Morie Lengor to replace IGP Moigbeh
Close Sources within the government of President Bio have intimated the Public Review that government is considering a retired Assistant Inspector General, (IGP) Morie Lengor as the best option to replace the soon to be retired inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbeh.
The sources said President Bio has thought is wiser to have Mr Lengor whose track records as a fine former police officer to head the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) especially at this time when the SLP is challenged with awful human rights records and questionable image.
The sources further added that President Bio has so much trust and confidence in Mr Lengor whose legal back ground as a trained lawyer will help change the face of the SLP.
‘’ President sees him as the right man for the job; if all goes well for his appointment, we hope he will live up to expectation ‘’ A senior State House official told Public Review.
The current Inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbeh has a little over two weeks as per public service regulations to be on terminal leave.
Speculations are that, it behooves President Bio to retain IGP Moigbeh or gives him the gate way when he reaches his retirement tenure soon.
It could be recalled that a precedent had been set when
a retired police officer in the British Police force, Keith Biddle was appointed by the then President Kabbah to head the SLP.
Keith headed the SLP with a sense of firm discipline that led to the restructuring of the SLP tagged as a ‘’Force for good.’’
RULLING ON JOUNALIST MURDER SET 19 FEB.
BY FEIMA SESAY
. The lead prosecutor in the murder case of the late Journalist Ibrahim Samura of New Age Newspaper Adrain Fisher yeaterday 12 February 2020 asked magistrate Mark Ngegba to send Abu Bakarr Daramy and Herbert George Williams to the high court for further trial on the grounds that the evidence against them was over whelming.
His application was made following the No-Case submission that was made on Monday by the lead defense lawyer for the accused Melron C. Nicol Wilson that there was no evidence against the accused persons and that the matter should be discharged.
In reply said the prosecution relied on the Common law concept and that there was sufficient evidence against the accused to warrant the committal of the matter to the high court for further trial, adding that the No-Case Submission made by defense counsel has no base and merit citing section 120 of the CPA.
He added that he relied on a Joint Enterprise Murder and that it basic principle in criminal law.
Whiles he was going through the evidence, said the evidence placed before the court was overwhelming and the task of the bench is to cross-check the totality of that evidence citing paragraph 22 where he says there is no question that the deceased died.
He said the evidence of PW1 Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma a Government Pathologist stated that the death of the deceased was neither Accidental nor Suicidal but Homicide and that the cause of death was due to blunt force injury.
Lawyer Fisher said that evidence was not controverted in any way, adding that there was no evidence or expert to suggest that there was no case of death on the day of the incident none of them were present at the scene, But said there was evidence to show that the accused persons, former deputy minister of Trade Ibrahim Woshinga Mansaray Sanusi Bruski ,Dankay Koroma and other government officials were at the scene.
He also disclosed that there was evidence of dog chain which was used to beat the deceased and said both accused were associated with the case from inception. He continued further in his reply that the
Summary evidence of Thomas Dixon was that he was chase together with the deceased by guards at the Lumley Round About and that subsequently the deceased was twice heated on his head with a dog chain and that second accused Herbert George Williams was there.
He refer the bench to page 49 of his reply which states that other people including the accused persons beat the deceased whiles he was trying to take photos with his phone and that Sanusi Bruiski took the phone the deceased was using.
He also referred the bench to exhibit P-1-4 which he said were words spoken by the deceased before his death and said it was the accused persons that gave the instructions to the security to beat him and therefore said the matter should go to the high court for further trial
He said first and second accused in their statements to the police said they cannot recollect the incident on that day and urged the bench to take cognizance of the fact that the incident was so much that they could not recollect.
Lawyer fisher stated that all the witnesses identified the accused as been present at the scene on the day of the incident, adding that criminal law is very clear in simple term that the Act of the accused persons is associated with the offences which led to the significant death of the deceased.
In conclusion said the evidence adduced before the court is base on Joint Criminal Enterprise which is over whelming sufficient to warrant the committal of the matter to the high court, nothing that there is a clear evidence of conspiracy by the accused persons by their movement from Hill Station to Lumley.
He therefore urged the court to commit both accused persons to the high court for further trial.
