President Julius Maada Bio

  • Did President Bio pledge a $200 million donation to Haiti?

    Claim: Social media users claim Global Times newspaper had reported that President Bio pledged a $200 million donation to the Haitian government to assist their earthquake victims.

    Checks with the Global Times newspaper and their website show that the paper did not carry the story and front page on the alleged date.

    Full Text

    A purported picture edition of The Global Times newspaper dated Thursday, 19th August 2021 and bearing a front page banner headline, “Pres. Bio Pledged To Donate. . .200 Million Dollars To The Haitian Government For Their Earthquake Victims” has been shared on several Facebook groups.

    This has been met with mixed reactions on social media. Whilst some lamented the toll such a huge donation would have on Sierra Leone’s weak economy, others said the image is fake.

    This claim came in the wake of a devastating 7.2-magnitude Earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti with nearly 1.2 million people estimated to be affected. Several international organizations and governments around the World have responded by sending aid relief to the affected victims of the disaster since it struck on the 14th August, 2021 at 8:29 Haitian local time.

    Photo credit: gettyimages

    Verification 

    According to the Publisher of the Global Times, Sorie Fofanah, the viral front page banner headline image of the newspaper is fake, incorrect and completely different from what was actually published by the publisher and proprietor of the newspaper, on its edition of 19th August 2021.

    The true edition of The Global Times NewsPaper edition of 19th August 2021 had the banner headline, “VP Juldeh Jalloh Hails Chief Minister.”

    “The Global Times newsPaper did not have any document or voice record of the President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio making such a claim and as a Journalist working with Global Times and  a Dubawa trainee, I can authoritatively assert that such was not published by our outlet,” said Jane B Mansaray, a reporter at the newspaper.

    “The headline on the fake edition of the Global Times newspaper is described to be disinformation, with deliberate intention to tarnish and smear the name and reputation of the Global Times Print Media in Sierra Leone,” she added. 

    The original publication, seen below, had a banner headline reporting that the Vice President, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh, commended the Chief Minister and not about any headline claiming a pledge made by President Bio to Haiti.

    This can be further confirmed from The Global Times newspaper website to verify the stories covered by the newspaper on the said date. 

    Further checks with an attache at the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit, Abu Bakar Joe Sesay, revealed that the president did not pledge any such donation.

    Conclusion 

    The Global Times newspaper did not publish a story of President Bio pledging any amount to Haiti. It is false and misleading.

  • Viral Claim on President Bio’s Arrival Package False!

    Claim: A viral message on WhatsApp purporting to be from the Sierra Leone People’s Party’s (SLPP) spokesperson claims Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio will arrive back in the country from his London trip with a ship carrying tons of rice branded in his political party symbol among other things.

    Both the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Rtd. Lt. Lahai Leema, and Adviser to the President and Head of Strategic Communications at Office of the President, Dr Patrick Muana, have debunked a message which has gone viral on WhatsApp claiming a list of things President Julius Maada has negotiated on his travels.

    Full Text

    President Bio departed Sierra Leone on 25th July 2020  for London, United Kingdom, to attend the Global Education Summit, Financing GPE 2021-2025, which was scheduled for 28th – 29th July. The summit is said to be the world’s biggest education conference and this time it was co-hosted by both Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and His Excellency Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. 

    After the summit, President Bio extended his stay in London till 9 August and departed on Tuesday 10 August for a private visit to the Republic of Turkey

    Prior to his return to Sierra Leone on Sunday 22nd August 2021, a message went viral on WhatsApp claiming President Bio will arrive with a special package and a number of things are to take effect upon his arrival including the lifting of a toll gate fee and the reduction of price of rice, fuel, fish, electricity bills, and all imported commodities.

    Verification

    The Sierra Leone People’s Party’s (SLPP) mouthpiece, Rtd. Lt. Leema, says he is not the author of the viral message nor does he have any knowledge about the contents even though the message is purported to be written by the “SLPP Spokesman.”

    Commenting on the issue, the Communications Head at State House, Dr Muana, said the Office of the President does not release such information via WhatsApp. He clarified that all correspondences from State House will be passed through a formal press release with the official letterhead and/or announced by the President himself or a government ministry assigned to do so.

    “Most of the timelines may be speculative but His Excellency has worked on most of the stated initiatives. He has worked on making the investment environment more friendly and engaged investors at every opportunity,” Dr Muana said, commenting on some of the specific issues raised in the viral text.

    Conclusion

    President Bio returned to Sierra Leone with First Lady Fatima Bio on 22nd August 2021. The State House Communications lead confirmed that the President did not arrive with any sea vessel nor did he bring tons of rice carrying the Sierra Leone People’s Party symbol as the viral message claims. Dr. Muana concludes that any details of the President’s trip which are meant to be public will be disclosed in due time and through the normal official means. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Africa Young Voices Media Empire to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country

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