Admission Tussle at Law School

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By: Alpha Umar Bah

Dozens of students graduated in 2018 with 2:1 and 2:2 degrees, applied to pursue law at the Law School of Sierra Leone, but their applications were thrown out last year.

The grounds for their rejections have been unclear. A student who asked to remain anonymous, said, “The issue is that a number of students that applied was qualified, but the Registrar refused to shortlist them,” adding, “The Registrar, Mr. Cobba shortlisted only 122 students, out of whom a total of 65 was offered acceptance letters.”

Furthermore, investigations have revealed that some of the students were qualified, although they were neither shortlisted nor were they invited for an interview. Another saddened student said, “Now you have a batch of two sets of disgruntled students. The ones who were interviewed and received no acceptance letters, and those that failed in their performances at the interview were not admitted.”

On February 7, Parliament summoned the Director of the Law School, followed by a second summons on 13 February 2020 addressed to the Council of Legal Education to which the Registrar, Mr. Joseph Cobba attended on behalf of the Council. The Public Review found out from Parliament that Hon Gevao asked Mr. Cobba a few questions. Mr. Cobba argued the case that he was not involved in the shortlisting process, adding that in fact he was merely working under the instructions of the Council of Legal Education.

Mr. Cobba actually did the shortlisting, according to the aggrieved students. Although he excused himself in order to implicate the Council, Parliament had since referred the matter.

A female student angrily stated “It was not Council that did the shortlisting, he did it. The Council of Legal Education Act of 1989 stipulates that you have to have at least a Third Class degree. And later on, an amended provision of the Act states you must have passed six core modules, including the Law of Torts, Lands, Equity and Trust, Criminal, Constitutional, and Contract Law. Some of us don’t just have the core modules, but we also have 2:1 and 2:2 degrees. Yet, Cobba threw out our applications preferring his clansmen. It’s a disgrace.”

Many of the disgruntled spoken to by this newspaper, told how since February there has not been any action. It is unclear to the students what their fate is. Last week, the Council of Legal Education met, but has yet to contact the students to explain whatever outcome has been arrived at.

The number of students, who were not shortlisted totaled about thirty, while those that were shortlisted, but not accepted were fifty seven which is a total of eighty seven students who have not had admission offers.

The issue at hand is that there is a batch of two sets of disgruntled students. There are those that were qualified, but were not shortlisted against those that were not shortlisted because they failed at the interviews.

“We’re are qualified and deserved to be in the law school, but we were not shortlisted. see press statement below.

Orange Invests $ 112 m in S/ Leone

Orange is one of the leading telecommunications operators in the world, present in 29 countries with 154,000 employees worldwide . Orange operates in about 20 countries in Africa meaning that one in every10 people is an Orange customer .

Orange acquired the Airtel operations in Sierra Leone in July 2016 and was recorded as the first Company to invest in Sierra Leone immediately following the end of the Ebola epidemic.

Since the inception of Orange Operations in Sierra Leone, the companyhas invested about $112 million dollars in the areas of Network modernization and expansion,Human Resources as well as corporate social responsibility in the last two years.

The company has invested about $96 million dollars in modernizing and expanding its network infrastructure. This investment has resultedto the construction of about 94 new sites mainly in the rural areas, the modernization of the company’s  passive infrastructure and active RAN equipment, the  replacement of all core equipment, the implementation of a new intelligent network platform for prepaid billing management, the establishment of a new switch to handle voice traffic, a new packet core for the internet traffic and the launch of a new Data Centre. This exceptional and incomparable work done so far, has resulted to the connection of about 925 new localities with thousands of Sierra Leoneans now accessing data, voice and financial  services for the first time.

In respect of Human Resources , Orange has invested about $16 million dollars in the last two years. The company prides itself in capacity building by ensuring that its employees benefit from soft skills, technical and leadership trainings .The company nurtures talent from on boarding, ensures retention and provides exposure opportunities to other orange affiliates.

Orange being a multi service provider and a responsible corporate citizen places emphasis on corporate social investment. In the last two years the company has invested about $ 400,000 dollarsmainly in the areas of women empowerment, health, education and the environment. Orange remains the first operator in Sierra Leone to contribute to the government’s Free Quality Education (FQE) Agenda by pledging the sum of $1.5m in material assistance over a period of five years beginning from 2019. In honour of its pledge , the company recently launched five major projects under its  FQE initiative as follows:

  • The Super Coder Academy to train 100 senior secondary school students in five years.
  • The provision of 10,000 hygiene packs for girls between the ages of 12-18 years over a period of five years.
  • The running of an inter-secondary school quiz and debate competition every year  for five years with the aim to provide one  computer lab for the winning school every year.
  • Open Classrooms to provide 300 free certifying digital courses for 500 teachers.
  • The distribution  of 1,000 solar pack kits to 1,000 schools in 1,000 off-grid villages.

Orange also recently launched the first coding school in Sierra Leone in  partnership with the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) with an estimated cost of about  LE2.75 billion ($308,000). The coding school is scheduled to commence in December 2019 with an aim to train youths in coding and other software skills  in readiness for the country’s  digital transformation, to foster entrepreneurship, reduce unemployment and develop the country’s innovation ecosystem.

As part of the company’s strategic ambition for Sierra Leone, Orange is present in the country  with a strong industrial project that will lead to invest significantly to cover most of the population in the country with telecoms and mobile financial services.

This is why orange is committed to invest additional $24 million dollars this 2019 to build 55 new sites, and toextend its 4G Services to the rest of the country.

Orange  remains committed to providing the best telecoms services in Sierra Leone ensuring its customers get an “Unmatched “ experience.

Shooting at Minister’s Residence: 3 Sent to Prison

BY FEIMA SESAY

Alie Sanja Forster who was early February, this year shot at the residence of the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Lawrence Leema  was on Monday  16th March 2020    charged  to court   and sent to prison.

Forster was charged on 14 counts of Conspiracy to Murder and other related counts charges with two others; Victor Emmanuel Sesay and Michael Abass Turay.

All three men appeared before Magistrate Mark Ngegba of court No2.

The court said that the offences committed are  contrary to section 4 of the offences against ‘’the persons Act 1818, causing grievous bodily harm, riotous conduct, throwing missiles, disorderly behavior, caring offensive weapon, malicious damage public insult and provocation, sending threaten representation and other related offences all contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.’’

Police prosecution alleged that the particulars of offence for count 1&2, are that the accused persons on Saturday,  1st February,  2020, at No14 Mina Drive,  Juba Hills, Freetown conspired together and with other unknown persons to murder the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Lahai Lawrence Leema and Aiah Fengi.

It added that for counts 3 and 4; the accused persons on the same date and place’’ conspired together with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to Aiah Fengi and further conspired together with other persons unknown to commit malicious damage on the residence of Mr Leema.

It further alleged further that the  3 men on the same date were ‘’found caring offensive weapon without lawful authority, throwing missiles and did make threatening  representation’’ to Mr Leema ,and Aiah Fengi ‘’with intent to commit a felony.’’

