By Ragan M. Conteh
Upon assuming office on 4th April 2018, it was the vision of President Julius Maada Bio to set up a Governance Transitional Team (GTT) that encompassed prominent and trustworthy personalities. The main focus of the GTT was to conduct an immediate stocktaking on the state of affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the past APC regime.
It could be recalled that at the end of the exercise, some key recommendations were proposed by the GTT on certain individuals in various institutions. According to the report, some individuals were implicated as State Capture and Graft.
The GTT report recommended investigation of five Statistics Sierra Leone executives, including Andrew Johnny, Lansana Kanneh and three others that had been dismissed for corrupt practices and allegations of embezzling funds to the tune of thousands of dollars if not millions.
However, the cynicism behind this investigation that kept many in a state of oblivion was that, three of the investigated Directors at Statistic Sierra Leone were asked to lay down tools whilst Andrew Johnny, the alleged lead culprit that masterminded the baseless boundary delimitations and additional constituencies in APC strongholds prior to the 2018 national elections, is now compensated with retaining him in the higher office.
The then Director of Censuses and Geographic Information System Division, now the Deputy Statistician General of Statistics Sierra Leone, Andrew Johnny, was one individual seriously found implicated in the GTT report.
Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL), to set the records straight, is charged with the responsibility of coordinating, collecting, compiling and disseminating reliably objective statistical data that will be used to assist informed decision making and discussions within government, business and the media, as well as the wider national and international community.
The now Deputy Statistician General of Statistics Sierra Leone, Andrew Johnny’s actions as recorded in Page 36 of the GTT Report is a classic and excellent example of a prominent figure with dirty hands that was indicted by the GTT Report.
Unfortunately, he was yet to face the consequences of his ill-fated moves at Statistics Sierra Leone, when working as Director of Censuses and Geographic Information systems during the last APC administration.
According to the responsibility bestowed on the institution, it is significant that the composition of management is made up of patriotic and industrious Sierra Leoneans.
They should be willing to diligently work in the interest of promoting the objectives of the institution and the country at large.
Johnny, in his capacity as Director of Census and Geographic Information Systems in the 2015 Population and Housing Census, conducted by Statistics Sierra Leone, was very instrumental in allegedly orchestrating and machinating the dubious and heinous strategies of his then demi-gods, the APC party that Johnny so diligently served.
He was also alleged to have masterminded the delimitation of boundaries by giving more constituencies to APC strongholds as highlighted in the GTT Report (Pg. 36).
This act is blatantly considered as unpatriotic but he did that according to reliable sources with the hope that APC will win the 2018 elections so that he will continue to consolidate his grip at Statistics Sierra Leone.
What continues to baffle many people at Statistic Sierra Leone is how Andrew Johnny who is alleged of being a staunch supporter and party card carrier of the APC party metamorphosed as an SLPP supporter and now holding the second highest office at Statistics Sierra Leone.
Is the current Statistics Council aware of this revelation about Andrew Bob Journey and Co in the GTT report? If so, why did they employ Andrew Journey and Kanneh without background check? Whatever the case might be, justice should be seen to be dispensed especially when they have a case to answer as revealed in the GTT report.
The more disturbing fact is other colleagues were removed at Statistic Sierra Leone offices for the same allegations or offences they all committed as stated in GTT Report.
Even the Statistics Council, headed by Mr. Moses Williams, who people respected so much as a man of fairness, has failed to take heed to the fact that Andrew Johnny and the Finance Director Lansana Kanneh should have nothing to do with that institution by now, more so when they are trumpeting a rebranding agenda.
How can they rebrand with old guards that were implicated clearly as thieves and corrupt ridden individuals in the GTT Report (Pg. 36) still be calling the shots at Statistics Sierra Leone?
Is it that the Chairman Mr. Moses Williams is pushing Sierra Leoneans to think and believe that his Statistics Council with so many respected dignitaries is an accomplice to the corrupt activities perpetuated by Andrew Johnny?
Sequel to promoting President Bio’s New Direction agenda where the fight against corruption has been taken to another level, the council must be seen to act and now or else citizens will call for their removal from office because they are still aiding and abetting corruption, which the President, especially ACC Francis Ben Kaifala, is fighting passionately.
It was the expectation of the general public that was patiently following developments at Statistics Sierra Leone that Andrew Johnny and Lansana Kanneh should not only refund monies stolen as prescribed by the GTT Report, but should have been relieved of their duties.
Should citizens and those disenfranchised refer to this as selective justice done by the Statistics Council?
If the Statistics Council fails to act now, by righting the wrongs and dispensing equal justice, they will be unforgivably treated when the day of reckoning is here.
According to rumors, good governance and Civil Society Organizations will soon intervene to ensure that Statistics Sierra Leone, as a very viable entity, is manned by people with unblemished characters not people with already tainted image.
Remember, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
By the look of things, according to many, this inaction, so to speak, by the Statistics Council does not match international best practices especially when Statistics Sierra Leone has just been provided with a $30m Grant by the World Bank.
Having people with unforgivable records to superintend over funds of such magnitude, will only have the proclivity to undermine the credibility of Statistics Sierra Leone to the wider international community.
Therefore, they want to implore the attention of the President and members of the Statistics Council to pay keen attention to the activities of the very deceitful Andrew Johnny and Co who will do everything humanly possible for their selfish gain that will lead to the destruction of the institution.
On the other hand, citizens call on the Anti-Corruption Commission to show to the nation that they are committed to bringing to book perpetrators of corrupt practices especially those mentioned in the GTT Report.
The current Deputy Statistician General, Andrew Johnny, and cohort in the corrupt practices were allegedly incarcerated at the Criminal Investigations Department.
However, they were released from detention after some days on the proviso that investigations were to continue especially when the GTT report in no uncertain terms indicted Andrew Johnny and Co unequivocally. Investigations conducted reveal that the matter is still hanging in the balance and far from conclusion.
The Commission of Enquiry (COI), which dealt with all corruption cases for MDAs, detailed in the GTT report, deliberately did not call up Andrew Johnny and cohorts to answer to allegations of corruption because they had been assured by the CID that the matter was before them for investigations and prosecution but that never happened.
It is a fact that justice can only be delayed but not be denied.
Watch Out for more revelations.
By Ragan M. Conteh