From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Politics
Exclusive Details of ACC Tejan Cole’s Resignation ...An Interview with SLPP Leader John Benjamin
By Sheku Mohamed Kallon Jnr (New People Newspaper)
May 11, 2010, 17:16

Sunday, 09 May 2010 9:43pm: In a Skype interview with the Chairman of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, John Oponjo Benjamin, the New People sought clarifications from statements he made in a BBC interview surrounding the ACC boss Abdul Tejan Cole’s resignation. The Chairman was quite clear that Abdul Tejan Cole has let down the nation in the fight against corruption. Chairman Benjamin opined that there were high expectations of the ACC in bringing corruption under control especially given the fact that the ACC over the past two years was given the power to indict corrupt officials without going through the Attorney General. In this regards, Chairman Benjamin talked about several correspondence with the ACC office from the opposition SLPP party providing evidence of corruption that the ACC boss failed to act on.

According to Chairman Benjamin, the ACC has been inconsistent in applying the same standards depending on one’s standing in society or their connections to the Ernest Bai Koroma administration. Chairman Benjamin mentioned the initial report of corruption with the Income Electrix scandal where it was very clear that corruption occurred but Tejan Cole failed to act against Haja Afsatu Kabba. Now that Tejan-Cole was about to resign from the office, he filed charges against Haja Afsatu that are at best flimsy. The Chairman also mentioned the inequities in applying justice such as the case of some Lebanese business people that were simply fined when caught by the ACC instead of facing indictments and possible jail time like other indigenous Sierra Leoneans who were accused of corruption on a much smaller scale.

The Chairman insisted that the ACC boss was not really serious about fighting corruption in Sierra Leone and was simply using the job at the ACC to build up his resume and seek international assignments elsewhere.

"How come the ACC Boss did not act against the Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura when it is clear she abused her office in the Indian Basmati rice scandal? How come the ACC has failed to act against President Koroma’s brother with unreasonable tax concessions while he is milking the people of Sierra Leone?"

New People sources in the government, report that Tejan Cole started by playing ball with Ernest Koroma and when he noticed that the regime was getting very unpopular, started launching investigations to escape any blame for allowing corruption to thrive. This recent strategy led him to mount an offensive against some close people to the APC government and in some cases shoddy investigative work for expediency sake. Taking on the APC led to additional stress and Tejan Cole buckled.

We have to remember that it was Tejan Cole who stood up at the propaganda investment conference in London to lend Ernest Koroma’s government credence in fighting corruption. We wonder what he is now going to say.

The president is now faced with the task of appointing another person to this very important position in the country. However, Ernest Bai Koroma is reported to be going to appoint a dedicated APC member to that position. So much for the zero tolerance hot air President Koroma has been blowing.



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