According to the police  ‘’the accused persons did use certain insulting words to the annoyance of complainant, Lahai Lawrence Leema in order to provoke him to commit the breach of the peace and further behave in a riotous and disorderly manner.’’

No plea was taken after the charges had been read.

Prosecution witness No1, Police Superintendent Mohamed K. Alieu, a supervisor of violent crime, attached at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Head Quarters, said he recognized all 3 men.

 He explained that on 1 February 2020, which was a National Cleaning Day, he was at his office when he got instructions from the head of CID, Chief Superintendent of Police , John Alpha that there was a report on shooting incident at No14 Mina Drive, the residence of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Lahai Lawrence Leema.

He  said based on the  instructions, he led a team of detective of police officers including the’’ Scene of Crime Officer (CSP),’’ to  the scene ;and that upon their arrival,  he met the then CSP Freetown West,  now  I.G.P  Ambrose Sovula.

 He said he immediately mounted a major incident investigation upon which he supervised and proceeded to the Emergency Hospital at Goderich where the 1st Accused, Forster was confined in order to obtained statement from him.

He continued that he later handed over the matter to Inspector Mohamed Kargbo under his supervision and that several enquires were made in his presence.

He explained further that upon allegations made by complainant that his house was attacked, he further interviewed the first accused at the Emergency Hospital whom he said made mention of 2nd and 3rd accused persons.

“I arrested second and third accused person  whiles others are still on the run, at the conclusion of my investigations, i wrote a comprehensive report to the Law Officers Department for advice  and the final report  was later returned to the CID  where I charged the matter to court  ”, he said.

 During cross examination by lead defense counsel lawyer Claudius Campbell, the witness confirmed that he was not at the scene when the incident occurred and that  he only came to the scene later.

He also agreed with the lawyer that,  it was a police officer who shot the leg of the first accused; and that the said officer is one of their witnesses in the investigation.

 The witness said that the shooting was ’’ lawful by rules of engagement.’’

State prosecuting counsel Lawyer Adrain Fisher Esq. at this stage asked for an adjournment to prepare his next witness.

Later in the proceedings,  Defence Lawyer ,  Campbell  applied for bail for all  3 accused persons ‘’pursuant to section 79 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965.’’

 He also brought to the notice of the court the present health condition of the first accused whom he said  could not walk or stand to his feet properly.

His application was opposed to by the state prosecutor, Lawyer Adrain Fisher who argued that his office had asked him to oppose to bail.

However, Magistrate Mark Ngegba denied them bail because according to him , the case and the alleged offences caused were serious. 

The magistrate then ordered the Correctional service department to pay special medical attention to the first accused.

The case stands adjourned to the 23rd March, 2020.

Govt Appoints New IGP

The Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone under the leadership of president Bio has on Friday 13th March, 2020 appointed a new Inspector General of Police in the person of Mr Ambrose Michael Sovula.

 See press statement below. 

AMBROSE MICHAEL SOVULA: Sierra Leone’s New Inspector General of Police

-Award winning officer

-Member of West Africa Road Safety

-Master in Peace and Development

-BSc in Economics and Development Studies

The newly appointed Inspector General of Sierra Leone Police, Ambrose M. Sovula, prior to his appointment he was the Assistant Inspector General of Police for Western Region (Regional Commander). Before   his appointment by President Julius Maada Bio, he was the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Adonkia Police Station, Goderich, West End of Freetown, with the rank of Superintendent

The newly appointed Inspector General is one of Sierra Leone’s award winning police officers and West Africa Road Safety Organisation member who has diligently served the Sierra Leone police for almost 40 years since 1980.

Born to the parents of peasant farmers-Mr. and Mrs. John Dauda Sovula in Bonghor, Bumpeh Ngao Chiefdom, Bo District Southern Sierra Leone, IG  Sovula revealed that he got his first name after an Irish Catholic Brethren, attached to the Serabu hospital.

He said he grew up with his Aunty-Mamah Nancy Dabor whose husband was a Muslim Scholar. He stayed there from age three to age six until when Brethren Michael asked his parents to call him (Sovula) to continue his primary education in Serabu Town.

He said he officially started his primary education at the age of six years and continued until he sat to the Selective Entrance which promoted him to Secondary School where he took his Ordinary Level Examinations.

In quest of greener pastures, he travelled to Freetown and  stayed  with friends when enrollment into the Sierra Leone Police force was advertised.

 In 1980 he was recruited into the force and it coincided with the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) conference hosted by Sierra Leone.

“We were charged with the responsibility to man the conduct of the conference and therefore we became popularly known as OAU Police,” he said.  He added that, “Having in mind that it is only education that will empower me to sail through the police ladder, I again attempted to write the West Africa Examination Council Examinations where I passed my subjects to gain admission at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology.”

At MMCET, he graduated with a Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies but later proceeded to acquire a Degree in Economics and Development at the IAMTECH. According to the newly appointed IG, the thirst for higher learning is insatiable and therefore he proceeded to acquire his Master in Peace and Development. He informed that his academic achievements capacitated him to be able to fully administer and supervise the different positions he had served.

The new IG was transferred from the head of Traffic (National Traffic Coordinator) to the Local Unit Commander at the Adonkia Police Station, where many people were boasting of having peace, law and order.

He said, “I have diligently served with humility and I will continue to serve with honesty and sincerity to the expectations of the President and the general public.”

IG Sovula said he started his assignment at the Central Police Station as a “Statement Taker” previously known as an Investigator. He worked in the Registry Office at the Police Headquarters, Criminal Investigation Department, NCO in charge of Crime at the Water Loo Police Station, Crime Officer at the Lumley Police Station, Chief Trainer at the Police Training School and later elevated to become the Commandant.

He went further to state that he is one of the certified foundation members at the MIST-Major Incident Support Team.

As Commandant of the Police Training School, IG Sovula said he developed a lot of training strategies for young recruits. “I developed a gender empowerment framework that will cater for young female graduates as new recruits,” adding that this idea was approved by the erstwhile Inspector General of Police-Briama Acha Kamara and ten young female University graduates were recruited into the force that very year.

When asked to do a comparative analysis, he said a lot of reforms have taken place, noting that the gap between the junior officers and senior police officers is intimate and close. He said new Departments/Units such as FSU, Interpol, TOCU and Gender/Human Rights Offices have been created.

He said what has not positively changed is the attitude of the people towards state institutions.  Good attitudinal behavior and civic responsibility are lacking as people should not wait and see a police officer before obeying the law. He asserted that the behavioural pattern of every Sierra Leonean should be modified because attitude means everything.

He assured that his leadership will bring in new innovations-from a traditional policing to a community policing. He encouraged Sierra Leoneans to respect the police and help in the development of the force.

Information Ministry Opens ICT/Telecom Sector in Kenema

The Minister of Information and Communications has today officially opened a two-day joint ICT/Telecom sector interactive sessions in Kenema on the theme, positioning digital transformation at the heart of the New Direction.

