AMIDST FINANCIAL INSTABILITY

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ROKEL BANK HITS LE83B PROFIT

The Bank of Sierra Leone has released the 2020 audited financial statements of the Rokel Commercial Bank and the report shows that the bank has hit another significant milestone in its transformational trajectory.

The bank has recorded a profit (before tax) of 83, 566, 323 Billion Leones, (Eighty Three Billion, Five Hundred and Sixty Six Million, Three Hundred and twenty three thousand Leones). This  represents  a 5% increase from its 79, 439,041 Billion Leones profit in 2019.

These enviable profit margins have been made possible in the midst of  a COVID-19 ridden economy. Thanks to an efficient and effective management system put in place by the government of Sierra Leone. With very impressive prudential statistics in the last three years, the  bank is now rated among the fastest growing banks in Sierra Leone and the sub region

The bank’s retained earnings increased from Le966M in 2019 to Le 44Billion in 2020.  This in effect means the bank is now extremely financially stable and has significantly cleared off its retained loses.

Additional Duty for Justice Browne-Marke

The Chairman of the Criminal Procedure Act Review Committee, Honourable Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke (JSC) on 31st May 2021, chaired a multi-stakeholder planning meeting aimed at the final review of the Criminal Procedure Bill.

The Supreme Court Judge, N.C. Browne-Marke, was nominated by the Hon. Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards to head the Committee since he had been involved in the review process from its inception in 2010.

Speaking at the meeting facilitated by the Justice Sector Coordinating Office (JSCO) at the Special Court Building in Freetown, Hon Justice Browne-Marke lauded the efforts of the JSCO for facilitating the review of the Criminal Procedure Bill.

Identifying the thematic areas the Committee should focus on, Hon. Justice Browne-Marke drew the committee’s attention to how prosecutions are brought in the Courts, who can bring prosecutions in the Courts, how trials are to proceed, what new forms of technology should be allowed in Court proceedings, among others.

He also highlighted issues surrounding Jury trials and how to retain it in its current format or modify it and on Sentencing Guidelines.

In his brief statement, the Coordinator of the JSCO, Shahid M. Korjie, explained that a 2009 policy brief by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) painted a grim picture of Sierra Leone’s criminal justice system.

He noted that the two key recommendations proffered by the ISS policy brief included the need to increase public funding to the sector and review of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1965.

“Over the years, several steps have been taken aimed at enacting the Criminal Procedure Bill, but the process has been characterized by protracted delays even as the country’s criminal justice system needs significant reforms,” he stated.

The Review Committee comprised representatives of the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Law Reform Commission, the Independent Police Complaints Board, the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, and civil society organizations, including the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law and AdvocAid.

Following a very open and enlightening discussion, the participants agreed that the retreat for the final review session will take place from the 24th to 26th June, 2021.

Most of the participants are hopeful that the passing into law of the Criminal Procedure Bill will strengthen the country’s criminal justice service delivery.

 

Fake Police Sergeant Nabbed

 

By Mustapha Dumbuya

The Assistant Superintendent of Police Emmanuel Kelley Dumbuya, Head of Operations Freetown Eastern said on Friday 28th May 2021 that Mohamed Osman Morlai an ASP arrested Mohamed Katta who resides at New London Kossoh Town Freetown impersonating as a police officer with the rank of Sergeant.

Mr. Dumbuya also said that the accused was arrested with a brand new HLX Motorbike with registration number AIP 760 and was brought to the Waterloo Police Station where he was questioned and later detected to be a fake police sergeant.

He pointed that after thorough questioning they were able to retrieve 4 motorbikes from him and that he is still in police custody for further interrogations.

He asserted that they would have brought the accused to the Sierra Leone Police usual press briefing but because of one or two reasons they left him behind.

The Head of Operations concluded that they have a lot of developments that that have taken place and assured the public that he will always work amicably with the public to maintain, enforce law and order and protect the lives of the people.

AIG Amadu Manneh Head of Director of Operations of the Sierra Leone Police said the issue of death fatalities, store breaking and people impersonating the Sierra Leone Police is call for concern.

The Director added that they have received several cases of people impersonating the Sierra Leone Police adding that the public should always work with the SLP to bring such people to book.

He said as a force for good that is responsible to secure, enforce and protect the lives and properties of citizens they will make sure that they do all their best to perform their duties.   

 

Orange Sierra Leone Launches 4G+

   

By Feima Sesay

One of the leading telecommunication companies in Sierra Leone, Orange has launched its 4G+ network in a spectacular event on Friday evening at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.

The launch which brought together significant players in the telecommunications industry marks a significant upgrade to an already fast and reliable 4G broadband service that Orange Sierra Leone launched and rolled out in 2017.

