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FORMER MINSTER LOOTS FURNITURE?
The former Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Peter Bayuku Konteh, is reported to have looted furniture from his official office on Kingharman Road in Freetown a day after he was allegedly forced to resign his position. The former Minister is reported to have argued that the furniture was personally donated to him by the Management of Bintumani Hotel, whilst the Public Relations Officer of the hotel was quoted as saying that the furniture was donated to the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
Be that as it may, the embarrassing situation of former ministers of the same ministry carting away furniture after their resignation or removal from office is an issue that should be addressed by Government. We understand that Peter Bayuku Konteh’s predecessor, Mrs. Victoria Saidu Kamara, also removed the furniture from her official office in the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs when she was dropped from Cabinet after the November 2012 multitier elections. Could it be that only ministers had been lobbying for furniture to decorate their office in that ministry instead of the Government providing it as officialdom demands?
The actions of the previous ministers could be scandalous, but these are personalities who are capable of buying what they have allegedly carted away from their office in the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. They must have had genuine reasons for taking the furniture away otherwise Government would have asked them to take it back to the ministry. We believe that Government should take blame for allowing institutions in the private sector to donate furniture to Government offices instead of Government providing it from taxpayers’ money. Even so, such donations should be formally recorded for reference purpose so that sitting officials would be prevented from carting away those donations after their removal, resignation or retirement.
Given the development strides of Peter Bayuku Konteh in Koinadugu District from his days in Italy to the time he got involved in active partisan politics, nobody could believe that he would have the temerity to loot furniture from a Government building because he is worth more than the most expense furniture in town. So why should he remove furniture from his official office at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs without any good reason for his action? If his action is illegal, then we expect the Government to order him for the immediate return of the furniture to the ministry. But if the Government fails to do that, we will take it for granted that the former Minister was right to have taken such decision despite the Public Relations Officer of the Management of Bintumani Hotel has alleged that the furniture was donated to the ministry and not the former Minister.