Prince Norm:

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A Big Cartel?

Price Norm:

A Big Cartel?

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The Sierra Leone‘s NPPA Chief Procurement Officer, Brima Ibrahim Swarray and other procurement gurus launching the 1st Quarter of the Procurement Price Norm for 2021on February 5, 2021.

Despite the fact that Sierra Leone’s National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) Chief Procurement Officer, Brima Ibrahim Swarray recently launched the NPPA Price Norm that seeks to provide a regular pricing norm for procurement of goods for Das and which according to him is the “bible” to guide Procurement Officers, it is alleged that Brima Ibrahim Swarray is in the habit of allegedly overpricing certain goods in order to get ‘something’ out of the excess amounts.

Several complaints have been leveled alleging that certain Procurement Officers after bloating procurement figures, and they would boast that they have the blessing of Brima Ibrahim Swarray and that therefore, no one can touch them.

In other words, what is actually happening with this Price Norm issue is that it forces MDA Procurement Officers to buy from suppliers at a specific rate. It does not matter whether the value of the Dollar falls the price remains the same. On the other hand, business in most parts of the world is competitive. But the idea of sole sourcing is being used as a conduit to fleece the government of much needed funds and this is the tool most government officials are using to strip the government of funds belonging to the public, said a lecturer of Economics.

“It is the Price Norm that Procurement Officers and their boss the Chief Procurement Officer, Brima Ibrahim Swarrayare using to fleece the country and then when the heat is turned on they want to convince people that the Price Norm was the tool used to determine the price at which the goods were bought which they very well know is not the case because they would have told the suppler the bloated amount they would sell in order for the Procurement Officers and their boss NPPA Chief Procurement Officer, Brima Ibrahim Swarray make millions by the side,” said a major supplier to this press who is fed up with the way and manner Procurement Officers are with impunity fleecing the nation in the guise of using the Price Norm to procure goods for the government.

It is against this background that people are calling on the ACC to investigate the NPPA because it seems to be behaving like a cartel rather than a body set up to save the government from spending extra.

“So how can Sierra Leone’s NPPA Chief Procurement Officer, Brima Ibrahim Swarraytell the nation he has saved the country 91 million dollars when it is now obvious that he has a way of circumventing the Price Norm and putting ill-gotten money into his pockets,” asked an elderly lady who used to work for that department.

DangoteDenies Maltreating Labourers

Mustapha Ezekiel Dumbuya

Mr.SaiduConteh the Human Resources Manager of Dangote Cement Company has explained to this medium that all of the workers at the company are in very good condition.

The manager disclosed that they have two sets of labourers/ workers i.e. permanent staff and contract staff and that all are being paid according to the government`s minimum wage rule.

Mr.Contehadded that the company has a total of 140 staff including 7 foreign nationals, and that all the foreign staff were issued resident and working permits before they started working at the factory, adding that they always make sure of providing good medical health for all the workers.

He revealed that they do not provide supervision over their subcontractors (that are outsourced) labour workers because they are under the supervision of a man power company headed by Sheik Sesay as sole contractor.

He noted that the training of labour workers is for them to have knowledge and to be equipped about their daily operations which commenced recently. He further said that manning the machines for the operations of the company is very minimal.

The HR said that their company has a standing policy with contract workers that when once you are caught stealing, your contract with the company will be terminated,adding that when a worker gets sick without complaining, the employee’s contract will be terminated immediately.

He cited that the Dangote Company has been complying with the area of entitlement of workers by way of paying salariesand NASSIT contributions for workers and by giving them good medical facilities such as donating peak milk to them every month.

The manager concluded that attendance is one of the key issues that is affecting the company as most times employees do not have time for their work but at the end of the month they want their salaries to be paid.

In Sierra Leone most companies flout labour laws and cannot abide by some of the agreementssigned with the government of Sierra Leone before starting operations. But with the likes of Dangote Cement Company, its corporate social responsibility is questionable.

In our investigations, we discovered that this company has marginalised workers without giving them proper entitlements they are supposed to have.

