From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

CATASTROPHE!! CATASTROPHE!!! A Wheeler Dealer as Attorney General?
By Awareness Times
Aug 11, 2008, 14:21

On 17th June 2008, Lawyer Afe Babalola, a Nigerian Legal Practitioner sent a detailed correspondence to the Chief Registrar at the Community Court of Justice of ECOWAS in which he asked for Judges hearing the matter with SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/07/2007 between his client, MOHAMED KAMEL WANSA and the PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE to be informed that the people of Sierra Leone through their Counsel Attorney General Abdul Franklyn Serry Kamal had agreed to pay the whopping sum of seventy five billion leones to his Lebanese client named Mohamed Wanza.

A Wheeler Dealer as our Attorney-General = CATASTROPHE!

The terms of this so-called agreement (Letter & Text in Monday’s edition) between the people of Sierra Leone and this Lebanese merchant stated that "after exhaustive negotiations between the Representatives of the 1st Defendant [THE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE]" and "the Plaintiff with his legal team led by Chief Afe Babalola" the following was agreed:

1) The 1st Defendant [THE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE] will pay the sum of $25,000,000.00 (i.e: Seventy Five Billion Leones) to the Lebanese Mohamed Wanza.

2) The sum $7,500,000 (i.e: Twenty Two Billion, Five Hundred Million Leones) will be immediately paid to Mohamed Wanza on or before the 31st August, 2008.

3) The balance of $17,500,000 (i.e: Fifty Two Billion, Five Hundred Million Leones) will be paid in equal installments every 90 days from the date of signing at the rate of $2,187,500 (i.e: Six Billion, Five Hundred and Sixty Two Million and Five Hundred Thousand Leones) every quarter.

4) The 1st Defendant [THE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE] shall issue an irrevocable but negotiable security bond covering the quarterly payments due in the clause above redeemable at maturity. This means Wanza can trade the bond to any other external actor and damn the consequences.

5) The PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE will pay Wanza’s Lawyer Mr. Babalola et al the sum of USD 200,000 (i.e: Six Hundred Million Leones) for his legal services rendered to the Lebanese Wanza during the fight against the people of Sierra Leone.

It sounds unbelievable that the Attorney General Abdul F. Serry Kamal will legally advise his team of Government officials which included Bank Governor Samura Kamara and Finance Minister David Carew, to legally bind the poor people of this country to such strenuous terms without first seeking the approval of the people. However, this is exactly what happened.

Awareness Times received the documentation detailing this wheeler dealer arrangement from no less a source than the ECOWAS Court itself. Our source at the Courts said the people of Sierra Leone are currently the laughing stock of certain legal circles in Nigeria as a result of these so-called irrevocable binding of our poor country to Lebanese merchant Wanza.

We understand that the reason why some Nigerians are laughing at us is because although Serry Kamal was sworn in as Minister in October 2007 and although the Standard Times of Philip Neville had given maximum publicity to the matter (albeit against Tejan Kabbah the 2nd defendant), yet the AG, Serry Kamal in typical wheeler dealer style, did not make much effort to robustly defend the claims until the eleventh hour (June 2008) when Serry Kamal deliberately created a furor that judgment was nigh and in the ensuing choreographed panic created by Serry Kamal and his ilk, a foundation for justification for the payment without due and robust defense against the dubious claims was thereby developed.

Like babes in the hands of Serry Kamal and Babalola, Sierra Leoneans were tied down to pay Wanza the whopping sum of 75 billion leones over some 24 months. This, at a time when the country is struggling to meet its financial obligations in the areas of education, health and social welfare, could be perceived by some to be a gross betrayal of the trust reposed in Serry Kamal and by extension, a betrayal of the voters’ trust in Serry Kamal’s boss, H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma.

"This is what happens when you appoint a wheeler dealer to become the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Catastrophe will follow!" an employee at the Law Officers’ Department told this newspaper yesterday whilst pleading for anonymity to protect his job as Serry Kamal is his boss.

However, as fate would have it, in what could be a saving grace for Sierra Leoneans, sources close to Ernest Bai Koroma have indicated to this writer that the President was not at all a happy man over this signed agreement and there is now a stalemate situation as Government functionaries in the know about the wheeler dealer agreement are heavily divided on it.

One group of APC Government officials who belong to the caliber that possess a conscience and have feelings for their poor Sierra Leonean compatriots, insist that Serry Kamal not only should not have signed such an agreement strenuously binding the people of this land but that infact, his team did not even have the mandate or authority to sign it which thus made the agreement forwarded to the ECOWAS Court Juges by Mr. Babalola, to be rendered null, void and of no value whatsoever.

"Committing Seventy Five Billion Leones over a period of two years, for whatever purpose, should get Parliamentary approval or it is simply not valid," a ruling party parliamentarian from Port Loko told this presshouse yesterday after we broke the story.

Another set of Government players are reported to be upset over the shady deal not because they have a conscience for the poor people of this land but because no one has promised them any of the kickbacks that accompany such a wheeler dealer gameplay. As can be calculated, 10% kickback of 25 million dollars is 2.5 million dollars or 7.5 billion leones and that is a lot of money.

The last set of players in the Ernest Bai Koroma Government are the ones who are reported to already be firmly in Mohamed Wanza’s pockets and thus they have no qualms about tying the country down to such a brutal payment schedule even as other creditors to the Government are overlooked.

However, some Sierra Leoneans around the President who have been privy to the unfortunate wheeler dealer agreement have assured this newspaper that President Koroma will not let down those who voted him in to power by dishing out in a frivolous manner, seventy five billion leones to Wanza and six hundred million leones to his lawyer, Mr. Babalola without due consideration of his fellow countrymen currently staggering under the weight of "global".

What makes the strict 90-days regular payment schedule signed by Serry Kamal to be so alarming is the fact that current media reports would seem to indicate that there is a serious shortfall in the expected amount of revenue that this country should have generated thus far and so to learn that despite these serious alleged shortfalls, the Attoney General was committing the meager funds over a short period of time to be placed into Wanza’s pockets was disheartening to many Sierra Leoneans who contacted this newspaper yesterday.

"The country has loads of creditors from way back. Mohamed Wanza is simply a creditor and he can take his place along the others especially as his claims are highly disputed. So, why the special treatment for Wanza? This type of wheeler dealer business by Serry Kamal is too bad," a furious political youth activist from Susan’s Bay told Awareness Times yesterday.

However, whether Serry Kamal’s mortgage arrangement will prevail or the interests of the cash strapped citizens will prevail all remains to be seen as the clock ticks nearer to the 31st August 2008 date agreed upon.

Meanwhile, poor Sierra Leonean children who are the future of this land, continue to languish as illiterates all over the country and mothers continue to die from maternal mortality due to the Government’s inability to see to the financial obligations of the educational and health sectors of the country. The roads and other infrastructure are also in dire need of attention as are the social services. They are all crying out because of a serious lack of financial attention whilst men like Serry Kamal are legally advising President Koroma to engage in unsavoury actions like mortgaging future revenue generated for this country off to Mohamed Kamel Wanza without Parliamentary approval of such a speedy payment timeline undertaken.

Soon to follow are more analysis on the Wheeler Dealer Attorney General and the actual copies of the documents with Serry Kamal’s bold signature on them as he mortgages off future revenue generated for this country.


Who wants a One Hundred Million Dollars Loan from Nigeria & why?

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