A good journalist is not one who knows how to write good English. It is one who has a well grounded handle on contemporary issues as well as some basic knowledge of foremost professions; like Law, Accounting & Auditing, Medicine, Engineering. A basic idea in how these fields operate is a must for a good journalist. In addition, this basic idea must always be backed up by further Research into any issue which a journalist might wish to impart knowledge on to the public.
The general reaction of the public to the writings and broadcasts of a good journalist is one sure way of knowing who is appreciated and who is not. It is one thing to fool gullible diplomats who know nought of your lack of pedigree and know nought of how shallowly you are steeped in ethics, conscience and good morals. It is quite another to convince the local populace that you should be trusted by them.
It makes arrant nonsense for a so-called journalist editor to take a submitted draft report of an ongoing audit (with queries whose answers are meant to be included in the final audited report) and present such unfinished audit report to the public as a final document. That is not journalism. That is malice. That is unethical and shameless behaviour.
Factually, the recent local tabloid article in SLAJ president’s edited paper, whilst seemingly aimed at the SLBC was actually aimed at Momoh Konte. The shameful aspect though is that no effort was made by the so-called journalists to give the side of either Momoh Konte or a representative of his company before the nonsense was published. It was plain malice. Dripping with guttersnipish spite.
This is the same modus operandi which Umaru Fofana deploys when his prey is in trouble with the Law. Knowing that the person might in all likelihood not wish to be distracted to take him on, he uses the chance, like a vulture flying over a dying carcass, to swoop in and make an un-deserved name for himself as a corruption crusader. Ask Haja Afsatu Kabba and now ask Momoh Konte. This is shameful and unethical actions. It must be condemned. You cannot hit someone below the belt when they are down and can’t hit back at you. It is despicable and someone must tell Umaru Fofana to stop his brand of low-down, unprovoked, malicious journalism.
It started on his notorious Facebook wall back in December 2011 where he had been regularly destroying the image of others willy nilly as and when he felt like it. He lied about Momoh Konte and a vehicle supplied to SLBC and made some spurious un-substantiated statements against Konte. When he was challenged, he could not justify his statements but instead made even more despicable comments knowing Konte could not defend himself on Umaru’s facebook wall. That is shameful and unfair.
Honestly though, I do not blame the so-called journalists who published the unfortunate piece which SLBC has adequately responded to (See Page 3 of today’s edition). I actually blame their lack of knowledge about the principles of basic accounting and auditing. As I said earlier, a good journalist tries to be well grounded in all the issues he covers. If a journalist does not know the first thing about auditing, how can he report on Audit Reports?
This ignorance of the principles and importance of Auditing in Financial and Accounting Reporting reared its head recently. A situation arose less than two weeks ago at the barely attended SLAJ Annual General Meeting with a paltry attendance of less than 10% of registered members. There was a chaotic situation with Umaru Fofana and his executive being sent back with a so-called Financial Report and told to get it audited before attempting to present it again.
So, if Umaru Fofana does not know he should audit financial reports before his executive presents them to the General Body of Journalists, can we blame him for the sheer tomfoolery he exhibited in his recent shameful piece on a so-called KPMG Audit Report?
The SLAJ Financial Status is in a state of un-audited mess and it has been in an un-audited mess since Umaru Fofana took up office. What moral authority does such a so-called journalist have to point fingers at DRAFT audit reports?
Where is the moral authority? Look at Umaru hiding behind his fingers for God sake! The man has lost most of the moral standing he used to enjoy amongst us journalists. He still has his Maada Bio team of journalists because birds of the same feathers flock together but he certainly has lost most of the respect he used to enjoy in the country’s journalism landscape.
He was busy pointing fingers at the Regional branches of SLAJ for not opening their office doors. He did not realise that four fingers are pointed back at him. When two journalists from Awareness Times were recently given death threats in Freetown and we went to the SLAJ Office in Freetown, we met the doors firmly closed in the middle of the afternoon! The cleaner told us that the office is usually always closed and the equipments donated by donors are all in a state of malfunctioning. Some ten computers and other IT equipment purchased with UN and British funds and donated by the Chinese are reportedly not in working order dues to bad management of Umaru Fofana. This is the man who wants to talk about SLBC management? Wow!
Can Umaru compare his management and leadership style to that at the SLBC? The SLBC was able to speedily step in when Schulenburg’s UNIPSIL tried to embarrass the people of Sierra Leone by abruptly cutting them off the satellite which Sierra Leoneans worldwide had so greatly been enjoying. Thanks to Momoh Konte with the full knowledge of Anti Corruption Commission and NPPA, Sierra Leone was able to get SLBC back on satellite. This kind of astute management is what Umaru Fofana wishes to deride?
Where are the SLAJ audits? Where are the SLAJ equipments? Where are the SLAJ financial documents and receipts? I paid Le200,000 (two hundred thousand leones) cash to SLAJ on behalf of Awareness Times for the recent AGM. I got neither a receipt nor an acknowledgement. At least, there are receipts and documentations presented for the ongoing KPMG audit of SLBC. When will journalists get the same from Umaru Fofana?
The growing disgruntlement from the majority of local journalists over the Umaru Fofana style of leadership is not a co-incidence. His shabby leadership of SLAJ has now found its way into the pages of his so-called professional newspaper which real professionals like Sayoh Kamara have run away from!
Umaru should just give SLBC a break. If he is idle and bored and wants to play with auditing and financial reports, let him turn to the SLAJ finances and ensure for the first time under his failed and divisive leadership, we the SLAJ members get to read an Audited Report of SLAJ Finances. Thank you very much.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.