Critique Echo has decided today to publish the following emails recently received from one Mr. Mark O. Heiligman against our honorable Vice President Sam Sumana. We decided not to publish it due to the sensitive and devastating nature of its content till we cross check it properly on both sides. Unfortunately, all efforts to reach the office of our VP have proved futile, and at the same time, the subject has already become topical in other online newspapers including Awaremess Times and New People.
We are publishing it verbally as it was received but without the email and contact addresses due to security and privacy reasons.
July 15, 2012
An Open Letter to the People of Sierra Leone:
I sincerely wish I did not have to write this letter, but I feel it is necessary to help protect the people of Sierra Leone from their predatory and corrupt government. My story calls into question the ethics and trustworthiness of the man currently occupying the office of Vice President. Sam Sumana is not what he pretends to be. He is a thief who has not only stolen large amounts of money from the people of the country he professes to love, but also from former and current business partners in the United States.
My relationship with Sam began about two years before the civil strife in your country ended. He came into my office one day to discuss the possibility of helping us in the diamond business. At that time he was a parking attendant in a Minneapolis parking lot, an honest job, but evidently not worthy of mentioning in his political biography. Sam and I immediately became what I would consider friends and soon we were planning a major diamond mining operation that would be ready to hit the ground running when the war was over. With the financial backing of an extremely successful Minneapolis businessman, my diamond expertise and Sam’s connection to Sierra Leone, we began a company called United Diamond Mining Co. (A Minnesota Corporation). Our financier, Mr. Dave Kloeber purchased and shipped the necessary heavy equipment to begin mining in the Kono District where Sam’s father had been a well-respected Chief. When Sam first got to Sierra Leone, we were pleased to learn that he had helped the United Nations build roads using our equipment. He set up our operation and employed and empowered many citizens of the Kono district by providing jobs at a good wage and providing health care and other necessities to help the people in the area. Mr. Kloeber continued to supply money for the day to day operations and to purchase a diamond gravel washing machine to make the endeavor more efficient. He came back to the U.S. only a couple of times bringing us some of the rough diamonds he had found…an amount not nearly enough to pay for anything other than more fuel and a Toyota Landcruiser which Mr. Kloeber purchased for Sam and had shipped to Sierra Leone at considerable expense. Sam also came back to visit his wife and two children who were living in a home purchased by Mr. Kloeber in good faith to help them out. Sam’s wife worked hard as a nurse’s aid and I helped her with her children’s birthday parties and anything else that was asked of me. All of these things were done in good faith…and then somewhere, somehow, something went terribly wrong…
It became increasingly hard to get in touch with Sam in Sierra Leone via phone or email. As time passed communication became non-existent and our concern increased as we worried about his safety and well-being. His wife also did not hear from him during a lot of that time. The next time Sam called, he told Mr. Kloeber to send some containers of clothing for Sam to sell in order to maintain and fuel the mining operation. Mr. Kloeber complied and sent $300,000 worth of clothing to Sierra Leone which Sam took possession of and allegedly sold. Once again, there was no communication and no receipt of diamonds. The next time we heard from Sam, he informed us that he was running for Vice President of Sierra Leone. It became obvious to us that he had used our money to secure his political future, as well as that of your president. When a run-off election became necessary, Sam and Mr. Koroma once again turned to us for a “loan” of $34,000.00 to pay for the run-off. With the implied promise of repayment, Mr. Kloeber again wrote a check for which the President himself thanked us profusely in a telephone conversation shortly after they won the election. We were assured that Sam’s new position would certainly benefit us in some way…we were hoping simply to establish a relationship with a Kimberly Process compliant mining business from which to buy rough or finished diamonds…now that Sam was a public official and no longer allowed to have a personal interest in a diamond company.
