From Awareness Times Newspaper in
President Ernest Koroma is Unserious to fight Corruption in Sierra Leone
By Citizens' Advocate
Mar 16, 2010, 08:08
President Koroma has been accused by many Sierra Leoneans in and out of the country as being "totally unserious to combat true corruption in Sierra Leone".
Many Sierra Leoneans will recall that the erstwhile Kabbah-led SLPP Government had, fourteen years ago, discovered that Madam Lilian Lisk of Okeky Fishing Agency was a criminal fish thief and charged her to court in 1996 for this criminal penchant of hers. Lisk had then plea-bargained using some senior lawyers as her counsel; some of these her counsel eventually went on to sit on the Judiciary & at least one is still on the Bench. Lisk had also made a written undertaking to pay restitution for her nefarious theft of the people of Sierra Leone in an amount running into hundreds and hundreds and thousands and thousands of dollars which she reportedly paid as punishment for stealing the country’s fish from the poor people of this land.
Lilian Lisk also openly promised not to ever resort to her nefarious fish-thieving, criminal activities ever again. But Alas!, it is a fact that after she provided President Ernest Bai Koroma’s 2007 elections campaign with financial and other emoluments back in the Year 2007, she is back in the country evidentially at the helm of looting the Nations’ fishes and other marine resources with gross impunity that President Koroma does not seem to have the strength to curtail.
It is as a result of this that many Sierra Leone citizens from all political persuasions who contacted this writer yesterday both from within and out of the country have stated in no uncertain terms that President Koroma was not at all serious to fight corruption in his Government and the country.
The citizens hold this view because Madam Lilian Lisk whose corrupt activities at the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources over the years has deprived this country of millions of dollars, is now seemingly on the verge of getting away with the discovery that she has not only continued to corruptly fleece this country after she promised to stop stealing our fish in 1996 as part of her plea-bargain against her 1996 Criminal Indictment, but that she has now resorted to having fish stolen from our waters by her Chinese criminal mafia men sent out into the world as if the fish was from China and not Sierra Leone.
Now, a boat belonging to the China National Fisheries Company with Lilian Lisk’s Okeky Agencies as their registered agent in Sierra Leone, was, shortly before 6:00am on Saturday March 13th 2010, caught by the gallant Sierra Leone Navy, fishing illegally in Sierra Leone waters at an illegal eleven metres depth (Conserved Breeding Ground Depth). This, and other issues including an excessÂ by-catch of 780 cartons of fish and 100 cartons of squive against shrimp-catch of 130 cartons of fish is in total criminal contravention of numerous sections of the Fisheries Act of 1994 and liable to send Okeky Fish associates to long jail terms at Pademba Road Prisons.
Initially, the news of this catch was kept away from the erstwhile Minister Afsatu Kabba until late in the evening of Saturday when friendly sources alerted Minister Afsatu Kabba to the catch. And so, early on Sunday morning, whilst Lilian Lisk’s Okeky Fishing was making frantic attempts to quickly settle the matter and have the boat released quietly with no publicity given to their nefarious criminal action contrary to various Sections of the Fisheries Act of 1994, a team of patriotic journalists from various news media stormed the Naval Base and were able to convince the Naval Officers to transport them to the detained boat.
The team, led by Publisher of Awareness Times, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, included a television crew from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service brought along by Blyden as well as journalists from the print media. They were later joined by the Government officials at the Naval Base. Upon boarding the boat, the journalists made the amazing discovery in the well secured Coldroom that was entered into, that not only was the boat illegally fishing actual huge quantities of fish in excess of the shrimps it was licensed to catch, but that also the fish caught within our territorial waters were being packaged into boxes marked as originating from China.
Another astonishing finding by the journalists was the grossly unhygienic state of the Yan Yu 632 boat which is one of the boats that recently supposedly passed Health Inspection at the Government Wharf following the erstwhile Minister’s Marine Protection Volunteers being sent off the Inspection Exercise.
Now, what has left citizens gobsmacked is the fact that 48 hours since the journalists made the amazing discovery of the numerous criminal breaches of our country’s Laws, Madam Lilian Lisk’s Okeky Agency’s criminals mafia Chinese men have not been charged to court nor has the matter received any publicity from Government news outlets. The Government of President Koroma, though briefed on the amazing discovery, is pretending as if nothing untoward has occurred last weekend and in the process making a mockery of the show by President Koroma up at State House that supposedly warned Lilian Lisk and others to abide by Fisheries Laws of Sierra Leone.