Reports also say that labourer salaries were drastically reduced by the Man Power Agency headed by Sheik Sesay as they are supposed to receive (Le1,800,000) but only receive (Le1,550,000) par month as basic salary.

SLCB CELEBRATES 48 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

Sierra Leoneans have everything to be proud of as they join the nation’s leading commercial financial services provider to celebrate it’s forty-eighth years on Monday February 15, 2021.

SLCB’s journey started after Sierra Leone’s first executive President, Dr. Siaka Probyn Stevens realized the vision of having an indigenous commercial bank that will serve small, medium and big businesses in the country, as well as individual customers.

From those formative years, with Dr. Christian Smith as its first Managing Director, the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited, as its imposing Christian Smith building at Siaka Stevens Street as its Headquarters continue to hold a towering unassailable position in the country’s banking world.

SLCB has the largest number of depositors (corporate and individual); the highest amount of deposits and is the highest profit maker consistently for the past twelve quarters. No other bank has ever achieved so much or come closer in a tightly competitive industry.

The Managing Director, Abdulai Fidelis Turay said SLCB owes its phenomenal success to effective team work among its management, staff at all levels and a very supportive board of directors.

At the mid of the last decade, SLCB decided to take a bold leap forward by incorporating the latest state-of-the-art banking tools, techniques and equipment to leapfrog into a new era of improved service delivery, customer satisfaction in terms of enhanced ease of doing business with the bank that included taking banking to the doorsteps of its customers with the SLCB Banking Kiosks that have proved to be a big relief to the communities of Goderich, Wilberforce and Jui.

As it celebrates 48 years of banking experience, SLCB can afford to hold its head high as it serves Sierra Leoneans in 17 outlets across the country with a dedicated staff that ensures the bank stays true to its core mission of delivering value to all stakeholders.

In maintaining that ethos, SLCB now provides its customers with a wide array of banking apps based banking cards that the customer can from anywhere easily do transactions with the bank. These include Orange Money and Africell Money which enable customers to transfer money from their accounts to their wallets and vice versa.

The bank also offers Western Union, Money Gram, Small World, Swift transfer, Visa card, and other mobile banking services.

Njala University, WHH Sign MoU

Njala University on Friday 12th February 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Welthungerhilfe courtesy of the SLE-1070 ADORE Project for the development of an Organic Agriculture and Certification program at Njala University.

The MoU was signed at the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Njala University by WHH Project Head Ulrike Bongartz accompanied by John Banya and Alex John Bull, Policy and Certification Officers WHH.  Professor Osman Sankoh, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Njala University signed on behalf of Njala University.

The MoU determines the terms and conditions for the development and incorporation of an Organic Agriculture and Certification module into the curriculum of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.

This introduction of the module according to Welthungerhilfe was informed by a curriculum analysis gap of the courses offered at the Njala University’s Premier School-the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.

The overall goal of the project is to stimulate the sustainable growth of the Sierra Leone Cocoa Agri-business sector, build an inclusive partnership between value chain stakeholders at all levels and also promote an enabling policy environment for organic agriculture and value chain and development amongst several others.

Njala University according to the MoU will be fully involved in the development of the Organic Agriculture and Certification module and implement and incorporate the module in the curriculum of the School.

On the part of Welthungerhilfe, they will provide leadership in the activities established in the TOR, facilitate the recruitment of a consultant and provide 100 % funding for the activities of the project.

The scope of the project intends to bring together sector players, experts, and academics to develop content for a new organic and certification curriculum at the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences in the next academic year.

The Key Contact Person for the project Dr.ShekuKanu a lecturer at the Crop Science Department, School of Agriculture, and Njala University noted that the development process of the project will involve three high-level stakeholder workshops.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal Mallam O.welcomed the partnership between Welthungerhilfe and Njala University noting that this was a prerequisite for the growth of Njala University and entreated his staff to work towards bringing the activities of the project to fruition.

The School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Njala University has increasingly provided the much needed expertise and direction to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and other partners working in the sector.

The school is currently partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the National Authorising Officer and the EU funded BAFFS project in hosting the National Comprehensive Soil Survey.