The aim of the joint sector interactive session is to enhance the ministry’s medium term strategic goals and objectives, facilitate a more collaborative approach and build on the efforts currently underway to create a conducive policy and predictable regulatory environment for growth in the sector.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swarray stated that his ministry within the context of the New Direction programs of the government envisions that by 2029, Sierra Leone will become a digitally inclusive society with ICT as the means to unleash the innate potentials of every citizen to leapfrog the country’s socioeconomic development.

This vision, the minister maintained is consistent with the ‘Leave No One Behind’ dream of the United Nations espoused in the Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘Africa we want’ principle of the African Union adopted in its 2063 Vision.

Referencing the 2015 National Population Census findings which indicated that 3.2 million people (46% of the total population), are young people between 6–24 years, the Information Minister stated that the key priority of the New Direction is to take advantage of the country’s youthful population to derive maximum benefit from the demographic dividend of the digital revolution.

Minister Mohamed Rahman Swarray further disclosed that draft digital transformation policy and roadmap that seek to define the national objectives, strategies and strategic interventions in critical areas based on established thematic pillars of governance and coordination, digital infrastructure and access, digital skills and education, digital innovation and entrepreneurship, electronic governance and cyber security have been completed.

The roadmap he explained is aimed at guiding Sierra Leone’s investments, policies, and governance frameworks for the country’s present and future digital development direction. It also aims at situating Sierra Leone among regional and global leaders in the field of digital governance focusing on effective service delivery, citizen engagement, and digital economy driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.

Statements by representatives of the key sector players including, Sierratel, Orange, Africell, Qcell, IMC, NATCOM and the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communications formed the high points of the opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony which attracted participants from all ICT/Telecoms sector, Members of Parliament, CSOs and other stakeholders was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Augustine S. Sheku.

 Mercury pays Billions of Leones to Customers

Over 18,000 customers that flooded the Mercury International   payment centers across the country including  the main Walpole street in Freetown  on Friday, 13th March, 2020, f International Payment Centers across the country  were in joyous mood as the company dishes out over  4.7 Billion Leones payout in the Oddest Regular (Football) winnings.

This Friday payout according to the company is Mercury”s biggest since the start of the 2020 calendar year and in football. The Oddest Regular Set 14120 Mega List produced a total number of Thirteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirteen (13, 913) winners that were able to scoop the total sum of Three Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty-Two Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty-Eight Leones (3,332,869,968).

Furthermore; Four Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy-Eight (4,378) winners scooped a total of Nine Hundred and Twenty-Nine Million, Four Hundred and Sixty-One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight Leones (929,461,778) in the Oddest Regular Set 14131.

Public Relations Manager, Alhaj Komba, says, such a terrific winning by customers shows that it is not only the lottery game that is producing millionaires as a product on a daily basis, as we are having such big winning in the oddest regular sets in the game of football betting.

“We are not surprised that the company could produce over 18 thousand Sierra Leonean millionaires on a single day, it is about customers yielding dividends  from the trust and confidence they have in the operations of Mercury International as a Sports Betting and Lottery company,” the Mercury International PR Manager said.

Meanwhile, both Oddest Regular Sets produced individual winners of Nine Million, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Seven Thousand, One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Leones (9,877,130) and Four Million, Two Hundred and Eighty-eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Five Leones (4,288,305).

One of the winners, Ibrahim Kargbo said he was pleased to be a lucky winner and a new millionaire especially with the current economic situation in the country.

“Winning over Two Million Leones at this difficult time is something I was not expecting even though I played. I only tried my luck and that by no mistake, this will make a big change in my life as I hope to utilize this cash in a beneficial way,” Kargbo said.

Other lucky winners  praised the payment process of Mercury International, describing it as easy access to their money with all payment centers opened and staff in readiness to dish out monies to lucky winners across the country.   

In October 2019, Mercury International made a total payout of Three Billion, Six Hundred Millions Leones (Le 3.6, 000,000) to over Thirteen Thousand (13,000) customers in a single individual draw.

The Tuesday night Edition 62 of the Company’s National Draw provided the biggest individual lottery draw winner with the drop of popular balls, 18-81 from the winning balls: 18-36-81-65-74 (Extra 6-(39), Extra 7-(29)).

In same October of 2019, a total of 5,000 (Five Thousand) customers won Le 1.2 Billion (One Billion, Two Hundred Million Leones) from Edition 61 of the Kangari 5/90 lottery draw with the fall of 58-85 in Turbo 4 and in the International Draw, a total of One Billion, Twenty-Nine Million, One Hundred and Eighty-Nine Thousand Leones (Le 1, 029,189,000.00) was paid-out for another set of popular ball; 35, 55 from Winning Numbers;  

Govt Loses Billions To Mobile Promotions

By Christian Conteh

This medium has been reliably informed that the Government of Sierra Leone loses taxes to the tune of le13 billion fortnightly (every two weeks) to mobile bonus and other promotions.

Prior to the advent of these numerous promotions, Mobile Network Operators paid the sum of seventeen billion Leones (Le17 Bn) every fortnight through NATCOM into the Single Treasure Account. At that time the existing floor price ranged between Le 590 to 650.

This revelation has come up at a time when citizens have expressed frustration about what they consider a discontinuation of bonuses by Mobile Service Providers due to the measures instituted by the regulator NATCOM.

Our investigations further clearly indicates that Mobile Operators in recent time only pay (le 4 Bn) four billion Leones instead of paying seventeen billion Leones every forth night.

This was due to the fact that *Bonuses and Promotions were not taxed. This state of Affairs does not only create huge financial loss to the regulator NATCOM, the government and people of Sierra Leone but also undermines the finance act of 2020* which NATCOM seeks to implement.

Note: that the thirteen billion Leones difference is still being made quietly by the Mobile Network operators but in their private accounts.

This is because according to them bonus and or promotions are free but I bet you that Sierra Leoneans are paying for all services named as promotions by these MNOs.

According to one of the experts in the regulatory field of telecommunications “MNOs have used bonuses and promotions as a means of defrauding the nation and NATCOM. Do we allow these foreigners in the name of Mobile Network Operators to take away Thirteen Billion Leones every fortnight and leave us with only Four Billions Leones because of bonus and other promotions?”He asked.

Speaking at a press conference at the Information Ministry at Youyi Building in Freetown Minister of Information Mohamed Rahman Swaray noted that legitimate concerns were raised by members of the public, because of these concerns the Ministry of Information and Communications summoned the Mobile Network Operators and NATCOM.

According to the Minister, the resolutions in this meeting declared a road map to resolving the issue. Key among the resolutions reached includes the fact that the Ministry of Finance together with MNOs have agreed to put a cap to promotional at 10%, they further agreed that a 590 Leones floor be instituted  to sanitize the market so there are no price wars.

“We will now undertake a scientific cost structure analysis of the sector so that we are able to know what a fair pricing would be for members of the public enough for Telco’s to make profit but at the same time not exploitative of members of the public”

The Minister further revealed that no telecommunications operator was charged GST last year. For this reason some companies returned as much as 40% as promotional.

“We have given ourselves a 90 days period, during this period we shall engage with Ministry of Finance and NRA, we are going to deepening the engagement because the president has particularly called for this”.