Lawyer Nicol Wilson in reply said all the witnesses in the matter said the deceased was assaulted by a state house security, adding that the concept of a joint criminal enterprise does not apply in Sierra Leone but a legal doctrine used during war crime.
He stated further that, it only has a place in International Criminal tribunal. He said there is no evidence in court show that it was the accused that assaulted the deceased and that his death was caused by them but a states house security which the prosecution has fail to identify.
He said the prosecutor mention a number of authority and concept but did not go to the fact of the matter.
In his submission further stated that the most important witnesses the bench should consider I that of PW1-4 who were Eye witnesses that stated that the deceased was assaulted by some state house securities, adding that no evidence was led to support the statement of the deceased that it was the accused that gave the instructions for him to be beaten.
In this light, urged the bench to discharge the accused persons for wants of prosecution as he said there was no evidence led against them.
Magistrate Mark Ngegba however adjourned the matter to the 19 February 2020 for ruling whiles the accused were sent back to prison.
ORANGE CONNECTS 1,170 NEW LOCALITIES IN 2019
Since 2016, our focus has been to be in touch and to connect what is essential in people’s lives.
Our ambition is to deliver an unmatched customers experience.
In order to improve on our quality of service, orange has invested a total of ($ 114.4) One hundred and fourteen Million four hundred thousand Dollar in excess in;
Modernizing our passive infrastructure by replacing
Replaced 282 DC power systems
Modernized our active RAN equipment
Launched our world class data centre and changed our core equipment’s.
- CS (MSC) core
node which handle voice traffic.
- PS core nodes which handle data traffic to the internet.
To expand our rural connectivity, we built
- 45 new sites in 2017,
- 42 new sites in 2018 and
- Committed to construct additional 55 new sites in 2019.
To achieve this,we were met with several challanges such as ;
- Site accessibility
- Heavy rains
- Core node migration impact on voice and data services
- Localized service availability during equipment replacement
- Shipment delays and
- Grid availability
Ami dst all of thèse challanges, Orange continues to pursue a strong industrial project in Sierra Leone that is geared towards covering most of the country with telecoms services, that will improve rural connectivity and also our quality of service.
Today, they are proud to inform you that we have completed 55sites committed in 2019, thereby connecting more than 1,170 new localities, with thousands of Sierra Leoneans now accessing data, voice and financial services for the first time.
Orange is now a proud owner of 391 sites across the country .Today, we can comfortably boast of the widest network coverage in Sierra Leone covering about 74% of the country’s population
President Bio speaks on Human Capital Development
President Dr Julius Maada Bio has said in a high-level panel discussion on reducing inequality that Sierra Leone has mapped out a bold agenda to tackle problems of poverty, inequality and national development by planning around specific human capital development interventions.
“We have developed a fully-coated Medium-Term National Plan that lays out our development priorities in neat clusters. Central to that national development plan is the flagship programme – Human Capital Development – that proposes elevated investments in quality education, quality healthcare, and food security.
“A nation’s greatest resource is its human capital. A well-educated and healthy population is a future skilled and resourceful population that will propel our nation along the path of sustainable national development,” he said.
President Bio also added that as a consequence his government had invested heavily – 21% of Annual Budget – in free quality education policy, targeting 2 million children, most of who could not afford the US$20 school fee, were now in school.
“We have created safe spaces for girls in school and we have passed a new Sexual Offences Act to protect women and girls from rape and sexual and gender-based violence.
The First Lady’s vigorous campaign, against early child marriage, sexual exploitation of girls, and other seemingly entrenched cultural attitudes (including taboos on menstruation) that lead to the exclusion of girls from school, has resonated across the country,” the President stated.
On the panel was Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ms Manty Tarawalli, who talked about state ownership of the process of poverty alleviation and social protection, adding that the government was putting structures in place to generate more local resources and minimize donor interventions in future.
“By the structures we are building now, we hope that in few years’ time we would have created more wealth and sustainable systems that will help us take care of own social support projects,” she said.
Also on the high-level panel were Alpha Barry, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Fitsum Assefa Adela, Ethiopia’s Minister in charge of Planning and Development Commission and Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam’s Pan Africa Director and Resident Representative to the African Union.
