Sierra Leone: Parliament Replies Chrdi Over Le120bn Allegation

A press release by the public relation wing of the Sierra Leone Parliament was yesterday sent to media houses in an apparent effort to repudiate allegations by the Chief Executive Office of Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), Abdul Fatorma, that the sum of Le120 billion had been allocated to lawmakers over a period of five years as community development fund and expense allowances.

The CHRDI last week said in a press release that they had "discovered that over 120 billion Leones was spent on Parliamentarians in the last five years, but there is no supporting evidence to show how these monies were spent", adding that such posed "risks of fraud involving tax payers money."

In their response, the release from Parliament noted that their attention had been drawn to "a disturbing publication in the press, by one Abdul Fatorma of CHRDI - Campaign for Human Rights and Development International, making grave allegations of misuse of public funds which Mr. Fatorma directs at Members of Parliament."

The release adds: "In the light of this, members of the public are reminded of the obligations of citizens as contained in Section 13 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (1991). Parliament being a house of records, would encourage the writer to produce documentary evidence backing his claims, e.g., that Le 120 billion have been allocated to or used by Parliament over five years as Constituency Development Funds or otherwise.

Parliament wishes to assure the public that though the House is in recess, necessary steps are being taken to adequately address these allegations in an open and transparent manner."

Section 13 of the 1991 Constitution states, among other clauses, urge citizens to "prevent the misappropriation and squandering of funds belonging to the Government, local authorities or public corporations... ."

Source: Concord Times.

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