ON A PUBLICATION ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE POLITICO NEWSPAPER WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012
The attention of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Board of Trustees and Management has been drawn to a publication on the front page of the Politico Newspaper of Wednesday, May 2, 2012, captioned ‘MASSIVE CORRUPTION AT SLBC.’
The paper purported to be reporting a draft of an ongoing audit exercise the SLBC, through the Ministry of Information has requested KPMG to carry out on its January – December 2010 financial activities. While the SLBC cannot comment on any concerns raised in the draft report we are stunned that the Politico which sees itself as a group of professional Journalists could in a hurry afford to make a story out of an inconclusive and unsigned document.
Following the publication, on Friday, May 04, 2012, the management of SLBC and KPMG had a lengthy meeting in which both institutions condemned the publication and dissociated themselves from it. “We are not a part of this publication,” a senior KPMG official said. The official noted that what they have put together was a working draft to which further documentations, meetings and discussions have been requested of the SLBC and not a document for public consumption since all the facts have not been captured yet nor has the audit report been signed by either party.
Management would like the public to know that for the period beginning January to December 2010 which KPMG is auditing, the SLBC went through four different kinds of management structures: there was initially the SLBS management structure, the transition team structure, the caretaker team structure, and the substantive current management team structure (which had only been in office for three months).
Management and KPMG have noted the difficulty experienced in securing and confirming certain information such as the one indicating the SLBC has been unable to account for eleven billion Leones worth of property assets of the SLBC. The claim is not only ridiculous but unsubstantiated, since at no time has this current management inherited any such documentation.
The Politico purported to be quoting the KPMG draft when it accused the SLBC Board of Trustees of receiving sitting fees for which they never met. Management can categorically state that at no time did any Board member receive any emolument for meetings not attended and the Board undertook the process of securing a satellite for the corporation so as not to cut off information from the entire country for any period of time. Along the process, the SLBC Board and management solicited the support and advice of the Government of Sierra Leone, the National Public Procurement Agency (NPPA), and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Management views the reporting of The Politico with suspicion. While the SLBC strongly supports the freedom of information and accepts Politico as partners in the media, we call on that organ and indeed all media to be mindful of the professional ethics of reporting, especially inconclusive and authenticated reports.
The current SLBC management would like the public to know that while we did not manage the SLBC for the entire period under audit review but only took over the last three months, we have raised the level of the corporation to high professional standards with a detailed and complex editorial policy guide, staff manual guide, sound financial policy guide, and a procurement policy. This development is important to be mentioned because it is public knowledge that the SLBC is not only a new concept but a far cry from what the SLBS was. The expected KPMG report will be the first audit this institution is going through despite its predecessor, the SLBS having existed for over seventy-five years. While change management has been challenging in terms of administration, finances, attitude and professionalism, we are proud to note that significant strides have been made since the formation of the SLBC as a national public broadcaster!
Friday, May 4, 2012