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CORRUPTION, MISMANAGEMENT AND FRAUD TAKE OVER OPEN GOVT. OFFICE

…Civil Society demands investigations

In a period of five years of its operation as the Government pacifier that should collaborate with Civil Society Groups in the Country to bring Governance to the doorsteps of the Citizenry and acquaint them with the development strides undertaken by the Government that will give a comprehensive outlook and changed the perception of the voters has lost its focus and direction. In a Country, where the Anti Corruption Commission is vibrant and productive, it would have been able to reduce the level of corruption in the Country, sadly the Commission and its drivers are busy corrupting themselves through dubious means and its Commissioner interested in overseas conference more than the national assignment to pursue corrupt Government Officials.images

Just few weeks back, this medium took the exercise of exposing corrupt practices that has taken over the administration of the Open Government Initiative. Its Director, Madam Khadija Sesay was questioned on a number of issues relating to the allocation of funds, administration and others. The paper went to the extent of publishing photos of buildings allegedly built by the Director within a five-year period. Response relating to the buildings on the SLBC radio through a telephone interview, she admitted to the allegation, but claimed that it was built for her mother.

It still remains absurd as to how she can build about five houses for her mother in a period of five years, something she was not able to accomplish in her twenty five stay in the United States of America.

It is gradually becoming evident about the corrupt activities prevalent at the Open Government Initiative allegedly fanned by the Director, Madam Khadija Sesay. The level of corruption has frustrated members of the Civil Society Groups to disappointment and loss of faith, not only on the Director, but generally the corrupt ways of handling issues relating to the development aspiration of the establishment, which has caused President Koroma’s ambition in the setting up of the office an embarrassment as the objective of the organization has neither been achieved nor is there any light at the end of the tunnel.

In a press release widely distributed by the National Federation of Civil Societies and Media Organization in the Country, issues relating to corruption, mismanagement, abandonment of regional offices, marginalization of staffs and lack of proper accountability of funds allocated to the office from the Consolidated Fund were highlighted. The members of the organization are now calling for an investigation, but the possibility for any investigation to take-off either by the Police or the Anti Corruption Commission remains futile as the Commission is now compromising corrupt practices taking place in the country, thus giving the upper hand to corrupt Government Officials to carry out their trade with laxity and freedom.

It would be recalled that when the OGI was set up, Madam Khadija Sesay was the Assistant Cordinator, whilst Karamoh Kabbah, the current Deputy Minister, Political Affairs was her immediate Boss. She was not comfortable with the manner and style of administration and was left with no option but to criticize and officially reported him to Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs, whose ministry was the supervisory body of the Open Government Initiative. She highlighted what she called administrative concerns and claimed that she has been frustrated by her Boss, because she was not giving the upper hand to perform.

What she accused her Boss about in 2009, which she documented on 8th February 2009 and submitted to the Minister is the same situation the OGI has found itself under her administration. In fact the situation is not only worse, but nasty and beyond human imagination as corruption, mismanagement, misappropriation and lack of respect for members of the Country’s Legislative Body have dominated the operation of the office. What has worsened the situation further is the fact that the office lacks an official Finance Officer as the Director is the Finance Officer and everything.

The press release commented on the deplorable situation at the office, which has completely, destroyed the objective of the setting up of the establishment.

It is not known what steps President Koroma will employ to reverse the trend as the OGI was his brain child established purely to give meaning to his administration and credibility to political governance. The appointment of a square peg in a round hole has not only dampened the true spirit of his ambition, but has succeeded in destroying what he had imagined to be a unique opportunity for the Citizenry to make an input to his administration.

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