Open Government Initiative (OGI)
Office of the President
State House, Freetown
The attention of the Director and staff of the Open Government Initiative/Partnership has been brought to a letter dated 14th July, 2015 purported to have been written by and on behalf of the National Federation of Civil Society and Media Organizations Sierra Leone which contains and conveys information, allegations and insinuations calculated to defame the Director of the OGI/OGP, Madam Khadija Sesay, and bring the OGP/OGI into disrepute.
In particular, the said letter wrongly and false alleges that the Director of the OGI/OGP has been engaging in the following:
– That the Director of the OGI/OGP has been ineffectively managing the affairs of the OGI/OGP.
– That she has been improperly managing the finances of the OGI/OGP
– -That she has failed to honor the invitation of Members of Parliament to give records and accounts in respect of the finances and operations of the OGI/OGP.
– That the Director and staff cannot account for monies received from NERC to implement activities on Ebola, because they allege, the Director has converted the money to her personal use.
Firstly, The OGI/OGP wishes to bring to the attention of all authorities and persons who were copied in the said letter and the general public that not only are such allegations false, unfounded and a calculated ploy by Victor Lansana Koroma and William Sao-Lamin to defame the Director, blackmail her and the Institution and bring the OGI/OGP institution in the Office of the President into disrepute, those two persons no longer hold the positions they allege to purport to hold in the National Federation of Civil Societies and were not acting on the instructions of the over 50 Civil Society Organizations and Media Organizations that make up the federation. In other words, they were furthering their own personal agenda. That is why the said letter was not signed by the respective Civil Society Organizations. In actual fact, the various Civil Society Organizations contacted by the Directorate of the OGP/OGI have dissociated themselves from the said defamatory letter.
Secondly, the Director and the Staff of the OGI/OGP wish it to be known that the administrative affairs of the Institution are being properly managed whilst keeping records and activities in line with International Standards and best practice. Contrary to what is in the said defamatory letter, the staff are well managed and each staff is made to perform the services he/she was employed to perform without marginalization or an atmosphere of discord.
Thirdly, it is not true that the OGI/OGP receives finances/funds directly; as allocations to the OGI/OGP are done through the Secretary to the President who in turn disburses moneys to the OGI/OGP on a “need basis”. Let it be made clear that the OGI/OGP Director and staff do not manage funds directly and that the OGP/OGI does not have an account of its own. This was done by the Director to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the requisition of funds from the Secretary to the President and transparency in their use.
Fourthly, it is not the case that the Director of the OGI/OGP has failed to honor the Invitation of Parliament contrary to what the Said letter purports to present. In actual fact, the OGI/OGP Director has held several meetings with the Clerk of parliament who had requested from her a “Status Report” on the activities of the OGP/OGI which has since been drafted and recently presented to the said Clerk of Parliament.
Lastly, it is not true that the OGI/OGP cannot account for monies received from NERC to implement activities on Ebola and certainly not the case that the Director has converted the monies to her own use. All monies received for the purposes of the fight against Ebola were duly applied as per the understanding between the OGI/OGP and the NERC.
In light of the above, the director and the staff of the OGI/OGP view the letter written by Victor Lansana Koroma and William B. M Sao-Lamin as a complete misinformation to the authorities Concerned as they did not take steps to properly enquire from the Director and staff of OGI/OGP the true picture of the various allegations contained in their said letter; and the said letter was written as a deliberate attempt to defame the Director, misinform the authorities and the Public and a personal crusade against the Director and the institution.
In this regard, legal advisers of the Director and the OGI/OGP have been duly informed and instructed to take steps to seek appropriate legal remedies and redress against the said Victor Lansana Koroma and William Sao-Lamin in accordance with the laws of Sierra Leone.
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Vice President, all concerned Ministers and the authorities, and the general Public are hereby assured of the continued and undeterred effort of the OGI/OGP Directorate to realize its vision and mandate to ensure that government is brought to the people in a transparent, responsive and convivial manner.
Long live the OGP/OGI;
Long live the President of Sierra Leone;
Long live Sierra Leone.
Madam Khadija Sesay