The school is also host to the West African Virus Epidemiology project which is surveying on cassava viruses across West Africa and the Agricultural Value-Chain Development (AVDP) project which had nursed Oil Palm seedlings to the tune of 540,000 for onward distribution to fifteen (15) districts in Sierra Leone.

Professor Mohamed Alieu Bah, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences who also doubles as the Head of Department for Crop Science welcomed the partnership and assured Welthungerhilfe of the cooperation of his staff members. He urged them to build on the already established collaborations with his school to boost the agricultural sector.

Amb. Felix A.Koroma Calls for Forgiveness and Reconciliation

By Mohamed Jalloh

Ambassador Felix Koroma, the Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations under the reign of the APC Koroma led government has made an open appealto his fellow Sierra Leoneans to embrace peace, reconciliation and forgiveness in the interest of the nation.

His message is centered and focused on the political actors at the helm of governance in the country.The Ambassador called on the ruling SLPP party to inculcate the virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation in the interest of national cohesion.

AmbassadorKoromadescribed displeasure as an incendiary rhetoric by politicians who are cultured indemonizing members of the main opposition who have served the nation to the best of their knowledge and ability in different capacities.

 Speaking to this medium, Ambassador Koroma called for the watering down of tension between the two giant political parties in the country –the APC and SLPP.

He expressed concerned over the politicization of the anti-corruption fight, which according to him could be seen as targeting members from a particular region of the country.

The Ambassador said the approach of the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) doesn`t bode well for the unity and tranquility of Sierra Leone.

He underscored the importance of maintaining peace in the nation which was hardly won due to the sacrifice of Sierra Leoneans and the international community.

The Ambassador emphasized on the need for the sanitization of politics and urged politicians to practice decent politics that the younger generation could emulate.

He said no political party is bigger than Sierra Leone, and encouraged politicians to align their actions in a way that could foster national cohesion and respect for the rule of Law.

AmbassadorKoroma admonishes the APC and the SLPP, the two parties that has a reputation for violence to conduct their lower level, constituency and national executive elections in a violence free atmosphere. The ambassador is using his experience as a peace envoy and his diplomatic acumen gained at the United Nations (UN) to spread the message of peace to his fellow citizens.

As a member of the main Opposition APC, he emphasized on the democratic and constitutional rights of members, but went further to remind comrades of their sacred duty of respecting and upholding the values of the party.

He advised that the APC must see herself as a one big family that is united to contest in the 2023 elections, as a man with deep political insight, the Ambassador warned that any division in the party would jeopardize the party`s chances of reclaiming state house.

AmbassadorKoroma said any delegate in the APC party has the freedom to supporting any potential flag bearer but the support must be conducted in a manner that doesn`t jeopardize the chances of the APC of winning the 2023 elections.

“Above all, political activities and maneuvering must be conducted in a violence free atmosphere and citizens must strictly abide to Covid-19 regulations” Ambassador Koroma advised.

In conclusion, Ambassador Felix Koroma expressed determination that the world would defeat the Corona pandemic so as to restore a sense of normalcy in the daily affairs of people by way of conducting political activities that are COVID-19 risk free.

MBSSE Increases GPE Program Utilization Rate From 10% to 36%

The Chief of Education at UNICEF Sierra Leone, Celeste Staley has commended the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) for effectively implementing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) program in Sierra Leone. She said the utilization rate of the GPE program in Sierra Leone has increased from 10% in February 2020 to 36% in January 2021. She described the utilization increase as a great achievement.

GPE provides technical assistance and funding to lower-income country governments, for every girl and boy to have hope and opportunity. In Sierra Leone, UNICEF-SL serves as the GPE Grant Agent.

The UNICEF Chief of Education was speaking at MBSSE’s validation retreat of the GPE Program in Sierra Leone.   The retreat created a platform for government and partners to review and accelerate completion of the GPE Program in the country.

Speaking further, the UNICEF Chief of Education announced to the validation meeting that the GPE is happy with the accomplishment. She added that two years ago GPE was unhappy that only 10% utilization rate was realized, but she said, the current increase achieved in less than a year is a great relief to UNICEF and GPE.

