The Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma, has sacked three top government officials over a major scandal involving arrangement for this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Of the three officials sack by government for allegedly monetising Hajj scholarships meant for the indigent citizens include two presidential advisers and an aid to the country’s Vice President.
They were: Special Assistant, Social Affairs, Office of the President, Sheka Kamara; Special Assistant, Political Affairs, Office of the President; Nurideen Sanko Yilla and Minister of State, Office of the Vice President; M A Bah.
Before their dismissal, the officials were tasked with overseeing selection of intending pilgrims to benefit from government funding.
It costs roughly $5000 for a return ticket to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia.Very few Sierra Leoneans can afford that.
Therefore, the government, with support from donors, usually provides scholarships to poor pilgrims who are supposed to be selected through stringent criteria.
Earlier, It was gathered that the Hajj Committee of 2017 were been accused of asking people to pay half of the cost ($2,500) to get their names included in the list.
The report also said non-Sierra Leonean nationals from Guinea and Mali have had their names included in the list, apparently have paid for the price.
A statement from the President’s office Saturday evening announced the institution of an enquiry into the matter.
The three men are presently in Saudi Arabia and, according to the presidential statement, they have been ordered to return home.