-Says no probe is ongoing as being insinuated
The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has debunked reports that it is investigating its former President, Moses Sandy, for financial malfeasance.
According to Joe Mason, ALJA President, the association has not sanctioned any probe of corruption involving its former president and that such report is untrue and unfortunate.
The remark by ALJA president came a few days after Prince Sheriff, in a social media post, alleged that the association was investigating its former president for financial malpractices.
The post has since been considered by many as a smear campaign targeted to dent the image and reputation of Mr. Sandy who served as Chairman of the association’s resuscitation committee and later served two terms as president.
“Sandy is an honest and dedicated community leader, who has worked tirelessly over the years with his peers for the rejuvenation of the association after it crumbled in 2004,” Mason said. “His leadership in the history of ALJA is outstanding and unmatched; and that he enjoys the trust and confidence of the officers and members of it.”
According to Mason, the former ALJA President on a few occasions willingly used his personal money and material resources for the growth of the group when it was in dire straits financially.
“Mr. Sandy and his family worked overtime for the vivacious and enviable ALJA we have today,” Mason added.
Mason further said before Sandy departed as the association’s President, he made a full financial report that was accepted by the organization’s general membership.
“We adhered to calls not to dignify Sheriff’s allegation to a platform that it doesn’t deserve. However, given that these allegations border on Sandy’s character and the professional image and reputation of ALJA, the leadership decided it is now prudent to set the records straight,” he said.
Mr. Sandy, who is now been accused of corruption, revamped ALJA in 2014 after 10 years of dormancy and led its membership association. His administration revived two chapters (Delaware Valley and Mid-west) of the association and the revamping of the non-profit status of the organization.
Additionally, the Sandy administration made ALJA visible at home and abroad and made the association a critical voice for press freedom, free speech and good governance in Liberia.
ALJA Calls for Media Blockout if…
In a related development, ALJA has called on the Press Union Liberia (PUL) and all members of the Liberian Fourth Estate to consider other punitive actions including a media blackout on the government should President George Weah’s government fail to adequately address the concerns contained in the Union’s petition.
Mason added that while ALJA appreciates the government’s commitment to addressing the Union’s concerns, it is disappointed that the government could wait for journalists to protest before it takes action on repeated attacks on journalists despite been in the know of it.
According to Mason, ALJA remains supportive of protest and all peaceful actions undertaken by journalists that seek to uphold the fundamental rights of media practitioners in Liberia in the execution of their professional duties without fear or intimidation.
“The protest is a clear indication that journalists will not sit by idly while their rights are being trampled upon by security officers who see themselves more as partisans and supporters of the government than patriots,” he said.
Mason added whether the unprecedented wave of physical assaults on journalists are state-sanctioned or carried out by roguish security officers, they do grave damage to the image of the country as evidenced by the recent US Human Rights report on Liberia which accused the Weah administration of substantial restrictions on free expression and the press.