Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 May 2015
In 2011 president Koroma promised to open up his government to real scrutiny through a national website, that will provide access to information about the work of each government department and agency, especially their budgets – spending and programme delivery performance.
But four years on, this promise is yet to materialise.
The need for a national transparency website was loudly articulated at a conference held in 2011 by civil society groups and concerned Sierra Leoneans, who believe that the lack of accountability, openness and transparency in government departments, has created a fertile ground for the propagation of corruption and poor performance.
In response to the recommendation by the national conference, president Koroma promised to establish a national website that will show the public, how government is spending money, what the money is being spent on, and how well departments are performing.
It is estimated that close to $200 million of the $400 million received by the government in foreign aid, is either misappropriated or disappear from the consolidated fund every year.
The knock-on effect of this serious leakage on the country’s development and delivery of basic services – such as health care, education and poverty alleviation, has left millions of Sierra Leoneans in abject poverty.
Hence, the intention of well-meaning Sierra Leoneans was that the proposed national website, would act as a vehicle for delivering the practical provisions, contained in the Freedom of Information Act, that was legislated two years ago.
Is the new Portal reported to have been launched last Friday by the Koroma government, of any substance?