From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone Opposition: Too Many Unanswered Questions
By Sylvia Blyden and her team
Nov 16, 2012, 17:16

The main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has been embroiled in what has definitely turned out to be the biggest political corruption scandal to hit Sierra Leone this century. The scandal has been dubbed as the SQUIRREL GATE


?“We need a leader who teaches our youth honesty... we [Bio’s proposed SLPP led Government come November 2012] will not engage in dubious contracts to fleece this country and squirrel the loot away in foreign bank accounts?



The quote above is relevant to the ongoing saga. The scandal has been dubbed the Squirrelgate scandal in honour of the above words from the mouth of Julius Maada Bio, the SLPP’s presidential candidate who was also the Deputy Chairman in the NPRC military junta which governed Sierra Leone from 1992 to 1993 to 1994 to 1995 to 1996. In his first address to the voting public upon his election as SLPP presidential candidate, Bio spoke of criminals fleecing from the poverty-ridden State to squirrel such funds into foreign bank accounts. Well, the SLPP’s indelible Squirrelgate Scandal concerns squirreling of our country’s money into NPRC junta pockets and foreign bank accounts over a prolonged period spanning years.


We are today re-publishing copies of two of the numerous documents currently in our possession. The first one is a sworn statement from Hong Kong citizen Frank Yiu saying that he personally handed over US$50,000 in cash [from the sale of our country’s passports] to the then newly sworn in Deputy NPRC Chairman Julius Maada Bio in June 1993.


Late SAJ Musa: NPRC’s disciplinarian is not named on any of the documents.
It is interesting to note that this was the month in which late Captain Solomon A.J. Musa was cleverly manipulated out of office and replaced by his junior, Captain Julius Maada Bio. All information currently in possession of the investigators show SAJ Musa was never involved in the scam to squirrel our country’s passport monies. His name appears nowhere in the Statement of Disbursement of Funds.


No evidence exists that SAJ Musa ever collected money from Frank Yiu. Until this day, no one has given a credible explanation as to why SAJ Musa was forced out of the country and replaced with highly corrupt Maada Bio.


How come Maada Bio received US$50,000 immediately as SAJ Musa was forced out? SAJ Musa was known to be an authoritarian and also a strict disciplinarian but whether he was also prone to be corrupt was never documented.


The two documents showing bank transfers of another sum of US$50,000 from our passport sales proceeds paid by Frank Yiu into Maada Bio’s secret Channel Islands TSB bank account. That was in December 1994. Bio had by then spent 18 months in power as Deputy NPRC Head since he replaced SAJ Musa. He later replaced Strasser.


This newspaper has many more of such documents. Friday March 23rd 2012 was the anniversary of the day the first bullet was fired in Bomaru in a war that came about mainly because of Squirrel Politicians and their squirreling of funds into foreign bank accounts. On that day, Awareness Times received a bundle of legal and bank documents in a sealed envelope anonymously delivered to our offices with a message inside simply saying: “In the name of this sacred March 23rd date, please do not let the people of Sierra Leone be fooled a second time by squirrels and grun-pigs. Examine these documents and do the correct thing for Mama Salone. Expose them in your widely read and well respected newspaper?


Awareness Times spent one week trying to verify and authenticate these documents and we can now confirm these are the documents used to indict former NPRC Foreign Minister Dr. Abass Bundu but for which he had said he was exonerated in December 2005. These documents show money transfers to Channel Islands Account of P. Banga Investments and also in the name of Julius Maada Bio. They include incriminating bank documents and Bank Transfers from Hong Kong to Ghana and from Hong Kong to Channel Islands over a period spanning many months between the years 1993 and 1996.


They also include illicit payments from New York’s BANK AMERICA into Bio’s foreign bank accounts. Similarly, banks like the famous HSBC, TSB (Lloyds of London) and Midlands Bank (St. Helier, Jersey), Bank of East Asia and others are all shown in the huge paper trail of documents highlighting illicit and criminal cash flows into secret foreign bank accounts held in name JULIUS MAADA BIO or in name of P. BANGA INVESTMENTS LTD, which is the company the former SLPP Government had alleged was a front for Julius Maada Bio who is interestingly now SLPP presidential candidate. Apart from the huge volume of documents detailing the secret bank transfers into Maada Bio’s foreign bank accounts this paper also has in our possession, the Legal Report to Sierra Leone Cabinet from the then Attorney General’s Office (dated September 1996). This report says:- “Out of the passport transactions relating to Frank Yiu... Brigadier Bio received US$380,000?  Another section of the SLPP Cabinet Paper of 1996 states: “Brigadier Bio had his paid into the Meridien Bank, Accra Ghana or into an account in Channel Islands, UK?


It can be recalled that a famous Anti-Corruption Lawyer now retired in London, R.H.O. Robbin-Coker had written to the SLPP’s Presidential Candidate shortly after his maiden speech demanding answers to all these questions but Robbin-Coker had been ignored. Despite all the calls for answers, Bio has remained stoically silent.


Like in the case of the true story of the extra-judicial killings of Bambay Kamara, Salami Coker and others like the pregnant woman, there are too many unanswered questions which Bio has not addressed.



© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.