At the end of the validation workshop, Celeste said the exercise was productive. She said key decisions were made as the way forward to accelerate the continued implementation of the GPE Program.

Accounting for the 36% utilization rate, GPE Program Officer at MBSSE Jonathan Kpakiwa said key outputs realized from the utilization rate among several others, are the establishment of 30 Early Childhood Development Centres, in Kambia, PortLoko and Bombali districts (these ECD centres will be ready for commissioning by the end of April 2021), capacity building exercise for 5000 teachers of primary 1 to 3 classes, support to the development of education policies, MBSSE’s system strengthening and the Ministry’s response to COVID 19 through distance learning ( Radio Teaching Program) and a number of nationwide comprehensive safety campaigns, one of which is the Zero schoolgirls pregnancy campaign.

Commenting on the 36% utilization rate of the GPE Program, the GPE Coordinator at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Mr. Amara Sowa said, the Ministry strongly desires to fully implement the GPE Program, and as a result, the leadership of the Ministry invited all the parties and stakeholders involved in the GPE Program to look at the Ministry’s collaboration with UNICEF. Mr. Sowa said that the aim of the validation exercise was to address the challenges faced in the implementation of projects and programs connected with UNICEF and GPE. He said, during the workshop, the Ministry and Partners discussed the factors that have been slowing down the implementation of the program, and further decided on mechanisms and approaches that could make the implementation of the program smooth, fast and efficient.

In his address at the workshop, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David MoininaSengeh noted that, what should be more important to everyone present at the meeting was what would happen after the workshop, which he called “problem solving”. He urged officials of his ministry and partners to be mindful of the quality of results achieved when carrying out field operations to scale-up learning outcomes in schools, and ensure equitable and quality access to education. He encouraged his team to put in the required efforts in order to prevent the challenges highlighted in the validation workshop from showing-up in the next validation exercise

Sierra Leone, Guinea Sign Communique, Commit to Mutual Security, Public Health and Socio-Economic Interests

Conakry, Republic of Guinea, Tuesday 16 February 2021 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has concluded his 2-day working visit to Conakry where the two countries committed to reopening on Thursday 18 Feb the land border that was closed since early last year due to COVID-19. 

The communique states that: “Based on mutual reassurances and enhanced mutual confidence…the President of the Republic of Guinea Professor Alpha Conde has reviewed the security situation in his country and has agreed to reopen its borders with the Republic of Sierra Leone effective from Thursday 18 February 2021 at 8:00 hours GMT”.

“The two leaders also agreed to reactivate the Joint Technical Committee on Yenga, which shall commence sittings in Nongowa, on 3 March 2021. They also agreed to implement the agreement to Joint Border Patrols along the common border areas from 5 March 2021,” the document reads, adding that the two foreign ministers would immediately restart the holding of the Joint Commission of Cooperation meetings between the two countries. 

The communique also contains a raft of bilateral agreements to cooperate with each other on security, defence, public health, ICT, mining, justice, transport, private investments, and cultural exchanges. The Heads of State further pledged to use their good offices to provide the necessary capacity to address the current and emerging public health emergency such as COVID-19 and EBOLA in the two countries.   

“The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the strategies by the two countries in the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirmed their determination to coordinate their efforts in obtaining vaccines for their respective populations,” the document reads.

At the subregional level, President Bio and President Conde welcomed the latest decisions for the return of Mali to constitutional order, in accordance with the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and reiterated their continental commitment to always defend the African interest. 

“They also welcomed the decision of the African Union Heads of State and Government for launching the first operational stage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement…and commended the implementation of the 2063 agenda and other reforms initiated at the African Union,” the communique adds. 

President Bio, whose government delegation also included deputy leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress in Parliament, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo and former APC Minister of Public Affairs, Information and later Mines, Alhaji Alpha SahidBakarKanu, will return today Tuesday 16 February 2021. 

President Alpha Conde Receives President Bio

President Julius Maada Bio has just landed at the Guinea International Airport and was received by his counterpart President Alpha Conde.

President Bio was greeted by host of high-profile dignitaries from both Countries. Sierra Leonean Students and ordinary residents in Guinea were also present to give him a valorous welcome.

