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Published online by
Sylvia Blyden Dot Com

17 Garrison Street,
Freetown,
Sierra Leone.
Tel: +232-77-772001
Tel: +232-88-321000
Tel: +232-76-350077
Tel: +232-30-321001
Email:
editor@awarenesstimes.com
Website:
www.awarenesstimes.com

NEWS  

Fresh Corruption Issues Dog Former British P.M. Tony Blair in Sierra Leone
By Our Staff Writers
Apr 28, 2010, 17:19
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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blairs penchant to engage in activities that result in him being accused of corruption has dogged him into the West African nation of Sierra Leone where he now finds himself embroiled in a national scandal that he collected the equivalent of ten billion worth of the countrys leones currency from American Computer Billionaire Bill Gates' charitable foundation but never announced it to the locals on whose behalf Blair's Office is claiming to have collected the money to assist them. Ten Billion Leones is equivalent to about Two and Half Million United States Dollars.

Sierra Leones biggest and most widely read news daily, the Awareness Times, is hot on the issue of the former Prime Minister so much so that the Government, which perceives Mr. Blair as a sort of Godfather, has stepped in and subtly threatened the newspapers owners with possible sanctions if the paper did not let up on the allegations of corruption being levied at Mr. Tony Blair.

Pro-Government news outlets especially an obscure one with professed links to Tony Blair, have also launched vicious personal attacks on the paper's very popular female publisher, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. The Publisher, one of the country's leading molders of public opinion in Sierra Leone, remains unfazed and has described some of the attacks on her character as "more on the amusing side than anything else".

The newspaper itself does not seem to be in the mood to entertain the overt and covert threats from Mr. Blair or the Government and have fired back at a Joint Press Release issued from the Presidency in consonance with Blairs Africa Government Initiative.

The exchange between the newspapers editorial team and the Government and Office of Mr. Tony Blair is reproduced below and all indications so far is that the Sierra Leone corruption saga swirling around Mr. Tony Blair, about cash he has collected in the name of promoting good governance for the poor citizens of Sierra Leone, is just starting to build up in the small West African Nation that was a former British Colony.


Tony Blairs Mystery Thieves in Sierra Leone -
A Rejoinder to Blair/State House!

Competent sources inform Awareness Times that there is significant level of panic within official Sierra Leone Government circles following the blockbuster revelations by this newspapers investigative team about the alleged mystery thieves who supposedly broke into the Office of Tony Blair in the capital city of Freetown and made away with only documents, leaving valuables behind untouched. A Joint Statement on the issue from the Government and Mr. Tony Blairs Office has been published and is reproduced at the end of this article.

It will be recalled that Awareness Times newspaper revealed to its shocked local readers last week that Mr. Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, had arranged the collection of the sum of a whopping US$2,466,415 (approximately ten billion leones) in the name of promoting good governance for Sierra Leoneans but without ever publicly announcing this collection to Sierra Leonean locals themselves.

The said approximately ten billion leones cash was collected by Mr. Blairs operations from the American Billionaires charity, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and paid into an entity owned and operated by Mr. Tony Blair known as WINDRUSH VENTURES NO. 3 LIMITED PARTNERSHIP. The money was paid out to Mr. Blairs Windrush in June 2008 under the award of a Grant numbered "Grant OPP50878".

Grant OPP50878 of some Ten Billion Leones cash was granted to Tony Blairs operations in order to "support the Office of Tony Blair's efforts to prevent and relieve poverty in Sierra Leone by providing strategic advice and building institutional capacity in the Government to promote peace, economic growth and sustainable development" for a term period of "1 year and 11 months"; which period should be ending around this time as it commenced in June 2008 according to information available to this presshouse.

The coincidence of the alleged mystery theft of documents occurring just around the time when the Office of Tony Blair should expectedly be preparing to submit its Final Report to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation explaining how the ten billion leones was spent, is what has raised more than a few eyebrows in the country.

According to many surprised citizens who contacted this newspaper when the news first broke, they wonder how Mr. Blair could claim to be promoting good governance with its essential ingredients of transparency and accountability; only for him to hide away the fact that his office had pocketed such a large sum of money into the accounts of his entity known as Windrush No. 3 Ltd., supposedly for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans.

Awareness Times Editorial Team has already stated in the capital city, Freetown, that it will deeply follow up on this brewing scandal even as the Ernest Koroma Government is busy holding meetings with an aim to deflect the growing concerns from shocked citizens. Latest indications is that the sister of sacked Transport Minister Kemoh Sesay, Madam Saidata Sesay who is currently the Deputy Minister of Information, has been carpeted for confirming to local journalists that indeed there was a report of an alleged theft of documents at Mr. Blairs offices by "mystery thieves".

Our competent sources insist that Senior Government officials believe that if Deputy Minister Saidata Sesay had not confirmed the report about the alleged theft by mystery thieves, it would have been much easier to spin the original Awareness Times article that broke the report of the mystery theft.

Awareness Times initial report is that the "mystery thieves" did not make away with a single item of value despite the huge amount of valuable electronic and computer equipment present in the Office of Tony Blair in Freetown. Our information is that only "important documents" were stolen by the mystery thieves. Indications are that the documents stolen might contain information pertinent to the ten billion leones collected from American Billionaire Bill Gates Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that should be accounted for, to the last penny, at around this time, which is 1 year and 11 months after the Grant OPP50878 cash was awarded in June 2008.

