The House of Sierra Leone Parliament Committee on Appointment and the Public Service yesterday uncovered academic discrepancies in the documentation of an appointed Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Cornelius Deveaux, who claimed to have gone through High School and University of Sierra Leone, but without presenting any certification or documentation to show as proof of reality.
According the appointed Deputy Minister, he attempted thrice to enter University but ‘thrice unfortunately he could not complete his course at Fourah Bay College.’
It was at this point that one Member of the Committee asked the appointed Deputy Minister if he did complete High School, to which he answered in the affirmative but it was revealed that there was no result, testimonial or statement of result to substantiate this submission.
The Deputy Minister said he did attend the Sierra Leone Grammar School and stated that he could not submit evidences to the effect because, “I lost my Ordinary Level result and the school was busy with it thanksgiving anniversary celebration which made it difficult to go and get the result before coming to Parliament.”
This point was however contended by another Committee member who said that since the nominations were announced on 14th March, 2016 the appointee in question should have hurried to get all of his documentations of academic qualification intact.
Another Committee member however having noticed the academic lapses in the CV of the appointed Deputy Minister posed a question to him as to how important he does hold the office he was nominated for.
She told the nominee that the presentation of a two page CV speaks volume on the need for the presidential nominee to do more in giving more information about his academic accomplishment, adding that the said Ministry that he should be going to, if approved, is very important and portrays the image of the country to the public and the world at large.
She however charged that he produce vital information on his academic background.
However, speaker after speaker expressed doubts over the lack of documentary evidence of the presidential appointee and at a certain point the candidate had to be covertly shielded from further embarrassment by some ruling party MPs in the Committee.
Another member of the Committee nonetheless reopened the Pandora’s Box by reemphasizing the magnitude of the problem.
Hon. Dr Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of Parliament said that the candidate should have in anticipation prepared his CV well for the time of an opportunity.
“This is a lesson for all of us to have our educational certifications prepared,” she highlighted.
Apparently, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business cautioned the candidate to supply the Committee with a certificate, testimonial, attestation or statement of result so that they will be able to conduct the interview process.
The candidate however promised to get and present the documents.
The big question in the lips of many people is how will public know when he would have presented the said documents if he does have them, and if not, if he will be approved or disapproved.