A recent revelation by Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah, a prominent lawyer and activist in Sierra Leone, has stirred public debate over the government’s spending habits. Marrah took to Twitter to share a data image detailing the overseas travelling costs incurred by the Sierra Leone government since 2018. The figures, presented in USD terms, are as follows:

2018: USD 3,484,000
2019: USD 4,235,000
2020: USD 2,825,000
2021: USD 2,201,000
2022: USD 6,254,000
2023: USD 8,920,000

In total, these figures amount to approximately USD 28 million spent on overseas travelling by the government over the past six years.

The sharp increase in overseas travel expenses from 2022 to 2023, more than doubling from USD 6.254 million to USD 8.92 million, has particularly raised eyebrows and prompted concerns among citizens. Many are questioning the necessity and justification for such a significant rise in spending, especially considering other pressing financial obligations the government faces.

Marrah emphasized the contrast between the government’s travel expenses and its outstanding debts. He highlighted, “Information in the public domain indicates that our government owes Turkish Kapowership a sum of USD 27 million for electricity services from 2022 to date.

This revelation has further intensified the scrutiny of the government’s financial management and priorities. With the country grappling with economic challenges and a growing debt burden, citizens are increasingly demanding transparency and accountability in how public funds are utilized.

The disparity between the amount spent on overseas travel and the debt owed for essential services like electricity has sparked outrage and calls for the government to reevaluate its spending priorities. Many argue that funds should be directed towards addressing urgent domestic needs and settling outstanding debts rather than on what is perceived as excessive or unnecessary overseas travel.

Civil society organizations and opposition politicians have also joined the chorus of voices calling for greater transparency and responsible financial management. They are urging the government to provide detailed explanations for its spending decisions and to implement measures to curb excessive expenditures.

The recent revelations about the government’s overseas travel expenses and outstanding debts serve as a reminder of the importance of fiscal responsibility and prudent financial management in building a prosperous future for all citizens.