Unfinished Building Collapses
At least five (5) people were rescued last Tuesday 11th February 2020 at 32 Fourah Bay Road when a wall of an unfinished building collapsed and covered them.
Crime officer Madam Deboral Sesay at Eastern Police Station told this press that police is yet to confirm what caused the collapsed of the wall and they did not see the contractor and the owner of the building on arrival at the scene.
She said, the police are yet to confirm the number of victims involved.
Madam Sesay described the scene as pathetic, noting that efforts were made by the youths to rescue the victims.
Alpha Jah, a volunteer youth said that he ran to the scene when he heard the sound of the building, adding that most of the victims are believed to be traders with only one boy who went to buy food.
Observers attributed the collapse of the wall to that of
Poor engineering and construction work.
However, the victims have been taken to the Connaught Hospital for medication.
POLICE Arrests(7),More Heads to Roll
At 18:00 hours on Monday, this medium got a reliable information from the Cyber unit and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that these two departments have arrested seven alleged fake and mischievous Social media Propagandists of the main opposition, the APC party.
It could be recalled that exactly six days ago, a malicious, baseless, unfounded and a scantly press release was posted on various social media platforms alleging the disbandment of the Sierra Leone Police by the Office of the President.
The article alleged that the President has disbanded the SLP and all its affiliated bodies.
As a law enforcing agency of government and one that has the obligation of maintaining public order as stipulated in the 1965 public order act, under the 1991 constitution as amended, the institution had no alternative but to go into operation.
As a reputable social media platform, we see and support such an adequate and proactive action executed by the Sierra Leone Police in order to maintain the country’s hard earned peace and to deter hoodlums from involving into such an unpatriotic act in the future.
We are also calling on the SLP to do everything in it powers to bring all perpetrators allegedly named, but required further investigations in the said act to be brought to book.
New“Bondo without Cutting” Initiative Upholds Traditions
By Ragan M. Conteh
According to the 2017 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Sierra Leone is among the countries in Africa with the highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The first initiates of ‘’bondo without Cutting’’ posed with AIM SL Director Rugiatu Koroma (at center) in Port Loko District
The DHS shows that in the Southern province of Sierra Leone, approximately 83% of all women and girls have undergone FGM, while in the Northern Province the prevalence is 93%, Eastern Province 91% and Western Area 77%, respectively.
Madam Rugiatu Neneh Koroma, the founder and Executive Director of the Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM) says that the FGM aspect of “bondo” society should be removed based on health, social and economic risks associated to it. For this reason, her organization has initiated the new method of “bondo” without cutting as a pilot phase in the Port Loko district.
In this new method of bondo practice, Madam Koroma explains, initiates are no longer subjected to FGM or
“cutting”. Rather, the ceremonies focus on the other traditional aspects of bondo, including celebrating the new initiates and upholding wholesomely the aspects of bondo society, including dancing, teaching women and girls to respect elders, how to take care of their husbands, children and members of the family among others.
“Bondo society is a place where women can learn and imbibe the culture of good leadership in their communities,” says Madam Koroma, who explains that this is still the case with the new model – the only difference is that it no longer needs to involve shedding any blood.
One of the reasons Madam Koroma says FGM has persisted so long is that many bondo initiators, called “sowies”, rely on income from parents, as payment to complete initiation ceremonies. However, she says that, with this new model of “bondo without cutting”, sowies can still earn their livelihood for initiating new members of the society, without having to harm them through FGM.
“Another reason we want to push for the removal of cutting in bondo society,” she explains, “is that in many cases, underage girls do go into these bondo shrines without prior knowledge of [what will happen to them there] – which is an act of deceit.”
Besides being a violation of human and child rights to perform such harmful practices on girls without their informed consent, Madam Koroma says that FGM also carries no health benefit. In fact, women and girls who have experienced FGM face increased risks during and immediately after childbirth, including an increased need for caesarean sections and prolonged hospital stays.
“Women do not want a culture that will kill,” she says.
“Women have died at the hospital as a result of health implications from FGM. They want the culture that will help uplift their dignity.” This, she believes, is where “bondo without cutting” can help, by maintaining traditions and celebrating girls’ rites of passage, but without causing bodily harm.
