…throws Dr. Richard Konte into political wilderness

The Timber Trade that sandwiched the former Chief of Staff, Dr. Richard Konte and his cohorts in the small Magistrate Court Number Two has left many mouths open with  many questions asked, as to what is the fate of the matter in court. Additional  reasons that have caused the inquisitive minds to ask questions is the current activity of one of the accused persons, who is still using the timber business to generate personal revenue at the detriment of many Chinese Timber Traders that have poured huge financial capital into the business and yet waiting for State House to lift the red flag on the timber business. But while these unfortunate timber traders are waiting for the last command from President Koroma, Alie Suma is reportedly busy using strategies that are akin to criminality to raise money for his personal pockets and playing on the minds of the unfortunate traders.

One indigenous Sierra Leonean Company that wants to take up the challenge for Government to realize substantial income in the timber business is the C.C.F.G Consultancies, if giving the opportunity to do so. With a Consultancy and Regulatory Body established to conduct the timber business through the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, it is the conviction of those involved in the business that Government will see the end of the tunnel and revenue for the state will be generated and proper mechanism put in place for the future of the industry.

With this kind of arrangement now contemplated and the necessary framework put in force, the economic livelihood of those now suffering as a result of the ban will breathe a sigh of relief as the trade will not be a free for all, but one with the right structure and organization.

This is one of the proposals dangling in the minds of those that see the timber trade as their principal source of economic and social livelihoods, but despite the contemplation, fears are being expressed by some of them with the feelings that Alie Suma has destroyed the reputation of the business and may  also sneaked through the consultancy and benefit from it, using mechanisms and certain individuals in the current Government to warm his way and secure legitimate entrance. It would be recall that since 2008 when the timber trade commenced in the country at a small scale, it was done unnoticed and with no scandal until Alie Suma reportedly took it to State House to maintain monopoly and be at the helm, involving the Chief of State and other Government officials that ended up in scandals, forging of documents and defrauding the State of Sierra Leone Millions of Leones.

The business history of Alie Suma is neither enviable nor palatable when told, according to family sources. The late President of the Republic of Guinea, Lansana Konte allegedly had a file on him, which created fear in the mind of Alie Suma that forced him to escape the country during odd hours as the late President was reportedly in search of him prior to his death.

In Sierra Leone, he still remains the Leopard that could not do away with its spots. The involvement of State House and the former Chief of Staff, according to family sources was a deliberate ploy to get an edge over his competitors and in the process maximize huge financial muscles to dominate the industry.

It will surprise many Sierra Leoneans and some timber traders that he has not shifted from his original plan as information filtered to this medium has explained how he has skillfully and cleverly been collecting money from some unsuspecting Chinese Timber Traders under the pretext of using the money to assist in the Government Tree Planting exercise in the month of June, 2015.

Prior to the Government Tree Planting exercise currently on course, he allegedly collected money under an organization named Union of Timber Factory Owners and Workers(UTFOW) the sum of Le280,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty Million Leones from the Chinese Business Community, for which he claimed was meant for the financing of the National Tree Planting 2015. The refund of the money in the sum of $200.00 (Two Hundred Dollars) will be done when the ban is lifted for timber export per every container. When will the ban on timber export be lifted is unknown, but the impression he is creating on the minds of the Chinese traders has giving them the conviction that he is well connected with the political system of the day and State House.

The document dated 15th  May, 2015 was signed by a representative of the Timber Harvesters Processors and Exporters Sierra Leone Ltd, a Company believed to be owned by Alie Suma and another document dated 21st May, 2015 is a receipt from the Chinese Business Community in Sierra Leone with office allegedly located at 3B, Lamina Sankoh Street in Freetown. The document was cleverly manufactured to give justification to the utilization of the Le280,000.000.00M collected from the Community. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has denied the involvement of Alie Suma and his team in the current tree planting exercise. The question therefore is what has happened to the money collected for the alleged purpose? Alie Suma has been dodging telephone calls from this medium, when effort was made to contact him.

Relating to the alleged $180,000.00 collected and claimed by Alie Suma that was taken to State House to “KILL” the timber case in court, report states that he is yet to explain how the money was spent, but the mere mentioning of State House by him to the Chinese Timber Traders is enough to keep them quiet and not to ask further questions.

With all of these and more, that is the reason why the agitation is getting accepted by many of the timber traders for a Timber Consultancy and Regulatory Body to be established that will manage the affairs of timber business in the country in collaboration with National Revenue Authority(NRA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Trade and Enterprises.

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