By Philip Neville
It was in early 1980s when the late ex-President Siaka Stevens went to the United Kingdom to attend a Commonwealth Conference and came into contact with a young intellectual, dynamic, fresh and promising man. His disposition, power of oratory, choice of words stirred the late ex-president to enquire who he was. Response triggered him further to hold talks with him and convinced him to return home and contribute to his motherland, being a Sierra Leonean
Dr. Abass Cherenor Bundu left Sierra Leone during his youthful age and returned home highly educated whom much was expected from him. Impression about this youngman was enough to change the unfavourable and wretched socio-economic and political trends of the country to sanity. This impression forced the late ex-president to pick him up from among the lots of Sierra Leoneans residing in the white-man’s land. Knowledge acquired could be used to straighten up the crooked political lines, social injustices and economic deprivation suffered by the people and with these assumptions the late Siaka Stevens thought that he had succeeded in getting the type of people to form the political team that would sail the country through. Dr. Abass Cherenor Bundu was assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture, principally to manage food production and turned Sierra Leone hungry state into a producing country and not the reverse, and even Siaka Steven’s successor, the late ex-President Momoh was filled with this type of ambition especially when people perceived to be the problem solvers are around and formed part of the political administration of the state.
He is a very educated individual, with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) and when he opens his mouth, one hardly gets tired of listening to him speak. This was the skill (the power of oratory) he used to lure in Frank Yiu to part with money belonging to the Sierra Leone.
As a nation, we start to experience disappointment and our level of frustration and blood sugar shot up when people like Dr Abass Cherenor Bundu could not explain the whereabouts of a shipload of fertilizers meant for farmers. A similar story of fertilizer involving the late SAT Koroma till date has not been told and properly digested. Also, a story about iron rods involving Mr. Sheki Bangura, current Chairman of the Commercial Bank and Customs Department remain wrapped in thick clothes, so the story about Fertilizer and Dr. Abass Cherenor Bundu that has not been told to the children of this country. While, half truths and truths about the matter have been concealed under the carpet, his dealings with Frank Yiu and large quantity of Sierra Leone Passports will never see the light of day, but controversial and patriotic journalists will force him to refund what he chopped as part of his own share that should have been paid into the state coffer.
What is known, even to the villagers is that our Passports were sold to foreigners, especially Chinese nationals for huge sums of money (foreign currencies), that should have been spent judiciously for the progress of the state, purchase of arms and ammunition to close the war chapter you name it, that was never achieved.
This establishment is armed with relevant pieces of documentary evidence to counter every lies and defence of Dr. Bundu in relation to the country’s Passports. It would be recalled that the exodus of Chinese nationals with excess money benefited a number of countries in Africa, including Botswana, Swaziland and even some developed countries. For instance, research reveals that in the case of Canada, to be entitled to residence, an intending Hong Kong immigrant would be required to remit into Canada at least US$750,000 and would be required to satisfy all legal requirements before being granted citizenship. Unfortunately, when Sierra Leone got involved in the programme in 1991, politicians like Dr. Abass Cherenor Bundu sought out ways to enrich themselves at the expense of the state. He had demanded from Frank Yiu the sum of US$1,000.000.00 (One Million Dollars as contribution towards his election campaigns and assured him that he was certain to become the President of Sierra Leone and when that happens the trade will continue, which means more money for him and the agent.
What has angered many Sierra Leoneans and this writer is the continuous lies and deception of Dr. Bundu that he was not involved and had received no money from Frank Yiu as his own share of state money.
If Siaka Stevens were alive and armed with documentary evidence like this journalist he would have slapped Dr. Bundu on the face for lying to the state and its people. Ethically, he has committed an offence against Emmanuel Kant the German Philosopher who criticized lying for no justifiable reason. Kant said telling lies to save lives is both excusable and justifiable, but not telling lies to deprive the state of its assets.
The government of ex-President Kabbah, initially treated the Passport case seriously, but after some pep-talks in Banjul-The Gambia where Dr. Bundu hibernated for a while the matter took a deep sleep. It would be in the interest of the state to wake up serious matters like this especially when Dr. Abass Cherenor Bundu continues to lie about his involvement, giving false impression that he was only framed up to satisfy the powers that be. Shamefully, the other day he was on Radio talking about the sale of Passports and concluded by saying that he was exonerated. These and other pronouncements spurred an investigation to ascertain the validity of his public utterances. We are now making public the outcome of the investigation and can safely say he has a case to answer.