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A rejoinder to the True Lies of Lansana Gberie

 

By Princess Adama Kopoi

One of the most famous business people in the world, Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca, an Italian American entrepreneur, known for engineering the Mustang, the Ford Pinto and the revival of the Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s, once remarked: “I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” Who is not aware that Lansana Gberie is one of the academics the Bio Campaign has hired to smear the images of key figures in this regime? Who does not know Lans Gbereie is a die-hard member of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) who was poised to serve as Information Minister in a Berewa-led government? Just go back to all his writings after his SLPP were dumped out of power to prove this point. But this is another issue all together I intend to deal with another day.

You could almost admire his naivety in believing that the people of this country would accept anything sprouted from his pen. This latest desperation and elaborate power chase is laughable and smirks of something akin to a peacock mating ritual. In the current edition of the BBC Focus on African Magazine, disregarding facts, Lansana Gberie tried a calculated attempt to disguise his intention to use the BBC to campaign for Bio by launching a torrid attack on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Commissioner.

His assessment of the ACC and its Commissioner, Joseph F. Kamara, ESQ, is dishonest, politically driven, very misleading and suggests envy and hate. The disguise was a deliberate attempt to assassinate the Commission’s proud record in a senseless move to gain political capital for his SLPP, which he has always boasted, is running through his veins. Disregarding the statistics, Gberie sought to conveniently ignore important points and facts, purposefully pin pointing on the untruths. Hastily, he passed a verdict on the Commissioner:  “Kamara’s list of those he has charged for corruption invites cynicism.” The true cynic he is, he cataloged a list that included “a school teacher soliciting less than $2…, a prison officer and a junior court register for the unlawful release of petty convicts.” The list glaringly excluded the indictments of Philip Lukuley, a high-profile rich felon who had used illegal means to overstay as the god of the Marine time Administration as Executive Director and found guilty of corrupt offenses, the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, his Chief Administrator and eight other important public officers, senior officers of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) Secretariat, senior officers of the 50th Anniversary Committee, among others. Lansana Gberie should be in a position to understand that in the world of honest people, the Deputy Master and Registrar of the Northern Province is exactly not a “junior court register” and people jailed for capital offences are not exactly “petty convicts.” The facts are clear for everyone to see that Gberie’s math do not quite add up. A researcher of his purport should be more thorough than he exhibited. Gberie’s misunderstanding of the issues serves to multiply the embarrassment, and the anxiety that is seemingly emanating from his controllers is more palpable.   Unwittingly, he exhibited doubt and contradiction when he admitted the following: “In January of last year, the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) indicted the Secretariat’s (ABC) Senior Staff for stealing hundreds of dollars in donated funds,” yet to him, Kamara’s indictment list is full of “junior” officers.  This begs the following questions: Why did he fail to reflect these high profile indictments, other authoritative facts and figures contained in the Commissioner’s response to his query for this BBC article.  No, he cherry picked and published what he wanted thereby depriving his readers of the true and accurate position of the Commission as demonstrated by statistics from world renowned institutions that are specifically commissioned to rate and grade anti-corruption institutions such as Transparency International (TI), ADB, Mo Ibrahim Index, World Bank etc.  In fact, shortly before Gberie’s piece, Transparency International had rated Sierra Leone with a 2.5 score, making it the highest the country has ever attained since its inclusion into the TI index. And this is not under “Commissioner” Lansana Gberie and a “President” Maada Bio. This and other important accomplishments were achieved under President Ernest Bai Koroma and ACC Commissioner Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Esq.  I can’t be alone in suspecting that Gberie and his SLPP are used to getting their own way to such an extent that failing to do so results in toys exiting the pram at varying trajectories.

Lansana Gberie displayed cardinal hypocrisy when he failed to mention that SLPP was so reluctant to set up the ACC that they decided to institute a white elephant fully compliant with the principle of toothless bulldoggish” under donor pressure and dictates. The Commission had very limited powers of investigations and arrest, just nine offences and no powers to prosecute. The record of the Commission before the Koroma Administration is nothing to write home about. When Okere Adams, one of Kabbah’s blue-eyed boys was arrested by the Commission, it spelled the beginning of the end of Val Collier as ACC boss. President Kabbah went beyond expectations; he went on TV condemning the ACC for arresting Adams and berated the Commissioner publicly. Yet, Gberie wants us to believe his true lies. Contrast this to Koroma who expanded the mandate of the Commission, granted it prosecutorial powers and did nothing to stop  the  Commission in its indictment and conviction of two of his cabinet ministers, including one who is a “close presidential friend, and was said to be considered as a potential vice presidential candidate for Koroma in 2012.” (Lans Gberie). Under the Koroma administration, the ACC has convicted more people, including high profile public officials, more than any other time in the history of this country. The SLPP and this information minister that never was (Gberie) are creating artificial dents on the president’s record. This is crash judgment.

