From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Greedy APC to Chop Soldiers Money?
By Augustine Samba
Dec 22, 2010, 17:06

Some APC Government saboteurs are still bent on taking this country aback if we are to believe some of the claims being made by sections of the citizenry. It could be noted that President Koroma on 27th May 2010 together with Parliament, approved a pension scheme for all Wounded in Action (WIA) who fought during the ten year rebel war as military personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). After several agitation and consultation by the WIA personnel, the Minister of Defence Hon. Paolo Conteh pleaded to the government to make an additional pension and the least private wounded soldier is supposed to get a handsome amount per month.

Yesterday, one of the vigilant wounded in action, Pastor Joseph M Koroma stormed the Awareness Times office and disclosed that more than 400 of them have been left out and only 200 are going to be paid.

"When we met the Accountant General Mr. Abu Bakarr Conteh he told us that the group is divided into two” he informed adding that the first group was approved by the erstwhile SLPP government in 2006 and the second group was approved by the APC government in 2008. “Mr. Conteh informed that the payment that was approved by President Koroma is meant for the second batch”, the wounded soldier alleged, Mr. Koroma opined  that such an action was  meant to politically divide the WIA personnel  as some of those who are to be given the pension are members of the second bath.  He revealed to the Awareness Times that the WIA is against this idea which he described as corrupt in nature. “During the war, we fought for the nation, not for SLPP or APC” he maintained.

Pastor Joseph M. Koroma further revealed that, on Monday they met the Chairman of Finance and Economic Development in Parliament, Hon Dr. Moses Sesay who told them that the pension was approved for all soldiers who were wounded while rendering a relentless national service whilst Retired Honourable Colonel Kalawa, member of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, said that IMMAT is supposed to make provision for the first bath and the additional pension is made for the second bath only.

When this reporter contacted the chairman of the war wounded soldier, Mr. Forma Jalloh, he said all WIA who fought the war in Sierra Leone are supposed to get the additional pension. According to him, all of them should go through the necessary procedure outlined by the WIA organization of which he is the Chairman. All Efforts to get Government officials or MPs to shed light on issue proved futile.

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