A dinner is expected between the two Presidents this evening at Hotel de Kaloum which will be preceded by the signing of a communique which seeks to address the border closure, the Yengah issue amongst others tomorrow morning.

UN WOMEN HAVE COMPELLING ROLE IN UNITED NATIONS REFORMS

…ALIE KABBA

By MOHAMED MASSAQUOI

The President of the Executive Board of UN-Women has called for a compelling role for the global champion of women and girls in UN reforms.

His Excellency AlieKabba was speaking at the First Regular Session of UN-Women Executive Board for 2021 in New York on Monday,15th February 2021.

Dr. Kabba applauded UN-Women on its ability to deliver targets and fulfill its mandate in partnership with Member States, civil society and all gender champions despite current global challenges.

He said 2021would be an important year for UN-Women and its Executive Board as crucial matters such as the next Strategic Plan 2022-2025 will be adopted by the Executive Board at its second regular session of 2021.

“Advancing gender equality and the rights of women and girls is essential to realizing the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said, adding that the multifactorial and entrenched gaps between men and women still exist.

“This is the time for us all to step up and unite around the vision for a more just, inclusive and equitable world. We need inspiring actions around our common purpose with shared responsibility to achieving opportunity for all,” he emphatically stated.

In her opening remarks, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-Women, Madam PhumzileMlambo-Ngcuka, said that engagements with civil society, faith-based organizations and traditional leaders have been about community-driven efforts in Africa, promulgating bylaws to further criminalize harmful practices against women.

“We are playing a part in policy advice in every corner of the world, across the UN system where we are providing gender-sensitive advice, and in all our efforts, working together with our many external partners,” she said, adding that they have supported efforts in more than 60 countries and regional offices to enhance social protection and to promote economic resilience and shared responsibilities in the context of care.

Her Excellency Madam Maria De Jesus Ferreira from Angola, in a statement on behalf of the African Group, said Africa recognizes UN-Women’s efforts across its five outcomes defined in the Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and that the role of UN-Women remains relevant in supporting the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

=OPINION=

TVET: The Right Direction to Grow Sierra Leone’s Economy

By Joseph S. Margai

Over and again, I have heard arguments from economic and social advocates that Sierra Leone had long got it wrong when she neglected the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which would have subsequently contributed immensely to the development the country’s economy.

In my days as a pupil of the St. Theresa Primary School in Mano, Dasse Chiefdom, Moyamba District, Southern Sierra Leone, we used to manufacture locally-made baskets using bamboo canes, and present them as “Arts and Crafts” to our Creative Practical Arts (CPA) teacher, who would in turn grade us according to our craftsmanship.

We could also use metals, tins and cans, wires, among other items, to manufacture locally-made toy vehicles, bicycles, among other automobiles.

Pupils could also use clay to mold traditional containers to store water for drinking purposes.

These were some of the ways that CPA teachers in the early 1990s would identify talented pupils and mentor them to be innovative and creative in the future.

But coming to the mid-2000s, things were no longer the same as they were in the 1990s for the innovative and creative industry.

CPA teachers in the 1990s would always want to ‘catch them young’, thereby heralding a sense of creative and innovative abilities in the minds of the then young Sierra Leonean pupils.

Few years ago, I heard from some parents that their children were being asked by their CPA teachers to take along monies, bars of laundry and bathing soap, or onions, canned tomato, etc., as “Arts and Crafts”.

Such request undermines the development of the creative industry in Sierra Leone.

The bars of laundry and bathing soap were manufactured and imported into Sierra Leone-albeit some of them are manufactured locally-they were not being made by the pupils hence their creative and innovative skills were not tested in any way.

This is one of the reasons that we are still grappling with the influx of idle and jobless youth in our society.

Also, most employers have never been asking for creative employees (those with special skills in carpentry, masonry, etc.) but rather those who have acquired or attained degrees from recognized tertiary institutions.

As a result, most young people have laid emphasis on pursuing degree courses in the university, thereby neglecting the TVET and forgetting that it is a sure way to contribute to the country’s economic growth.

