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Compromises at Parliament: On Dr. Samura Kamara’s Nomination

These days’ members of the Sierra Leonean public are experiencing more compromises by their Representatives in the House of Parliament than expected. It is the expectation of the public that Presidential nominees for ministerial positions should be thoroughly scrutinized by the Legislators for various offices and those not satisfied with should be rejected. It would appear from recent development taking place and news filtering from the Appointments Committee that those constitutionally charged with the responsibility of scrutinizing, vetting and confirming information supplied by these nominees are interested in other things that meeting requirements and public expectation in relation to the execution of their sacred duty.

Some members of the public are now disappointed and experiencing difficulties to fathom and comprehend how some of the nominees are getting an easy ride out of Parliament to their new offices.

Samura-Kamara-Minister-of-Finance-and-Economic-Development-Sierra-Leone

On 18th December, 2012 Dr. Samura Kamara, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development who was nominated by President Koroma for the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations had his nomination suffered some setbacks when Hon. Eric Komba Koedoyoma of Constituency 27, Kono District representing the Sierra Leone’s Peoples Party(SLPP) discovered major and questionable lapses that were Highlighted and brought to the attention of his colleagues. Among the lapses discovered were Dr. Samura Kamara’s inability to justify his academic qualification which information he supplied to the Appointments Committee, failure to record his date of birth on the Parliamentary Form, correct disclosure of his assets and finances. Notwithstanding these lapses, Dr. Samura Kamara was confirmed on 19th December, 2013 by the Appointments Committee as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The shocks and surprises coupled with mixed feelings experienced by some sections of the public continue to send them in a state of disillusionment and perturb as to how the nomination of Dr. Samura Kamara was confirmed in less than twenty four hours, when certain issues in the minds of the Members of Parliament  were left hanging and unresolved.

Further to concern raised by some sections of the public over the quick-fix ratification by Parliament of Dr. Samura Kamara’s appointment, investigation was conducted by this medium. The outcome was not only stunning but has exposed Dr. Samura Kamara as a government official who was not sincere with Members of the Appointments Committee and Parliamentarians during the period of scrutiny. The Parliamentarians on the other hand were either sympathetic to him or turned blind eyes to his deception to avoid any further embarrassment. Documentary evidence has confirmed his qualification(published in this edition), but declaration of  his financial status and assets remained questionable, apart from the evidence of his account at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, which balance as at 18th December, 2013 showed that he has Le321,833,705.00.

There was no justification or evidence for other accounts, both local and foreign, which information he furnished Members of the Appointments Committee. On the Declaration of Assets Form, Dr Samura Kamara scribbled under the Accounts with Banks specific Branch, Type of Account and Balance Column thus: 1003537-S.L.Commercial Bank, F/Town –current 2,737,423.00, and account number 1340502-Rokel Commercial Bank, Freetown-current Le260, 000.00.

Account number 51218298-HSBC London-current, pound sterling-2,500.00 and Account Number-Bank Fund Credit Venture-Washington Savings US$2,808.00 and claimed that cash in hand was Le1, 000.000.

At the Freetown International Bank (FIB) with no Account Number, Dr. Samura Kamara alleged that he has 140,000,000,000 in Leones or foreign currency, he failed deliberately to state. (See documents). What is seen to be evident in the current Parliament according to observers is a show of compromise. Whether the show of compromise is done in the interest of the state, Parliamentarians or the purpose of good governance needs explanation on their part and that of Members of the Appointments Committee where nominees are required to make their initial appearance prior to the well of Parliament.

As if the case of Dr. Samura Kamara was infinitesimal, the confirmation of the Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Hon. Musa Tarawallie has called to question the credibility of Members of the Appointments Committee. It would be recalled that a Commission of inquiry was set up by the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party in which, Hon. Musa Tarawallie was banned from holding Public Office. The Chairman of the Commission was Lawyer Shears Moses and recommendations after days of sittings were explicit and done in the interest of the state. The equivalent of a Commission of inquiry in Sierra Leone is the High Court and its findings and recommendations are assessed and regarded as a judgment of the High Court. The reaction of Government to the Commission’s Report in a White Paper endorsed almost every points highlighted in the document including the area that deal with the ban on Hon. Musa Tarawallie. It may sound preposterous to imagine that the Government in Power that set up a Commission is the same Government that has ridiculed its findings. This occurred few days back when Hon. Musa Tarawallie appeared in Parliament to confirm his appointment and was quoted to have described the Shears Moses Commission as illegal and was supported by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Response by many Sierra Leoneans is why did the APC set up the Commission? Was it to waste state resources or what?

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