He further noted that a committee has been setup to address these existing challenges. The committee comprises all of the telecoms companies, NATCOM and the Ministry of Finance; civil society representation he says will also make up the committee in due course.

He however noted that promotions will continue but on a limited basis which means 10% will still be taxed.

NCRC Calls for Fuel price Reduction

As Oil price drop by almost 50%, we Urge the Government to further Reduce The Pump Price Of Fuel By At Least 25 %(Le 6,500 per liter).

Firstly, we want to start by stating that the Public Notice issued today by Petroleum Regulatory Authority (PRA)is of no moment. You cannot stop people from holding opinion or speculations in a world where people know what is happening in the global market right on their smart phones at splits seconds. If indeed the PRA is a “People centered Government agency” as the claim, oil price should not have plummeted in the world market by almost 50% but the PRA reduce the pump price by only 5%. People centered Government like Nigeira that has been badly affected because they are an oil exporting nation. They are currently suffering from a crashing GDP which has reduced their pump price from 160 Naira to 114.53 Naira which is equivalent to Le 3,015. With a 28% reduction in the pump price, this is what shows that there is enough trigger for a jumbo reduction with a People centered Government. The PRA should learn more about what is a “proactive and people’s centered Government”.

Pursuance to the sharp decline in the Price of oil in the world market by more than almost 50% since 1991, the Consortium wish to urge the Government to reduce the pump price to at least 25% (Le 6,500 per liter).This is a safe region which would not only reduce the transport price across the country and will not push the government to alter the pump price upwards in the short run suppose the Corona pandemic end.

This would ease the economic hardship on the people, by curtailing inflation in the Consumer Price Index.  As Sierra Leone target to meet the single digit inflation criterion in Primary and convergence criteria for the new sub-regional currency (Eco). Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria are yet to pass the single digit inflation (convergence) criteria, we must start to leverage on this price war at OPEC. Above all, this Government would be seen changing the dominance narrative price climbing down for once and this would give relief and joy to the ordinary Sierra Leoneans that we can still become a beacon of hope

President Bio promised that 2020 is a year of delivery and he is committed to fight hunger and building human capital. Mr. President this is one free penalty you can score if only you have the people at heart

 Manson Dumbuya Donates Building Materials   to Tonko Limba

By Emmanuel A. Bangura

Hon. Manso Abu Dumbuya, has on Saturday 14th March    donated building materials for the construction of a Technical Vocational Institute in Madina Tonko Limba Chiefdom, Kambia District.

The donated  items  includes building materials such as 350 bags of cement, 6 wheelbarrows,12 shovels, 3 pick axe, 20 head pans, 3 cutlasses,8 barrel drums,20 five gallon rubbers, 6 buckets emulsion paint(blue), 4 buckets emulsion paint (white), 12 gallon oil paint( green), 16 roller brushes, 14 paint brush and 4 block making machine.

The donated materials are all store at the Madina ABC store, back of the court Barry.

The trips of sand are now at site to start making bricks for the construction of the Technical Vocational Institution.

The Honorable has been working tremendously towards the development of the chiefdom as promise by the new direction government.

One of the main priorities of the new direction government is to make conductive learning environment for every individual in Sierra Leone to build  a human capital development.

 Case of Coronavirus…

  Panic and fear on boarders

The recent confirmed case of Coronavirus in Liberia by a Public Official on his return from Switzerland have   created fear and panic among many Sierra Leoneans.

According to the masses, they said they will not forgive any Public Official for any case of Coronavirus in Sierra Leone as it is Crystal clear that the spread of Coronavirus from Country to Country is highly associated with Public officials they claimed

Considering the Economic status of our country, the people   called the attention of the Government to close all boarders now as Prevention is better than Cure they demanded

Sierra Leone Citizens Demanded

Let us adhere and collectively work towards ensuring Zero Corona virus in Sierra Leone

 How Single Treasury Account leads to Unauthorized Public Spending

By Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, Matthew A. & Mark Feldman

In the first two articles of our Sierra Leone investigation series, we highlighted the existing disparities in the national salary structure and how the payroll has widened since Maada Bio assumed power two years ago.

 We pointed out the explosive increase of almost 45% in the wage bill in the last two years from less than Le170 billion when Koroma left power to a whopping Le235.2 billion today. We observed that this astronomical increase is triggered largely by the overflowing appointment of leading SLPP party loyalists into high paying administrative positions in the civil and public service workforce.

We showed how salaries of partisan compensation jobs across all sectors of government account for the majority of the wage bill increase. We also emphasized another major public expenditure burden: the use of international official travels, especially those associated with presidential delegations, to financially reward SLPP party loyalists and new political appointees with huge per diems and travel opportunities. In future publications of this series, we will quantify the huge monetary deductions and revenue losses resulting from overhead expenditures and the ways they have added fiscal pressure on the country’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

In this article, however, we unearth another aspect of corruption in public finance management under the Bio regime, namely off-budget expenditure.

 We show how off-budgetary expenditure and frivolous public spending have intensified following the president’s April 9, 2018 executive order on revenue mobilization. We observed that the president’s decision to implement a single treasury account and his order to centralize all government revenue mobilization and expenditure in the hands of his Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa created a non-transparent and unaccountable mechanism in the management of public finance and national revenue allocations.  Our investigation discovers, in particular, that the creation of a centralized public finance mechanism, revolving around the presidency and the finance ministry, has enabled top finance officials in the Finance Ministry and those in the President’s Office to freely and frivolously disperse, dispense, and utilize national revenue and resources to fund non-budgetary and overhead activities often authorized by the presidency.

Over the course of the investigation, we found evidence of widespread use of unchecked spending and financial allocations to fund non-budgetary and overhead activities, especially those relating to the operations and activities of the First Lady. This situation, we discovered, is made possible by the president’s aforementioned executive order to establish a single treasury account, which removed the previously existing fiscal authority and oversight of government ministries, agencies, and departments.

 Documentary evidence acquired during our investigation clearly illustrate how this single treasury account has not only centralized government revenue collection and dispensation in the hands of the Finance Ministry, but has also facilitated surreptitious disbursements of state revenues and contracts to close relatives of the president and to non-state institutions including, especially, the Office of the First Lady.

Documents examined by the Africanist Press reveal how the Finance Ministry provided regular funds to the Office of the First Lady, a non-statutory institution, on instructions from the Office of the President. For instance, we discovered that the activities of the First Lady’s “Hands off Our Girls Campaign” received more than 50% of its operational and overhead budgetary expenditure between December 2018 and December 2019 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

 Our investigation tracked, for example, a total sum of about Le15 billion of direct government funding disbursed from the Ministry of Finance to the Office of the First Lady to meet operational and overhead costs of the First Lady’s Office.

 We examined, in particular, official correspondences between officials of the President’s Office, the Finance Ministry, and the First Lady’s Office regarding requests for funds and the speedy administrative authorizations and disbursements of such funds in ways that are uncharacteristic of the usual bureaucratic timelines associated with government financial processing.

Civil servants we interviewed during our investigation confirm that while Finance Ministry records of these funding requests and disbursements do exist, there is a seeming lack of detailed records and accounting statements in the First Lady’s Office regarding the precise expenditure details on how these allocated state funds have been utilized. 

