• January 26, 2024

Moral Bankruptcy Contest… Abass Bundu vs. Paran Tarawallie

Moral Bankruptcy Contest…  Abass Bundu vs. Paran Tarawallie
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By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

I will have to toss a coin to determine between Hon. Dr Abass Chernor Bundu, the Speaker of Sierra Leone’s House of Parliament, and Hon. Umar Paran Tarawallie, the Clerk of Parliament, who is more morally bankrupt and fiscally reckless than the other.

And for the purpose of determining the degree of moral bankruptcy and fiscal recklessness; the Speaker of Parliament will represent the head part of the coin and the Clerk of Parliament the tail. I will do the tossing of the coin at the end of this One Dropian dropping.

But even as I, figuratively, hold the coin between my thumb and index finger in my right hand; Dr Abass Bundu is trying to lay bare which side of it should face the heavens after it would have been tossed. In a social media post, ascribed to him, he reportedly said that there is evidence of conflict of interest, embezzlement, and corruption in the administration of Parliament (of which the Clerk is the head). He is alleged to have continued that the allegations of sexual harassment against him are to divert public attention from the grave allegations against the Clerk of Parliament and his wife.

And he reportedly dropped the seemingly clincher: “You cannot use the argument of morality to undercut the law when evidence abounds that legal abuse of office, conflict of interest, embezzlement, and corruption is rupturing the administration of Parliament”. With this statement, I will assume that the duel between the Speaker and Clerk is that of morality versus legality!

Even though I am no moralist but if I should put prominent Sierra Leoneans, both past and present and even those long gone moons and moons ago, in a sieve; Dr Abass Bundu will fall from the first shake. His public life has been bespattered with an avalanche of alleged scandals that border on morality and allegations of corruption to the point that if you Google his name, one of the things that will always pop-up is the alleged illegal sale of Sierra Leonean passports and the siphoning of some of the proceeds into private bank accounts coupled with his book, “Democracy by Force?”, which appears to be making an argument for autocracy over democracy!

Dr Abass Bundu is one of those who started political prostitution in Sierra Leone (From the All People’s Congress under Siaka Stevens to his own Progressive People’s Party in 1996 and now the Sierra Leone People’s Party). Every time he shouts: “Order, order, order” in the well of parliament; hundreds of Sierra Leoneans will search their cell phones and retrieve the video in which he is allegedly seen stark naked playing with his cell phone while taking a “shit” and talking to what sounds like a female voice in the background! What always amuses those who have that “born naked” (as the vitriolic Gibril Bangura once described it) video is the fact that Mr Speaker appears to be determined to maintain an orderly Parliament while his private life seems disorderly in a sort of disorganized manner!

Although Dr Abass Bundu is claiming that his hands are “clean as a whistle” and that he is willing to subject himself to the law in relation to allegations of sexual harassment against him; but those who personally know about his private life are said to be taking that “clean as a whistle” defence with a pinch of salt. Many Sierra Leoneans, most of the time, make lewd jokes at Dr Abass Bundu’s expense each time they see him dressed in his full parliamentary regalia.

And making lewd jokes at someone’s expense might be funny but not as funnily funny to that of a man who seems to be hiding in a fog. Hon. Paran Tarawallie, the Clerk of Parliament, appears to be a man hiding in a fog that has finally cleared leaving traces of alleged conflict of interest, embezzlement, and corruption.

At times, even trenchant skeptics shouldn’t be skeptical if two of the wives of a Paramount Chief tell them that their husband has to drink “Coco Samba” or “Oga Ar Beg” always before performing one of his marital duties. When Hon. Ibrahim “Tawa” Conteh and Hon. Hindolo Moiwo Gevao, both from the ruling SLPP, told Sierra Leoneans on both the BBC and Radio Democracy FM 98.1 that what we knew as Parliament in Sierra Leone was nothing but an oasis of, or for, corruption; some SLPP skeptics were skeptical for the sake of skepticism.

But now, Hon. Paran Tarawallie who represents in Parliament all what the SLPP represents outside Parliament has proven both Hon. “Tawa” Conteh and Hon. Gevao rightly right. The ghost recruitment of his wife, Abibatu, as a Human Resources Officer at Parliament while she was always ensconced at home making TikTok videos in which she shows off her rags-to-riches status, may swim towards Dr Abass Bundu’s allegation of “legal abuse of office and conflict of interest”.

And as if to confirm Dr Abass Bundu’s allegations; the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has put the Clerk of Parliament and his wife on bail which has made many citizens to conjecture that the Tarawallie may be guiltily guilty of all the allegations levied against them. The wife is reported to have even agreed to refund the salary she received for ghost work whilst hard working workers were trekking to and from Parliament Building under sweltering sun that always produced the sweat of their sweats on their furrowed brows!

For many Serra Leoneans, Hon. Paran Tarawallie is said to be the worst Clerk of Parliament in living memory. Under his watch, the toilets at Parliament Building, at Tower Hill in Freetown, do not only stink like the alleged reeking corruption pervading the administration but the corridors could be compared to the state of the temple before Jesus Christ drove away the money lenders/changers. And most of the time, the House’s Chamber and offices could be compared to unkempt dreadlocks. Hon. Paran Tarawallie appears to be an embodiment of what and how a Clerk of Parliament ought not to be!

Now with two ruling party MPs and the Speaker accusing their own Parliament of grand corruption with the Clerk at the centre of the centre; the morality versus legality issue is suggestive of the moral and fiscal rot which has permeated the government of President Julius Maada Bio since 2018 to date.

And as I finally toss the coin in the air; I expect President Bio to have a look when it falls on the ground to make the announcement as to who wins or loses.

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