The hierarchy of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party in a news conference held at the party secretariat at Brookfields, Freetown yesterday expressed its dismay with the recently released Government Transition Team (GTT) Report to the public. According to a statement signed by the APC National Secretary General, Ambassador Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, the GTT Report is the second such report produced by a sitting government since the lifting of ban on multi-party system in Sierra Leone in 1991 by the late President Joseph Saidu Momoh’s APC regime.

Among many issues, the National Secretary said the GTT comprised no experienced transition expert and therefore ignored its Terms of Reference (TOR) and meandered into a proverbial witch-hunt with frenzy to defame and place the APC administration, its adherents and even the judicial arm of government in bad light.

On presumption of Innocence, the National Secretary General asserted that “in waging its assortment of allegations of criminal offenses, the GTT has disregarded the cornerstone of criminal procedure, that in  democracy, everyone accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court or tribunal.”

In a well-ordered democratic society, Amb. Alhaji Dr. Osman F. Yansaneh furthered, the practice of the rule of law surpasses the rule of men and that the GTT Report was issued in a hurry to sweep the cobwebs of an antecedent administration in fascist style.

He opined that the SLPP are bound to fail by trusting their will more than democratic rule, adding that the GTT Report has called for restrictions on travel for those who the report states must be investigated. “Regretfully, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) sought to implement same even before the report was accepted by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and his cabinet. Let it be known that the said travel ban is unconstitutional and violates Section 18 of the 1991 Constitution,” the APC scribe lamented.

“The GTT Report,” he said, “is full of unjustifiable, unsubstantiated and baseless claims of corruption with its real intent aimed at smearing and prosecuting former government officials, and party functionaries,” adding that, “The GTT Report aims at doing what the SLPP has never been able to do; destroy the heart and soul of the APC. The SLPP is trying to destroy the very base of the APC and by extension destroy democracy.”

Speaking on double jeopardy, Amb. Yansaneh averred that “a number of issues raised in the catalogue of offenses proffered by the GTT are matters hitherto brought before competent tribunals of the law and resolved,” adding that, “Yet, the impetuous GTT has decided to recommend that some APC adherents be subjected to prosecution for the same offense.”

He noted that the Sierra Leone Government is one and that if every new administration were to exhume settled matters as raised by the GTT in the NASSIT Ferry, Income Electrix, among others, it will appear the will of the incoming SLPP administration in spite of noisy assertions on the rule of law at campaign time, has now settled to harass, intimidate and threaten its political opponents using its own new fangled justice.

Amb. Yansaneh said the GTT report focused on certain areas and unashamedly tried to paint the APC as corrupt, tribalistic and inept in managing the economy and state resources. “Let’s state categorically that the APC as a party and when it was in governance, frowned on corruption and had taken a strong stance in preventing, prosecuting and strengthening the fight against corruption,” the APC scribe said.

The current Financial Secretary, Sahr Lamin Jusu, he said, was the Head of Public Debt Unit for ten years of former President Ernest Koroma’s APC administration and he was responsible for guiding the Koroma administration into all its debts financing, including the negotiation on the 100 Chinese Buses which the GTT Report now seeks to discredit.

He noted that the GTT Report presented a picture as inheriting an economy in a state of shambles which, he said, noting that contrary to the assertions made, the APC Government managed to salvage the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Programme (PRSPII), which the APC Government inherited from the Tejan Kabbah Government in a floundering state.

The APC Government, Amb. Yansaneh said, successfully concluded the Poverty Reduction Strategic Paper II (PRSP II) using prudent macro-economic management, which allowed them to graduate to the Extended Credit Facility programme, spanning 2010-2013, among others.

He said the GTT failed to acknowledge the fact that many senior South-Easterners, who have been given high offices in the ‘New Direction’, served without prejudice in the APC administration.

The APC, Amb. Yansaneh said, therefore rejects the GTT Report in its entirety and described it as “a partisan document which stokes the dangerous flames of tribalism, tells a false story of APC’s stewardship and seeks to persecute key APC functionaries and former Government officials.”