These funds include monies disbursed for the two-day launching ceremony of the “Hands Off Our Girls Campaign”, diverse funds for the erection of hundreds of the campaign’s billboards, funds geared towards meeting costs related to the national tour of the First Lady, and payments for public awareness.

 For the launching ceremony of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, we collected documents confirming the disbursement of a total sum of Le3,116,755,000 provided by the Ministry of Finance just for the two-day launching ceremony.

Evidence in our possession shows that the said funds were requested by officials of the president’s office, in particular correspondences between Bockarie Momoh Foh, writing on behalf of the president’s secretary, to the Admin and Finance Officer of the First Lady confirming the allocation of the funds. These repeated requests and disbursements to the First Lady’s Office do not include regular monthly payments to meet operational and other overhead costs, including staff salaries, of the First Lady’s Office. The Office’s staff salaries range between Le50,120,000 and Le54,000,000.

We tabulated the total amounts of government funding – including the more than Le3.1 billion spent on the two-day launching event – and discovered that at least Le5,827,000.000 of government funds were disbursed to the First Lady during the first two months following the campaign’s launch.

 The total amount of money allocated to the First Lady for the two-day launching ceremony of the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign alone, for instance, is over four times more than the combined annual salaries of all 40 of the Senior Procurement Officers in the Public Procurement Department assigned across all ministries, agencies, and departments. With monthly salaries between Le1,420,076 and 1,624,763, the total combined salaries of all 40 Senior Procurement Officers in the national workforce is Le56,803,146 monthly.

Our investigation also uncovered that this massive overhead and operational costs of the Office of the First Lady has not only added a fiscal burden on state revenue, but it has negatively impacted the operational relevance and budgetary allocation to the Gender Ministry and other departments and agencies. Civil Servants complain that activities of the First Lady’s Office are crowding out the relevant line ministries, whose sect oral funding appears to be being diverted to fund the campaigns of the First Lady. These civil servant concerns related to the overshadowing of the Gender Ministry, along with the frivolous nature of spending and budgetary allocations for the “Hands Off Our Girls Campaign”, in particular, highlight the questionable motivations and execution of what, on the surface, appears to be an admirable campaign to promote gender equality. 

Apart from the overheads and non-budgetary spending towards the First Lady’s Office, we also discovered that the new centralized fiscal authority accorded to the finance minister equally enables the awarding of untendered government contracts to close friends and relatives of the president. Within three months of the president’s order to centralize government revenue mobilization, for example, a timber export monopoly license was awarded to Leadway Trading Company, making the company the sole agent for all timber exports from Sierra Leone without any tender or bidding. Our investigation reveals that Leadway Trading Company is in fact managed principally by Babadi Kamara, a business associate of the president. Finance officials we interviewed during our investigation expressed disbelief that Leadway Trading and Babadi Kamara were made sole agents for all timber exports from Sierra Leone without a competitive bidding process. Our investigation discovered that Babadi Kamara helped to raise campaign funds for the election of Maada Bio in 2018. Quite interestingly, Leadway’s contract assignment was initially granted only temporarily for the shipment of existing timber deposits at the Freetown Port and other depots across the country (an estimated 13,000 containers). Yet, the company’s export contract was renewed by State House in February 2020, eighteen months after it was first granted, without a competitive bidding or tender process. A State House press statement acknowledged the payment of US$37,140,000 from Leadway Trading but provided no details on how much each exported container were sold, neither has there been a disclosure on Leadway’s total profit from the shipments over the eighteen months.

Thus, contrary to Bio’s pledge to curb financial indiscipline and limit waste in government spending, we note that frivolous public spending and off-budgetary and overhead expenditures have increased over the last two years, with huge amounts being spent on domestic and international travels of the presidency and on funding support for the Office of the First Lady. We also find previous and recent media statements by the First Lady denying receipt of state funding to be undeniably false. We conclude that the establishment, through executive order, of a largely unchecked public spending account in the hands of the Finance Minister has enabled the opaque disbursement of public funds without the necessary oversight from neither other government institutions nor the public. The result has been a troubling rise in nepotism and non-scrutinized access to state funding by the First Lady and some business friends of the president. In subsequent articles of this series, we will continue our examination of the diverse ways the centralization of government revenue mobilization and spending masks non-scrutinized spending and financial waste.

We have published on the Africanist Press website sample of correspondences and documents to illustrate the evidence upon which this analysis is based. See additional details here:

Bukum pure Drinking Water Takes the Lead

By Emmanuel A. Bangura.

In an exclusive interview with the General Manager of Bukum Pure Drinking Water, Mr. Mohammed Boku, revealed  to this medium the number of  progress being made by the company.

He said, since the establishment of Bukum pure drinking water Company in 2015, the nation has been experiencing unique service delivery in every capacity.

He said Bukum pure drinking water Company, is best known for quality, healthy water production, and best service delivery to customers, it’s maintaining global standards to the highest pick. Mr. Mohamed, intimated that standard beau, and the ministry of health had been monitoring them on countless occasions and the company has been conclusively rated as one of the best across Sierra Leone.

He stated that, the company is not only making profits, but helping peoples as they believed in business because the company is always seeking the welfare of community.

“The company has he said has contributed relentlessly towards the growths in the community operations, addressing major issues affecting the lives of the people and embarking on general cleaning exercise after every two to three weeks in ensuring a healthy community,  Creating job opportunities with a clear aim of sustaining families directly and indirectly targeting the mercies”. He said.

Bukum pure drinking water company is among the few private companies that have been honored in terms and conditions of government as the company pays all dues for it staff.

He called on government to improve the area of water sector to become standard in the country and   all costumers to continue to do business with the company.  

President Weah Congratulates ECOWAS Parliament’s Newly Inducted Speaker

Pres. Weah: “Please be assured of my unwavering support at any and all times and I avail myself as your Ambassador at the Authority of Heads of State and Government.”

Monrovia– President George Weah has pledged his unwavering support to the new Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidi Mohammed Tunis following his election and installation ceremony held on Monday, March 9 2020.

Tunis is the Leader of Government Business representing the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament.

In his congratulatory message, President Weah pointed out that Hon. Tunis’ ascendancy comes at a time when the West African region is grappling with “scores of different issues ranging from political, economic and threat from the coronavirus disease,” which has been reported in two member states – Nigeria and Senegal.

President Weah, who once served as head of the Liberian delegation to the regional parliamentary bloc when he was as a Senator, expressed hope that the new Speaker will rise up to the occasion and availed himself as his (Tunis) Ambassador at the Authority of heads of State and Government.

“Notwithstanding the challenges, I am confident that with your credential and a hopefully proactive 5th Legislature over which you now preside, much energy will be exerted at addressing the problems that characterize our states and transformative vision will be delivered for our sub-region,” President Weah said in his congratulatory message to Speaker Tunis.

“Please be assured of my unwavering support at any and all times and I avail myself as your Ambassador at the Authority of Heads of State and Government.”