In the area of providing alternative means of livelihood for the initiators or “sowies”, Madam Koroma stated that her organization has established a skills training centre where these women are being trained in income-generating arts including tailoring, soap making, and gara tie dying.
According to her, due to this initiative, over 40 long-standing sowies have now surrendered their instruments, promising that they will never go back to their usual practices.
Speaking from a United Nations perspective, the UN Women Country Representative, Dr. Mary Okumu, said that the bondo without cutting initiative brought by AIM is a laudable venture that needs to be emulated across the country.
Dr. Okumu called on other initiators in other districts to copy this new model, as it causes no health harm to either the women or the communities.
The Girl Child Network is a national non-governmental organization working to promote child rights in Sierra Leone. Its Director, Madam Anita Koroma, said that women and girls of this country have suffered due to the terrible practice of FGM, and many of them have lost their lives, dignity, or been permanently disabled as a result. For these reasons, she says her organization will continue to support AIM to ensure that this heinous practice is eliminated.
“Most of those engaged into this harmful practice, according to our findings,” Madam Anita explains, “are the less privileged and vulnerable women in remote communities in Sierra Leone.” For these reasons, she says, widespread awareness raising and support are needed in order to educate them about the dangers of FGM.
According to Madam Anita, government has already passed a moratorium that girls below age 18 should not be initiated into FGM, but enforcement has been a challenge.
For one sowie, known as Sampa Soko, it understood the negative impacts that FGM can have which led her to join the “bondo without cutting” initiative. Sadly, she explains that she was one of those who initiated girls at Mile 91 last year, after which a 10 year old girl eventually lost her life, due to excessive bleeding after undergoing FGM.
“All what I have learned from AIM-SL, I see it with my naked eyes and I experience it long ago,” Sampa Soko says. “I am one among those that have disarmed and I will never go back into this cutting practice.”
A new initiate of bondo without cutting, Naimeh Ishmael, disclosed that parents are often responsible for influencing their young girls to initiate into the FGM practice.
However, she said with the alternative rite of passage offered thanks to “bondo without cutting”, their dignity has been restored. Additionally, she says that through this new process, the new initiates learned a lot during the recent two-week-long initiation period at Mathaska Village, interacting with UN Women representatives, women CSOs, women lawyers and many women of substance – something which has never happened in the history of bondo.
“I give thanks on behalf of my [fellow initiates],” says Naimeh Ishmael, “to Madam Neneh Koroma for making it possible to introduce a bondo practice that sees women have their respect and also benefits from womanhood trainings into the bondo bush. I am proud.”
The Section Chief of Maka Section in Port Loko District, Pa Alimamy Conteh says that bondo society without cutting is not a new phenomenon that AIM brings to Sierra Leone. Instead, he says it is just a reformation of the old traditions – omitting the harmful practice of FGM.
Pa Conteh says, of late bondo society has become a business entity in the country – so he is grateful that AIM-SL is working to wipe out the cutting, so as to save women and girls in the country.
He revealed that the recent bondo without cutting at Maka Section at Mathaska village is crystal clear and is geared towards enhancing the development of women and girls through responsible culture.
“I denied at first when AIM-SL Director told me about the first bondo without cutting,” he admits, “and I even asked how it can be possible to initiate women without cutting. But at last I saw the colorful events went on successfully in my section.”
The Paramount Chief of Teneh Chiefdom in the Tonkolili District, Bai Kafarie II, says he has also been convinced about the value of bondo without cutting – and has announced a ban on the practice of FGM in his chiefdom, in other to give chance to women and girls to grow with dignity and become responsible women in his jurisdiction.
“I cannot wait for government to ban this heinous practice [nation-wide],” says the chief. “I have the power as chief to do so [in my area] because the practice is demeaning for women, a lot of girls and women have died as a result of these traditions. We know that and everybody knows, so I have ordered all my sections and town chiefs to inform sowies about this development and no one will go against my authority.”
Ministry of Education on Zero Leones Innovation Challenge
After a successful World Read Aloud Day celebration that cost zero Leones to plan and execute nationwide, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has announced a new initiative. The Zero Leones Innovation Challenge which has started.
