Over Travel Ban… Alpha Khan Embarrassed

 

By Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura

Minister of Information and Communications in the former All People’s Congress (APC) Government, Alhaji Alpha Kanu was at the weekend, reportedly intercepted at the Gbalamuya Customs checkpoint in the Kambia District along the Guinea/Sierra Leone border whilst he was about to leave the country.

According to report, the former Information Minister, who also served in various capacities in the former Koroma administration, including Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources and Minister of Public and Political Affairs, was intercepted at the checkpoint because the clearance that was issued him by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice needed verification. Personnel of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on the border checkpoint reportedly had doubts over the signature of the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice who approved of Alhaji Alpha Kanu’s travel to the United Kingdom for medical checkup.

It could be recalled that following the release of the Governance Transition Team’s (GTT’s) Report, former APC Government officials whose names were recommended for investigations on grounds of alleged corruption and racketeering had travelling ban imposed on them by the new Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government. Though Alhaji Alpha Kanu’s name was not on the list of former government officials banned from traveling, the Inspector General, Dr. Richard Moigbe disclosed that he received prompt instruction from the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis to restrict the overseas travel of all officials that served in the Koroma administration in senior capacities.

In 2007, erstwhile President Ernest Bai Koroma placed a similar travel ban on senior officials of the former SLPP Government of the late former President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah when he acceded to power. The then Vice President Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana was put in charge of the implementation of the recommendations of the Transition Team he chaired.

Former President Koroma also set up a Commission of Inquiry chaired by a Gambian Judge, Justice Gibril Boubacarr Semega-Janneh.

It could also be recalled that the first Commissions of Inquiry after Independence were set up by the National Reformation Council (NRC) to try former senior officials of the former SLPP Government led by former Prime Minister Sir Albert Margai. The Beoku Betts and Percy Davies Commissions of Inquiry investigated the former Prime Minister and most of the Ministers, Deputy Ministers and senior civil servants, including the late former President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in relation to alleged corrupt practices at the now defunct Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB).

Also in 1992, the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) set up Commissions of Inquiry to investigate former senior officials of the APC regime of former President Joseph Saidu Momoh that was toppled by the NPRC military junta. Three Commissions of Inquiry were set up, including the Beccle Davies and Nylendar Commissions of Inquiry.

The Kabbah led administration also set up the Justice Cross Commission of Inquiry to look into properties seized from individuals and institutions by the state. That was how the Unity Building and former Marine House now APC headquarters, among other properties, were reclaimed by the SLPP and APC respectively.

Meanwhile, The Executive has learnt that the matter has been resolved with Alhaji Alpha Kanu’s travel permit rectified. He would now reportedly travel at the weekend by road to neighbouring Guinea, where he is expected to secure Schengen Visa.