President Weah, in his communication, also lauded Speaker Tunis’ predecessors including Mustapha Cisse Lo, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Mahamane Ousmane and Professor Ali Nouhoum Diallo for their “great work” in giving the Parliament the much-needed visibility and enhanced power.

Hon. Tunis replaced Mustapha Cisse Lo of Senegal and effectively confirmed that Sierra Leone has succeeded Senegal for the position which is rotational and based on alphabetical order.

Pledge to Promote Peace

Meanwhile, in his inaugural address at an elaborate ceremony in the Niamey, the Capital of Niger, Speaker Tunis pledged to work diligently with the Authority of Heads of State to promote peace in the sub-region.

“Mindful of Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Mmanagement, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security adopted in Lomé on 10th December 1999, we shall diligently work with the Authority of Heads of State and Government and Council of Ministers to ensure that our sub-region is safe, secure and prosperous,” he said.

He recounted that over the past two decades, ECOWAS, working with other global institutions, have done a lot to keep the peace of the region.

“Peacekeepers from our nations left their families, served, and in several instances, fought and died to protect vulnerable populations of our community. We have spent a lot of resources on peacekeeping operations and the trend continues today in certain parts of our Community. The responsibility is ours to jealously protect the peace we enjoy today and work tirelessly to bring to end instabilities in our region,” he said.

Speaking further, he promised to assist the ECOWAS Commission in its integrated economic activities by providing the much-needed oversight in the areas of industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, youth empowerment and monetary and financial issues.

Hon Tunis’ ascendancy marks the first time that Sierra Leone is occupying the position of Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament since its establishment in 2002.

He is expected to serve until 2024, when Togo will be next in line to succeed Sierra Leone.

It can be recalled that President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leonean Parliamentary delegation endorsed Speaker Tunis at the Extra-Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia in September 2019.

President Bio, in a televised message to Members of the ECOWAS Parliament which was played at the Extra-Ordinary Session, said, “I have known him for several years and he served in several leadership positions in this country,” adding that “I know his wealth of knowledge he will bring to the table to make ECOWAS Parliament a better institution than it is currently.”

 ACC Visit Sierra Leone Correctional Service

Two representatives from the Anti Corruption Commission came to look at what the SLCS has done in terms of implementing the Commission’s recommendations, detailed in its 2010 report, of the SLCS.

Their areas of focus are:

▪️Finance unit

▪️Review of the Prisons Rules

▪️Human Resources Office

▪️Procurement

▪️Fleet

▪️Stores

The ACC said it will be awarding grades to best performing MDAs at the end of their evaluation.

One of the representatives from the ACC informed that _the ACC’s approach is a corruption- prevention one.

Mr. Dennis Harman, who is the Deputy Director General of the SLCS, assured the ACC of the Department’s full support in aiding them with needed information or documents.

The DDG added that the SLCS had nothing to hide in its cupboard, emphasizing that “the ACC is always welcome to do its work with us”

We Can’t Trust the SLPP’s ‘Process’ Anymore

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

There are several facts about life which are actually facts in themselves. But there are several lies and propagandistic half-truths that can never be whitewashed as facts—no matter from which source, or sources, it comes, or they come, from. For example, it is a fact that “it is impossible to lick your elbow”. And it is also a fact that, “you can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.”

But the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) appears to be telling Sierra Leoneans that it is possible for them to lick their elbows, and also that if they want to commit suicide because of the current chronic economic hardship in the country they can hold their breaths. After having made the “we inherited a broken economy” a clichéé; propagandists and “drunkardnomists” of the SLPP came up with another jargon which has now become another hackneyed phraseology: “Trust the process.” They asked us to trust a process that seems to be promoting tribalism, nepotism, and regionalism. They asked us to trust a process that appears to be hyper-heartless than benevolent in its modus operandi. And they asked us to trust a process which was initiated and implemented by clueless administrators with warped village mentality despite having been abroad for donkey’s years (or “ears” for the sake of punning)!

Yet like cattle being led to the abattoir or a lamb that is silent before her shearers, hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans did not open their mouths (to paraphrase Isaiah 53:7) when the SLPP came with their directionless “New Direction”. But majority of Sierra Leoneans employed the wait-and-see attitude; hoping against hopes that theirs might be much better than those they inherited “the broken economy” from.

Since then, Sierra Leoneans have been “trusting the process” which the SLPP say will solve the “bread and butter issues”. They have been “trusting the process” that the ruling elite say will obliterate all the negative “isms” which have now permeated the entire country. They have trusted a process which is unable to pay workers’ salaries on time but able to provide per diems for the President and his large entourages each and every time they want to go and look for investors abroad. And Sierra Leoneans have trusted a process which has now pauperized majority of them thrice as they were twelve years ago. 

Close to two years now, President Julius Maada Bio and his team appear to be still groping in the dark, trying to look for the magic wand to solve “the bread and butter issues” for ordinary Sierra Leoneans. And each time they asked us to “trust the process”, that phrase becomes insultingly insulting to our ears. It is insulting because we, majority of Sierra Leoneans, now know that the only thing that is trustworthy about the SLPP is its untrustworthiness!     

Recently, the Public Financial Management (PFM) consortium launched the “Tax Perception Survey Report” in Freetown. It is reported that, “almost all tax payers targeted in the survey said the… authorities in charge of state resources are mismanaging the country’s revenue”. Such a concern is not lost on Sahr L. Jusu, the Financial Secretary of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who in his response on behalf of the Ministry of Finance to the 2018 Auditor General’s Report states that, “the Auditor General, like in many other institutional audits—particularly audit of public accounts across the world, has raised serious concerns of loss of revenue of Le140.9 billion (about $14.0 million)…”

Indeed, tax payers have all the reasons to be troubled about how their taxes are being spent, considering the meteoric rags-to-riches stories of most if not all of those in the Bio administration. Tax payers may be right to allege that the country’s revenues are being mismanaged when they take into consideration the video on social media in which the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa aka JJ Blood, is seen gleefully splashing newly printed banknotes on a local female musician as if to provoke Sierra Leoneans to anger!

And that Jacob Jusu Saffa’s reckless spraying of newly printed banknotes, on that local female musician, comes in the wake of rumors circulating on social media that, “cheques for February salaries for Civil Servants and Public Sector workers were returned to the Finance Ministry by the Bank of Sierra Leone”. This just shows the state of the country’s economy and what lies ahead of Sierra Leone with the current captains steering the ship of state.

And as if to pour sand on poor people’s “dry gari”, on Sunday social media was again bespattered with an investigative story by the online “www.africanistpress.com” in which it is being alleged that, “the existing disparities in the national salary structure and the payroll have widened since [President Julius] Maada Bio assumed power two years ago….Quite shockingly, most political appointees in these new categories are placed in positions where they earn monthly salaries that are, in most cases, between a 50–100% the total combined annual salaries of ten or twenty of the subordinate and ancillary staff in their respective departments. In the Office of the Financial Secretary, for example, we discovered that of the seven listed staff, the Financial Secretary and Senior Financial Secretary both earn monthly wages, the combined total of which is five times more than the aggregate annual gross pay of all five-ancillary staff in their department for a ten year pay period…”

If such an allegation is true, then Sierra Leoneans do not need Albert Einstein to tell them why things are, generally, the way they are in the country. If you add the salaries of all political appointees, coupled with the per diems for the President and his large entourages, and do a little arithmetic of the monies spent on the Nollywood-like projects of the First Lady; then even if Angel Gabriel comes down from Heaven and tells us that things are the way they are in Sierra Leone because the SLPP “inherited a broken economy”, we will categorically tell Angel Gabriel to tell that to Lucifer!