I am not against formal educational system because I am a Fourah Bay College (FBC) graduate but we should not also neglect the TVET system. 

Carpentry, masonry, plumbing, tailoring, mechanical engineering for those in the maintenance garages, gara tie-dyeing, among other creative jobs, must be turned to for job creation. 

But under the ‘New Direction’ administration, things have significantly changed positively for TVET.

President Julius Maada Bio has placed premium on the development of TVET in Sierra Leone.

During the launch of the Skills Development Fund to build the capacity of Milton Margai College of Education and Technology in December 2020, President Julius Maada Bio said, “a skilled and resourceful labour force can unlock rapid national development through relevant training in science, technology, and innovation.”

President Bio said workforce development through basic training, reskilling, and upskilling is the precursor for innovation, manufacturing, and for economic transformation.

In his speech at the State Opening of Parliament in 2019, President Julius Maada Bio noted that his government was increasing access to demand-led skills training and build the foundations for a demand-led skills development system in Sierra Leone.

“We want to increase access to quality skills provisions that will contribute to improving Sierra Leone’s economic competitiveness and the promotion of sustainable and inclusive development,” he said during the State Opening of Parliament in 2019.

President Bio said in the coming years, his government would vigorously pursue the development of a national apprenticeship scheme which can provide internship for trainees of TVET institutes and at the same time provide direct training for youth.

He continued by saying that, “my government is committed to establishing in every district capital one institution that will be fully equipped with modern tools and equipment for technical vocational education and training in areas with high potential for job creation.”

President Bio’s noted, “my government will introduce new short courses for out-of-school unemployed and underemployed youth,” thereby boosting TVET for the realization of job creation in the country.

Having seen the ‘political will’ in addressing the previously existing challenges in the TVET sector, I would encourage CPA teachers to reintroduce   ‘catch them young’ system again in our primary schools.

Pupils must be encouraged to be creative and innovative and they should be graded according to their ability to manufacture anything that will boost the creative industry.

 As Guinea Get 3 EbolaDeath…

S/Leone Activates Emergency Response System

Minister of Health Dr. Austin Demby

Following a Press Release from the Government of the Republic of Guinea on Sunday February 14, 2021, confirming seven reported cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) including three deaths, HE Retired Brig. Julius Maada Bio, instructed the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to inform the general public that even though there are no reported cases of EVD in Sierra Leone, the government should take prudent action to prevent any introduction of the virus into the country and to institute measures to protect the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

The government of Sierra Leone has activated its Health Emergency Response System to level II (Enhanced Surveillance, Active Case Finding and robust Community Engagement).

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation wishes to assure the general public that we will build on our expertise and experience to mount a solid response that not only prevents the reintroduction of Ebola into the country but should the virus be introduced, have a strong system that protects the lives of all Sierra Leoneans and interrupts the transmission of the virus.

With the border with the Republic of Guinea currently closed, Health Authorities and local stakeholders in the districts bordering Guinea and Sierra Leone have been supported to heighten Ebola surveillance, and improve community awareness including appropriate preparedness measures. National Rapid Response Teams are being dispatched to provide additional support to the District Health Management Teams. We intend to work very closely with our Guinean counterparts to quickly contain the situation.

EVD is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is suspected to be transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. It can be transmitted through human contact with body fluids of a person infected with the virus.

Major symptoms of the disease can include some of the following: fever, sometimes unexplained bleeding tendencies from nose, gums, vagina, skin or eyes, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation wishes to encourage the general public to be vigilant and report all suspected cases and deaths through the 117 toll-free hotline or to their local authorities.

The Government of Sierra Leone intends to collaborate very closely with all our local, regional, and international partners especially partners of the Mano River Union.

Board Chairman Drags  War- Wounded Pupil To Court

By FeimaSesay

The Board Chairman of Sierra Leone Port Authority, MansoDumbuya has dragged to court Michelle Kabia a pupil attending War Wounded Senior Secondary School at Grafton for breakingand entering into his house and stealing therein over eight million Leones.

The accused is before Magistrate HadiruDaboh of Ross Road Court number three for Preliminary Investigation on the matter.

