Sierra Leone president addresses abandoned Hajj pilgrims

September 4, 2017 GMT

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption commission has declared that three senior government officials and two special assistants have been fired for allegedly selling government funds intended to assist poor people to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has invited about 300 of those affected to his official residence. The government said those invited were supposed to receive money to travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, but were left stranded in Freetown for days without accommodation, food and water.

The anti-corruption commission said that there was a misappropriation of the funds.

The government officials, one who is a dual U.S. and Sierra Leone citizen, have been fired and ordered to return home to be investigated.

The Hajj Committee was meant to lead some 800 people to Mecca.