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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Ex-Minister, Others in ACC Web

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Ex-Minister, Others in ACC Web


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It could be recalled that the 2017 government Hajj scholarship was marred by corruption with allegations that certain government officials in charge of the process sold some of the scholarships meant for ordinary citizens to mainly foreigners for $4,000 and higher.

This act caused embarrassment for many of the beneficiaries of the Hajj scholarship, who were prevented from travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual religious ceremony at the eleventh hour simply because their spaces had been sold to others.

This development so angered former President Koroma to the extent that he fired all the above-mentioned officials and set up a committee to investigate the issue. This led to the ACC launching an investigation.

At the time, it can further be recalled that Muslim organizations and scholars added their voices to growing calls for the whole Hajj scholarship process to be probed and culprits brought to book.

The ACC in the wake of its investigations conducted six simultaneous raids at State House and Office of the Vice President and at the homes of the suspects. During the investigation, computers, passports and other materials deemed fit to be used as evidence were seized.

All 800 pilgrims on their return had their passports temporarily seized for investigation by ACC officials as soon as they landed at the airport. This was necessary in order to ascertain how they got their visas and other travelling documents.

Now almost a year after the start of the investigations, the ACC during the course of its investigation recovered about $60,000 and has since handed over same to the Ministry of Social Welfare for preparation of this year’s Hajj.

The Commission is reported to have concluded its investigations into the matter and indictments will soon be made against certain officials at the helm of the hajj affairs for financial misappropriation.

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