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NEWS : Politics  

Sierra Leone's Foreign Minister in another Corruption Scandal: Abuse of Office to Improperly Employ
By Abdul Fonti
Mar 30, 2010, 17:17
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Sierra Leones Government is facing a serious crisis as President Koromas Cabinet Ministers are falling to the vice of corruption and abuse of office. Barely few months after the country was shocked to its core by the infamous Indian Rice Corruption Scandal involving the Foreign Minister Zainab Hawa Bangura and her husband Sheki Bangura, Board Chairman of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, fresh allegations of corruption have again been levied at the countrys Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Zainab Hawa Bangura now stands accused of improperly ordering the employment of one Abdulai Bayraytay as Spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, without causing the said Abdulai Bayraytay to go through genuine recruitment procedures.

 

This contention surrounding the circumstances of the employment of Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay, in the Foreign Ministry office to such a sensitive position as Spokesman, has been widely condemned and dubbed as a total abuse of office. He is also reported to be illegally holding additional employment positions of not only Senior Policy Adviser at the Foreign Office but also Personal Assistant to the Minister.

 

The Awareness Times Newspaper has learnt that three jobs Bayraytay holds of Spokesperson, Personal Assistant and Senior Policy Adviser of the Foreign Affairs Ministry were never advertised; nobody applied; nobody was short listed; and nobody was interviewed; an occurrence that completely contravenes normal employment procedures.

 

In the midst of this occurrence, it is alleged that Abdulai Bayraytay, receives various government facilities including fat allowances and travel to several parts of the world at the expense of the Government of Sierra Leone.

 

In an interview with the embattled foreign affairs employee last Sunday March 28th 2010, he confirmed that he was holding Government employment positions and that indeed the normal procedures were not followed in his case of employment, but hastened to allege that he is not being paid by the Government of Sierra Leone, as according to him, he falls under the category of what he described as International Professional Association.

 

Bayraytay said he is serving that all important capacity of Foreign Office Spokesman as a volunteer so he posited that as a volunteer he did not need to be interviewed to hold such a job. He could not however elaborate on the other two positions of Senior Policy Adviser and Ministerial Personal Assistant.

 

Abdulai Bayraytay insisted that he has never received a dime from the Government of Sierra Leone during his travels out of Sierra Leone with a government ticket.

 

I will pay every single dime back to the state if evidences prove that I have ever received any money, Bayraytay fumed on the telephone line, and alleged that he is using his personal resources to run the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesmans Office.

 

According to him, he left Canada as a social worker specialised in child protection to answer to the clarion call of President Koroma and to take up these sensitive positions at our Foreign Ministry.

 

It is therefore preposterous and cheap for people to insinuate that I am being paid by the government, Bayraytay said, although he refused to name who pays him and how he has sustained himself during the volunteering.

 

Meanwhile, Awareness Times has checked the website of the INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS for SIERRA LEONE, Inc. (www.ippsl.org) under whose auspices Mr. Bayraytay insists he is volunteering at the Foreign Office but there is absolutely no mention of his name anywhere on the website. Additionally, the IPPSL was only approved by the Cabinet in March 2009 whilst Bayraytay has been deployed as Foreign Office Spokesman/Senior Policy Adviser/Ministerial Personal Assistant now since early in the Year 2008.

 

Several references to Abdulai Bayraytay as Sierra Leones official defacto Foreign Office Spokesman are to be found all over the Internet including on the official Foreign Ministry website (www.foreignaffairs.gov.sl) where Bayraytay is listed down as not only the Spokesman but also as Ministerial Personal Assistant.

 

Similarly an NGO described as B-Gifted Foundation lists down Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay on their website as a Senior Policy Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

 

Our sources insist that Minister Zainab Bangura imported a horde of similarly employed persons into the Foreign Ministry in contravention of Sierra Leones civil service rules in a corrupt abuse of her office. Our sources also allege that she improperly orders the recall of foreign diplomatic staff on the flimsiest of excuses like them failing to go with mission drivers to pick her up at the airport.

 

Meanwhile, the improperly employed Abdulai Bayraytay has threatened that if this writer went ahead to publish this article, he would attack the Publisher of Awareness Times. According to Bayraytay, the Publisher was only allowing her journalists to bring up the issue about his Boss Zainab Bangura and Banguras illegal employment of persons at the Foreign Ministry because the Minister of Fisheries has been indicted on similar charges whilst the Anti Corruption Commission failed to indict his Boss for the same offence. It can be recalled that when the Indian Rice scandal broke recently, the Anti Corruption Commission also failed to act on the evidence against Zainab Bangura, her husband Sheki Bangura and one of the Presidents siblings.

 

The whole world is focussing attention on the corruption and abuse of office of President Koromas ministers right now. Infact, it was the hottest topic for a few hours at the United Nations the other day and this is the driving force behind our team exposing the improper employment of Abdulai Bayraytay by Zainab Bangura. It has nothing to do with the maligned, unduly sacked and disgraced poor erstwhile Minister of Fisheries Afsatu Kabba. This is about Zainab Bangura and not about poor Afsatu Kabba so let them leave poor Afsatu Kabba out of their morass and explain away about Zainab Banguras alleged abuse of office contrary to Section 42(1) of the Anti Corruption Act No. 12 of 2008, the Publisher of Awareness Times insisted last evening.

 


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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