The accused Samuel Michelle Kabia is charged on two counts of burglary and larceny, contrary to Section 25 (1) and 13 (a) of the Larceny Act 1916.

According to the charge sheet on both files, the accused Samuel Michelle Kabia on diverse dates between Thursday 21 January and Friday 5 February 2021 at No. 5 Fannah Street Allen Town in Freetown with intent to steal, broke and entered into the dwelling house of Honorable MansoDumbuya, Board Chairman of Sierra Leone Port Authority and a senior member of the Sierra Leone People’s Party and stole therein eight million, five hundred thousand Leones.

Prosecuting was done by Sergeant 9095 Fofanah. The accused who was not legally represented was refused bail by the magistrate and the matter was adjourned to Wednesday 17th February 2021 for the complainant to narrate his ordeal.

In another development, SylvanusKaiyanda a twenty four years old man who was going through Preliminary Investigation in the same court for robbery with aggravation was committed to the High Court for proper trial.

The accused SylvanusKaiyanda with other unknown persons were charged on three counts of conspiracy, contrary to Law, robbery with aggravation, contrary to section 23 (1) (a) of the Larceny Act 1961 as repealed and replaced by section 2 of the Larceny Amendment Act of 1971.

The police alleged on the charge sheet that the accused on Tuesday 1stDecember 2020, at 28 Black Hall Road Kissy, Freetown conspired together with another person’s unknown to commit  a felony to wit Robbery with Aggravation

Delivering his ruling, Magistrate Daboh stated that the offences for which the accused is in court is indictable, and does not create room for plea to be taken.

 I” proceeded with this matter on Preliminary Investigation and the prosecution is herein required to adduce sufficient evidence, thus to establish a prima facea case to warrant committal of the accused for trial at the High Court”, the Magistrate stated.

Magistrate Daboh further stated that in establishing a prima facaecase against the accused persons, the prosecution called four witness: two factual and two formal and in  closing  of their case, both the accused himself and the prosecutor relied on the evidence adduced before  the court and the matter was withdrawn for ruling .

He further said that having examined the evidence adduced before his Court, he was satisfied that there is sufficient evidence, thus warranting the committal of the accused persons to stand trial at the High Court.

The accused was escorted to the Male Correctional Center awaiting trial.

Newly High Court in Port Loko Starts Proceedings

Long before this time, Port Loko City was only witnessing High Court proceedings in special criminal sessions that used to come most times twice per year. But with many individuals, community stakeholders holders, public institutions such as the Legal Aid Board advocated persistently for the establishment of a resident high court in the Port Loko City that would see to criminal matters in the northwest region. This made the Judiciary of Sierra Leone through the Chief Justice the Honourable Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards few weeks back established the High Court in the Port Loko City with Justice Abdul Sheriff assigned as the Resident Judge.Justice Sheriff worked as a magistrate in PortLoko from 2013 -2016.

With the establishment of the court, several things need to be put in place for the full establishment of the court such as the court room itself,residence for the judge and most importantly the posting of a state council that will serve as a prosecutor in all state matters. For that, Lawyer Mathew Peter Moses Lappia has been posted as the state council who also doubles as the Customary law officer in the region.

Therefore, Thursday 11 February 2021 will add as a very important date in the history of Port Loko for witnessing the first session of the newly established high court in the Port Loko City.For now the court has it’s sitting at the magistrate court building having it’s sessions on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays.

Three matters were mentioned in the opening on Thursday 11 February. Matters comprising of Sexual penetration, rape and house breaking. All of these matters were adjourned to Friday 19 February.

SLRTC Now SLPTA

The Minister of Transport and Aviation, KabinehKallon, has officially announced that the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) has transitioned from a public transport operator to a public transport regulatory authority and will henceforth become the Sierra Leone Public Transport Authority (SLPTA).

The disclosure was made during the weekly government press briefing in the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communications on Thursday, 11th February 2021. 

The minister said that in July 2019 the Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation inaugurated the Sierra Leone Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project (IRUMP).

The project’s objectives, he furthered, include improving quality public transport systems, addressing climate resilience, enhancing road safety and building the capacity of key stakeholders in the transport sector.