Sierra Leone has reached that stage in her history in which even if the propagandists and “drunkardnomists” of the SLPP say that the SLPP National Headquarters are situated at Wallace-Johnson Street in Freetown; many Sierra Leoneans would still be skeptical about whether that is true or not. For many of my compatriots; the current SLPP government seems to be a personification of a fraud wrapped in deceit and delivered on a platter of propagandistic half-truths!

The Wuhan Coronavirus and the Bible’s Prophesied Disease Pandemics

BY JEREMIAH JACQUES

“If things go on like this, we will all be doomed,” said a woman identifying herself as Xiaoxi, in an interview over the weekend with the South China Morning Post. “People just keep dying; no one is taking care of the bodies.”

Xiaoxi’s husband is among the 7,600 people across China who are confirmed to be infected by a new pneumonia-like illness called the 2019-nCoV, or Wuhan Coronavirus.

 The illness is named after the central Chinese city of Wuhan where it originated and after the halo- or corona-like shape of the microorganism.

Experts say Wuhan is milder than other illnesses in the coronavirus family, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (mers). But it is still deadly dangerous: As of Thursday morning, the official number of dead as a result of the virus stood at 170. And authorities expect the numbers of infected and dead to continue to mushroom.

Fear that the rates will rise is largely because before Wuhan and its suburbs were placed on lockdown, some 5 million people are believed to have left Wuhan for other parts of China and the world. These individuals are potentially carrying the deadly virus to all corners of the world. And cases have already been confirmed in recent days in Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In the United States, the fifth case was confirmed on January 26, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an additional 50 people in 22 states are under observation.

The Wuhan Coronavirus is spreading, and the Chinese National Health Commission has said its ability to do so grows stronger with time.

The official story from the Chinese government is that the virus originated from a Wuhan wet market where animals that ordinarily wouldn’t interact with each other—koalas, wolf puppies, snakes, rats, peacocks, foxes, salamanders and dozens more—live in terribly cramped and unhygienic quarters as they wait to be slaughtered and sold as food for people. The authorities say circumstances at this market gave rise to trans-species mutations of pathogens that were eventually able to leap from animals to humans.

But a study released on January 24 shows that the first three infections, documented in early December, were not connected to the Wuhan wet market. Nor were 11 others of the 41 cases analyzed. This indicates that the true cause of the virus may still be unknown, that the strain that infects humans emerged earlier than official reports say, and that it then remained undetected for an unknown duration.

One factor complicating efforts to contain the spread is that the virus has shown itself to be transmissible before any symptoms appear. This means carriers often do not realize they are infected until after they have transmitted it to others. Scientists at Imperial College London calculate that each individual infected by Wuhan has gone on to spread it to two or three other people. And they calculate the death rate around 1 in 50, which is comparable to the rate of the Spanish Flu in the United Kingdom. Worldwide, the Spanish Flu killed as much as 5 percent of Earth’s total population—a higher percentage than died in World War ii.

So it is easy to see why much of China has gone into emergency mode, with 15 cities—a combined population of 57 million people—having been placed under lockdown. Even as far away as Shanghai, hundreds of miles from Wuhan, businesses are shut down and schools are closed until the illness can be contained.

In the U.S., the government is advising its citizens to “reconsider travel” to China. Several other countries have suspended tourism from China altogether, and others are evacuating their citizens from infected areas. Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan have closed their borders with China. The World Health Organization said the worldwide risk from Wuhan is high, and global markets are beginning to falter over fears of a possible pandemic.

Much remains unknown, and it is possible that the efforts to contain the Wuhan Coronavirus will keep it from snowballing into a worldwide catastrophe. But Bible prophecy says devastating disease pandemics are on the horizon.

The biblical book of Revelation is about “things which shall be hereafter,” or occurrences that would happen after the era of the Apostle John (Revelation 1:19). In Revelation 6, John was inspired to write about the “seven seals” that lead up to the return of Jesus Christ. The first four are often called the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.” They represent religious deception, war, famine and disease (verses 1-8).

Regarding the fourth horse and its rider, John writes: “I looked, and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him …” (verse 8; International Standard Version).

This is a personification of disease epidemics—sickly, haunting and unyielding. The passage says that along with the other three riders, the anemic-looking horseman that represents disease will slay “the fourth part of the earth.” With today’s population of 7.7 billion, that figure would come to almost 2 billion.

Revelation 6:8 also connects the pale green horse to “the beasts of the earth.” Trumpet contributor Fred Dattolo addressed this connection in 2005, writing that in addition to instances of starving animals attacking people, this passage “can also refer to animal-borne disease that passes on to humans,” as may have played a role in the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Revelation is not the only biblical book to mention an end-time return of disease epidemics. Jesus Christ Himself said outbreaks of pestilence would occur prior to His return: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be … pestilences … in divers places” (Matthew 24:7; see also Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:11).

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry and Wayne Turgeon cowrote about the impending return of disease pandemics in their booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, stressing that these prophecies are for the present age. “We are not discussing some dusty old prophecies,” they write. “These are dramatic, dire prophecies that lie directly in front of us! … Multiple millions of people will perish from sickness and disease ….”

They continue: “[E]ven in the 21st century, despite better medicine and technology, the threat to all societies looms large on the horizon. Even old diseases from world wars fought over 75 years ago are making a silent but deadly return.”

Mr. Flurry and Mr. Turgeon explain that although these points to a dark and devastating future, the Bible makes plain that God will provide a route of escape for those who will turn to and rely on Him. “The future appears very bleak,” they write. “But there is a way of escape (Revelation 12:13-17). God will hear and forgive anyone who will repent. The only ones promised divine protection are those few who have yielded to God and His way of life.”

The Scriptures reveal that, whether the Wuhan Coronavirus fizzles out or not, the gains against disease that mankind has made in recent generations will soon be lost. The pale horseman is not finished riding. But each person could have some say as to whether he or she will be in his path or not.

Does the corona virus spread person-to-person?

Yes, the virus can spread from one person to another, most likely through droplets of saliva or mucus carried in the air for up to six feet or so when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Viral particles may be breathed in, land on surfaces that people touch, or be transferred when shaking hands or sharing a drink with someone who has the virus.

Often it’s obvious if a person is ill, but there are cases where people who do not feel sick have the virus and can spread it.

Basic steps for avoiding flu and other infections — including steps for hand washing shown in this video and avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes — are likely to help stop the spread of this virus. The CDC has a helpful list of preventive steps.

