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Page added on January 17, 2011
The opposition, Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) recently revealed how US$ 1.9 million was dipped into the account of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) for the purchase of equipment.
At a press briefing held last week, it was disclosed by officials of SLPP that NATCOM (National Telecommunication Commission) under the guise of corporate social responsibility dished out US$ 1.9 million to the SLBC.
It is further revealed that the Information and Communication sMinister, I.B Kargbo, devoid of any public ad, awarded the SLBC contract to a Lebanese businessman; an action that contravenes public procurement laws- very big corruption.
It must be noted that NATCOM, as a corporate body, came into being by an Act of Parliament, and has no liability mandating it to dish out money on grounds of corporate social responsibility.
The NATCOM Act which was enacted in 2006, and into which are laws defining its functions and responsibilities; to wit its financial mandate in the funding and regulation of the communication industry in Sierra Leone, never at all includes corporate social commitments.
NATCOM is also legally obliged to pay one third of its economy to government
NATCOM is virtually not mandated to spend any money outside its legal authorization.
Intergroup Company, we are told, was paid big dons (US$ 1.9 million) to supply standard and healthier equipment for use at the radio, TV and website of the SLBC.
It sounds odd noticing that NATCOM dished out a fabulous amount to SLBC, yet the institution lacks ‘improved’ and ‘up to date’ equipment for use at its studios and offices.
It must be noted however that at the SLBC TV studio, there is not a comfortable ‘table’ for guests at all; slightly a broken white one.
Unconfirmed information reaching this press states that the US$ 1.9 million submitted to the Information Minister by NATCOM seemed not to be used as intended, but rather deposited into pockets of unscrupulous officials.
NATCOM public affairs head, in an interview refuted claims made by the SLPP, but admitted that his institution released US$ 1.9 million to the SLBC on loan.
“Samura, NATCOM does not have any legal mandate to corporate social responsibility. The SLBC requested for loan of US 1 million and we gave same to them. Later, they came back and asked for another US$900 which we did,” Kuyateh said.
“Because we know the SLBC is unable to pay us back, we cleverly informed the government and asked them to balance it from NATCOM’s annual one third payment.”
Public’s concern however questiones NATCOM’s knowing and willful release of such money to an institution it is aware is unable to refund same.
It is however believed that the US$ 1.9 million was never used for the purchase of equipment for SLBC but shared from among unscrupulous state officials.
Read full details next edition.
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