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Tollgate contract document

The contract document for Tollgate that was endorsed by the APC government. Verify aspect 10:4 of the contract document to ascertain whether it was explicitly stated that fee adjustments would be made in the event of an exchange rate issue.   Please check on points 10:4 The remaining documents will be posted later 

SLAJ has responded to the Africanist Press

Mr. Chernoh Alpha M. Bah
Editor-in-Chief
The Africanist Press
Philadelphia
USA

Dear Sir,

Ref: Open Letter on SLAJ iVerify’s Attempt to Fact-Check Africanist Press Report on US$10 Million Election Procurement Contracts
  
We acknowledge your open letter to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the Independent Radio Network (IRN) referenced above and dated 17th April 2023. 

Your letter attempts to discredit our i-Verify team, and by extension SLAJ and IRN, for a fact-checking work done on Africanist Press’ allegation of procurement corruption of US$10 million at the Elections Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL). 

Please see below our response based on the information we got from our team of fact-checkers:

About the i-Verify Platform
The i-Verify is a professional fact-checking platform set up by SLAJ and IRN with the support of BBC Media Action SL and UNDP and their partners to counter the unholy trinity of dis/mis/mal information before, during, and after Sierra Leone’s June 2023 general elections.

Neutrality, impartiality, and professionalism are the core values guiding the team of fact-checkers we have put together to deliver on this objective. 

We believe you read our fact-checked piece but didn’t understand its content.  

Please note the following: 

WHY DID WE FACT-CHECK THE ARTICLE IN QUESTION? 
SLAJ i-Verify Sierra Leone read Africanist Press’ piece on alleged procurement corruption of $10 million within the ECSL and fact-checked same because it failed to provide any authentically tested evidence of monetary payment. Africanist Press failed to offer any convincing evidence that shows funds were actually transferred on the authority of the National Public Procurement Authority and the ECSL with respect to the alleged procurement contracts.

WHAT DOES UNPROVEN MEAN? 
Unproven: Evidence publicly available neither proves nor disproves the claim. It simply means more research is needed.

HOW DOES SLAJ I-VERIFY SIERRA LEONE WORK? 
We check the information that is presented as facts, not information that is presented as opinions. 

A claim is reviewed to establish whether it is fact-checkable and/or constitutes hate speech, as opposed to expressing an opinion.

We consult relevant sources and investigate all sides of the story. 

The sources consulted include first and foremost the drafter or quoted individual. Other sources consulted include public data and sources ranging from thematic experts to relevant authorities to ensure all sides of the story are investigated. 

We did not contact Africanist Press because you are the one who made the allegations, and your side of the story is already made public.

Nevertheless, we guarantee double verification. Every story is checked by two fact-checkers to mitigate individual bias and to ensure nothing was forgotten. The story is then reviewed and validated by the team lead.

We publish our fact-checking report based on the available evidence at that point in time. 

The fact-checked content will be presented with the relevant rating alongside the narrative and reference/s or proof that justifies it, based on the evidence existing at that point in time.

However, we appreciate your concerns, and we want to clarify that we did not find any financial bank transaction evidence to support the claims made in the Africanist Press report. We did not give more weight to the ECSL boss's denial than to the documents presented by the Africanist Press report. 

Moreover, we were unable to find conclusive evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that financial transactions took place between ECSL and Infinity ICT and General Merchandise because we did not have access to any bank documents to the effect.

The platform has never said Africanist Press' claims are false or true, but based on the evidence available we came to the conclusion of UNPROVEN.

We acknowledge that the links you provided in your open letter did not show bank transaction statements but invoices and bid documents. 

We also recognize that all the documents published by Africanist Press, including the report in question, were authentic and not forged.

We understand your disappointment that we did not contact Africanist Press for clarification on any issues that we were unable to verify during our fact-checking process. 

We want to emphasize that fact-checking is a rigorous process that aims to provide accurate information to the public. However, it is infallible, and sometimes additional information or clarification is needed.

We encourage you to continue to investigate to ensure that the public receives accurate and reliable information. 

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention, and we hope that this response addresses your concerns.

Sincerely,

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla
President

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