The continued silence of President Ernest Bai Koroma since the imposition of a ban on timber export in the Country has led to an abuse of authority by some officials of the Sierra Leone Government, mainly those at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Over the past couple of months to date, several illegal and clandestine maneuverings and manipulation by top Government officials in collaboration with certain unknown personnel working at state house have made several attempts to undermine the democratic authority of President Koroma for personal and financial benefits.
At any stage of the illegal and fraudulent move, financial kickback is reportedly derived, thus taking undue advantage of the continued silence of the Presidency who deemed it fit to impose a ban on timber export.
It is evident that the architect and principal suspect in sabotaging the effort of President Koroma is the acting Director of Forestry, Mr. William Bangura.
Documentary evidence has exposed the link between Mr. William Bangura and some of the timber exporters in the Country that are engaged in the illegal enterprise to torpedo and thwart the effort in maintaining sanity in the industry. Mr. William Bangura had authored and endorsed several documents requesting financial assistance from some timbers exporters for the purpose of tree planting exercise in June of this year.
Over Two Hundred Million Leones was reportedly collected and distributed to some of the officials at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, including the author and initiator of the document. It would be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Sam Sesay denied any involvement in the fraudulent deal. He revealed to this medium that he has no idea until when he read the article in the Standard times Newspaper. That notwithstanding, the officials involved did not suffer any consequences for their corrupt actions.
Barely months, after the collection and disbursement of the over Two Hundred Million Leones, another plot was hatched, which reportedly attracted huge quantum of dollars for the beneficiaries. Again, Mr. William Bangura’s name became prominent in the syndicate as the brain behind the issuance of an executive clearance to three Companies to export already harvested timber logs for three months.
The three Companies are CFS Construction and General Supply Limited 7, Adelaide Street with Mr. Patrick Koroma as Head of Company to ship five thousand, 20feet containers beginning December 2015 to February 2016, Banico Holdings 91A Bai Bureh Road Freetown, with Mr. Patrick Banie as Head of the Company to ship the same number and containers of timber products effective December 2015 to February 2016 and CCFG Consultancy (SL) Ltd of 3, Wilberforce Street with Ms. Fatmeh Barrie as Head of the Company to ship the same number of containers and quantities for the same period of three months.
Again for the entire dubious transaction, the name of William Bangura became prominent, but sadly continues to enjoy the protection of either the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry or some officials at State House who are believed to be part of enterprise.
Last week was the most shocking development that reportedly occurred during the timber ban imposed by President Ernest Bai Koroma. This was when a group of timber exporters based on the document submitted to them by the Acting Director of Forestry as proof and evidence of the permission earlier allegedly sought and granted from State House through the Office of the Chief of Staff undertook the stuffing of timber products in a number of containers at various concealed locations at the Waterloo District during the odd hours of the night without any supervision from the National Revenue Authority(NRA), Office of National Security (ONS) the Sierra Leone Police or Customs, a development that is very unusual in the timber industry
Up to press time, standard times investigative team was able to collate a total of eleven containers that the group stuffed with timber products and allegedly other prohibited items such as cocaine, palm kernel and others, under the guise of timber. The container numbers are MSKU 348125-0, MSKU 904040-9, MSKU 718165-0, MSKU 220574-6, MSKU 570824-0, MSKU 781007-7, MSKU 332142-1, MSKU511684-8, PONU 010450-1,CRXU 126766-4, MSKU 570824. The containers and the fake clearance certificates presented by the shippers at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay are currently under investigation by the Police. Sources say State House did not authorize or issue any clearance certificates to anyone since the ban on timber exportation is still in force. (See documentary evidence)
93 Bai Bureh Road, Grassfield Kissy Freetown,
Tel: +23276849893 / +23276155972 / +23288842725
15th May, 2015
The Union of Timber Factory Owners and Workers (UTFOW), hereby acknowledge the receipt of Le 280,000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty Million Leones) from Chinese Business Community, for the finance of National Tree Planting 2015. The money will be paid back as soon as the ban is lifted for Timber Export by deducting $200 (Two Hundred Dollars) per container until the full amount is recovered. The companies involved hereby sign for the money.
SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT
FROM: The Assistant Director of Forestry Community Unit
MAFFS Youyi Building Brookfield’s Freetown
TO: The Permanent Secretary MAFFS Youyi Building Freetown
STRATEGIC LEADER: William Bangura Director of Forestry MAFFS Freetown
15th April, 2015.
Team member: Thomas Dickson Kallon, Asst. Director of Forestry Community Unit.
Sahr J. Kellie, Asst. Director of Forestry Community Unit.
Alpha .U. Leigh, Asst. Director of Forestry Conservation Unit.
PROJECT TITLE: NATIONAL TREE PLANTING PROGRAMME
TIME: 5TH JUNE, 2015
LOCATION: TONKOLILI DISTRICT (MILE 91)
PROJECT COST: 279,000,000. (Two Hundred and Seventy Nine Million Leones Only)
Funding Agency: Union of Timber Factories Owners and
This is the handiwork of William Bangura, manipulating, disrespecting and undermining the authority of the State and President Koroma
SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT
From: The Director of Forest, MAFFS Youyi Building, and Freetown
To: The Chairman, Union of Timber Factories Owners and Workers, (UTFOW), 91 Bai Bureh Road, Kissy, Freetown
REF: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE IN ORDER TO CELEBRATE THIS NATIONAL TREE PLANTING WHICH WE INTEND TO BEHELD IN TONKOLILI DISTRICT
Every year, the Government of Sierra Leone joins the entire World in celebrating the Environmental day in June 5 to uphold the environmental values. This year’s celebration is intended to be held in Tonkolili District in order to send a strong message of planting Trees for man’s use to combat Global Warming, Climate Change and Erratic weather conditions in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone and the World at Large. Tree planting will send strong message to everybody and not just cutting down of trees all the time but to also plant trees all the time. In this regard, the Division is soliciting funds from your Institution in order to successfully join the rest of the World in celebrating this day.
Attached is the budget. I count on your usual cooperation
Another handiwork of William Bangura in his desperation to hold President Koroma to ransom for personal and financial benefits