AKI-SAWYER’S LEGAL TEAM PUT UP DEFENCE

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Former ACC Commissioner and Attorney General of the then Koroma led government, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara and team have defended the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr. It could be recalled that Her Worship recently came under pressure when an audio of hers was leaked. Leftists and other nationals viewed and classed the audio as tribal and not nationalistic. It is against this backdrop that JFK and Partners have stepped up to defend the mayor noting that Her Worship’s actions were as a result of the ‘unwillingness of an officer to execute assigned tasks.’

The defense furthered that the Mayor has been diligent, competent and energetic in the dispensation of her duties.

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3RD Setback For Mid-term Census

 

Statistic SL has faced another setback for three times in a row regarding the conduct of the mid-term census. The enumeration institution is charged with the mandate of counting the total number of residents in a country alongside their professions, career or source of livelihoods.

 

In a press statement dated on the 16 April, 2021 stated the On the 21st July the president of the republic of Sierra Leone (Retired) Dr. Julius Maada Bio proclaim a 2020 mid-Term population and housing census (MTPHC), to be conducted by statistics sierra Leone.

The release continued that the enumeration, which was to commence on 4th December, 2020, was reversed to 19th April, 2021 as contained in the stats SL press release of October20, 2020.

The press statement also said that meanwhile, preparatory work, including the electronic cartographic mapping using satellite imagery and EA pad application for demarcation of Enumeration Area (EAs) is in progress.

Furthermore, the 20,000 tablets identified for the process have now formally being issued to Sierra Leone on the 1st April, 2021 by His Excellency the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, and subsequently handed over to the Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya on the 7th April, 2021.

The press release further stated that arrangement for the shipment of the tablets is underway with support of our development partners and stats SL is therefore informing the public that the delay in the shipment of twenty thousand (20,000) electronic tablet from Kenya to Sierra Leone, has affected the time lines in the conduct of the census. Therefore, enumeration of the population slated for the 19th April 2021 can no longer hold.

 A new date for the actual census enumeration will soon be announced by Stats SL.

 In conclusion, Stats SL encouraged the public to support the census process as they continue to assure the people of transparency, trust, inclusion and credibility at all stages. Therefore, Stats SL and her partners assure the public of their firm commitment to the execution of the 2021 mid-term population and housing census.

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On the 2021 National Mid-Term Census

In fairness to Statistics Sierra Leone and their international partners, they have repeatedly pointed out what is wrong about the 2015 Housing and Population Census Report. It’s all over the place for those who care to listen or read. Let’s face it, the 2015 census had many imperfections, and civil society organizations who diligently followed the process said so long before now. IGR wrote several papers and letters, including one that CARL co-authored, pointing out those gaps. So my current position on this issue has nothing to do with the position of the current administration or the opposition. I disagreed with the quality of the 2015 census long before the report came out and I still do.

Even before the census was done, a DFID-hired consultant produced a report that clearly showed that the process was bound to be fraught with challenges. Instead of standing in the way of efforts to correct the data, we should all participate in and hold the process to account. Let’s interrogate the process – rather than disrupt it. I also note that parliament approved the budget for the mid-term census way back in 2020, which I believe, was a tacit endorsement of the process. See Item 138 of the 2020 Budget. Nat dat make nor to all noise me kin pay attention to:)

I am comforted by the leadership of Statistics Sierra Leone. Professor Mallam O. Sankoh is a stellar professional, and I am confident that he’ll do a good job, but we can all help him do even better. We should stop conflating the need for an accurate census data with how we fear/suspect the government might use it. Let’s take it one step at a time. Let us first correct the data, and we will start a conversation about how it should or should not be used. I’ll be the first to call out the government if the new/revised data was used for purposes other than ensuring fairness in our governance and development system.

 

AFDB Country Manager Meets President  Bio

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  New Country Manager of the African Development Bank (AFDB) Halima Yussuf Hashi, has paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio where she assured of her wealth of experience working in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Uganda and Rwanda.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Patricia Nyanja Laverley, introduced the new AfDB boss as a Tanzanian with more than ten years’ experience at the bank, which had also supported Sierra Leone to stabilise its fiscal imbalances to the national budget between 2019 and 2021.

“With madam Halima Hashi coming on board, we will like to adopt the foundation to operate together. We hope that with her coming we will further deepen partnership with the bank,” she noted.

Madam Hashi thanked President Bio for meeting her despite his busy schedule, saying: “Your Excellency, I am really looking forward to deepening the good working relationship between Sierra Leone and the AfDB. The bank considers Sierra Leone as an important partner”.

She said she was impressed with the country’s handling of the Coronavirus from the inception to the vaccination process, adding that the bank would continue to support the government with its development efforts, particularly in the agriculture and energy sectors.