Shortly after the election, Sam and the president asked both Dave and I to come to Freetown for the inauguration. Dave declined, but Sam wanted me to come to “honor” him. I purchased an airline ticket and at great personal expense flew to Sierra Leone for this “momentous” occasion. During my time there, the President was much too busy to see me and the five or ten minutes I was able to spend with Sam were spent with his asking me how much the two Rolex watches were worth that he had been “honored” with by some business or organization interested in doing business in Sierra Leone. I told Sam that one was worth $35,000 and one almost $50,000. That was the extent of our conversation. Here was a man, newly elected and poised to rape his country and his people of the natural resources the land had been blessed with and pocket the millions of dollars paid by foreign corporations for favors…and he wasn’t gracious and certainly wasn’t smart enough to even acknowledge or thank his longtime business associates who had unwittingly put him and the president in office. I was made aware of a “contribution” made during his first days in office by a British gentleman who contritely admitted he had backed the wrong horse and was now making it right…with an attaché case pushed under the vice president’s desk filled with over $1,000,000 in cash….and that was just the beginning.
After I left Sierra Leone, neither Dave nor I ever heard from Sam again…he has purposefully avoided our phone calls and made very little response to our emails. We simply were asking for our money back…the money he stole from us…nothing more. No response. We asked him to ship back our mining equipment or have it sold to pay us back. No response. We asked him what happened to the $300,000 in clothing Dave had sent. No response. We found out the Chinese were building him a beautiful palatial estate in Freetown. No response. We found out he had purchased a home in New Jersey and other property in the U.S. as well. No response. We began sending him emails demanding repayment or compensation of some kind. No response. We emailed the president with our claims and concerns. No response. We emailed both Sam and the President informing them that both civil and criminal charges would be awaiting Sam should he set foot back in the United States. No response. We threatened to expose them to the world media…and what do you know…Sam responded…sent Dave Kloeber a check for $20,000 with the promise to send more payments every month until the debt was paid. He acknowledged the debt by sending the $20,000…but never sent another dime. He was so small-minded as to think that we would be satisfied with this feeble attempt to pay his debt to us. When asked when the rest would be forthcoming…no response. And so it has been and we imagine always will be.
We want to help the people of Sierra Leone find a way to remove corruption from their government…to remove arrogant thieves masquerading as dignitaries….to give the people their fair share realized from the God-given resources of their beautiful country…to rid themselves of ungrateful, thieving and corrupt leaders…leaders whose goal it is to line their own pockets with the blood, sweat and tears of their people…not to ease those people’s day to day lives.
Samuel Sam-Sumana is a thief and I can say that without fear of libel because I know and he knows that it is the truth. And your President, the “honorable” Mr. Koroma is complicit in the knowledge that his vice president is a thief. He doesn’t care…because the money Sam stole got them both elected. When Mr. Koroma spoke at his inauguration of his determination to root out corruption in government…he should have looked over his shoulder at Sam…who was smiling like the cat that just ate the canary.
I have heard from a reliable source that both the president and vice president are each stealing between $3 million and $5 million a year from the country and people they claim to love. While it is just hearsay and cannot be proven…Sam’s recent purchases that are public knowledge indicate he is being more than well-compensated.
Rid yourselves of these men…they are not honorable…they are not worthy of your trust…and they should not be allowed to take one more morsel of food out of a baby’s mouth or not provide running water and basic life needs to their people…throw them to the wolves…before they throw you. Your country will continue to wallow in poverty under a corrupt government if someone does not step up to tell these men that their actions will no longer be tolerated….throw them out.
This was all just a very brief synopsis of my relationship with Sam. There are many more details that I have not yet decided to release. For anyone who would like to speak with me regarding the vice president and president, I have corroborating invoices and statements, as well as an extremely reliable source within the government of Sierra Leone. My telephone number in Minnesota, USA is 612-802-9686. I am not afraid of Sam Sumana…he is less than nothing to me.
Mark O. Heiligman
Mark Heiligman is President of Landmark Diamonds & Precious Metals, Inc. located in Minneapolis, MN. Mr. Heiligman is a 1979 graduate of the Gemological Institute of America – Los Angeles, and has been in the cutting, manufacturing, wholesale and retail diamond business across the U.S. for over 34 years. He was also a founding partner of United Diamond Mining Co. – Sierra Leone.