President Bio accused of misogyny and lies over denial of entry to hotels in Japan – Sierra Leone Telegraph

Sierra Leone Telegraph: April 11, 2021:

Serious doubts are again expressed about the integrity and credibility of the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, who is now accused of misogyny, as well as of lying about the denial of entry into hotels in Japan in as president because of unpaid bills owed by the former government – a problem that could irreparably destroy Sierra Leone’s image.

The misogyny charge arose when it happened: Speaking on national television last week, a TV presenter simply asked President Bio to clarify his relationship with former President Ernest Bai Koroma, out of concern of what is seen as President Bio’s failure to pursue national cohesion.

This is what the TV presenter said: “Mr. President, what is your relationship with the former president? In response, President Bio casually said, “What’s your relationship with your ex-boyfriend?

This arrogant response from a president who has become very comfortable with unexplained wealth, prompted calls for a public apology to women in general and the TV presenter in particular, for a remark so misogynistic that the women of the whole country are faced with every day of their lives. Lives.

Women in Sierra Leone are discriminated against in all spheres of society; and not only do they face such misogyny, but they also face gender-based violence, rape and abuse, despite legislation aimed at promoting equality and deterring such crimes.

Many in Sierra Leone believe that such a statement by the president on national television shows that women are more likely to face discrimination and sexual abuse in the workplace, which reinforces male dominance in all settings. spheres of society in Sierra Leone.

This accusation of misogyny comes as the president’s wife is also accused of having illegally received millions of dollars in public funds to support her project to promote “girl-child” equality.

President Bio’s statement on national television saying he was denied entry to hotels in Japan due to the former government’s refusal to pay unpaid bills has also been described as a big lie. .

Evidence obtained by Africanist Press after investigation shows that the president is lying to discredit the former government and in particular President Ernest Bai Koroma, who is currently in Benin at the head of an ECOWAS delegation to oversee the elections to the Benign.

Here is what the Africanist Press said about President Bio’s comment that could destroy Sierra Leone’s image abroad:

In an effort to dismiss the blatant evidence of illegal public spending and the frivolous use of public money for international travel and other non-budgetary purposes, the President has made certain statements which we have found to be false and deliberately inaccurate. . For example, the president claimed that he was prevented from checking into a hotel in Japan because his predecessor had previous debt. He claimed he was forced to pay the debt upon arrival before being allowed to enter the hotel.

“This false statement regarding hotel debt in Japan has been repeated three times now by the president in his effort to justify the unprecedented expense that his many international trips have cost the people of Sierra Leone.

“Africanist Press has reviewed the President’s travel records to verify this particular claim. Records show that President Bio made a trip to Japan at the end of August 2019. The president’s trip to Japan was for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) which was held from August 28 to 30. 2019 at Pacifico Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan. . The conference was co-hosted by the Japanese government, the United Nations and other development agencies, including the World Bank. The Government of Japan has been leading this conference since 1993. The 2019 TICAD conference brought together more than 10,000 people, including 42 African leaders from 53 African countries and 108 heads of international and regional organizations.

“Our survey shows that all delegates invited to TICAD conferences, especially heads of state, were provided with appropriate accommodation and protocol arranged by the host government prior to their arrival. We investigated the details of President Bio’s trip to the TICAD conference in Yokohama, Japan, in 2019, and found no evidence that President Bio, or any member of the Sierra Leone delegation, encountered difficulties accessing their hotel rooms upon arrival in Japan during their visit to the TICAD conference.

“A press release issued by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on August 29, 2019 confirmed that a 15-minute summit meeting was held between President Bio and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Yokohama ahead of the conference. The press release confirmed that President Bio was visiting Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) which was held from August 28 to 30. Japanese Foreign Ministry files reviewed by Africanist Press clearly show that strong diplomatic relations exist. between Japan and Sierra Leone over three decades.

“Our investigation found that Japan first hosted an official delegation from Sierra Leone in October 1990 led by then Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mohamed O. Bash-Taqi. The Japanese Foreign Ministry noted that a total of 12 diplomatic visits from Sierra Leone to Japan between 1990 and 2019. These included two presidential visits, first by Ernest Koroma in 2008 and 2013, then by Julius Maada Bio in August 2019. The two presidents have been invited. attend the TICAD conference.

“Japanese diplomatic records further show that Alie Kabba, former foreign minister of Maada Bio, also visited Japan for a TICAD ministerial meeting in October 2018, following in the footsteps of other ministers from the Foreign Affairs who had traveled to Japan for similar meetings. In addition, we also found out that the current Speaker of Parliament, Abass Bundu, also visited Japan in 2019 on an official invitation to attend the enthronement ceremony of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. An invitation for a similar event was extended to Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Dr Abdul Karim Koroma in November 1990.

“So, contrary to Bio’s assertion, we have found no evidence that the relationship between Japan and Sierra Leone has been strained. Our investigation revealed that diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone and Japan have remained constant since October 1990. We also investigated the records of President Bio’s travel expenses during the trip to Japan.

“Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) records on withdrawals and remittances show that President Bio withdrew a total of 2,506,452,062.80 Leones (approximately US $ 270,000) from the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) before his trip to Japan. We identified 6 local and overseas travel account transactions in August 2019, specifically associated with the 2019 trip to Japan. They included 3 cash withdrawal operations carried out on August 23, 2019, and 3 other operations carried out between August 26 and 29, 2019, including a transfer of funds to a travel agency. Two of these first three transactions were drawn in foreign currency according to the daily allowances of the president and his wife, the first lady. They amounted to separate amounts of US $ 36,587 for the First Lady and US $ 91,601 for the President; a total of US $ 128,188 per diem by the president and his wife for the 5-day trip to Japan.

“These per diems do not include airfare, shipping, or alleged hotel accommodation costs paid prior to travel to Japan. For example, a money transfer [FT1923830792] in the amount of Le 1,234,251,149.00 (approximately USD 124,000) was paid on August 26, 2019 to Africa Travel Center as payment for expenses associated with the President’s travel to Yokohama and his accommodation in Japan prior to his departure.

“Other transactions include multiple withdrawals in foreign currencies for separate amounts of US $ 4,063 for Jariatu Darboe, US $ 3,762 for Tony Lloyd and US $ 4,364 for Joseph AT Demby; all delegates accompanying the president and the first lady to the conference in Japan. Thus, we discovered both in the conference files and in the president’s travel files that the logistical and protocol arrangements, including hotel reservations, were already confirmed before the president’s arrival in Yokohama, in Japan. There is no evidence that President Bio encountered any delay or difficulty accessing his hotel or anything else related to his visit upon arrival in Japan.

“In fact, our investigation found no evidence that additional payments were made by the President for hotel accommodation during his stay in Japan. Apart from the remittance payment made to Africa Travel Center prior to the President’s trip, we found no evidence recorded in Yokohama and Freetown BSL that an additional bank transfer payment was made for hotel charges. additional to Japan on behalf of the President. “

When a desperate sitting head of state resorts to lies and indulges in misogyny, it is time for the people to ask themselves if they are being served by those elected to rule the country.

The international community should take note that it is neither morally nor financially obligated to sponsor, fund or facilitate President Bio’s candidacy for a second term, with such accusations of massive corruption, misogyny, tribalism, division, hanging over his head. .

The people of Sierra Leone have given President Bio a mandate to prove his leadership – not two terms. No head of state is entitled to two terms against the will of the people, as US President Trump has rightly discovered.

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