Executive Director of AfDB, representing Sierra Leone and four other countries on the board of the bank, Madam Kenyeh Barlay, said her role at the bank was to seek the interest of the country and to follow up on the commitment of the bank to the development trajectory of the country. She said the bank was as interested in supporting the agriculture and energy sectors, as it was also looking forward to supporting the Hands Off Our Girls campaign.

President Julius Maada Bio welcomed the new AfDB boss and said the country had enjoyed a cordial relationship with the bank, adding that he looked forward to deepening that and extending the different programmes. He noted that he had an ambitious administration that was working harder to lay a solid foundation for the development of the country.

“The bank has been a friend and supporter in everything that has happened here. Our aim as a government is human capital development. I think that provides the most sustainable and solid foundation for building a nation-state,” he noted.

President Bio said he considered the bank as a vibrant partner that would help reduce employment among the youths in the country.

“As I welcome you, I want to plead with you to help us strengthen that relationship. If we have to be a part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is just but right that we promote education from numeracy to vocational training, to all forms that will develop the human being. So, the human being becomes part of the development of the country,” he averred.

 

Orange Foundation SL Offers Food Items To Disable Women

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By Feima Sesay

Orange Foundation Sierra Leone has on Friday 16 April 2021 Donated assorted food items to over one hundred disable women across the country.

The events took place at the Ministry of Social Welfare Conference room New England Ville Freetown.

The assorted food items includes one hundred bags of  50kg rice, 100 cartoons onion,100  cartoons of medicated soap,100 bags of sugar and 100 gallons of  vegetable cooking oil all to the total valued of Le122 million.

Prior to the handing over ceremony, the Director Orange Foundation SL Jestina Betts in her statement said the donation is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility to the citizens of this country.

“As Orange Foundation, we are very happy to hand over these assorted food items to our sisters and children of this vulnerable community. This means that we are touching their lives and making sure that we continued to support than during difficult period” she stated.

Director Betts underpinned that during the pandemic, the company received a request from DRIM to support disable women which was granted base on the fact that their situation is cause for concern.

She also disclosed that they have been working with communities for some time now on different projects and platforms including the physically challenged adding that they will be doing same to the Deaf & Dumb and Blind school including the Autism community.

She continued that the donation is an evident that Orange does not take their corporate Social Responsibility lightly which is pivotal to the business as a telecommunication company.

Madam Betts underscores that Orange SL has been has been supporting different vulnerable groups, partnering with different Organization, Corporate Institutions and that of government MDAs.

She added that in 2015, their company collaborated with the ministry of Social Welfare in supporting 50 Ebola Orphans that were taken to SOS home for care in Freetown, Makeni and Bo.

Orange Foundation and SOS are jointly financing the welfare of the kids until the turn 18 years.

She reiterated that as a company, they are happy to give back to society through vulnerable communities.

Whiles concluding hope that the food items will be utilized for the intended purposes for which it was requested as it will meet them at their point of need.

Receiving the items on behalf of DRIM, the Minister of Social Welfare Madam Baindu Dassama Kamara thank Orange Foundation for such a gesture describing it as timely.

She further expressed gratitude to DRIM noting that so many other organizations have been receiving similar gifts on behalf of persons with disability but they have not been benefiting from it.

According to her, the ministry is working hard to ensure that all the disable are remove from the street of Freetown.

She said they are working in collaboration with government with help from other organizations, adding that the ministry have already received some items and are presently working on a scale of training them including those that are already trained and take them to the different areas they are coming from.

“The life that these disable lives in the street is painful and unfortunate” she expressed.

The minister however admonished them to utilize the food items wisely and not to sell them. She added that the ministry appreciate all the help that has been coming from Orange SL and therefore encourage them to continue working with the ministry by helping to support the lively hood of persons living with disability.

She urged the disable to take advantage of the Free Quality Education noting that the ministry has ensure that all the new schools that are built now are disable friendly. In conclusion thank Orange Foundation SL on behalf of the President.

Executive Director of  DRIM Mr. Vandi  Konneh  applauded Orange Foundation for responding to his requested as he said been working with Orange for a very long period, adding that perseverance always produce good result.

He disclosed that he is impressed with the strategies of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

According to him the proposal was for the company to support 200 women with disability in Freetown, Bo, Bonth and Lunsar that will enable them to do business.

He reiterated that the food items are purely for women with disability in Freetown, Bo, Lunsar and Bonth.

He encouraged Orange Foundation to continue the good work for the development of the country.

He assured the foundation that the items will be distributed accordingly

Teenager Gets 5 Years Sentence for Rape

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Justice Momoh-Jah Stevens

Justice Momoh-Jah Stevens (JA) sitting at the Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown has sentenced 16-year-old Alie Bongo to 5 years imprisonment for sexually penetrating a child.

The convict was tried by a judge alone after an application for same made by State Counsel Jenneh B. Kamara was granted.

