Barely five days to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) elections, President of the HIV/AIDS Reporters Association (HARA) Samuel Conteh declared his intention to contest for the position of Financial Secretary. Samuel Conteh is contesting against the President of Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL) Mariama Sesay. At a press conference last Friday at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA) Samuel Conteh said that, “I am not driven by a desire for personal gains, domination or lordship over my fellow members; but I am driven by a desire to ignite the fires of accountability and transparency in SLAJ financial activities so that future holders of office would have a good example to emulate”.
Conteh noted that, he has more than 30 years experience in Journalism; but that his modest posture in life did not bring him to the notice of many in the field, except for those he had worked with directly, particularly those at the New Citizen Newspaper.
The HARA President intimated that he has a good track record of hard work, accountability and transparency in matters of handling funds.
He pointed out that he has edited the New Citizen and kept the accounts of the paper since 1989; adding that he was more of a Teacher than an Editor.
He disclosed that SLAJ needs good financial records to prevent defalcation, by building good mechanisms of expense control, minimization of expenditure and maximization of income generation into the financial system, said Conteh.
He emphasized that “we need to create a finance department for greater efficiency, which would depend highly on the cooperation of a dedicated team of assistants to maintain good records and apply the derivative principles of equal debit for every transaction”.
The Editor maintained that, as a growing organization, SLAJ does not need to run to the Bank for every transaction, as they would readily create a larger imprest account to take care of minor expenses with inbuilt safety precautions that do not allow the receiver of the money to spend it on him or herself.
He concluded that they would operate a superannuation scheme to accept small savings from SLAJ members to fall back on when things are really hard for them financially; so as to help members maintain their dignity and respect at all times