The journalist team at one of Sierra Leone’s registered newspapers, Universal Times Newspaper, have been publicly praised by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) for their efforts at unearthing alleged corrupt practices ongoing at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA).
Speaking at a special press conference convened yesterday March 21st 2016 in Freetown, the Public Education Officer of the ACC, Mr. Joseph Kangaju publicly commended Universal Times Newspaper for creating the awareness of such serious corrupt practices as alleged to be happening across several flanks of the MSWGCA.
Addressing the jampacked press conference that was held at the Sierra Leone News Agency headquarters, Lightfoot Boston Street in Freetown, Mr. Kangaju reaffirmed the ACC’s commitment towards fighting corruption in the country. He therefore thanked the lead journalist investigator Editayo George Temple whilst also urging other media practitioners to replicate the example set by the Universal Times Newspaper. He called for a renewed collaboration between the media and the Commission in the fight against corruption. He assured that the commission will take the findings of alleged corruption at that ministry “very seriously”.
Earlier, whilst reading out a prepared statement dated 21st March, 2016, the Universal Times lead investigator handed out huge bundles of what appears to be incriminating documents as he called for the attention of the Government through the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to lead an urgent and immediate investigation and auditing of all programs and assets of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs before the arrival of any new minister or deputy.
The Publisher of the Newspaper, Editayo George Temple implored the Government to probe into the activities of the Ministry before and after the relieving of the previous minister and his deputy.
Mr. Temple revealed that the Ministry of Social Welfare has now embarked on massive endorsement of projects to be implemented with massive disbursement of funds; all after the sacking of the former minister and his deputy.
Mr. Temple also cited that the Government should investigate the circumstances surrounding the choice of delegates to the now-concluding Commission on the Status of Women CSW) in the United States of America, with particular reference to a certain name identified in the list as “Press Officer attached to the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare”.
Mr. Temple also said that he is further drawing the attention of Government to probe into the Ebola Management Fund and the Flood Victim’s Funds that were allocated to the Ministry before the sacking of the then minister and his deputy.
Mr. Temple also called for a proper investigation, auditing and headcount of all vehicles allocated to the Ministry since 2013 to date. He said that his newspaper has been reliable informed that some Government vehicles allocated to the Ministry can no longer be properly accounted for.
The conference itself was well attended by journalists from various media outlets across the country. However, in what has been seen as very unfair to the accused staff of MSWGCA, there was no representative from the ministry invited to attend the press conference. The absence of staff of MSWGCA to make an input either at the press conference or within the indictment documents released, has seriously diluted the potency of the allegations.
“Universal Times has done well but they should have first approached the staff of MSWGCA for their reaction before rushing to call up a press conference,” a seasoned journalist Mr. Thomas Johnson, opined last evening.
This newspaper is however now trying to reach the ministry to present some of the incriminating documents to them for their comments if they so desire to react.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.