SLPP Govt Arrests Ex-APC Defence Minister for Ebola Funds! But APC Says 'Enough'
By Abu Shaw in London (29/12/18)
The ruling SLPP govt has been told by the APC 'Enough is Enough' after the arrest of the former Defence Minister by the Anti-Corruption.
Reports say Major (rtd) Alfred Palo Conteh, the Ex-Minister of Defence under the APC government of President Ernest Koroma, was arrested yesterday for allegations of corruption including missing Ebola funds. (Photo: Palo Conteh spent night in detention).
Palo Conteh was also reportedly apprehended for questioning on various military procurement issues as Defence Minister. The Anti-Corruption Commission ACC has confirmed that Sannah Marrah, the former Director General of the Ministry of Defence has been nabbed for corrupt practices.
And worse still, Palo Conteh was refused bail by the Anti-Corruption Commission led by Mr. Francis Ben Kaifala. A move that apparently angered the main opposition APC party, who eventually came out to tell the SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio that 'Enough is Enough.
Palo Conteh, as the former head of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, occupies a unique position of interest. Local and international donations towards the fight against Ebola were widely believed to have been misappropriated under the erstwhile APC government which the SLPP government, through the Anti-Corruption, is determined to ameliorate at all cost.
The APC is understandably reacting or overracting depending on which side of the political coin. As Palo Conteh spent his first night locked up in jail at the Criminal Investigations Department in Freetown, the APC party released its no-nonsense press statement to warn the SLPP. The APC press release below:
APC will not Subject itself to any Kangaroo Court Commissions of Inquiry - APC
National Secretary General of the All Peoples Congress (APC) has reiterated the Party's position of noncompliance by former APC heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies to what he described as a Kangaroo Court Commissions of Inquiry.
Ambassador Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh said the Commission of Inquiry has been proven to be a clearly targeted witch-hunt against North Westerners and senior APC officials. He said the APC is following with keen interest developments and diverse pronouncement relating to the Commission of Inquiry.
Osman Yansaneh noted the fact that the Commission of Inquiry schduled to commence this January is an SLPP commission, saying the fight against graft and push for transparency and accountabillity should not be selective.
The APC Scribe acknowleged with serious interest the press releases from the Sierra Leone Bar Association and Civil Society Groups which have categorically stated that the instruments establishing the Commissions of Inquiry are unconstitutional, deliberately setting aside the 'Rule of Evidence' and established legal principles and excluding likely culpable SLPP supporters because of their tribe and political leanings.
Osman Yansaneh said it is ludicrous that Permanent Secretaries who were Administrative Heads, Vote Controllers and Chairmen of Ministries Procurement Committes are being politically protected because the majority of them originate from a particular region of the country and belongs to a tribe which constitute the majority of supporters of the President Maada Bio regime.
Meanwhile, the APC said in furtherance of its legal and constitutional arrangements to robustly challenge the illegitimacy of the SLPP witch-hunt, commission called on all APC appointed Ministers and Deputies and Heads of Departments and Agencies that are presently out of the country to return to Sierra Leone and liaise with the party for further consultations and callaboration.
"The Party further calls on all those who have been dismissed because of their political stance that have been perceived as Pro-APC to report to the party office with their letters of dismissals as the party is in the process of validating data for subsequent legal and political action.
"The Party takes full responsibility for this advice to its former Ministers and Heads of Departments and Agencies until its legitimate call to include the 'Rule of Evidence' and to summon Permanent Secretaries, who were the key players and mandatory signatories to all accountable monetary governmental transactions is adhered to," the strongly worded APC release concludes.
Courtesy: We Yone Newspaper, APC mouthpiece Freetown - 28th December 2018