The Triumphs and Travails of Ernest Koroma

The Triumphs and Travails of Ernest Koroma

Sunday, December 10, 2023 5:16 pm

File: Former President Ernest Bai Koroma

File: Former President Ernest Bai Koroma

Abubakar Hashim/Freetown

Former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma is a thorough bred private sector guru, nurtured in the insurance industry. He first worked at the National Insurance Company NIC and later switched over to the Lebanese – owned Reliance Insurance Corporation RITCORP, where he excelled marvellously, to become its longest serving Managing Director

He came into limelight when he ventured into politics in 2007, when he emerged as the first President from the Insurance industry in the world! An outstanding achievement

He ruled for 11 years, with focus on infrastructure, particularly roads.
His travails, however, started when handed over power in 2018, to incumbent President Julius Maada Bio.

Former President Koroma with Abubakar Hashim at State House in 2010

Former President Koroma with Abubakar Hashim of TheNEWS at State House, Freetown in 2010

I have met and interviewed Ernest Koroma at State House for the News Magazine. I did similar interviews with Valentines Strasser, late Tejan Kabbah and incumbent Maada Bio.

These interviews went smoothly, except that of Ernest Koroma that was nearly cancelled.
When we met eventually at State House, though he answered the questions slightly appropriately, I found him witty and slippery to some questions. Since then, I noticed some character inconsistencies in him.

When he handed over power, a Commission of Inquiry COI, chaired by Nigerian Justice Biobelle, was set up when in 2018. The COI findings were staggering.He appealed against the findings in court. Only last week, he lost the appeal. So did Samura Kamara, his anointed presidential candidate for the 2018 and 2023 elections.

Ernest Koroma lost his appeal against the COI findings on abuse of authority for the Sierra Rutile sale and the Sewa Grounds Market. The court asked him to pay a fine of $130, 000 and Le 300 Million, while Samura Kamara was asked to pay $70,000 and Le 250 Million.

The story of Ernest Koroma is similar to that of late Sani Abacha- he hardly let go of anything he touches, power, money or fame!

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