• September 1, 2023

Sierra Leone: SLBC Staff Petition New Information Minister Over Mistreatment and Corruption

Sierra Leone: SLBC Staff Petition New Information Minister Over Mistreatment and Corruption
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By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Minister of Information and Civic Education Chernoh Bah Staff at Sierra Leone’s state broadcaster – The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) has in an open letter addressed to the country’s new Minister of Information and Civic Education Chernoh Bah to swiftly intervene over their alleged mistreatment and corruption by senior officials of the state-owned media outfit.

‘’Mr. Chernor Bah, it will perhaps surprise you that the SLBC staff who work under heinous conditions, are being treated with scornful levity by the current management and leadership of your comrade Mr. Kapuwa but continue to demonstrate professionalism and work the magic to keep the institution running. Individuals like Phebian Swill, Zulaitu Hamid and Sonia Jaffal would have loved to stay and work for the SLBC if all was going on well and fine especially improvements and facelift to the output of the institution they so dearly loved,’’ the open letter stated.

According to the open letter shared by an anonymous staff at the state own broadcaster exclusively to Pan African Visions on Monday , it said, owing to what they term as his arrogance, intimidations and ineptitude of the SLBC head and his deputy, it has caused many of their colleagues to resign from the institution citing names like Ann Marie Gegbai, Doreen Barrie, Alice Mariama Thompson; and Daphne Kema Macauley who they say has gone months on an indefinite suspension for merely eating at the office during a heavy downpour.

‘’And from staff conversations, a few more notable names are ready to leave due to the prolonged debilitating acts of the Joseph Egbenda Kapuwa leadership,’’ the open letter added.

The open letter noted that , they the general staff were disturbed by allegations in recent weeks that over two billion Leones was disbursed to the institution by the government for the effective coverage of the last June 24th 2023 Elections which they as staff claimed was done through ‘’mere magic’’

‘’And to cover-up for that misappropriated or embezzled fund, henchmen of the DG who are in charge of the institutions finances allegedly prepared certain requisitions and forged the signature of the Director of Engineering to authenticate them because they know fully well that broadcast equipment such as transmitters cost huge amount of monies,’’ the letter revealed.

According to the open letter, it added , they were disappointed by the current information minister since he took office for not taken and treated the problems of the institution especially staff concerns despite him acknowledging at his Parliamentary Appointment Committee interview of being cognizant of the challenges and deep animosity at Broadcasting House.

‘’We don’t need to remind you that the President bestowed confidence and trust to choose you over the seven plus million Sierra Leoneans most of whom are equally competent to make the much needed change and leave a legacy,’’ the open letter noted.

The open letter however urged the new minister to go through the file of his predecessor Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray alleging that huge sums of Taxpayers monies about seven billion had been remitted by the state to set up two new television studios to substitute the one and only studio which they say has been painstakingly used for decades till date at the said institution.

‘’Work had long stopped before some forms of understanding were reached with Africell which had also stopped work on same for some time now. To say the government doesn’t provide subventions to take care of some these will be very if not extremely dishonesty from anyone. It may have been slow, but even the DG in one or two occasions had bluffed about the receipt of such monies from the state to cushion operational expenses of the institution,’’

‘’Mr. Bah, you’ll do us good if you among other measures collaborate with other relevant institutions to do a publicly televised inquiry in the shortest possible time as other forms of investigations get underway. Remember, SLBC apart from it daily information dissemination role also ask people, especially public officials to be accountable. And there’s a saying that “whoever comes to equity must come with clean hands,” they urged.

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