Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a recent statement issued on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, the Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Abass Bundu, has vehemently refuted allegations of sexual harassment made against him, characterizing them as a strategic diversion from the ongoing controversy surrounding an alleged employment scandal within the House of Parliament.
The controversy surfaced when an audio recording circulated on social media, accusing the Speaker of sexual harassment against female Members of Parliament and other female staff, including his personal aide. The Speaker contends that these accusations are baseless and part of a calculated effort to undermine him after exposing what he refers to as “gross administrative malfeasance” in Parliament.
“Corruption always fights back, ever since it was made evident that the Parliamentary Service attempted to usurp the power of the Parliamentary Service Commission on the issue of redundancy. The Justice TV Online commentary is a revenge for the exposing of gross administrative malfeasance in the House of Laws. Without explaining the meaning of its caption “Sexual Gatuzo?”, the narrator accused the Speaker of sexual exploitation and abuse without proof” he said.
Attributing the allegations to a retaliatory move by those implicated in the employment scandal, the Speaker dismissed the claims as unproven and lacking credibility. He emphasized that the accusers remain anonymous and asserted that the primary objective of these accusations is to divert public attention from the corruption allegations against the Clerk and his wife.
The Speaker clarified specific points raised in the audio recording, stating that during the COVID-19 period, he travelled to Guinea with a female staff member who later tested positive for the virus and was isolated from the delegation. He refuted claims of traveling to Rwanda, emphasizing that his only trip in December 2023 was to the UK for medical purposes.
Regarding the allegation of harassing a female MP, the Speaker questioned the credibility of such claims, saying “what female MP will allow herself to be harassed by anyone, less to talk about the Speaker and keep it quiet” as it is clearly hit below the belt, when the Speaker’s office is adorned with the latest image capturing and audio-visual technology.
Speaker Bundu challenged his accusers to identify the allegedly pregnant Table Clerk he is purportedly living with, asserting that these claims aim to tarnish the reputation of hardworking women with families.
“The Secretary in question that is married to an MP, unfortunately was redundant under the shabby and shady redundancy which the Speaker opposed and for which he is being victimized and persecuted by agents from within and without” said Mr. Speaker.
“Who is coming to equity, how and why is the subliminal anchor of that Justice TV Online post. If there are any moral questions to be answered, let it begin with what is before the ACC on the stewardship of the Parliamentary Service. You cannot use the argument of morality to undercut the law when evidence abounds that legally, abuse of office, conflict of interest, embezzlement and corruption is rupturing the administration of Parliament” the Speaker wrote.
The Speaker urged the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate the allegations and identify the individual behind the video and audio recordings. He emphasized that any moral questions should be addressed within the context of ongoing investigations into the stewardship of the Parliamentary Service.
As the controversy unfolds, stakeholders await further developments, and the public remains keenly observant of the unfolding events within the country’s legislative body. AMK/17/1/2024