There are unconfirmed media reports that, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma intends to appoint his cousin, Dr. Patrick Conteh as Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone. Why would Mr. President want to put himself through such an embarrassment?
Patrick Conteh, Chrispin Deigh, Alfred Sankoh and others were accused of conniving with other people unknown to award an unsecured loan of US$4.8m to a controversial businessman, Kabba Kalu some two years ago. All the suspects in this bank loan scandal were arrested and charged to court.
Even before they were charged to court, President Koroma told a Press Conference at State House after he returned from a well-publicised State visit to China that, those involved would be made to pay for their crime. He even referred to them as economic saboteurs!
Dr. Patrick Conteh and his co-accused were later charged to court on several counts of fraud and other related offences. The fraud charges against them were later dropped for what the trial Judge referred to as lack of sufficient evidence. They were therefore acquitted and discharged.
Amongst all the accused persons at the time of the US$4.8 million Sierra Leone Commercial Bank fraud, Dr. Patrick Conteh is the only one that was compensated with a new job at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. He was appointed as Minister of State II in that very important Ministry.
Now, we hear that, upon his return from his State visit to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, President Koroma intends to appoint his cousin (from the mother side) as the new Governor of the Central Bank.
How can you appoint a man who has gone through a criminal trial for bank fraud as Governor of the Central Bank?
If President Koroma goes ahead with the appointment of Dr. Patrick Conteh as Bank Governor, he would be accused of promoting nepotism in his administration.
Dr. Patrick Conteh’s co-accused are now languishing on the streets of Freetown as a result of the Bank of Sierra Leone’s failure to authorize the payment of their gratuity and pension.
We hope that, the President will address such injustice at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and think twice before going ahead with any plan to appoint his cousin as Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone.
There are more credible people in the APC Party that can perform the duty of a Bank Governor. Certainly, not the President’s cousin, Dr. Patrick Conteh!