Sierra Leone’s Embassy in Brussels, Belgium was on Tuesday 24th May 2016, stormed by Belgium government Debt Collectors who were there to seize the Embassy property as a result of outstanding bank debts owed by its former Ambassador Fode Dabo; an allegation the former ambassador feigns ignorance of.
“Owe Monger” in Lingua Franca means someone who is unable to pay his debts. If one is to go according to a dispatch from Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Head of Media & Public Affairs Department, of the Embassy, then the former ambassador is an “Owe monger”.
According to Ojuku Sesay, the total amount owed by Dabo to two Belgian banks, ING and KBC is calculated at 8,500 Euros (Eight Thousand Five Hundred Euros) which in leones, is equivalent of Le59,500,000 (Fifty Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Leones); all excluding the accrued interest.
However, in an exclusive interview with Awareness Times Newspaper last evening, the accused former Ambassador, Fode Dabo expressed doubt of having any debt in Brussels. He neither denied the accusation, nor did he confirm it. He promised to crosscheck with his former secretary to the Mission to ascertain if actually he left a debt at the Mission.
He said, he left the Embassy eight (8) years ago.
Therefore, he is completely unaware of what is happening at the Mission right now, but promised to revert after he has contacted his former secretary.
In the report by Ojuku Sesay, he said the Debt Collectors claim to have been sending a series of Letters of Reminder to Mr. Dabo for him to settle his debts owed to the two banks, but to no avail. The debt collectors further stated that their presence at the Embassy to seize properties is the last resort to recover their monies.
Meanwhile, current Ambassador, Hon. Ibrahim Sorie is out of Belgium on an official trip to Senegal. He was immediately informed of the situation by the Head of Chancery, Mrs. Florence N. Bangali on phone, and the two Mission heads were able to appeal to the Debt Collectors for a grace period of one week.
Chernor Ojuku Sesay also furthered that when asked why the Embassy should be held responsible for an individual’s private debt, the Debt Collectors stated that this is because diplomats are only given loans by banks after a guarantee from the Embassy.