While the nation is grappling over ways and means of meeting its financial demands, it has been revealed that billions of leones is being spent on some of our political governors.
This revelation was made when the 2016 Appropriation Act was being debated by Members of Parliament on Monday November 23rd 2015.
When the Committee of Supply started calling Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’S) to defend their 2015 budgets,Sub Appropriation Committee 3 headed by Hon Benneh Bangura expressed displeasure over the Ministry of Information and Communication that appeared before the committee to defend its 2015 budget.
The Committee picked out that a whooping amount of 3,105, 24130 Billion Leones was spent on the Minister of Information and Communication, Hon Alpha Kanu alone.
The breakdown is as follows:
short leadership course at Harvard school in United States of America in which he spent sixteen days which cost Le 45,154,530,
Harvard travel centre cost of overseastravelling C-2-C-summit Tanzania cost Le 94,438,000,
Africa travel centre cost Le 67,209,800,
Africa Travel center cost of air ticket for Cyber security Forum in London Le 69,9000,000 and
Harvard Kennedy school tuition fees and cost of air ticket to Harvard Le 33,821,800.
The committee observed that the minister is always going on training and has done that more than a student.
The Committee also found out that the Ministry spent too much on imprest in 2014 totalling 356 Million Leones and while in 2012 it was 262 Million Leones.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Paul Sandi informed the committee that the budget which the Ministry of Finance provided his ministry is not enough for overseas travel and that the Minister has to attend conferences on ICT and fiber optic because of the minister’s eloquence.
He also said there was a meeting at Geneva on ICTbut there was no money to attend and they had to resort to calling the ambassador to do the signing of the documents.
Mr.Sandi said they have informed HRMO that the number of drivers at the ministry was not enough and that the Minister wasusing his own personal driver.
The Committee found out that the Ministry has 78 vehicles and 332 staff and that the Minister has one vehicle while the Deputy Minister of Information has 4 vehicles.
When the Committee observed in the document presented that the Deputy Government Spokesman and former are both receiving salary for the same position, Sandi told the Committee that it is a typographical error and that the former Government Spokesman is not receiving any salary as only AjibuJalloh is receiving salary.
The Chairman of the committee said a lot of money has been spent on fiber optic but asked what is the way forward and about the gateway
The Permanent Secretary informed the committee that the fiber optic is on the way and for the gateway which has been liberalised,it is left with NATCOM.
The Permanent Secretary told the committee that his Ministry lacksfunding and also asked the Committee for more funding for the Deputy Government Spokesman.