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Friday, January 27, 2023

Who wants I.B Kargbo dead?!

HomeAYV NewsWho wants I.B Kargbo dead?!

Who wants I.B Kargbo dead?!

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The next day following the State House press release, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo was invited (well some publications say he was arrested and detained) to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for questioning as the investigation progresses.

Few hours later, he was released from the CID and his next stop, according to publications, was State House, where he was believed to have met with the President and other state actors behind closed doors.

Prior to the police intervention, I.B Kargbo has denied any wrongdoing and further named the country’s Vice President as one of those he consulted with, when he was approached by the Lebanese people with regards the shipment of the waste materials from Lebanon.

Other people including staff from the Foreign Affairs Ministry have been questioned on this matter, as the outrage from Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad rages on.

Without prejudice to the police investigation, there are a couple of actions and facts that needs to be properly examined in this matter. While it is an uncontestable fact that any approval for wastes from Lebanon or from anywhere in the world to be dumped into the Sierra Leonean soil would amount to a suicide mission, it would not be unwise to critically examine the facts before jumping into conclusion as to who should be brought to book.

STATE HOUSE ACTION

Firstly, the promptness of State House in issuing out a press release denying the claims in the Lebanese newspaper when the debate took over the social media was not only unprecedented in nature but also suspicious. Several issues of national concern in the past did not attract such prompt response from State House. With this reality, it would not be unwise to speculate that the presidency was not seeking the interest of the general public in that press release but was rather protecting some interest that remains unclear.

If the Office of the President was acting in good faith, why not conduct an internal investigation first to ascertain whether or not the approval quoted in the newspaper really emanated from State House or from any government official before rushing to the public? Why did State House fail to look at the letter authored by I.B Kargbo, which is now a subject of police investigation, to ascertain whether or not it constituted any approval to ship the garbage into Sierra Leone as alleged by the Lebanese newspaper? 

Now, let us look at possible parameters the police would be looking at in this investigation.

IMPERSONATION

Is I.B Kargbo guilty of impersonation in this matter since he signed off the letter dated 7th January 2016 as Special Adviser to the President, some few weeks after he had been elected as Member of Parliament? Well, it was never public knowledge that I.B Kargbo resigned his special adviser position or was relieved by the President prior to contesting the parliamentary election. While the issue as to whether or not I.B Kargbo was to go into that election while he was still adviser to the president is a subject for another debate altogether, the old man would not be guilty of an impersonation charge as he still maintains his adviser position even after being elected as a Member of Parliament. And President Koroma, being the direct employer of I.B Kargbo would not be exempted if I.B Kargbo is guilty of impersonating the position of an adviser because he (the president) never made it public that the old man no longer holds that position as he did when he appointed him.

APPROVAL TO SHIP GARBAGE INTO SIERRA LEONE

The crux of this matter is the publication alleging of an approval by the Government of Sierra Leone for the shipment of wastes from Lebanon. If the Lebanon government or the Lebanon newspaper was right to have announced an approval from the Sierra Leone Government, then such approval definitely DID NOT emanate from the letter signed by I.B Kargbo on the 7th January 2016. The content of that letter was simple, straightforward and easily comprehensible. All what the old man did was to advise the Lebanese people on the procedures involved to secure such an approval even if it was possible.

These are the facts outlined in the letter authored by Kargbo: that the baled materials should not be of toxic nature; that the materials should be usable for agricultural fertilization; that any material that is hazardous to the health of the citizens of Sierra Leone should not be included; that the LEGALITY of the arrangement would only be certified by the Trade and Industry Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Office of the Chief of Staff; that the shipment is acceptable pending further negotiations; that it is ONLY President Ernest Bai Koroma who has the FINAL say in this matter.

With the aforementioned facts forming the content of the letter communicated to the Lebanese people by I.B Kargbo, where did the old man gave any approval to ship the materials under review?

The letter clearly stated that the shipment would only be approved after going through the process with President Koroma giving it the final go ahead. So is it possible that the approval the Lebanon government is talking about is not from the I.B Kargbo letter but from the President who has the final say in this matter? The police have a lot of work to do in this and the investigation would only be deemed objectively concluded after the police would have questioned the President and other state actors including the Vice President Victor Foh who was named by I.B Kargbo as one of those he consulted with; and possible the editor of the Lebanon newspaper and the Lebanon government itself.  

AUTHORITY TO ADVICE    

But did I.B Kargbo have any authority to advise the Lebanese people in his capacity as Special Adviser to the President? While the job description of a presidential adviser remains unclear, I.B would right to advice on two instances. The President would refer people to his special adviser to counsel them on certain transactions and even instruct the adviser to give approval on his behalf. Again, I.B Kargbo could not be wrong to advise people on government procedures for the approval of transactions if he is approached. He does not need to seek the permission of the President to advise people in each and every transaction; I stand to be corrected.

So what’s the hue and cry as to who authorized the senior presidential staff to advice on the procedures to seek approval for the dumping of waste?

PARALLEL INVESTIGATION          

Questions are being asked as to why would State House be seen to run a corresponding investigation on this matter while the police are already investigating. If the State House press release was genuine on the instruction for the police to investigate this matter, why was I.B Kargbo ‘taken’ from the CID on Monday to meet with state officials at State House, as is being reported? Between the police and State House, who is really investigating this matter?

FALLOUT WITH THE PRESIDENT?

If the letter from I.B Kargbo is as self explanatory as it is, why is even I.B the prime suspect in this matter? Is it possible that I.B Kargbo is being victimized as a result of suspected fallout between himself and the President? This matter is coming in the wake of a publication in the New Citizen newspaper owned by I.B Kargbo against the actions of the President. It is also coming at a time when speculations are rife that I.B Kargbo would not support a more time bid for President Koroma. So could this be a ploy to intimidate or force I.B Kargbo to lead the more time campaign now that he has been elected to parliament? Would I.B Kargbo lead the more time campaign in parliament even against his will if he receives threats to go to jail on this matter if he could not vow to support more time?

Well, we know that I.B Kargbo is an old man now with only his integrity to protect. We further believe that he would rather go to jail and die there than mortgage his integrity at this age. At least he has been to prison and even sentenced to death in the past.

WHO WANTS THE OLD MAN DEAD?

Who wants I.B Kargbo dead, is a serious question that should not be swept under the carpet. I.B Kargbo is too old for this pressure. Thank God he did not collapse and die on Monday when he was invited for questioning and subjected to a whole day of questioning at the CID and State House.

In summary, this matter is deeper than what is being seen at the top. Let the old man be while we hope to get the true picture of this matter in due course.

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