Now that Vice President Sam-Sumana has shown respect for the citizens by subjecting himself to public media scrutiny, there is a growing cry for the former NPRC junta operatives now eyeing State House, to convince Sierra Leoneans they have turned a new leaf by publicly identifying the mass graves in which they buried the over 29 murder victims (and an unborn foetus ripped from the womb with a bayonet). Place see below.
APC, SLPP Leaders Demand Explanations
By Aruna Turay
The two main political parties in Sierra Leone, the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) are both demanding explanations from their leaders to the people of Sierra Leone.
SLPP is prevailing on for the Chairman and Leader of the APC, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who also doubles as the President of Sierra Leone and APC presidential candidate for 2012, to come out explain to the people of this country, why he and his party allegedly solicited financial loans from foreigners to fund the 2007 run-off elections only to refuse to repay the money as alleged by one Mark Heiligman, an American living in Minnesota.
APC on the other hand is also prevailing on the Presidential Candidate of the SLPP, Mr. Maada Bio and the SLPP Chairman John Oponjo Benjamin, to also come out and explain to the people of Sierra Leone about the proceeds from the passports that they stole from this country to sell to the outside world when they were both in the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta, the monies stolen from Sierra Leone and deposited into their foreign accounts and above all, both of their specific involvements in the brutal killings of the 29 strong and distinguished Sierra Leoneans, during Bio’s tenure as the third gentleman of the State in the NPRC military junta.
Interestingly, Mark Heiligman has since recanted his testimony against the President and the APC though he insists he still has a grudge against the Vice-President whom he claims took the loan on a personal basis. Most interestingly, the actual financier and provider of the funds which were loaned from a tripartite diamond business corporate entity is one Mr. Dave Kloeber who has written a beautiful public letter distancing himself from the allegations against VP Sam-Sumana.
The calls for Mr. John Benjamin and Mr. Maada Bio to clear the air on mountains of unexplained issues started several years ago but they have both reluctantly refused to adhere to these calls, which seems to be an indication that they have something to hide, whilst the call for Dr. Ernest Koroma to explain to Sierra Leoneans on the accusations made against him and the APC started merely less than two weeks ago at a time he was mourning his late mother and two of his closest political allies.
Despite convincing efforts by Vice President Sahr Sam-Sumana and the actual accuser Mark Heiligman himself to explain to the world that President Koroma has nothing to do with these allegations and has never set eyes on Mark Heiligman, the SLPP is still emphasizing that President Koroma should “explain”. It must be noted that Heiligman has repeatedly apologised to President Koroma for ever involving him in the matter as according to Heiligman, “that was wrong. The President had nothing to do with the loan.”
“Even after the Americans have stated that the APC party and President Koroma himself had nothing to do with the matter, the SLPP still wants Ernest Koroma to talk? Well, even if President Koroma should adhere to their call and explain what they want to hear, will the SLPP also prevail on Mr. Maada Bio and Mr. John Benjamin to also explain what the majority of Sierra Leoneans want to hear?,” an Abacha Street trader, Fatu Conteh asked.
In the front page of Friday July 27 edition of the official mouthpiece of the SLPP, Unity Newspaper, the Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB), was calling on Sierra Leoneans to treat Mark’s allegations with all seriousness because according to him, “it has damaged our reputation and can make genuine investors run away from Sierra Leone.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Benjamin refused to acknowledge that one thing that will continue to scare away investors from any country, is when that country has a killer, thief, liar and violent individual as its President,” Balogun Koroma, the APC Campaign Chairman retorted back to Awareness Time past Friday.
“Mark Heiligman has failed to forward a single document to prove President Koroma’s involvement in his allegations, but the people of Sierra Leone can provide bunches of documents to prove Mr. Maada Bio’s involvement in theft and sale of passports and in the killings of the 29 Sierra Leoneans. VP Sam-Sumana has effectively debunked the crazy allegations. He was honourable enough to step forward and subject himself to intense media scrutiny including from his critics and even took questions from the SLPP’s own newspaper editor. It is now the time for Maada Bio and John Benjamin to call up such a live press conference and invite the APC newspaper editor and other SLPP critics and take questions from them,” Balogun Koroma insisted.
Meanwhile, the discussions have been raging on the Facebook and other Internet discussion fora. Sadly for the SLPP, most of the comments from well identified and respected independent thinkers, have been against them on this matter. Only SLPP members who are also using a bunch of fake names have been following the line of John Benjamin.
John Benjamin, in his Friday press conference had stated: “The beleaguered Honorable Vice President DID NOT addresses the central issue of the $34,000 loan for the APC 2007 presidential campaign. He merely paraded photographs of rusty old tractors”.
“I used to have so much respect for John Benjamin but I am so disappointed in the low level that John Benjamin is going these days. How can he say the APC was given a loan when even Heligman has stated it was a private loan given to the Vice President as a business partner who was in need of personal money and that the money was from their tripartite business as a loan to a principal? How does the APC as a party come in? Maybe John Benjamin has evidence showing a cheque payable in the name of the APC or All Peoples Congress from Heiligman. If not, then he is just disgracing himself with his words,” said Frank Omotayo Davies on the Internet.
John Benjamin describing the stored machines belonging to the United Diamond Mining Company to be “rusty tractors” particularly came in for scathing attack.
“If Mr. John Benjamin says those were rusty scraps shown by VP Sam-Sumana, then at least the VP has shown us scraps. When will Benjamin and Maada Bio show us the bones of the 29 people they slaughtered? When will they show us the remains of the unborn baby they killed in the pregnant woman’s womb that night? When will they show us where they buried those innocent souls? When will they show us the final resting place for Salami Coker’s girlfriend who was 6 months pregnant at the time she had her pregnant womb ripped out with an NPRC bayonet?” asked Ibrahim S. Kalokoh on the Facebook discussions.
Meanwhile, the whole country is waiting to see if President Koroma, Maada Bio and John Benjamin will heed to the calls for them to speak out on these various issues. It is a fact that the President has been in a state of mourning for the loss of his mother and again for the loss of two of his closest allies, the Deputy APC Leader Chukuma Johnson and the Labour Minister Hindolo Trye. Neither Maada Bio nor Benjamin have any salient reason to explain their prolonged silence over the past years on these burning issues.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.