. It’s like the teakettle calling the cooking pot black, Mr Sacred Cow Minister. And Mr Minister Francis, the mess didn’t happen in 2011; you have to be honest and sincere to the country and the world over.
Had it been so why didn’t you people make noise about it the last time you went to the United States? You are caught telling lies again to the world. Stop deceiving the people of this nation. The corrupt offence in question happened under the diplomatic and missionary leadership of the outgone Sierra Leone Permanent Representative to the UN, Alie Kabbah. That is what you should have been helping the Anti-Corruption Commission investigate by now rather claiming credit for a job you didn’t do. Once again, the ACC should look into your dealings as well!
You only want to place yourself right at the center of the good work of the Africanist Press because the ACC is reported to have commenced the indictment of suspects for corrupt offences committed at the country’s diplomatic mission in New York. You are also fully aware of your ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party exporting corruption to foreign countries. It is your administration at State House that presided over the recalls of diplomats from all missions abroad, replacing them with your SLPP supporters and members. So how can you blame such criminal looting of state coffers on other people? Be honest with yourself, Mr Foreign Minister, you have the country’s reputation to protect, and the world is watching you.
If the suspects indicted by the ACC and already detained at the Criminal Investigations Department are not recent placements then their names wouldn’t have been withheld by the ACC. The commission should have announced the names of their suspects in detention for public record purposes. But there is nothing like that at all as the public was informed that unnamed suspects are being detained at the CID. ACC is this being done to please the public that you are actually doing your work or just an attempt to satisfy donors that you are at work while you are nothing but a push cart anti-graft commission?
The public is curious so much to know the actual identity of your suspects. Since your commission has been naming and shaming others, why are these not being clearly identified to the public is the critical concern being raised by the public? To some extent some schools of thought have advanced strong arguments refuting your pronouncement of arresting and detaining suspects of the New York corruption allegation, and that your alarm is being done to please the gullible masses.