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MEDIA & SOCIETY

National Revenue Authority Commissioner General Job...Nine Applicants Face Interview Panel This Week
Posted by on Dec 16, 2007, 15:40

In the fight for socio-economic survival and the battle for supremacy, the favour from God should never be downplayed.  From the look of things, the National Revenue Authority would only navigate its way through its stalemate, after the inevitable name of their new boss would have been made public.  But this is easier said than done because, apart from the harsh reality of the task being difficult to address, it has also succeeded in attracting the attention of all Sierra Leoneans, including members of the proletariat class, and the hustlers in town likewise.

Candidly, this is the very first time in the history of the country that an unprecedented momentum has been hiked for just a single position.  To be realistic with ourselves, it is justifiable, considering the package that is set out for the successful applicant, and the frivolous manner in which the previous leadership has been issuing permits to every Jack and Jill. The present applicants are of the view that, they would not perform the same way, as the erstwhile John Karimu and the Acting Ousman Barrie.  No way, we are hopeful that, the successful applicant would take this institution to a more impressive level.

President Ernest Bai Koroma has been singularly responsible for the mounting tension among the applicants for the Commissioner Generalís position.  As the newly elected President, he has the free hand to appoint an individual that would adequately reflect the wishes and aspirations of this country.  Again, being a fine statesman, he has chosen not to be imposing, and as such, instituted an open door policy to get the best out of the rest. 

The public must be informed that the National Revenue Authority is currently a very hot spot in this country and it is going to be supported by DFID this time round.   This means that, President Koromaís action to withhold the exercise of prerogative to appoint, the Commissioner General was done in interest of the nation but, the British Government that is ready to make huge investment into the National Revenue Authority is interested in seeing and working with a competent and upright leadership.

Following the close of the deadline, for the receipt of all applications, about thirty-six application packages were received from Sierra Leoneans.  It was truly impressive, nine out of the thirty six applicants have been short listed and to appear before the interview panel today, Monday 17th December, 2007.

This media house has been reliably informed that the following nine applicants that crossed the first crucial stage of the exercise are: Nathaniel Cole, Ousman Barrie, Abdulai Charm, Mohamed S. Bamba, Kortor Santos Kamara, Sydney Lake, Edward Saffa, Kelvin Davidson and Alieu Sesay.  These are the luckiest few that are now at the final stage.

Some of them are very hopeful, others uncertain, whilst some are feeling hot and cold because of their mixed feelings, owing to their track records.   An attempt would now be made by this medium to give a brief background of each of the applicant, which is done in the interest of the nation and above all, to help members of the interview panel to have a glance at the individuals they are about to interview for this all important position. All nine applicants are degree holders from very recognized Universities at home and in other parts of the globe, and all of them have worked in different institutions of national significance. They have contributed one way or the other to either destroy or build up institutions. Those who may be guilty of destroying their past institutions whether deliberately or not should have the courage to explain to the panel what happened. Those who were victimized in the past because of their principles or non-compliance should honestly be prepared to explain their predicaments.

The name Nathaniel Cole is not strange in the tax industry, and some people see him as somebody who is tax culture, for he knows where and how to collect taxes. Tax collection target has always been one of the criteria he appreciates greatly, for he does not only exceed it, but accomplished it prior to the deadline. He was a commissioner at the customs department, Cline Town, who through out his tenure left indelible marks to the admiration of previous governments, and was promoted as deputy commissioner NRA. His stance to give to Sierra Leone what belongs to her brought about an unhealthy relationship between him and his immediate bosses and after a meeting in Kenema by the former Minister of Finance J.B.Dauda, Dr.Karimu, John Benjamin and a few others, a resolution was reached that Nathaniel Cole should be rusticated from the institution as he was perceived as obstacles to their grand preparation for the coming 2007 election.

The decision to force him to resign his position as deputy commissioner NRA raised so many concerns among members of the general public and even the international committee whose representatives were working in Sierra Leone by then. It is unarguably true that he is a man of high standing with immense professional competence.

Sydney Lake is an applicant from the disaspora, with no tax background in Sierra Leone or the region. He has a Bachelor and Masters degree like the rest of the candidates, but little is known about him. Therefore, one cannot ascertain his competence for the job.

Ousman Barrie, the current deputy commissioner of NRA and an accomplice to Dr. John Karimu. The views held by most people both in and out of the country are that if Dr. John Karimu is to be punished for any offence relating to financial impropriety and mismanagement of the affairs of the National Revenue Authority, Ousman Barrie is equally guilty of the same.

 He has worked at the Statistics Office, Ministry of Finance and currently acting as Commissioner General at the National Revenue Authority and having full support from the Fullah community in the country for the position of Commissioner General.

Candidly, some of the candidates have the requisite academic qualification but lacked the professional expertise to administer the NRA, to the peak Sierra Leoneans are now yearning for.

Alieu Sesay is one individual with the requisite qualification, but maturity is not on his side. However, he has an unblemished character that can qualify him for further consideration.

Mohammed Bamba also has the requisite qualification for the job, but allegations of fraud and financial impropriety are hanging over his head until the Charles Caulker and Ibrahim Sesay report is out. At the moment not much can be reported about him.

One sad and unfortunate thing is when certain people who have been relieved of their duties in contemporary institutions as a result of fraud, financial pilfering and embezzlement were short listed because of political connections. Kelvin Davidson, a former Accountant/ Financial Manager of the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited should be able to explain to the panel why he was sacked recently.

It is not the business of this medium or writer to say that he was sacked because of financial impropriety. The panel, before the interview date should have been able to dip out reasons that led to Kelvin Davidsonís shameful exit from the Sierra Leone Brewery, but with his relationship with the Minister of Finance, Mr. Carew, Davidson is sure of getting the job. The fear however expressed by the general public is that with this individual at the helm of affairs at NRA, it would be a replica of the Dr. Karimuís failed administration.

Kortor Santos Kamara is native of the north, an auctioneer who has a case to answer at the Anti Corruption Commission regarding January 2007 Auction. His activity was petitioned by one the countryís renowned Auctioneers, as it was discovered that funds from the auction was misappropriated. The panel should be able to verify this information with the Anti- Corruption Commission.

Edward Saffa is the candidate of the vice president Sam Sumana. He is an employee of NRA in the department of PAYE; this candidate should be able to inform the panel how, since his assumption of office, been able to generate revenue for the government. Although, he is the candidate of the vice president and an in-law to him also, he should not rely on these criteria to make his way for the job.

Abdulai Charm is the legal adviser of the National Revenue Authority. He should be able to explain why the NRA is paying huge money to Landlords as rent against the background of poor economy and dismal revenue generation by the institution he currently offers legal advise to over the years. 

We  must however, commend some of the applicants for their bold step in applying for this job but honestly, the National Revenue Authority do not need a boss that would use six months (6) to understand Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).  That which is needed presently is somebody that has operated at the echelon of a revenue generating institution of this kind.

We know things speak for themselves and the people of this nation will shortly put to rest this issue of appointing a new Commissioner General at the National Revenue Authority




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