- It is a monthly competition that encourages staff at MBSSE to implement activities and interventions with no additional budgetary spending. The challenge invites the Ministry’s staff to think outside the box.
The Zero Leones Innovation Challenge is a call for ideas simple, and complex; small or large that meets the Ministry’s mandate, improve staff welfare, and increase efficiency.
When the winning ideas are put into action, they must be visible, highly impactful, clearly measurable and sustainable. All staff members are encouraged to suggest ideas and to collaborate in teams to turn cost-free interventions into action. The suggested ideas will be evaluated monthly at the weekly upper management meeting. Winning Zero Leones Innovation Challenge submissions will be highlighted across the Ministry.
While the Zero Leones Innovation Challenge starts today, the MBSSE has already implemented several ideas at zero cost. Recently student paintings and art from across the country were showcased at the Ministry as part of its beautification efforts. And last month, the Minister’s office recycled name tags collected from a national conference that are now being used as visitor tags at the MBSSE. The impact from these ongoing Zero Leones interventions includes reduction in trespassing and improvement in staff engagement.
On World Read Aloud Day which is celebrated annually on February 5, MBSSE staff organized events all across the country including debate competitions in schools, radio programs and school visits at a cost of zero Leones to the Ministry. Citizens and partners including the Rokel Commercial Bank were engaged in reading activities at schools, libraries, and homes impacting thousands of students.
ECOWAS Delegation Meets VP
The ECOWAS delegation to Sierra Leone headed by Commissioner Vaforay Tulay has paid a courtesy call on the Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, at his Tower hill office in Freetown.
The rationale behind the call was to introduce themselves to the Vice President and to share information on the Commission’s preparedness for the operationalization of the Depot in Lungi and also discuss possible opportunities for future collaboration with Sierra Leone.
Speaking on the purpose of the call, Commissioner Tulay thanked and appreciated the Hon. Vice President for his hospitality, noting the government’s positive commitment in operationalising the logistic depot in Lungi.
He said the delegation came to facilitate the commencement of phases 2 and 3, having completed phase 1 of the work.
Commissioner Tulay highlighted the need for tax exception and duty free for the Commission, expressing concerns for storage facility for items to be donated to residents and expanded security at the Depot.
Welcoming the delegation, Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh thankfully appreciated the team for the illustrious work, noted the importance of the visit. He expressed government’s total commitment to the entire process; expressing President Bio’s led government blissful vision for Lungi.
“There are lots of programs slated for immediate implementation, which includes; operationalising the depot, construction of a new terminal, face-lifting the Airport (including runways) and construction of the bridge linking Freetown to Lungi”. Said Dr. Juldeh Jalloh.
Addressing concerns raised by the delegation, V.P. Juldeh Jalloh assured them of possible answers, stating the need for a National Project Committee charged with the responsibility of addressing emerging issues. He said the security apparatus in the Lungi Garrison will be expanded to provide security and help to address terrorism.
Contributing to the discussion, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis M. Kai-Kai also welcomed the team, noting the timeliness of the project.
He spoke about the inclusion of local stakeholders in the processes, sighting the spirit of the Medium Term National Development Plan, which encapsulates the projected delivery of the government.
Health Ministry Sets Preventive Measures,
It could be recalled that the Chinese Embassy last week in Freetown hosted a press conference to update the media on novel coronalvirus which started early this year.
The directorate of the health security and emergency through the Ministry of health and sanitation has issued a press statement in regards of the coronalvirus in Sierra Leone.
The release stated that the health ministry warns all travelers that intends to travel from Sierra Leone to China to complies with the proactive measures been put in place by authorities.
The release also indicated that all passengers arrived at the Lungi National Airport was subject to live screening and those that have visited China in the last 14 days were subjected to quarantine.
Below is the press release from the ministry of health.
Violence Youth IN Police Net
As “Operation Public Order Response “plan operation moves toward its implementation to tackle public order violent related offences among others, the Freetown East Region, has no existing vacuum for unabated criminal activities more so when the region is directly under the watchful laser lens of AIG Aiah Edward Samadia whose desire is to ensure that his space, of command enjoys the utmost security than ever before.
