By Lansana Fofanah………………………
The Chief Executive Officer of Campaign for Human Right Development International (CHRDI), Abdul M. Fatorma was yesterday summoned before the House of Parliament over an allegation he made against Members of Parliament for the misuse of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) over a period of five years period.
Speaking to the press before appearing in front of the whole House, Mr. Fatorma said that he still stands by the press release and that as Civil Society activist he has the right to hold the powers that be to account when they work contrary to what they are elected for.
Giving a preface of the meeting in Committee Room One, the Director of Public Relations in Parliament Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith said that CHRDI released a press statement between July and August 2016 accusing MPs of embezzling over Le 120,000,000 of public funds during a period of five years.
Mr. Fatorma was shown the press release and accepts it to be the release coming from his organization. “We take full responsibility for the release”, he said.
Mr. Smith said that following the release, Parliament summoned a press conference which was well attended by press men, and a bid to locate the stated address of CHRDI failed as their Africanus Road office is non existent. “Series of investigations by this House proved that Campaign for Human Rights Development (CHRD) last renewed their license with Freetown City Council in 2011 as a Community Based Organization and not CHRDI”, he said.
The Majority Leader, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu said that CDF came into existence in 2014 and all funds were allocated for the fight of the Ebola Virus Disease and Parliament was shocked over the report mentioning of five years when the CDF only came into being in 2014. “Parliament summoned you to submit evidence to back your claims made in the release”, he said.
The Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay was instructed to order Mr. Fatorma to submit an update registration certificate of his organization but as that was going on, Mr. Fatorma said that he was orally invited by a Police officer and he was yet to receive an official invitation, and that has to be done before anything else.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chernor Bah said that Mr. Fatorma was right in asking for a formal invitation. The Clerk was then instructed to do that with immediate effect.
Mr. Fatorma was then issued an invitation letter and he was later taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) where he made a statement. He was asked to appear before Parliament on Monday.