From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

COMMENTS & OPINIONS
Mr. Blair, Letís Just Tell Sierra Leone It is a Charitable Business!
By Staff Writers
Apr 30, 2010, 17:02

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, also known as Tony Blair is a former British Prime Minister. Born in Scotland, Blair studied Law and went on to become one of Britainís youngest ever Prime Ministers, a position he held for ten good years from 1997 to 2007 when he was forced to leave office by his party members. Next week Thursday May 6 2010 will mark his 57th birthday which shows Blair is still a relatively young man with an equally young family to take care of.

 

Blair has a soft spot for Sierra Leone where his father once lectured at the University. This, he was to translate to tremendous support for the Tejan Kabbah Government and people of Sierra Leone during the civil war years. It is a fact that his charitable support, as Britainís P.M., for Sierra Leone, played no mean role in restoring peace and stability to the country.

 

Blair, as a result, has enjoyed herculean goodwill in Sierra Leone until recent times when he now finds himself facing a barrage of doubt of his true intentions here in Sierra Leone, from perplexed citizens.

 

Citizens wonder at the scandal that has brewed around Blair where he is being accused of defying the tenets of transparency and accountability that hold up the mantra of Good Governance, when he quietly collected from an American Billionaire, an initial sum of Ten Billion Leones (US$2,466,415) in the name of assisting Sierra Leone but without ever revealing this fact to the very same Sierra Leoneans he was supposedly going to help with this huge amount of cash he collected. The collection remained unannounced until 'nosey' journalists poked their noses into the business of Mr. Tony Blair; for which one 'Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative' has written to complain journalists to the Independent Media Commission (IMC) of Sierra Leone. That complaint will be an interesting one to investigate.

 

Anyhow, complaint to the IMC aside, what makes the whole thing to be even weirder is the recent Joint Press Statement issued from the Office of President Koroma that sought to defend Mr. Blair but only left more questions unanswered. According to that official statement, the cash was collected and utilised by the non-profit charity called the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI). But, as can be seen with the evidence below on this page, the cash was paid not to a charity but to Tony Blairís for-profit, private commercial entity named Windrush Ventures No. 3 Ltd.

 

A snap shot of the Bill & Melinda Gates Website which shows that the equivalent of Ten Billion Leones was paid out not to a Charity but to a For-Profit Business Entity known as Windrush No. 3 Ltd.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Grants-2008/Pages/Windrush-Ventures-No-3-Limited-Partnership-OPP50878.aspx

 

The registration details for Windrush is also on this page and clearly shows that business was registered for GENERAL BUSINESS. Infact, our initial investigations reveal Windrush entities to have yielded a big, fat profit for its owners over the past two years!

 

Registration Details of Windrush No. 3 Ltd indicating it was registered not as a charity but as a General Business. It is one of the many tangled webbed companies of Mr. Tony Blair!

 

The Governmentís Release (reproduced in this edition), on face value, also seems to be describing senior officials of the Government Information Ministry as liars since it is seemingly denying information that has already been confirmed to journalists by the Deputy Information Minister that thieves broke into offices utilised by Blairís Operations in Freetown.

 

However, upon careful perusal, it is obvious that the Release is merely spinning the facts. If you carefully read the spinned release, you will realise the denial is of the word Ďsecretí and not of the theft of documents. Unless, the Government is now saying that the Government Information Minister is a liar who was telling lies by confirming that such a theft occurred?

 

Anyhow, at Awareness Times, we have decided to make life simpler for Mr. Tony Blair and try to explain on his behalf that now he is out of office as Prime Minister, he is engaging in the business of charity. After all, there are many ways to make money even within the business of charity! Mr. Tony Blair is currently engaged in the profit-making business of charity.

 

This is why the money from Bill Gates' charity¬†meant "to prevent and relieve poverty in Sierra Leone" as well as¬†"to promote peace, economic growth and sustainable growth" in Sierra Leone, was paid into Tony Blairís for-profit Windrush No. 3 Ltd company and not to the non-profit African Governance Initiative. We truly hope that perplexed Sierra Leoneans will now understand that it is all just a very charitable business! Period!


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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 Ďsecretí 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.
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