To achieve this objective, robust regular policing activities have been effected which encompass the revamping of all divisions with the “Quick Rapid Response Force”, meant to conduct robust patrols to readily respond to distress calls swiftly. The success of such plan operation requires the fullest participation of the communities in information gathering and sharing that bothers on security. This concept of Community’s Policing was practicalised by the Kissy Division’s Quick Rapid Force, Friday the 7th February 2020 around 6 PM by apprehending three (3) suspected clique boys. in an unfinished building at Pillah Street, Wellington. They were found in possession of two (2) cutlasses, a bayonet, a kitchen knife a quantum of cannabis ( raps) and raps of illegal substance suspected to be “Kush” whilst on patrol. Definitely, this success story of the Quick Response Force of Kissy Division came about as a result of community support given to the police in the area of timely crime info sharing and the swift action taken by the team. All “QRF” team in the four (4) divisions and that of Jui Strong Hold are in high spirit and morally charged to quickly and rapidly respond to any given security situation. See photos bellow.
HOW VIABLE IS THE SLPP YOUTH CAR WASH SCHEME?
By Mohamed Juma Jalloh
Since the end of the brutal Civil war, Sierra Leone has been plagued with a problem referred to as youth quake.
This is a concept used to describe a teeming unemployed and underemployed youth population and the attendant threat posed to national stability.
Youths (15-35 years) accounts for about 33% of the country`s population and represent about 63% of the economically active population of which 67% are unemployed.Succesive governments lack the zest and seriousness in attaching topmost priority to the youth problem. The previous APC government reduced the youths to garbage collectors, in some instances even after rendering their services it would take threat of violence before paying their wages.
The urban youths that comprise of early school leavers and illiterate youths are mostly engaged in car wash to eke out daily sustenance. Almost every available unoccupied piece of land in Freetown is utilized as a car wash center, but the centers were unregulated and improperly managed.
Upon assumption into governance, the SLPP government decided to modernize and standardize the profession, thereby constructing 10 car wash centers across the capital city Freetown. The scheme which is co-funded by the government of Sierra Leone and the Chinese embassy paved the way for about 100 youths to be trained in modern car washing at the Uminate car wash center at Hill Station in Freetown.
The selection criteria for the training was largely based on political consideration as it is considered as payback moment for party loyalist constituting the violent minded party defense force. On-party faithfuls, hitherto engaged in the profession were marginalized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs. Mohamed Kamara who has been making a living as a car washer for the past decade at the Black Street stadium car park pitifully said he was excluded from the programme simply because he is not a party sympathizer.
Kamara disclosed that pro-ruling party youths who were never engaged in car washing were selected for the training. In order to survive, Kamara said he is presently rendering laundering and water fetching to people in the community. Kamara is one of the youths whose hopes of securing gainful employment have been watered down by the SLPP government.
Considering the massive youth unemployment facing Sierra Leone, the car wash scheme is like a drop in the ocean. To make matters worse, the scheme is bedeviled by logistical challenges and poor management.
Allocating a car to washer is very chaotic. Even though there is a schedule list on the wall depicting names of duty bearers in the morning and afternoon, the youths don’t abide by the names on the list. they could flock from anywhere and render their service at the center because there are no identity cards to ensure proper identification of beneficiaries. When the project was launched in December 2019, lofty promises were echoed by the government as per remuneration and conditions of service. The price for washing a taxi is Le 15,000, private car is Le25,000, Jeep is Le30.000, tricycle is Le 10. 000, and motor bike is Le 10.000 respectively.
Whenever a car is washed, 40% of the paid sum is retained by the washer, whiles the remaining 60% is deposited with the chairman of the center appointed by the Ministry of youth Affairs.
As of now, the initial commencement of the scheme has not shown signs of future prospects. Youths who spoke to the Public Review on conditions of anonymity for fear of reprisal and retribution says the government is yet to provide them with overall attires, rubber boots, safety caps and gloves to effectively carry on the exercise. The unavailability of such kits poses serious safety and security risks. Moreover, the machine that is used to forcefully propel the water malfunctions 2-3 times before the completion of cleaning a single car. For a center as big as the stadium car park, the availability of a single machine is simply not enough.
