African News

Kenema: Turmoil at SLAJ AGM over Ebola funds

7 June 2015 at 23:49 | 1602 views

By Our Correspondent.

Over 200 Sierra Leonean journalists met over the weekend in Kenema, capital of the eastern region of Sierra Leone. They were there to participate in the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Annual General Meeting where issues affecting the association are normally discussed.

But this year’s meeting has ended on a sour note as some members are not happy with the annual financial statement delivered by the current executive headed by Awoko newspaper publisher Kelvin Lewis (photo).

The disagreement has to do with funds allocated to the association by the government of Sierra Leone, the American embassy in Freetown and other sources to help with public sensitization on the Ebola epidemic.

Postings on social media say hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone missing.

Kelvin himself and a prominent journalist, academic, playwright and former SLPP Information Minister Dr. Julius Spencer have been mentioned in the fracas with no evidence against them so far.

Spencer owns a high profile media agency called Premier Media Consultancy and the Spectator newspaper. He was in charge of funds allocated to the media in the fight against Ebola, according to sources.

The matter will likely end up at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which usually works with SLAJ to lay hands on corrupt individuals in government and elsewhere. As a matter of fact, SLAJ is the number one whistle-blower for the ACC in the country.

Meanwhile SLAJ Financial Secretary, Abibatu Kamara, according to reliable sources, has resigned from her job as a reporter for Kelvin’s Awoko newspaper.

Dr. Julius Spencer, Managing Director, Premier Media Consultancy and proprietor of Spectator newspaper in Freetown.