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Details of Rent Allowances Paid to State House Consultants 
and other Presidential Appointees in Sierra Leone

By Chernor Bah,
Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The following list provides details of individual rent allowances paid to a selected sample of 15 political appointees listed as consultants on the public payroll of the government of Sierra Leone.

The list includes names of presidential advisers at State House and other presidential appointees assigned as heads of newly created agencies and ministries by the Maada Bio administration since 2018.

The sample list of officials listed as consultants include Dr. John Tambi (chairman of the Office of Presidential Infrastructure Initiative), Dr. Patrick Muana (Senior Adviser to the President and Head of Strategic Communication in the Office of the President), Ambassador Umaru B. Wurie (Senior Presidential Adviser), and Madam Kona Koroma (Senior Presidential Adviser).

Africanist Press discovered that the average rent allowance paid to these category of consultants range from Le66,420,000 to Le88,560,000 and anywhere between Le98,400,000 and Le109,641,141 respectively. For instance, three of the listed officials —- Patrick Muana, John Tambi, and David Sengeh —- are each receiving a rent allowance of Le98,400,000, the same amount paid to most judges as rent allowances.

We also found that some of the listed State House officials who were receiving these rent allowances were formally retired from the civil/public service but they have now been re-appointed as senior advisers to the President, and reinserted into the public payroll as active government employees. We discovered that these individuals are receiving rent allowances even though many of them own the houses they currently reside in. In other instances, we also found that two State House consultants received rent allowances in 2019 even though the said individuals were occupying assigned apartments in the NASSIT buildings and were still owing rent payments to the agency.

The aggregated total allowances paid to the 15 selected officials listed as consultants on the Africanist Press sample list amounted to Le1.3 billion in 2019 alone, an amount that equals the combined monthly salaries of 1,100 senior staff nurses in Sierra Leone.

Africanist Press also discovered that withholding taxes to the tune of Le133 million were never deducted from the rent allowances paid to these consultants in 2019 and in subsequent years.

Sierra Leone’s wage bill has quadrupled since Julius Maada Bio assumed power in 2018, owing largely to exorbitant increases in the salaries and allowances of key public sector workers and political appointees in strategic government institutions including the judiciary, the Electoral Commission, Statistics Sierra Leone, and the National Civil Registration Authority. In 2020, for instance, the wage bill amounted to Le3.1 trillion from Le2.4 trillion in 2019, theee times more from the 1.7 trillion when Ernest Koroma left power in 2018.

Thus, Africanist Press found that the corresponding increase of over 80% in the wage bill since the Bio administration assumed power in 2018 is owing largely to this drastically enlarged pool of political appointees across all sectors of the civil/public service who are receiving huge rent allowances, salaries and other specially designed public benefits.

Therefore, we note that recent wage bill increases are not due to the reported enrollments of new teachers and nurses on the public payroll. Finance records on rent allowances and salaries we examined, show categorically that expenditures relating to the salaries and other financial benefits of political appointees alone now accounts for over 60% of the increase in the wage bill under the Bio regime.

Most importantly, we found that political appointees are mostly placed and promoted to higher Grade positions where they earn monthly salaries and rent allowances that are, in most cases, between 70% and 100% of the total combined annual salaries of their counterparts with similar or higher qualifications in the civil/public service.

See below the sample list showing the individual rent allowances of State House consultants and other presidential appointees to illustrate the evidence upon which this report is based.