16 April 2018

Sierra Leone: IGR Report Exposes Natcom Chairman Momoh Konteh

The Institute for Governance Reform-(IGR) noted in their recent report 'Critical Perspectives of Governance in Sierra Leone' that fiscal indiscipline always reaches its climax during electioneering period and has been a source of past tensions between government and western donors.

The report notes that weak commitment to revenue discipline and reform was a principal reason for the IMF's decision to have stopped providing direct budgetary support to Sierra Leone ahead of the elections, adding another major challenge was the use of state revenue to finance politics, thus calling for an investigation into the excessive spending by certain government officers during the 2018 general elections.

The report identified certain individuals it said abused their offices by openly campaign for the then ruling party while utilising public resources. One such person is the Chairman of National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Momoh Konteh.

"In the last election, all the heads of revenue collection agencies were at the forefront of the then ruling party campaign even though the Political Parties Registration Commission Act of 2002 bans public officials from taking open partisan positions in politics. The head of NATCOM is the current Chairman for the APC in Koinadugu, and he was reported in local newspapers to have spent large sums of money on the campaign," the report states.

The report further notes that for the new president to make a break from the past and take Sierra Leone in a New Direction of effective and open governance, he should be ready to make strategic choices that would encourage government to focus on production rather than consumption.

"Having learnt how sycophancy can lead to the personalisation of power in the hands of one man and undermine effective leadership, President Bio and his administration should be opened to receiving and giving feedback to all categories of people, including his critics and the political opposition. Civil society should consider as a matter of urgency holding a forum on national cohesion and national diversity management. The recommendations of the forum should be actionable and should feed into the overarching framework of governance for the next five years.

"There should be greater transparency in all government transactions and activities. Government should take steps to make performance bonds with MDAs open to the public so that they could be monitored and held accountable. All procurement projects should follow open and transparent bidding processes as per Sierra Leone's Open Government commitments. Past projects that have not been subject to open reviews should be re-visited, including the Mamamah Airport project as well as the Toll Road and state enterprises that have been privatised," the report concludes.

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