Controversy is swirling over the 2015 Housing and Population Census as preparations for the exercise are flawed with malpractices and alleged criminal acts in many parts of the country, it emerged last night.
While the Field Supervisor in Kono District has been fired by the Statistician General of Sierra Leone Statistics (SSL) for malpractices and corrupt activities, many concerned Sierra Leoneans who spoke to Sierraloaded asserted that senior officials of SSL should come out clean if the 2015 Housing and Population Census should be credible and satisfactory.
Though the Statistician General had earlier denied claims by the opposition and civil society groups that recruitment of officials for the census was political, it has clearly emerged from observation and evidence that most of the names of enumerators and supervisors for the census were submitted to SSL by politicians in the ruling APC.
“Such inexperienced enumerators and supervisors are now playing the lead role in the whole process while qualified Sierra Leoneans who applied for those positions but are not politically affiliated with the APC were left in the cold,” said an aggrieved unsuccessful applicant.
Senior officials of SSL, according to Sierraloaded findings, are having sleepless nights after disappointing many applicants from whom they got some enticements but failed to enlist them in the process.
Though the Census Communications Officer is downplaying the issue by assuring the public that they will wipe out all forms of corruption in the process, the situation on the ground seems suspicious.
Applicants whose names were shortlisted but later had their names omitted from the list by senior officials want the anti-graft agent to intervene and investigate the allegations leveled against the SSL senior officials.
Sierraloaded also gathered that many applicants applied with fictitious names, identification cards, examination results and birth certificates in order to squeeze themselves into the process.
Reliable sources say the deceitful applicants connived with some rogue officials of SSL to beat the system.
It could be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone and development partners have poured huge resources into the 2015 Housing and Population Census which commences on 5th December and ends 18th December this year.
Sierra Leoneans are worried that the allegations of malpractices and corruption in the whole process may not make the entire census credible.
Recently briefing President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on the process, Board Chairman of SSL, Dr. Sullay Kamara, assured that the cartographic mapping and marking of every household nationwide was done professionally.
He said Friday 4th December is the eve of the census and the day will be used to raise more awareness for people to participate and be counted.
Meanwhile, enumerators and other categories of officials have still not received their remunerations as we went to press.