A news release by the State House Media and Communications Unit issued on August 13, 2018 has quoted His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, as glowingly discussing the current state of affairs of Ministry of Social Welfare as against what used to happen in that ministry previous to him taking over government.
The president was reportedly speaking in Freetown to Muslims leaving for Hajj 2018 pilgrimage to Mecca.
State House quoted President Bio as bluffing that he has been able to “change the face of the Ministry of Social Welfare from one that was known for disorderly behaviour and corruption allegations into a more responsible one capable of handling any challenge, hence the result of a well-planned Hajj this year.”
Bio was also quoted as saying that the country “needed the favour of God to put an end to the turbulent moments she had experienced” and therefore Bio “pleaded to the would-be participants to use the opportunity to pray for the government and the people of Sierra Leone.”
In a direct response to the President’s swipe, a former Social Welfare Minister under the erstwhile APC led Government, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, has described the President as making the wrong call for prayers. She said Bio should make a call for prayers to end hypocrisy on the part of those who are seeing all the additional turbulent moments which Bio has brought to Sierra Leone but yet are singing his praises.
Dr. Blyden further said the President was being “very hypocritical and not honest to his conscience insofar as corruption allegations and disorderly conduct are concerned at Social Welfare Ministry”.
Dr. Blyden says she has “remained disgusted with the selective nature in which very corrupt civil servants, some of them caught red-handed but who are sympathetic to the President’s ruling SLPP, are not being brought to book by the SLPP regime with some of them even elevated to work at the Office of President Bio.”
Dr. Blyden accuses President Bio of making a mockery of the fight against corruption by bringing to work at his State House office, civil servants with questionable history of activities demeaning the fight against corruption.
“Can President Bio in good conscience look at his Secretary to the President, Dr. Julius Sandi, who was so pivotal in the grossly illegal and corrupt withdrawal of $314,000 cash from Social Welfare Ministry that was subsequently misappropriated? That corrupt withdrawal for which former Vice President Foh is to face trial, was done in direct contravention of my own directives as the Minister in charge of that ministry. What can be more of a disorderly conduct than what Sandi successfully helped Victor Foh to do against my directives to protect Government funds from corruption?” Blyden asked adding: “But guess what? When President Bio comes in to office, he speedily gave a double promotion to this same Dr. Julius Sandi. Basically, President Bio was endorsing corruption and disorderly conduct around Social Welfare ministry by elevating Sandi”.
“So what moral authority does President Bio have to lecture anyone about corruption and disorderly acts at Social Welfare Ministry? Think about it?” she posited.
Continuing, the former Minister said for her, the most disgusting of the actions of President Bio concerns his elevation of another former Social Welfare ministry civil servant who was caught red-handed in corrupt practise.
“Can President Bio in good conscience look at Bockarie Momoh Foh and appoint him to State House as the second most senior civil servant next to Sandi after the whole world has listened to the live recording of Bockarie Foh, as Permanent Secretary, confessing to attempting to corruptly withdraw $3,000 cash from Social Welfare Ministry behind my back as the Minister then? What is more disorderly and what is more corrupt that what B.M. Foh did at Social Welfare Ministry? However, Bio elevated him to State House!” Blyden pondered.
Blyden said that instead of President Bio “behaving like a school boy dropping childish comments and hints”, what he should do “as a Statesman” is to show us how serious he is in fighting corruption “by expanding the realm of the proposed Commissions of Inquiry to include civil servants and not just APC Ministers and then, let us see if his Number One and Number Two civil servants at State House will not get to be publicly disgraced for corruption allegations and disorderly conduct at Social Welfare Ministry”.
She ended by calling on President Bio to “please keep quiet if you cannot expand the fight against corruption to include all civil servants and please keep quiet if you cannot respect Sierra Leone citizens who were genuinely fighting corruption that your favoured civil servants were perpetuating whilst they went about deliberately creating disorder in order to frustrate genuine APC Ministers from succeeding and by extension, cause your SLPP to eat into APC support votes. If you cannot include pro-SLPP senior civil servants to face the Commissions, please just keep quiet Mr. President, just keep quiet!”
Also, still on Bio’s call for prayers during Hajj, Dr. Blyden says Bio should “make a call for prayers to end rank hypocrisy in Sierra Leone.”
Dr. Blyden says some civil society activists who are in support of instituting a mono-tribal hegemony inside Sierra Leone, some SLPP leaning journalists and some misguided church leaders are presenting a misleading picture to the international community insofar as the Bio selective witch-hunt is concerned. She said if they were true patriots, they would have advised President Bio to stop protecting his pro-SLPP civil servants and open up the ambit of the proposed Commissions of Inquiry, to include all senior civil servants. She said until President Bio stops protecting one set of Sierra Leoneans over the other with respect to corruption, the president lacked the moral authority to say he was fighting corruption in Sierra Leone.
“President Bio is not fighting corruption and he knows it. Let him keep quiet and let him stop thumping his chest that he is fighting corruption. He is not fighting corruption! Rather, he even is seemingly rewarding corrupt civil servants!” the former minister ended.
Presidential Spokesman Yusuf Keketoma Sandi and Government Spokesman Hon. Rado Swarray, were both unavailable for their reactions to the bombshell news that two senior civil servants named in issues of corruption and disorderly conduct at Social Welfare ministry, had been directly elevated by President Bio to be his Number One and Number Two civil servants at State House. We will continue trying to reach Bio’s Spokesmen for more on this shocking revelations against President Bio from Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the former Minister of Social Welfare.
Culled from Awareness Times Newspaper