By: Kemo Cham in Freetown
Sierra Leone`s vice president has brushed aside calls for his resignations for alleged corruption.
Mr Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana also denied corruption allegations against him as “baseless, full of lies,” and intended to malign him ahead of the country’s fourth-coming election.
“I will not resign, I will help follow the president`s agenda for change,” the VP told journalists at his first ever press conference since assuming office five years ago.
Mr Sumana, who has come under growing public pressure to resign, was urged by his government to hold the Wednesday press conference following last Saturday`s allegations by an American jewellery dealer, Mark Heiligman, who accused him of fraud.
These and earlier corruption allegations have stirred Sierra Leone’s political scene three months to its polls. Together with the Vice President, Heiligman also accused President Ernest Bai Koroma of complicity.
[notification type=”info”] “Since I became vice president, I divested all my interest from the corporate world…,” said the VP. [/notification]
Mr Sumana also accused the opposition of collaborating with his “imposter” former business partner to blackmail him vowing to take legal actions against his accusers.
[notification type=”info”] The opposition has responded. “There are still unanswered questions,” said Lawyer Banja Tijan Sy, Secretary General of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
“The honourable thing to do is to apologise to the people of Sierra Leone,” Mr Sy said. [/notification]
Earlier, the Vice President’s name was mentioned in similar accusations by another group of American business people and in an incriminating Al Jazeera “timbergate” saga that is currently in court, where he is alleged to have involved.