Additionally and of serious consternation to many citizens is that Minister Joe Koroma who, as Presidential Affairs Minister, facilitated the sleek and smooth approval of inspection of such a grossly unhygienic boat by ordering Marine Protection Volunteers off the Inspection Exercise, has now been appointed as the new Minister of Fisheries & Marine Resources by President Koroma.
Of further dismay is the confirmed report that the new Fisheries Minister Joe Koroma was recently seenÂ as he secretly entered the No.4 Damba Road Murraytown premises of Lilian Lisk. What Minister Joe Koroma went to discuss with Madam Lilian Lisk inside her residence behind the closed doors continues to remain a mystery and might remain a mystery if President Koroma does not order his new Fisheries Minister to clear the air. So, the question on many lips is whether President Koroma will do the courageous thing and request of Minister Joe Koroma to publicly tell the people of this land what he went to do inside Lilian Lisk’s house.
"I am gutted. Completely gutted out. I will never trust Ernest Koroma again. If he can turn a blind eye to such naked corruption and the amazing discovery as uncovered by journalists and instead go on to appoint a compromised Joe Koroma as the new Minister of Fisheries, then I give up on Ernest Koroma," a strong pro-APC Sierra Leonean by the name of Saidu Kargbo in London revealed to this writer over the phone.
Meanwhile, some of the photographs taken on board the filthy, unhygienic Yan Yu 632 boat have been widely circulated all over the Internet. Some are reproduced in this printed edition.
As we went to press, reports have also streamed in of a second boat that has been caught by the Sierra Leone Navy but only God knows what deal will be cut with that one as well.
Meanwhile, whilst some patriotic Fisheries staff have lamented the troubles of Afsatu Kabba, there has been palpable joy sensed from others yesterday.
"Now that we have cleverly removed Afsatu Kabba from Fisheries with her gbing-gbing to make money for Government, we will now chop and chop and chop just like we used to chop before she came and spoilt things for us," said a staff at Fisheries.
It is a fact that the recent improved surveillance of our waters by Sierra Leone Navy officers occurred only after Afsatu Kabba was appointed as Minister. That, as well as the eleven BILLION leones she raised is reason why many Sierra Leoneans consider her as one of the very few performers in the Ernest Koroma regime. Navy Officers say they were highly inspired and motivated by Afsatu Kabba’s ministerialship which is one of the reasons for high incidence of recorded capture of illegally-fishing vessels by Navy Officers.
Whether President Koroma’s new Minister Joe Koroma will be able to meet the performance standards that were set by Hon. Afsatu Kabba (SEE GRAPH) is up in the air now and open to debate but what is an indisputable fact is that currently, Lilian Lisk’s impudent ravaging which is shamefully being over-sighted by those who are legislated to stop all corrupt actions, is sending a bad signal out to the poor suffering masses; a bad signal that no timed but ill-motivated Press Release from Western diplomatic missions can assuage.
Indeed, the opposition is reported to already be gearing up to use the lackadaisical manner in which President Koroma has been treating the impudence of Lilian Lisk’s thievery as a formidable campaign tool come 2012 Elections. If the frustrated looks on the faces of many citizens and Western Area supporters of Afsatu Kabba at the courts yesterday is anything to go by, 2012 Elections with the Lilian Lisk Tiffy-tiffy saga that was discovered last weekend with our fish being stolen and mis-labelled as Chinese fish, is going to be a walk-over for the SLPP especially in the Western Area.
Infact, SLPP top guns are already preparing strategies to implement with respect to the lazy and unserious manner in which President Koroma treats Lilian Lisk’s thievery.
The indisputable fact of today is that regardless of how many ill-timed and ill-motivated Press Releases get issued from Western Embassies as damage-control mechanisms after the husband and children of a performing, results-oriented female Cabinet Minister are needlessly hounded at their residence with armed policemen, the fact remains that Madam Lilian Lisk is relentlessly and corruptly causing her Chinese partners to ravage our waters.
Madam Lilian Ada Lisk is on a rampage and no-one seems to be able to stop her; not even the supreme executive authority and Head of State. Over the years, this rampage has seen good citizens get maligned for standing up to Lilian Lisk’s relentless thieveryÂ and this self-same act of maligning has continued till today.
"Oh Salone! We sorry but one day we will get a true Saviour who will lead this land," said Manso Dumbuya from Safroko Limba Chiefdom over his GSM telephone line last evening.
