‘Gov’t is deceitful to say they spend less than $1 million’
September 27, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Chairman and Leader of Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, has insisted that government expended about US$1 million to facilitate the attendance of a large delegation to this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Mansaray told Concord Times in an exclusive interview yesterday that the government was deceitful to say they spend less than $1 million to attend the 71st session and that they could not tell the public the exact amount of money they used on the trip.
The government of Sierra Leone reportedly travelled with a 50-man delegation to New York for the 71st UNGA, comprising the President and First Lady and their retinue of aides, including the Imam State House.
The ADP leader issued a press release condemning the huge amount of money the government spent on the 50-man delegation.
Minister of Information and Communication, Mohamed Bangura, who was also part of the government’s delegation, had referred to Mansaray’s claim as “false and preposterous” but however refused to tell the general public the quantum of money used for the trip.
Speaking to this medium from the United States of America, the ADP chairman and leader said President Koroma used a chartered flight from Freetown to New York and back, which according to him will cost over USD$2,500 per person.
He said the US$1 million he had quoted covered the cost of the chartered flight that was used by the president and his wife, and other government officials, plus per diem.
“If they have a problem with the fact I have put forward, let them provide their own. Let the Ministry of Finance provide the actual amount which the president and the APC government used on the UNGA,” he maintained.
He said the government had two lists – formal list and informal list – and that both of the lists were financed by the government.
“The chartered flight was just for the president, his wife and some security apparatus. The rest came through some business flight. In fact, most of the ministers are still here. So it is just sad when you see government that is not accountable, that does not want to be transparent in spending the tax payers’ money,” said Mansaray, who has consistently accused the government of corruption and reckless spending.
He noted that the government needed to be accountable to the people when spending tax payers money, debunking claims by Mr. Bangura that the country was under-represented at the UNGA.
He said the state was “just abusing and ripping” the country’s resources, which he said was too bad, and that as a ‘main’ opposition party, he would not sit by and allow things go the wrong way.
“The Minister of Information is full of deceitful act from the beginning, so what do you expect from him. He is now using journalists to tell lies without substantiating the fact,” he said.
He explained that the delegation that went to UNGA took to the street to dance with a view to falsely showcase that all was well for the people of Sierra Leone amidst the current economic crisis.
“They came here to dance in the street. They were in their numbers dancing on the street of New York. It is just very unfortunate and shameful for our country. It is sad, just too sad,” he concluded.