It is an indisputable fact that until Awareness Times broke the news, the existence of such an amount pocketed into Mr. Blairs Windrush Ventures was a "top secret" known only to a select few. Several high ranking Cabinet Ministers have already confirmed to Awareness Times, on condition of anonymity, that they had "absolutely no idea" of such an astronomical amount collected in the name of benefitting Sierra Leoneans until they saw it on the front pages of the Awareness Times newspaper last week.

Mr. Blair regularly jets into Sierra Leone ostensibly to help Sierra Leoneans because he loves Sierra Leoneans but it is only now that Sierra Leoneans are learning that the "love" and the "help" has been propelled with some infusion of billions of leones from American Billionaire Bill Gates into the deep pockets of Blairs private vehicle.

It is also a fact that the existence of this private vehicle (Windrush No.3) and associated similar Blair registered companies like Firerush Ltd. have raised some dust in the United Kingdom with strong calls to current UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to open an investigation into alleged abnormal operations of Tony Blair's Windrush Ltd, Windrush No.1 Ltd, Windrush No.2 Ltd, Windrush No.3 Ltd, Firerush Ltd, etc. etc. etc.

Awareness Times has urged its readers to prepare for more reports to unfold about the mystery thieves and the ten billion leones collected by Tony Blair's Office, totally unannounced to the locals in Sierra Leone but done in the name of promoting Good Governance for the long-suffering locals in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Press Release issued by Mr. Blairs Office in conjunction with the Office of the Sierra Leone President, has left many questions still unanswered. They include the following as highlighted in a Press Statement issued by Awareness Times Monday afternoon:

1. Was there a break-in by mysterious persons at the Office of Tony Blair located on one of the well secured Top Floors of Youyi Building, Brookfields in Freetown?
2. If there was a break-in, what was stolen by the mystery thieves?
3. Did the mystery thieves leave behind valuable electronic and computer equipment and only cart away documents?
4. If documents were stolen, what was the nature and contents of these documents taken away by the "mystery thieves"?
5. In the spirit of Transparency and Accountability, which are essential ingredients of Good Governance, why was the huge cash donation of almost ten billion leones kept as a top secret by Mr. Tony Blair away from even high ranking Cabinet Ministers of the Sierra Leone Government? The existence of such information on a website that is obscure to most locals in Sierra Leone is a non-starter of a response.

According to the Blair/State House Press Release, Mr. Blairs Office is threatening to report Awareness Times Newspaper to Sierra Leone's Independent Media Commission (IMC) but it is not clear which allegation they have a problem with. It is hoped by the paper's editors that when the matter will be opened at the Independent Media Commission, "with all due publicity it deserves", some of the as-yet-unanswered questions "being asked around the world", would be adequately dealt with by Mr. Tony Blairs Office in Sierra Leone.

"Fortuitously, Sierra Leones IMCs investigation into this matter might just afterall provide the answers that all those British Media have been dogging Mr. Blairs Office for all these months but with no luck. We eagerly await the complaint against Awareness Times Newspaper from Mr. Blairs Office to Sierra Leones Independent Media Commission," the Awareness Times Editorial Team said in a statement issued on Monday afternoon in Freetown.

It has also been revealed that whilst the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative might be a registered charity in the United Kingdom, contrary to the implied statement on the Blair/State House Release, Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative charity was NOT the recipient of that Ten Billion Leones from the Gates' Foundation. The almost ten billion leones cash was paid by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation into Tony Blair's private limited liability profit-making company named Windrush Ventures No.3 and which initial investigations by Awareness Times at the Companies House of the United Kingdom show to have entries as follows:
Name & Registered Office:
WINDRUSH VENTURES NO.3 LP
50 BROADWAY
LONDON SW1H 0BL
Company No. LP012665
Status: Active
Date of registration: 19/12/2007
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Company Type: Limited Partnership
Nature of Business (SIC(03)):

As stated earlier, Awareness Times Editorial Team is looking forward to the Complaint against the newspaper from Mr. Blair's Office to the Independent Media Commission of Sierra Leone!

"It will be an exciting complaint to be investigated!" one of the paper's Editors exclaimed in anticipated excitement.

#END#

THE PRESS RELEASE THAT RAISED MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS HERE FOLLOWS

OFFICE OF TONY BLAIR, GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE JOINTLY REFUTE PRESS REPORTS

Recent press reports saying that secret documents belonging to the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative were stolen are completely untrue and are rejected by both the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative and the Government of Sierra Leone.
The Africa Governance Initiative has been seeking to improve the effectiveness of public administration with the aim of reducing poverty, and is proud to have been supporting the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma since 2008. Mr Blair has visited the country three times since then, and a team of experts has been in Freetown since October 2008 helping to build capacity in the Office of the President and key Ministries.
The first phase of this work was supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as is documented on their website, which makes very clear that the aim of the project is 'to prevent and relieve poverty in Sierra Leone by providing strategic advice and building institutional capacity in the Government to promote peace, economic growth and sustainable development'.
The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative has acted at all times to ensure the appropriate management and distribution of all support received. That means all projects are administered in accordance with the terms set out by the funders, and the Africa Governance Initiative will be writing to the Sierra Leone Independent Media Commission asking for any allegations suggesting otherwise to be retracted as they have no basis in fact whatsoever.

The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative is a registered charity in the UK and receives funding from a number of foundations and other philanthropic sources.

#END


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

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