At war with her deputy, the attention of His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, is drawn to the very unbecoming behavior of his Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs that holds the potential to tarnish his name and give his government a bad name at home and abroad.
Just as in the days when Dr. Sylvia Blyden was publisher of her Awareness Times newspaper and viciously and unfoundedly used it to spread deliberate lies about President Koroma, she has lately turned her paper into a vicious mudslinging instrument against President Koroma and her deputy.
In stories published in her Awareness Times newspaper under the name of its editor, Abdul Malik Bangura, the paper claims that President Koroma and the ruling All Peoples Congress government are out to sabotage her because they do not want her to shine more than she is doing.
Her editor alleges that in order to sabotage her work as Minister of Social Welfare, the Accountant General has since her appointment refused to sign PET Forms authorizing expenditure for her ministry.
Dr. Blyden dares to even accuse President Koroma and other senior party members of being part of the plot to undermine her as minister by him failing to authorize expenditure by the Finance ministry for her ministry to operate. She alleges that she has unearthed corrupt activities in the ministry that the government and the Anti Corruption Commission have taking no action over.
However, information gathered from inside the ministry reveals that Dr. Blyden is her own undoing as she only signed PET Forms relating to her own activities as minister and not others having to do with ministry activities.
Dr. Blyden’s dictatorial running of the Social Welfare ministry has affected the ministry’s presentation of its budget plan and expenditure to the Budget planning committee sitting at the Miatta Conference hall. The ministry was asked to stand down last week as it did not present any coherently budget plan to the committee.
Additional information disclosed that the ministry’s failure to present a budget plan was because twice the minister had refused to meet with the ministry’s budget planning committee. “Instead of blaming her failure to perform well as minister of social welfare,” ministry officials said, “she chooses instead to blame it on imaginary enemies that she has created in her mind.”
One such imaginary enemy she has created in her mind is the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Madam Rugiatu Turay. The whole of last week, Dr. Blyden’s Awareness Times levied unfounded accusations against her deputy that she has requested money from donor partner to organise a fake Bondo workshop in Tonkolili but spent the money during the Lunsar constituency bye-election and cannot account for the sum of Le107 million budgeted the two-day workshop by a donor agency for the activity.
Whilst the Deputy minister denies this allegation outright, stating that she has authentic documentary evidence of the workshop, the minister stands accused of expropriating about Le700 million that she cannot account for.
Ministry officials confided to this reporter that Minister Blyden has dispatched her trusted ministry staff to the provinces to find social welfare officers who will sign for monies for fictitious activities that they allegedly undertook.
Meanwhile, the deputy minister of social welfare said that she has called on the Anti Corruption Commission to investigate the Social Welfare ministry for series of corrupt activities undertaken by the minister. She also stated that she has written a letter of complaint to the Independent Media Commission drawing the attention of the commissioners to the lies and calumny published against her by the Awareness Times editor and asking him to come up with the evidence against her made in his allegations.
Speaking to many APC members and supporters, they declared that Dr. Blyden is a huge embarrassment to President Koroma and a liability to the party. “It seems as if she is a mole planted inside the APC by the opposition to undermine the government,” many opined.