Many citizens have continued to contact this newspaper house to express amazement at the words from Foreign Minister Zainab Hawa Bangura past Monday in which she insinuated over a radio broadcast quite clearly that she would have begged the ACC on behalf of her indicted colleague Haja Afsatu Kabba if Kabba had confessed to guilt of the allegations.
This happened Monday when Sierra Leoneans had the experience of listening to their Foreign Minister Zainab Hawa Bangura as she vehemently denied any links to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) seemingly forgetting her position as the current National Chair of the ACC’s Anti-Corruption Strategy Steering Committee which committee plays a very pivotal role in ensuring the ACC is smoothly operated according to its strategy. This is not the first time that the Foreign Minister is forgetting positions she once held. She almost was rejected by Parliament in 2007 when she forgot to mention to Parliament that she had served as a controversial member of the Board of State Lottery.
Mrs. Bangura had taken to the airwaves Monday evening to strongly deny being a member of the suspected clique of selected persons being named as gunning to bring down the popular female politician and erstwhile Fisheries Minister Haja Afsatu Kabba. Both Kabba and Bangura have been in a cold war with each other for a long time now. According to Zainab Bangura, who spent half the time giggling over the air waves, people were publishing "rubbish" in their newspapers against her so she wanted to set the records straight.
She did not deny that there existed a group of persons who wanted to see Haja Afsatu Kabba destroyed but she said that such nefarious actions would be counter-productive to the vision of President Koroma and so she could not be a part of such actions. It was then that to the amazement of many listeners who contacted this presshouse, Mrs. Zainab Bangura said it was not that she was not in sympathy with Haja Afsatu Kabba but that because Haja Afsatu Kabba was refusing to confess guilt, it was difficult for Zainab Bangura to beg for Haja Afsatu at the ACC under such circumstances of her refusal to confess. It will be recalled that Zainab Bangura has been widely accused of being one of the brains behind the plight of her former colleague minister given Bangura’s relationship with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Boss Abdul Tejan Cole.
However, Monday Mrs. Bangura strongly denied having any ties to the ACC but it is a fact that she was being economical with the truth as she is a very pivotal figure in the implementations of the ACC strategy. Whilst she was busy giggling out her answers over the radio, what she forgot to inform the listeners of the programme was the fact that shortly after the appointment of Abdul Tejan-Cole as Head of the Anti Corruption Commission, a decision was taken to appoint the Foreign Minister Zainab Hawa Bangura as National Chairman of a brand new Committee to be known as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Steering Committee.
Zainab Bangura spends half of the time out of the country and so many eyebrows had been raised as to why, given her close links with Abdul Tejan-Cole, should she be the one appointed to act as the National Chairman of the ACC Steering Committee when she is never within the country anyway.
As if confirming the suspicions of those who had pondered on the appointment of Zainab Bangura as Chair of the Steering Committee of the ACC, shortly after her appointment as National Chairman, the ACC was to institute an investigation into Haja Afsatu Kabba and the Income Electrix Contract. The effect of the Report issued on the matter resulted in placing a chill on the then rising popularity of Haja Afsatu Kabba within and out of Freetown. However, Haja Kabba was to quickly pick herself up, dust herself and put a renewed vigour into her work which resulted in her popularity sky-rocketing once again when it was learnt how her efforts within the Fishing sector was yielding exponential dividends that resulted in a hitherto unprecedented increase in Revenue from that sector.
Soonest the public domain received news of her vigorous dynamism with a soaring support for her as a female political figure, the ACC was to strike at Afsatu Kabba again. This time, not for Income Electrix but for matters currently at the Law Court including alleged improper employment of a ‘messenger’ (and/or ‘security’ depending on which of the Tejan Cole signed documents is read - the summarised extract of evidence mentions a messenger but the indictment count refers to a security).
The rationale for the appointment of the oft-traveling Foreign Minister as National Chair of the Tejan Cole led ACC’s Steering Committee is given in an ACC statement which has an extract reproduced below:
"Considering the multiple actors in the implementation of the strategy, it is important to have in place a well defined arrangement with the appropriate level of political authority to coordinate the implementation process and ensure that all state and non-state institutions fulfill their share of responsibilities. This role will be performed by a Steering Committee under the leadership of a chairman appointed by the President. The primary mandate of the Committee is to lead and oversee the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. The Chair of the Committee is as follows: Mrs Zainab Bangura – Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation".