A mouth watering honey deal that could have earned its participators huge kickbacks and swell their pockets have been stalled due to procedural failures, greed and intentions that are tainted with corruption.
Over the past couple of months, this medium had exposed the unpatriotic developments engaged by some Government employees whose ambition is to pocket Millions of Leones at the detriment of the suffering masses, but efforts to contain this ugly development on the part of Government or the State watchdog, the Anti Corruption Commission have been a disappointment.
State House made an effort to contain what could be seen as a fraud, but abandoned the process at midstream, thus giving the upper hand to the perpetrators to move ahead with their planned action to continue defrauding the State and its Citizenry through the sale of the Country’s identity (Passport) at a cost that is not only unreasonable, but can be afforded by a selected few.
“The APC Government is creating more rooms for the Opposition to capitalize on come the next election, which the voters can easily buy, if allowed these perpetrators to continue with their unpatriotic plans of selling the Country’s identity to its Citizens at the cost of Le500,000 Five Hundred Thousand Leones” An Executive Member of the Ruling Party remarked.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda now dubbed “Passport Minister” who has been championing the passport project has now been discovered to be insincere and not telling the truth to his Cabinet colleagues and Parliamentarians. All these and more have seriously constituted to stall the issuance of Passports to Sierra Leoneans.
Beside, the insincerity of Hon. J.B. Dauda has caused more financial loss to the agent of Thomas De La Rue who also happens to be the “middle man” in the project. As the objective of every enterprising businessman is to maximize profit, so with the agent, but because of the insincerity of the Minister of Internal Affairs coupled with his disrespect for procurement regulations, the process has not only stalled but has caused a serious loss of revenue to the State and profit to the financier of the project.
What has come out clearly is the fact that the entire passport arrangement has been opaque and non transparent and managed by the Minister.
Cabinet contribution to the project is reportedly minimal and not sufficient to be endorsed by Cabinet Ministers to proceed with the project under the Le 500,000 per passport to Sierra Leoneans. Similarly, Parliamentarians have not been giving the opportunity to weigh any option or endorsed the new price, and to further assess the implications and consequences of the new price when introduced to the public.
Recently, as a result of the dissatisfaction expressed by members of the public and the reactions of the Country’s Civil Society Groups, the Passport Minister was summoned by the Legislative House to explain about the Passport arrangement and new price.
Even to Parliamentarians, the Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs was economical with the truth and it would surprise Members of Parliament to know that prior to the Minister’s appearance in the house, he had already prepared a statutory instrument, dated 5th February 2015 and has given a date for the new passport to be available in the market, while he promised to take the instrument to Parliament on another date and time.
The document entitled Statutory No …of 2015, Published 2015….The Passport Act, 1964 (No 49 of 1964) see document in this edition)
A Member of Parliament who spoke to this medium said that Parliament did not endorse the new price as it was not tabled for Parliamentarians to do so.
In a similar vein, the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice has had no idea, or be informed officially about the new price and the relationship between the alleged Thomas de la rue and the new agent, or was giving the opportunity to peruse the documents and proffer legal advice.
Sadly, the entire passport project has now been stalled and reached a stalemate with Sierra Leonean left in the wilderness and in desperate search for solution. Every day, a lot of Sierra Leoneans are storming the Immigration Office requesting for their Passports or a refund of their money already received by the office.