Timber mogul Patrick Koroma, CEO CFS Construction is up for a kick following investigation bordering on years of export of timbers to sister country China.
It came shortly after president Bio’s government put a ban on the export of timbers from out of Sierra Leone.
Suspicions are that the government of former President Koroma has had deep seated hands on things explaining Corruption in the timber industry, no more than Aljazeera’s exposure of former vice president Sam Sumana for his assumed involvement in the sneaky sale of logs to foreign investors, with proceeds believingly pocketed by private persons.
Allegations, no doubt, over the years, point fingers at state’s operatives, who conspiratorially had joined hands with others unknown in the export of thousands of containers of timbers to China, and at the expense of environmental degradation in tiny mother Sierra Leone.
Findings of bad deals entered into by the Koroma led APC government have compelled president Bio’s recent imposition of a ban on the export of timbers to, particularly China, by no less a person but mogul Patrick Koroma and cronies.
Bio’s SLPP set up a transition team that is made up of hardliners party guys, whose mandate is to look into issues of governance mishaps of defunct APC government, as well as concerns bordering on how thousands of unprocessed timbers slashed from bushes in-country were exported to sister China by Patrick Koroma and cronies.
Even though the mandate of the transition team is unbounded, it is to exclusively confine itself to issues of misuse of public’s money, or so-to-say those manifestly explaining corruption and the likes.
No more than the specifics regarding timber transactions by the former government (APC), how over five thousand containers were shipped to particularly China, cost paid for per container to the authorized shipper Patrick Koroma, revenue returns including taxes for the thousands of containers reportedly shipped out of Sierra Leone.
Sources say the business of timbers from Sierra Leone to China, over the years, was full of corruption on the part of nameless public officials in conspiracy with key timber magnates, believingly Patrick Koroma, others, who time countless, have had their hands in corporate regular schemes.
It is true, the APC of former president Koroma sadly authorized the ‘sell overseas’ of containers of timbers to Patrick Koroma and counterparts Madam Chang Xiaoxia and Fan Fun.
Even though there was a presidential moratorium on the export of timber, ex- state house chief of staff, Kontoh Sesay told NEW AGE that synergizing ministries the likes of Agriculture and Trade did allow Patrick Koroma to export over ten thousand containers of timbers from Sierra Leone.
He said government permits the shipment of containers of timbers, but did not explain benefits such will bring to the country.
He avoided telling whether the authorization had come from the express permission of former president Koroma, rather said: “go and talk to the President about that.”
Findings also revealed how Konton Sesay wrote letters to both the former Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Trade, instructing them necessarily authorize power to export containers of timbers to Patrick Koroma.
But in an effort extricating himself from the bad deal, former Agriculture Minister, Prof. Monty Jones claimed the order to export timbers then came neither from his ministry nor Trade, but state house.
The former Agriculture minister said the moratorium on timbers was never lifted as at the time Patrick Koroma was permitted to export such.
“I tell you,” he said, “three people were given concession in 2016 to export timbers, but two have been dropped with Patrick Koroma singlehandedly permitted to do so.”
Patrick Koroma confirmed receiving permit to export over five thousand and twenty containers of unprocessed cut timbers, but said it is probable the amount of timbers in bushes nationwide far outweigh one approved for exportation.
“It was a concession authorized by State House on the recommendation of the Ministry of Agriculture,” Patrick claimed.
Experts say the export of over five thousand containers of timbers may possibly increase climate change risk in Sierra Leone.
They viewed the mount sugarloaf mudslide disaster, which claimed the lives of hundreds and made thousands homeless as one of number of destructions as caused by the rampant and unchecked cutting and exporting of timbers in the country.
Even though president Bio’s ban on the export of timbers is centered on checks and balances vis-à-vis economic benefits of government, a call for a thorough inquiry on the amount of timbers so far exported, hazards caused to society, players involved and, of course, the motive behind such needs put in place.