The Prosecution had alleged that the accused person on a date unknown between the 1st and 29th February 2020, in the Western Area of Freetown, engaged in an act of sexual penetration with a child contrary to the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012 as repealed and replaced by Section 4 (a)  (i) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act No. 8 of 2019.

During the trial, the Prosecution led in evidence 4 witnesses including the victim and her mother.

In her evidence in chief, the 5-year-old victim who’s a Nursery two pupil told the Court that the accused Bongo forcefully sexually penetrated her.

She noted that she was taken by the accused to one Uncle A Boys’ room where the sexual assault on her took place, adding that she told one FA (her sister) about the incident and the matter was later reported to the police station.

At the close of the prosecution’s case, the accused also called witnesses in his defense.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Momo-Jah Stevens said: “I clearly see corroboration in the case of the Prosecution. I have the conviction that the Prosecution has proven its case beyond reasonable doubt. The offender is guilty as charged.”

After the plea in mitigation by defense Counsel, Justice Stevens sentenced the convict to 5 years imprisonment and further ruled that, “because the offender is presently 16 years of age, he will serve the sentence at the Approved School until he attains the age of 18 and in so attaining 18, the offender shall be transferred to the Correctional Centre to serve the remaining years.”

Fatal Shooting at Hastings Leaves One Dead

 

Almost 24 hours after the incident at Hastings Village in the country’s Western Rural Area, the Sierra Leone Police, as promised last night when i visited the Police Training School, (PTS) have put out a statement confirming the death of Alpha Kargbo one of the parties to the land dispute.

The mood was somber, residents of the village gathered in small groups conversing about yesterday’s incident. An eye witness account states that a certain man (now identified as Alpha Kargbo) went up to his land after receiving a call from someone who was already at the land site.

Upon arrival an argument ensued, tempers flared, leading to two fatal shots from police officers from the Operational Support Division of the SLP. Alpha Kargbo died shortly the eye witness narrated.

This story was corroborated by a short video recording of the event by an onlooker.

According to the police statement the personnel responsible for the fatal shooting have been suspended from duty and placed on administrative and criminal investigations.

Thirteen people were arrested; the police officers named in the fatal shooting were also arrested and are in custody.

The Police have appealed to the public to remain calm and trust the conduct of fair and expeditious investigations into the incident.

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HRCSL Blames Ministry of Sports & SLFA For Suspending Contestants

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has delivered the decision of the Commission on a complaint filed before it on 14th February 2020 between the complainants Rodney Michael, Nasiru Deen Othman and Abdul Kanasieu Rollings against the Ministry of Sports and the Sierra Leone Football Association today Friday 16th April 2021.

The complaint against the Respondents alleged violation of their rights to fair hearing and their rights to freedom of assembly and association as football stakeholders following their suspension from all football activities in July 2014.

Representative of the Ministry of Sports in the person of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adikali Samura told the Commission that the Minister of Sports had no issues with the complainants.

Meanwhile, Chris Kamara, General Secretary of SLFA who represented SLFA denied allegations against them and stated that an Investigation Committee was set up to look into allegations by the complainants but they refused to attend the proceedings on grounds that the Committee was illegal.

In order to reach a decision on the complaint, the Commission examined three key issues for determination; right to fair hearing, right to freedom of association and entitlement to any remedy by the complainants if both rights stated above were found to have been violated.

Based on the evidence provided the Commission found that the Ministry of Sport and SLFA breached due processes in suspending the complainants as they failed to inform them of any wrong doing in the press release dated 10th March 2015 that suspended them, nor did they give the complainants the opportunity to be heard for any alleged wrongdoing thereby violating the principle of natural justice and rights to fair hearing contrary to Section 23(2) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 and Article 20 of the UDHR, article 22 of the ICCPR and article 10 of ACHPR.

 

The Commission also ruled that the Ministry of Sports failed in its supervisory responsibility to ensure that SLFA lift the suspension imposed on Rodney Michael and the two others as was instructed by the same Ministry in March 2015 and the said suspension prevented the complainants from participating in football activities organized by SLFA. That the SLFA by refusing these football stakeholders to participate in activities and events of SLFA was a violation of their rights to freedom of assembly and association contrary to Section 26(1) of the 1991 Constitution

Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone therefore ordered the Ministry of Sport and SLFA to apologize to Rodney Michael and the two others, officially lift the suspension, expedite hearing of the allegations on Nasiru Deen Othman, and compensate all three for loss of earnings and psychological hardship suffered from July 2014 to December 2020.

The Commission reserves the right to invoke Section 8(1) (c) of the HRCSL Act of 2004 and Rule 60 of the Complaints, Investigation and Inquiries Rule of 2008 both of which give power to the Commission to refer persons to the High Court for contempt for failure to comply with the Commission’s decisions, directives and/or orders.

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