Concord Times (Freetown)

30 July 2012

Sierra Leone: Take Note President Koroma

opinion

The Vice President's position in Sierra Leone, as the second highest office in the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a sensitive position and whosoever occupies it must be honest, law-abiding and must not have taken part in any doubtful game that would enrich him or her out of a selfish mind.

My Excellency, Your Excellency and Our Excellency, President Ernest Koroma, it is time for you to realise that the fact the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Sam Sumana, has been reportedly involved in several dubious games that has one way or the other unravelled corrupt practices in some sectors of the country, is unbefitting for his position Sierra Leone's number two man and a total disgrace to Sierra Leoneans.

Today, your All People's Congress APC- led government has proven to be the first ruling political party to produce a vice president who has been alleged to be involved in smearing scandals all in the name of enriching himself overnight.

VP Sumana has shown with his reported involvement in several scandals across Africa and the wider world such as the cocaine saga, the timbergate deal and the recent financial scandal levied against him by the United Diamond Mining Company SL who claimed that he request them (Dave Kloever the financer and Mark O. Heiligman the retailer) to loan him $32,000 in 2009 as he wanted to venture into politics.

I think Vice President Sumana will soon be accused of engaging in another dubious activity unbefitting for his status as the second gentleman of Sierra Leone and misusing his office as vice president.

Like the VP stated at his press conference last week Wednesday: "In response to my request to the United Diamond Company SL, Dave Kloeber sent the sum of US$32,000. In 2009, the United Diamond Mining Company SL folded up. Dave Kloeber and Mark O. Heiligman asked me to repay the US$32,000 I had loaned from the company account in two tranches -US$20,000 and US$12,000 through Mr. Abdulai Rahim, a money transfer business in Maryland."

This statement by the VP has also generated a lot of questions among Sierra Leoneans who perceived a negative signal in their minds. Top on the list of these questions is that some Sierra Leoneans like to know why VP Sumana, as the second gentleman in Sierra Leone, chose to transact business that requires sending money out of Sierra Leone without going through any bank in Sierra Leone. Is it in the interest of not paying local taxes that has the tendency to benefit the country? Why did he consider sending the US$32,000 to Dave Kloeber through one Abdul Rahim's money transfer and not the bank?

The venue of VP Sumana's press conference -his office at Tower Hill in Freetown - was filled with curious newsmen and civil servants who are keen to confirm that President Koroma did not know the VP's former business partners, Dave Kloever and Mark O. Heiligman as stated in an article written by Mark O. Heiligman in last week's edition of Unity Newspaper in which he claimed that both he and Mark O. Heiligman were invited to the inauguration ceremony of Ernest Bai Koroma as president elect of Sierra Leone in 2007 and one of them graced the occasion in the interest of using the opportunity to appreciate President Koroma and that adequate compensation will also be made in return to the United Diamond Mining Company SL.

And the vice president still has the tendency to hold a spanner in the wheel to tell the story of "Two looks at two" having himself and President Koroma on one side and Dave Kloever and Mark O. Heiligaman on the other.

I think President Koroma needs to act decisively and respond wisely to this so called misuse of office by the Vice President. He should also see reasons why VP Sumana has downtrodden the APC government by involving in several alleged cases which had painstakingly brought bad reputation to Sierra Leone in the eyes of the world. President Koroma, I want you to also remember that the presidential election is at the door on November 17.

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