“Our vision is to transform the city from a congested vehicle-oriented city to a resilient people-oriented city,” he said, adding that in order to achieve this goal government has decided to separate the public transport regulatory functions from the operational functions by transforming the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC), currently a public transport operator, to a public transport regulatory authority.

He maintained that the transition will significantly improve transport service delivery by bringing public transport functions into a single, well managed, and focused institutional structure.

He noted that the role of the new Authority will include, among others, developing a public transport policy, conducting regulatory, management and compliance function, developing and managing performance-based service delivery contacts, conducting studies and knowledge management, and monitoring the performance of licensed transport service providers.

Minister Kallon added that the Authority will support the transition of SLRTC from an informal self-regulated system to a transport sector operating with functioning contractual arrangements to deliver services of specified standards.

He said that extensive discussions are ongoing with stakeholders, including national and city agencies, private operators, drivers union, civil society organizations, citizen welfare groups and residents to develop the framework.

The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation, Isaac Ken-Green, said that the immediate tasks of the Authoity will be to support migration from the current informal self regulated public transport activities to functioning in a contractual environment, where the business model will require the operator Associations to enter a contractual agreement with the Authority for the purpose of delivering specified services for a specified period.

The press conference was moderated by the erudite Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Madam MamadiGobeh-Kamara who updated members of the press and the public on government’s activities.

PUBLIC REVIEW SPORT

Installment of Kenema Artificial Turf Nears Completion…Fans applaud Madam Johansen

By Ibrahim Kanu (Bugalo)

As the FA made progresses in Kenema City Field, stakeholders in Kenema show appreciation to the FA President Madam Isha Johansen

Kenema City Field is a major football infrastructure in Eastern province of Sierra Leone which had suffered ruins for decades, but with the current intervention of the Sierra Leone Football Association, the field which had once been shambled is steadily rising magnificently

Many thanks to the country’s football federation, as fans appreciate their work.

The field is getting a facelift- a beauty surgery that would see it emerge in the soonest time with an ultra-modern synthetic artificial turf

According to the site Engineer,Alex P Musa, “When we started the job,we had to examine the existing ground to know whether it’s fit for purpose, check the levels, and existing materials, he pointed out,” adding that the ground was sloppy, so we had to bring in laterite to backfill and do compaction

He added that the next stage is to install the carpet.

However, there has been some concerns from the fans,their desire for additional pavilions and the fencing of the field after the installation of the turf to maximize security can’t be overemphasized

Meanwhile the Secretary General of the Kenema District football association, David Samu said they are in line with their fans desire.

We have earned a project to redo the fencing and SLFA has promised us a perimeter fence,we are going to take ownership of the structure this time, the structure was constructed by the Kenema City Council to boost their revenue generation drive,we will ensure we engage them and other relevant stakeholders to see reasons why they should leave it for football, we are also setting up restrictions on non-football activities.

Samu indicated that they were impressed with the work of the contractors so far

Since they restarted the project last year,it’s been going on well,we are so happy because it’s something we have been yearning for, especially so when we have been missing out on international competitions and some training that required artificial turf

The head of media and marketing’ of the Sierra Leone Football Association Ibrahim Kamara pointed out that their “Federation is extremely excited that the Kenema City Field is going to be upgraded to such a world class standard

Kenema acknowledged that aside having the best artificial turf in Africa installed on the pitch,SLFA is also guaranteeing a perimeter fence and a flood light system for the Kenema City Field

This will take the field up to a standard that will qualify Kenema to be hosting international matches. Such a development will clearly give hope to the young talents in Sierra Leone,especially in the eastern part of the country.

He stated that the project has suffered so much delay as a result of their internal rancor,but they are thankful that God has led them up to reach this phase, which is the final leveling

The federation press man noted that “this project is jointly done by FIFA and SLFA. FIFA fully funds the installation of the artificial turf while SLFA takes care of the perimeter fencing and the installation of the floodlights “.

The president Bio government through the National Sport Authority (NSA)has however collaborated with the FA in very many ways to ensure the project becomes a reality.

The contractors have assured the general public that by March this year, the project will be fully completed.

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