Mark O. Heiligman Speaks Again to the People of Sierra Leone

Mark O. Heiligman
To the People of Sierra Leone,

Once again I feel I must comment on the activities of your Vice President Sam Samsumana. While he has done everything in his power to spread lies about my character, mental state and anything else he can think of to avoid answering the allegations against him, I can sleep soundly at night knowing that I have spoken only the truth. And as Sam may or may not have learned, the truth hurts until you decide to embrace it, take responsibility for your actions and then the truth shall set you free.

After Sam was elected, I understood that he was a politician and ostensibly no longer able to be involved in business. We knew we would have to work out some kind of deal with Sam to recoup at least some of the investment made, as well as monies he took without our knowledge.

Dave and I both admired and adored Sam as a friend that was willing to make great sacrifices by leaving his family behind to go to Sierra Leone for us…it was meant to be good for all three of us, our families and Sierra Leone.

About two years ago, I had it out with Sam in a telephone call…he brought a mutual friend on the phone begging us not to bring our information to light…he called me no less than twelve times. (I have phone records)

Shortly after that he agreed to pay Dave $20,000 a month (not as payment toward the $34,000 loan as Sam intimates) but on the million or more he owed Dave. He couldn’t even honor that agreement. He only gave Dave one payment of $10,000 in November and another $5,000 about two weeks later and then another $5,000 a few weeks later. No other monthly payments were forthcoming.

Dave and I took a man we considered a friend and gave him a golden opportunity. He has lied and twisted the truth in your media with impunity, but the truth will always come through in the end. And if the people of Sierra Leone cannot see through his lies then I guess he will continue to cash in on his golden ticket. We are not the only ones he has bilked out of money…there is a long line of American and international investors who were taken advantage of both before and after he became Vice President. Businessmen expect that some investments do not always work out…but businessmen also do not look kindly on their money being stolen by unscrupulous individuals…whether a low level employee, an executive or a head of state.

I not only question Sam’s morality and character, but his intelligence as well. How arrogant and stupid can a man be to think that he can be so dismissive of his duties to friends and business associates? If he can do that to all of us…then what is he doing to you, the people of Sierra Leone and your beautiful country?

I never intended for my original letter to cause such an uproar, but because of the flawed character of your vice president, the issue will not and cannot go away. I will not stop voicing the truth about him until he stands in front of you all and admits his dishonesty. But his pride will never let him…he is a shallow man with one goal…to take advantage of his position to steal your country blind. How can he justify living in a purported $5 million dollar compound in Freetown? I’m sure $1 million dollars can build a beautiful house in your country. That would leave $4 million dollars to help provide adequate housing for many of your people, as well as build medical clinics and provide electricity and clean running water.

After the letter was published on the internet, I got a call from your esteemed vice president (actually his wife, because he was too gutless to call me). They were running scared…asking me why I was doing this to Sam…and vowing to ruin me for telling the truth about him. I have phone records, which will show this call followed quickly by several others, should Sam try to refute this as well. Why would he call me if he weren’t worried about the ramifications of this letter? All of the public allegations of corruption made by others before were deflected by his ability to manipulate the press of your country and make personal attacks on those outside of your country. He calls into question the motives of citizens of Sierra Leone living outside of your country…perhaps they speak out and report the truth because someday they would like to return to a beautiful country led by leaders who are honest and whose interest lies in helping the people and not just themselves.

Maybe this will all work out in the best interest of the people of Sierra Leone, but if you allow him to continue on, it seems that it will really only benefit Sam’s main interest… himself and his foolish pride. After 14 years, I wish I could give him the benefit of the doubt…but he has made it more than obvious that those years meant nothing to him….so what do you think you mean to him? Less than nothing…your votes are all he cares about…votes that allow him to continue to line his pockets. I am not working for the opposition party…I have no interest in your politics…only justice. It is very sad to me that there is no justice in Sierra Leone, because it was our original intention to help your country by establishing a legitimate business there. When Sam was elected I sent him a letter of congratulations that included our sentiments and hopes that he would be able to restore peace and legitimacy to Sierra Leone. I included a quote from the movie “Blood Diamond” when the character of Solomon Vandy says “when peace comes, this land will be a paradise”….and now that peace had come to Ma Salone, and Sam had a true chance to make a positive difference, it was our greatest hope that she would once again be a paradise for all of her people…not just Sam Sumana.

May God bless the people of Sierra Leone.

Mark O. Heiligman

About Othman Sheriff 347 Articles
Born and raised in Kenema district, eastern Sierra Leone, Othman Sheriff began practicing journalism during his school days as a youthhood hobby. With a bachelor's degree in mass-media and communication, and a Master’s degree in development and peacebuilding, Sheriff is the Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Critique Echo Newspaper. While tirelessly using journalism as a tool to place his country’s socioeconomic and political landscape under a magnifying glass, Sheriff is deeply involved in community development projects. Over the years, Sheriff has formulated and implemented billions of Leones worth of development projects with funds from Europe and USA. He is chiefly focused on community infrastructural development and economic resuscitation projects, fostering interethnic, interreligious and sociocultural cohesion among the young population in Kenema district. Sheriff is a member of many international peacebuilding initiatives including the United Religious Initiative (URI), International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), Intercultural Leaders Network and Youth Solidary Fund program of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC)

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