Chief Executive of Orange Sierra Leone, Aminata Kane Ndiaye said during the launch that 50 Orange sites in the capital Freetown have already been configured for the 4G+.

“As always we are very proud of being the leaders in innovation. We are the first to launch the 4G+, we announced it a month ago we started putting up our signs. Most of you have been seeing a plus sign to the 4G and we are happy tonight to unveil the first 50 sites,” Madam Ndiaye said.

With the roll out of the 4G+, the Orange CEO said this has now put Freetown in an exclusive bracket as one of the continent’s cities with the fastest connectivity.

“It is with great pleasure and pride to announce that 4G+ has become a reality in Freetown and under Orange network. It is purely tailored to satisfy your fastest dreams and ambitions and keep you connected even faster to the rest of the world. Freetown now enters in to a very shortlist of African cities with the fastest connectivity,” she said.

The launch of 4G+ now means Orange customers can browse through the internet faster than before. Streaming, downloading and other internet related services will also be at supersonic speed.

Orange has 445 network sites across the country. Before Friday’s launch of the 4G+, this is more than any other telecommunication network in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of Sonatel, the parent company for Orange Sierra Leone, Sekou Daramy said the company has spent up to US$150 million since 2016 to position itself as the biggest and most reliable telecommunications network in Sierra Leone.

“When we arrived in Sierra Leone in 2016, we bought a network, which had at that time 247 active sites, covering with essentially Wi Fi services around 60% of the population. Since then, we have invested more than, let’s say, $150 million over the last years to rapidly increase the coverage and accessibility to a modern telecommunication network for all the population of Sierra Leone,” Daramy said.

“And we have done that in line with international standard of quality of service,” the Sonatel boss added.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Solomon Jamiru congratulated Orange on the launch and committed government’s support to the work the company is doing.

“I am sure with 4G+ we are having supersonic and uninterrupted speed,” the Deputy Minister said.

The theme of the launch was designed around Super Heroes. In a perfectly curated event, three super heroes were dressed in smartly designed green, white and blue super hero costumes which depicted the Sierra Leone flag.

The three super heroes were symbolisms of three key attributes of the 4G+ network; speed, invisibility and power, CEO Ndiaye said.

The event also brough together some of the top inventors in the country allowing them to showcase their work and talent. It was also a display of culture with figures of Sierra Leonean heroes carved and displayed in the hall, in addition to the cultural displays throughout the event.

Mercury Hands Over Le2.7B Childhood Development Centre

   

President Julius Maada Bio has commissioned a Le 2.7 billion Christ the King Pre-Primary School at Moyamba Junction, some 165km from Freetown, built and donated by Mercury International as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.

Managing Director of the company, Martin Michael Esq., said that since 2018 when President Bio launched the Free Quality School Education programme, their organization had contributed immensely toward the construction of schools in many parts of the country.

He added that just in October 2020 Mercury International constructed the Dr. Kadi Sesay Girls Secondary School in Port Loko, the first such institution and a state-of-the-art girls’ school in that northern district headquarter town.

Mr. Michael further stated that materials used to construct the early childhood school at Moyamba Junction were of high quality and met international standards, adding that solar energy was installed in the premises to generate power and make the learning environment comfortable for the kids.

“Early childhood education is the foundation for quality education that will be used for the betterment of any nation. I, therefore, urged all stakeholders to make good use of this opportunity. I thank you very much, the people of Moyamba Junction, for your hospitality,” he concluded.

Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, thanked the benefactors for supporting government’s plan to invest in education, adding that the ministry had worked with other partners to provide all teaching and learning materials to the newly constructed school.

He assured that with funds from the Global Partnership Board, additional 60 classrooms would be constructed in 4 districts, including Moyamba.

“As a ministry, we will continue to support this school here in Moyamba Junction. Thank you very much Mercury International for this great gesture,” he said.

In his statement, President Julius Maada Bio appealed to the private sector and friends, including development partners, to support the government to closely monitor the successes of the project and to replicate it in other parts of the country.

He said his government was placing emphasis on early childhood education because research had shown that school feeding at that level could prevent stunting and wasting, adding that school nutrition would support healthy growth and development.

“This opportunity will also allow kids to learn the values of interacting with people who are different from them and learn to respect those people for who they are. They will learn to work together and help one another learn and play. It also builds their self-esteem and confidence.

“It will help them develop a strong sense of inquiry and a desire to learn and know new things because their strong motivation to learn makes them strong achievers. Their brains and minds develop faster and they also tend to be high achievers in education. Therefore, early education is key in retention, high achievement, and completion in schools,” he stated.

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