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HOW KABBAH RUINED SANPHA KOROMA…AT STATE HOUSE

Mr. James Sanpha Koroma is one of Sierra Leone’s foremost bankers and ex-Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. His administrative, professional skills and dedication to duty earned him the position of Secretary to President, when the current President, Dr.Ernest Bai Koroma was newly elected to office.

State House was Mr. Sanpha Koroma’s office where he was directly answerable to the President and in his office; he has a team of professional and experts who were collaborating with him to fast tract the day-to-day administration of his office.

Mr. James Sanpha Koroma’s appointment when hit the public was received with mixed feelings by some members of the public, who feel that his attitude would not permit him to work with the new President, but he proved his skeptics wrong as he took his State House assignment not only as a very serious national but personal and would report for duty on time and always punctual and gives maximum respect to President Koroma until Ahmad Tejan Kabbah messed him up.

His tenure at State House became brief and uninteresting when ex-President Tejan Kabbah almost involved himself into it, and pushed for an increase and prompt payment   of retirement benefits for past Presidents, Vice Presidents and Cabinet Ministers.

Ex-President Kabbah resumed visits at State House when he realized that it was Mr. James Sanpha Koroma who was the Secretary to the President and can do everything for him, now that he has become

one of the most powerful men at State House and can turn things around for him within the shortest possible time.

On the part of Mr. James Sanpha Koroma, sources say, it was his belief that he is obligated to the ex-President because he saved him from the claws of the Anti Corruption Commission during the tenure- ship of Commissioner Val Collier, when he was Governor of the Central Bank and was being investigated by both the ACC and Dfid. Little did Mr. James Sanpha Koroma’s office realize that it was a risky venture to satisfy the request of ex-President Kabbah without the consent and approval of the newly elected President. The issues of Pension, Salary increase, Gratuities of ex-Presidents, Vice Presidents is a Constitutional requirement, which states that any assessment made by the Committee under the Act shall be submitted to the President for his consideration and transmission thereafter to Parliament with his comment, if there is any he has to make.

The short-cut method ex-President Kabbah employed to get the matter speedily addressed boomerang, which resulted to a State House scandal that not only pointed fingers at ex-President Kabbah for trying to manipulate the system, but also at the Secretary to the President for risking his job.

It would be recalled that it was during the Presidency of Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah that the ACC threw its investigative nets on Mr. James Sanpha Koroma. According to government sources, it was ex-President Kabbah who master-minded the investigation when in his perception; he  discovered that his Bank Governor was becoming extremely powerful and therefore decided to cut him to size and exposed him to public ridicule.

After several representations made to him to temper justice with mercy, coupled with the fact that he has used the ACC against him and got him where he wanted, ex-President Kabbah intervened and the matter was resolved.

The ‘One Good Turn Deserves Another” theory ended up in disarray when news filtered that the reason for ex-President Kabbah’s frequenting State House was to use the Secretary to President, Mr. James Sanpha Koroma to get the dirty job done for him.

Skeptics who had opposed the appointment of Mr. James Sanpha Koroma hearing about the scandal opinion “We saw it coming”

Mr. James Sanpha Koroma found himself between the devil and the sea, and has to decide which way to go. He was asked to resign or fired from his job. The latter became his option to save him from further scandal. On 25th August, 2008  he resigned his position as Secretary to the President and took responsibility of everything that happened ‘Following the confluence of events at my office over the last couple of days, leading to an embarrassment to Your Excellency, I have decided to take full responsibility for the entire episode…”He wrote, and concluded “Under the circumstances, it is only reasonable and in accord with international best practices for me, even though they both acted without my authority or instruction to the effect, to take full responsibility for their respective actions. Accordingly, I hereby tender my resignation from my appointment as your Secretary and Principal Adviser” Signed James Sanpha Koroma. (See letter and Press release)

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