What is more convincing than the presented evidence. Enjoy this:  In 2008, Sierra Leone’s CPI was 1.9, increasing to 2.4 by 2010. Correspondingly, ranking has improved from 158 in 2008 to 134 in 2010. The Commission’s current ranking put Sierra Leone above countries like Cameroon, Libya, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Angola, Chad, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, among others and on the same level with Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Sierra Leone’s ACC has been one of the few anti-corruption institutions in the world to have convicted more than 70 people within a period of 10 years, including high profile public officers, which include sitting government ministers, high court judge, the Ombudsman, a magistrate, and senior civil servants, all under the Koroma administration. The Global Barometer on Corruption 2010 reported that in Sierra Leone, 53 percent of Sierra Leoneans surveyed considered that corruption had decreased, 17 percent felt it was still the same and 30 percent believed it had increased.

The Mo Ibrahim Index for 2011 reported that “Sierra Leone is the second country that has demonstrated statically significant improvements in the quality of overall governance quality over the past five years.” The report furthered that the country has “similarly gained ground in all four categories of the index: Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.” Out of 53 countries assessed, Sierra Leone ranked 30 beating sister states like Liberia and Nigeria.

The National Perception Survey on Corruption 2010, of course not conducted by the ACC, but commissioned by DFID, reported that 80.8 percent of Sierra Leoneans surveyed are aware of the government’s anti-corruption strategy, 64 percent believed that the anti-corruption strategy is effective, 66.9 percent of Sierra Leoneans are confident that the Commission would properly investigate complaint if they made one and 25.7 of the respondents do not have confidence in the ACC.

Concerned that he is more likely to lose the elections in the very first round against a formidable achiever, the Bio Camp appeared to have entered into a mild panic. One begins to wonder just what benefit the SLPP sees in this foolish foray. For the neutral, Lansana Gberie and the entire Bio Camp have brought a lot of public amusement with this cheap and foolish propaganda. Desperate men, they say, do desperate things. It’s incredibly and increasingly difficult to extract good public relations when the facts, figures and ratings don’t support your cause.

It is appalling how politics twists the brains of very educated people. For Lansana Gberie to misleadingly claim that the ACC lost its case against the government’s top tax collector, Alieu Sesay, shows complete academic dishonesty. It does not require much for anyone to understand that a case is only lost or won when all the legal options available to both the defense and prosecution are fully exhausted. The ACC had appealed against the judgment and the processes have been set in motion. If this is interpreted by Gberie and his SLPP cohorts as losing the case, maybe a new definition of what losing a case is worth considering. Surely Gberie and his SLPP party do not believe that by merely attacking the Commissioner of the ACC on a BBC publication, no matter how credible the medium, voters will flock to the SLPP in November, which would be incredibly insulting to the people of Sierra Leone. Commissioner J.F. Kamara is an outstanding professional who has done very well for this country. Not all will agree, but it is an incontrovertible fact and no amount of politicking can change this. His portrayal of the erstwhile Commissioner, Abdul Tejan-Cole, Esq, as if his successes should be attributed to the SLPP is laughable. President Koroma appointed him and gave him all the necessary tools and support to work. Therefore, Tejan-Cole’s gains cannot be unconnected to President Koroma.

It is also prudent to know that within the ACC-controlled strategy, corruption is corruption. Whether it is “petty corruption” or whatever name you intend calling it, it is corruption as long as it is in breach of the offences under the ACC Act of 2008. Gberie’s BBC article on the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone is misleading, biased and partisan. His TRUE LIES remind me of Mark Twain’s legitimate claim: “Of all the animals, man is the only one that lies” and as Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca would have it, he is very “willing to sacrifice to (everything) accomplish it.” Under pressure from his handlers,   he has unfortunately shown us the ugly side to the beauty of the free press. Just one more this, the captioned “Dent in the Record” looks remarkably similar to Africa Confidential “Ferry Fiasco Dents Ernest Bai Koroma’s Standing,” grammatical and syntactical analysis of both suggest that they might just come from the same pen.

Posted by on 12:08 pm. Filed under Breaking News, NEWS, OPINION, OTHER NEWS, POLITICS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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