Manso Dumbuya’s sorrowful words are being re-ehoed all over the world.
|The Approach to the Lilian Lisk Okeky Agency's YAN YU 632 Boat that was caught sATURDAY in direct contravention of the Laws of Sierra Leone fishing in waters only 11 meters deep. This is after President Koroma warned just this month about not only the issue of the By-Catch but also that no Industrial Fishing Vessel should fish within waters less than 15 meters in depth.|
|A quick snapshot of one of the awful scenes on board the Yan Yu 632: This boat passed the Health & Inspection Test after Afsatu Kabba's son and other volunteers were chased off the first boat inspected. They were chased off by Presidential Affairs Minister Joe Koroma who claimed he was citing orders from President Koroma. After the volunteers were chased off that boat, ALL THE OTHER FOURTEEN BOATS were given a clean bill of health including this one|
|Publisher of Awareness Times, Sylvia Blyden shows FILTHY entry into one of the storage freezers on the boat|
|Aruna Turay, one of the savvy journalists at Awareness Times accompanied Sylvia Blyden and the soldiers to board the boat caught fishing within waters of less than 15meters depth|
|Aruna Turay points at another section of the FILTHY boat which passed inspection after the son and other volunteers were kicked off the Boat by Presidential Affairs Minister Joseph Koroma|
|Publisher Sylvia Blyden stands and watches into the Atlantic Horizon from the stem of the boat|
|Then she walks down a little way down the deck to allow the camera get a more wider viewpoint|
|Down Inside the Coldroom of the Lilian Lisk Boat are stacked dozens upon dozens of FISH caught. However, the boat is only licensed to catch Shrimps. This has been one of the biggest bone of contentions between Hon. Afsatu Kabba and Lilian Lisk and other Fish Mafia members. They pay a ridiculously low discounted license fee of $7,000 per year per boat as discounted shrimps license and bypass to pay the required $20,000 per boat to fish for FISH. The Law Calls on them to forfeit 80% of all such fish by-catch but they have been used NOT to doing so and efforts by Afsatu Kabba to get them to pay for Fish License resulted in uproar|
|Another angle of inside the Cold Room. By the side are seen some blue cartoned Shrimps but the vast majority of what is inside the cold room are FISH, FISH, FISH which the boat is not licensed to catch|
|Another section of the Cold Room stacked to overflowing with illegally caught FISH that Lilian Lisk has no license to catch|
|A Carton of the Shrimps which she is licensed to catch but here comes the unbelievable discovery by the Awareness Times team on Sunday afternoon... THE SHRIMPS ARE PACKAGED INTO CARTONS MARKING THEIR ORIGINS AS----> CHINA!!!!!!!!!|
|Fished from Sierra Leone Waters but "Originating" from CHINA!!!|
|One of the Lilian Lisk Chinese Fishermen is shown as he is asked by Awareness Times to open and show the GIANT TIGER SHRIMPS already caught and packed for export in cartons labelled with China as Origins of the Tiger Shrips|
|Three of the Chinese Crew show holding the illegally packaged cartons. ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUZZLES in this saga has been why Okeky Fish has been so resistant to working with the Government of President Koroma to have the Ban on Fish from Sierra Leone lifted by the European Union. Well, Awareness Times investigative team has unearthed the answer this afternoon!! Since the cartons are shown as Originating from CHINA, Madam Lilian Lisk has been satisfied with the Ban on Sierra Leone Fish entering the European Union because she and her Chinese Crew of Okeky Fishing Agency are not at all affected. All of Lilian Lisk's caught fish and shrimps enter the EU Market as originating from China and not from Sierra Leone!!! So, she has nothing to lose by maintaining FILTHY BOATS that do not pass EU standards!!! The fish and shrimps fished by these filthy boats enter the European Union as originating from CHINA which latter country has no such ban on its fish entering the European Union. MYSTERY OF LILIAN LISK'S INEXPLICABLE INTRANSIGENCE TO POSITIVE CHANGE HAS BEEN FINALLY SOLVED!!!!|
|Product from Sierra Leone Waters marked as Product of China!!!|
|A well-satisfied Awareness Times Publisher Sylvia Blyden returning back to shore on board the Navy Boat that ferried her and her team of journalists to the Caught Boat|
|The Data of the Caught Vessel. As can be clearly seen, the Boat had far more cartons of FISH & SQUIVE than that of Shrimps!!! The By-Catch (Fish & Squive)was more than the Main Catch (Shrimps)|
|Back on Shore, we take a photo of the entrance of the well secured Okeky Agencies of Madam Lilian Lisk. At the entrance are shown two malnourished Sierra Leone kids who live in squalor.|
|One of the People who worked with Awareness Times over the past few weeks that led to this discovery on Sunday.|
|The story will not be complete without mentioning the fantastic support Awareness Times has received from the Sierra Leone Armed Forces' Naval Wing. Shown here is one Naval Officer navigating the boat back to shore.|
|Yep, Awareness Times was well secured on board the FISH MAFIA's filthy boat!!!!!!! (SMILE)|
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