Quarantines and travel restrictions now in place in many counties, including the US, are also intended to help break the chain of transmission. Public health authorities like the CDC may recommend other approaches for people who may have been exposed to the virus, including isolation at home and symptom monitoring for a period of time (usually 14 days), depending on level of risk for exposure. The CDC has guidelines for people who have the virus to help with recovery and prevent others from getting sick.

What is the incubation period for the coronavirus?

An incubation period is the time between being exposed to a germ and having symptoms of the illness. Current estimates suggest that symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear around five days on average, but the incubation period may be as short as two days to as long as 14 days.

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

Fever, dry cough, and trouble breathing are the common symptoms of COVID-19. There have been some reports of gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) before respiratory symptoms occur, but this is largely a respiratory virus.

Those who have the virus may have no obvious symptoms (be asymptomatic) or symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In some cases, the virus can cause pneumonia and potentially be life-threatening.

Most people who get sick will recover from COVID-19. Recovery time varies and, for people who are not severely ill, may be similar to the aftermath of a flulike illness. People with mild symptoms may recover within a few days. People who have pneumonia may take longer to recover (days to weeks). In cases of severe, life-threatening illness, it may take months for a person to recover, or the person may die.

Can people who are asymptomatic spread coronavirus?

A person who is asymptomatic may be shedding the virus and could make others ill. How often asymptomatic transmission is occurring is unclear.

Can the coronavirus live on soft surfaces like fabric or carpet? What about hard surfaces?

How long the new coronavirus can live on a soft surface and more importantly, how easy or hard it is to spread this way isn’t clear yet. So far, available evidence suggests it can be transmitted less easily from soft surfaces than frequently-touched hard surfaces, such as a doorknob or elevator button.

According to the WHO, coronaviruses may survive on surfaces for just a few hours or several days, although many factors will influence this, including surface material and weather.

That’s why personal preventive steps like frequently washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and wiping down often-touched surfaces with disinfectants or a household cleaning spray, are a good idea.

Should I wear a face mask to protect against coronavirus? Should my children?

Follow public health recommendations where you live. Currently, face masks are not recommended for the general public in the US. The risk of catching the virus in the US is low overall, but will depend on community transmission, which is higher in some regions than in others. Even though there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, most people are more likely to catch and spread influenza (the flu). (So far this season, there have been nearly 30 million cases of flu and 17,000 deaths.)

Some health facilities require people to wear a mask under certain circumstances, such as if they have traveled from areas where coronavirus is spreading, or have been in contact with people who did or with people who have confirmed coronavirus.

If you have respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing, experts recommend wearing a mask to protect others. This may help contain droplets containing any type of virus, including the flu, and protect close contacts (anyone within three to six feet of the infected person).

The CDC offers more information about masks. The WHO offers videos and illustrations on when and how to use a mask.

Should someone who is immunocompromised wear a mask?

If you are immunocompromised because of an illness or treatment, talk to your doctor about whether wearing a mask is helpful for you in some situations. Advice could vary depending on your medical history and where you live. Many people will not need to wear a mask, but if your healthcare provider recommends wearing one in public areas because you have a particularly vulnerable immune system or for other reasons, follow that advice.

Should I accept packages from China?

There is no reason to suspect that packages from China harbor COVID-19. Remember, this is a respiratory virus similar to the flu. We don’t stop receiving packages from China during their flu season. We should follow that same logic for this novel pathogen.

Can I catch the coronavirus by eating food prepared by others?

We are still learning about transmission of COVID-19. It’s not clear if this is possible, but if so it would be more likely to be the exception than the rule. That said, COVID-19 and other coronaviruses have been detected in the stool of certain patients, so we currently cannot rule out the possibility of occasional transmission from infected food handlers. The virus would likely be killed by cooking the food.

Should I travel on a plane with my children?

Keep abreast of travel advisories from regulatory agencies and understand that this is a rapidly changing situation. The CDC has several levels of travel restrictions depending on risk in various countries and communities.

Of course, if anyone has a fever and respiratory symptoms, that person should not fly if at all possible. Anyone who has a fever and respiratory symptoms and flies anyway should wear a mask on an airplane.

Is there a vaccine available for coronavirus?

No vaccine is available, although scientists are working on vaccines. In 2003, scientists tried to develop a vaccine to prevent SARS but the epidemic ended before the vaccine could enter clinical trials.

Is there a treatment available for coronavirus?

Currently there is no specific antiviral treatment for this new coronavirus. Treatment is therefore supportive, which means giving fluids, medicine to reduce fever, and, in severe cases, supplemental oxygen. People who become critically ill from COVID-19 may need a respirator to help them breathe. Bacterial infection can complicate this viral infection. Patients may require antibiotics in cases of bacterial pneumonia as well as COVID-19.

Antiviral treatments used for HIV and other compounds are being investigated.

There’s no evidence that supplements, such as vitamin C, or probiotics will help speed recovery.

How is this new coronavirus confirmed?

A specialized test must be done to confirm that a person has COVID-19. Most testing in the United States has been performed at the CDC. However, testing will become more available throughout the country in the coming weeks.

How deadly is this coronavirus?

We don’t yet know. However, signs suggest that many people may have had mild cases of the virus and recovered without special treatment.

The original information from China likely overestimated the risk of death from the virus. Right now it appears that the risk of very serious illness and death is less than it was for SARS and MERS. In terms of total deaths in the United States, influenza overwhelmingly causes more deaths today than COVID-19.

What should people do if they think they have coronavirus or their child does? Go to an urgent care clinic? Go to the ER?

If you have a health care provider or pediatrician, call them first for advice. In most parts of the US, it’s far more likely to be the flu or another viral illness.

If you do not have a doctor and you are concerned that you or your child may have coronavirus, contact your local board of health. They can direct you to the best place for evaluation and treatment in your area.

Only people with symptoms of severe respiratory illness should seek medical care in the ER. Severe symptoms are rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, high or very low temperatures, confusion, trouble breathing, severe dehydration. Call ahead to tell the ER that you are coming so they can be prepared for your arrival.

Can people who recover from the coronavirus still be carriers and therefore spread it?

People who get COVID-19 need to work with providers and public health authorities to determine when they are no longer contagious.

OVER INVESTOR APPEAL…..

JUDICIARY DRAG FOOT

By Foday Jalloh

The sierraleone ignors investor appeal, case.

Judiciary of Sierra Leone is currently upholding the appeal case of a Sierra Leonean investor, Danny saad who owns the Samjana Pharmacy.

This man happens to appeal against a ruleing that was made against him by justice brown mark, since 12th January 2014, stating the judgment is against the weight of the evidence.

Samjana pharmacy, Danny Saad been the proprietor takes the Sierra Leone Ritcorp Company has to pay him a total of thirty thousand dollars.

He was supply the company drugs RITCROP they fail to pay him, after several diplomatic negotiations they fail to comply, I have no option to seek redress from the court which I was expecting a proper redress, but to no avail, Danny Saad said.

With the judgment from the high court I have now move to the appeal court for over five years now the appeal court is still upholding to my appeal case, I am calling on for government intervention so that I will gain justice and move on with my business, over thirty two years now I have been in medical business bring medicine in this country both on retail and whole sales.           

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