From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

COMMENTS & OPINIONS
That Unfair Hounding of Hon. Logus Koroma
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR
Aug 3, 2015, 12:04

They believe in unfairly hounding government officials in the media so that the officials succumb and pay up to get peace. They are also tools in the hands of unscrupulous politicians wishing to bring down another more diligent politician. I speak here of some of those calling themselves journalists who are hounding Logus Koroma, Transport Minister. I don’t practice that kind of journalism.

 

When I first heard the claims, especially alongside the buses reportedly breaking down and/or suffering brake failure, I initially fell for it. However, I have so trained myself over the years that I now wait for hard evidence before I do “naming & shaming” of allegedly corrupt politicians. I have seen a lot of malicious persecution using the corruption whip alongside sustained media hounding. I will never be a part of such hounding.


So, I WAITED for the evidence to tumble out as we were promised it would. I waited and waited and waited but to no avail. I am still waiting but yet still, since I have been waiting for over two weeks now, I am yet to see even a scrap of evidence that Logus Koroma or any government official doubled cost prices neither have I seen any evidence that anybody broke any law in the procurement of the 100 buses, equipments, spare parts, training and after-sales warranty and services.


Sorry but my own journalism is based on PRINCIPLES; not on emotions or extreme malice!

 

This accompanying 2-paged letter clearly indicates the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave approval to Finance Ministry for the buses, equipments, services, etc. etc. to be bought at $12,291,920. This is the Authority from the Ministry of Finance giving approval to the Ministry of Transport to go ahead and sign a contract on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone. Signed by Financial Secretary Mr. Edmund Koroma, it tells Transport Ministry to go ahead and sign the contract for 100 buses to be procured from China as the final drafted Contract has been approved by International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

 

Reference Code for Letter is MF-PDMD 149/77/01 which indicates that if you want to search for that letter at any time, it will be in a particular file inside the Public Debt Management Department (PDMD) of Ministry of Finance (MF). This is Division that is headed by Sahr Jusu whose dishonest submission to Parliament, stunned many. The letter lists conditions upon which the Contract will be honoured by Finance Ministry and informs Transport Ministry it should work with Sahr Jusu’s department to implement contract.


Subsequent to the above, the Contract was signed, payment commenced to be made from Finance Ministry to Chinese company and this very same Sahr Jusu was made mandatory signatory for management of funds accrued from buses as well as other duties. In that capacity Sahr Jusu has been fully involved in meetings concerning buses.


Now, the Sierra Leone Constitution defines the word “Loan” in Section 118.(5) as: “any moneys lent or given to or by the Government on condition of return or repayment and any other form of borrowing or lending in respect of which (a.) moneys from the Consolidated Fund or any other Public Fund may be used for payment or repayment; or (b.) moneys from any fund by whatever name called established for the purposes of payment or repayment whether in whole or in part and whether directly or indirectly may be used for payment or repayment.”


 

The above means that Transport Minister Balogun Koroma was 100% correct to describe the contract he signed for the 100 Buses as a “Loan” from China.


Now, the photo in this report, was taken in China. It shows Sierra Leone team negotiating on our behalf for 100 buses. They are, from end, Sahr Jusu (holding a pen; with his finger pressing his cheek), Transport Minister Logus Koroma, Finance Minister Kaifala Marah & Vice-President Foh (then ambassador to China). At the foot of table is a Chinese staff of Poly Technologies and at the head of table is Mr. Chen (who led negotiations on behalf of Poly Technologies). The ear, hair on back of Chen’s head is shown. Sahr Jusu, who was technical adviser for negotiations, can be seen to be looking straight in direction of Chen.

 

All this is for those who had believed Sahr Jusu over Hon. Logus Koroma. This is a lesson. Let us learn to pause and wait for evidence before we jump out to point fingers based on unproven allegations without evidence. Congrats to Logus for the buses and I honestly do believe the explanation that the driver of the bus which could not climb Savage Street, had erroneously driven on the clutch the whole day till it burnt it.


Finally, it was a huge privilege for me to have accompanied the two brand new buses from Freetown to Blama on Tuesday 28th July 2015. The joyful expressions on the faces of our Chiefs and people in Blama as the buses drove in, were beyond description. I felt so privileged to have been in that glorious entourage. I only wished the President could have been there as well to see it all and hear the thanks and praises showered on him. President Koroma indeed deserves the accolades - and so does Logus Koroma and so does the All Peoples Congress (APC).



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