Sane SLPP Supporters Betrayed as Maada's $18M Scam Unveiled!
By Mahmud Tim Kargbo (28/02/18)
Thousands of ordinary SLPP members feel betrayed and outraged at the alleged embezzlement of $18 million of national funds in 1996.
The alleged $ 18 million ilmenite embezzlement by Julius Maada Bio the Presidential aspirant of the Sierra Leone People's Party and the party deliberate failures to do genuine background check on their flagship aspirant prior to their convention are an utter betrayal of thousands of ordinary SLPP members and supporters across Sierra Leone and beyond.
It's the thousands of ordinary SLPP members who should feel most outraged at the alleged embezzlement of $18 million of national funds in1996 in the last three months Julius Maada Bio led Sierra Leone as Chairman and Head of State from the National Provisional Ruling Council. And the party hierarchy will have to work hard to earn their trust back for electing a criminal of mixed crimes to lead their party.
The Sierra Leone People's Party is in a state of deep shock after revelations its current Presidential flagship aspirant, Julius Maada Bio, is accused of embezzling $ 18 million of State funds in just three months of his leadership. Added to this are his blooded hands in killing fellow nationals beyond the usual course of legal proceedings.
While some SLPP stakeholders seem willing to hide beyond the illegal 1996 amnesty given to Bio, In some quarters, party members are saying that they really made an unforgivable mistake in stereotyping democracy in favour of Bio.
It appears a breathtaking $18 million of State funds was diverted for personal benefit. A source said that what was taken was "a very significant portion of the money raised by the State at a very sensitive time when the country was at war and innocent people killed ... The State did a lot of work to get that deal as investors were very difficult to get during such difficult period. We all feel completely gutted and furious". He added "No wonder why Maada Bio never criticise the Ebola and landslide nicked corruption"
BIO's DISHONESTY STINKS
What really angers and disappoints about Bio's alleged actions is that after stealing from the State and ruin the economy he returned home financially broke, full of deceitful tricks in all fronts,idle for more than two decades, but within the last ten years of President Koroma's regime, he is able to get fleet of expensive cars and a house. To make matters worse, he is busy running up and down the country criticising the incumbent APC regime saying "APC aren't good for themselves and the country because they destroy the country's economy" shamelessly, Bio can only boast of how strong late President Kabba left the economy, but still refusing to say what was the status of the economy when he handed power over him.
IS BIO GOOD FOR SIERRA LEONE?
NO, the grand embezzlement and the governance failures that allowed it to happen are above all an utter betrayal of, and insult to, millions of Sierra Leoneans and specifically members and supporters across SLPP who are not wealthy or personally powerful but are the soul of the party that he was deceiving with his fake love for his country and people.
They're the ones who turn out in all weather at election times to support MPs and candidates, door-knock, exchange letters, banners and talk up the SLPP cause to anyone who will listen.
They're the ones who greet you at the polling booth on election days with a smile and a how-to-vote guide, and look forward to bantering with voters and their counterparts from other parties.
They're the ones who faithfully attend branch meetings, local party events, run the trivia and soup nights, and buy the party tickets, t-shirts, caps that inevitably is a part of any political gathering - and donate back their cash.
They're the ones who drive up to all kilometres to attend party meetings and pre-selection conventions.
They're the ones who organise local electorate fundraising functions, work tirelessly to make them well-attended and successful, and cheerfully endure the proverbial rubber chicken and drinks at bar prices, because they buy their own tickets as well as sell them.
They're the ones who pay membership subscriptions or respond to bigwigs' circular appeals for donations. Many may not be able to afford to give much, but their trickles join to become a funding river for the party: a river, it seems, that can easily be dipped into by the unscrupulous Bio. And they're the ones who are most entitled to feel gutted and angry at what has happened.
Others are young activists with stars in their eyes and idealism in their hearts. Yet they do so willingly and turn out for the party because they believe, as the SLPP bannered in the days of late President Kabba, that "The SLPP exists to provide high quality governments that empower people to solve the major challenges they face in their lives". Hence the slogan " One Country, One People". This grassroots faith is what's been shaken to its core by what has happened.
The SLPP as an organisation need to recover and be reformed. Julius Maada Bio failed to be refreshingly open and honest with his members and the public as soon as the appalling situation was confirmed. That welcome candour was supposed to be good start to rebuilding trust in his battered character.
But just as with former President Kabba mentioned in the launching of the gunboat, this is yet another case of an elected or appointed official feeling somehow entitled to take advantage of the so-called "little people" who are their rank-and-file members, even though ultimately they owed everything to those they betrayed.
The $18 million ilmenite revelations, be it an accomplice crime or founder of Sierra Leone Peace humiliation in Presidential debate, should remind elected and appointed office holders in political parties and politically-active organisations alike that respecting the trust of their members and the public is fundamental to public life and a healthy democracy. Their position and status is a conferred privilege, not a personal fiefdom.
Unfortunately, most of these office holders, across the political spectrum, don't work very hard to earn and retain that trust.