“Government must provide 5 machines for this center because it is the biggest of all the centers”. One of the car washers noted.
In its new direction manifesto, the SLPP castigates the APC regime for creating a tremor leading to a full blown youth quake situation with its attendant security and stability challenges. As a result, the SLPP promised an integrated, coherent and holistic approach that would ameliorate the suffering of the youths in Sierra Leone. As of writing, the youths engaged in the car wash scheme, have no medical and rent allowance. At the end of December 2019 the youths were giving an insulting Le 200.000 as salary far below the minimum wage. Youths engaged in the car wash are highly susceptible to sicknesses such as Pneumonia and tuberculosis because it is a waterborne profession. In the event, the youths succumb to such illnesses they would be at the mercy of destiny to either survive or perish. Suppose there is a fatal accident during work, the car washers are not covered by any accident insurance. Whenever their youthful period is exhausted there is no National Social Security cover to ensuring a dignified old age. Truth be told, politicians would never encourage their children and relatives to take up carwash jobs from any of the new refurbished car wash sites around city. The quest by the youths for a sustainable livelihood program is anchored on a desire to eliminate the poverty history in their lives and families. Therefore, it is wise and prudent for the government to adopt sustainable long term solutions towards addressing the plight of youths. Establishing industries that manufacture goods and render services alongside the provision for knowledge, skills transfer and value addition would go a long way in providing solutions to youth unemployment.
As such, the car wash scheme needs a comprehensive and strategic review into a very sustainable approach towards salvaging the plight of our vulnerable young generation. If not, it is clear that these youths would revert to nefarious and mischievous activities.
GUMA VALLEY WATER COMPANY 2019 Achievements
The Service Provided
We have improved Customer Communications and customer services, announcing service outages for emergency and planned shutdowns. We have improved service reliability tremendously with an improved rationing program. We have improved water quality to within acceptable standards, maintaining a 6 month supply of water treatment chemicals always, and regularly monitoring water quality in the treatment plants and throughout the distribution networks. In a drive to reduce the high level of water wastage, we have installed several kilometers of pipeline to replace the vulnerable spaghetti pipes that are prone to leakages in order to reduce the high water wastage. Communities that have benefited include Atlantic Beach Road; Assine Road, Juba Hill; Minah Drive; Barbadori Lumley; Waters Street; Wilberforce Barracks; Sugarland Road; Thompson Bay; Green Lane; Beach Road; King Harman etc. 1 Revenue Collections Revenue improved in 2019 to Le37.65 Billion, from Le35.3 Billion; and Collections was Le29 Billion in 2019, from Le22.22 Billion in 2018. Collections Efficiency Collections Efficiency (the ratio of Collections to Billing) improved dramatically in 2019 to 77%, from 63% in 2018. 9 February 2020 Projects soon to be undertaken include rehabilitation of the Spur Road to Malama pipeline, Sesay Drive, off Spur Road, to Smart Farm, Adonkia; Aberdeen etc. Elimination of Key Risks to the Water Supply We have been proactive in addressing some key vulnerabilities to the water supply system, including: undertaking major repairs at the Main Treatment Plant to address leakages and improve plant up-time; undertaking significant repairs to the perennial leaking pipeline on the Old Juba Br idg e , installing new high-lift water pumps at Spur Road; trying to take back possession of company f a c i l i t i e s f rom squatters throughout the city to rehabilitate those facilities, and; highlighting the ever present threat of deforestation to the water catchments. Strategic Drives The DfID- funded Rehabilitation of Freetown’s Water Supply infrastructures is on course. All necessary design work has been completed and construction works will begin in March 2020. The DMA pilots for the Aberdeen and Kingtom communities has started this month. We launched the Freetown Water Supply & Sanitation Master Plan Studies to help develop bankable water supply projects that will take us to 100% access to safe clean drinking water for the people of Freetown. The Freetown Aquatic Environment Revamping Project was kicked off. By the end of 2019, the total loans and grants secured for improvements to water supply in various communities amount to about 2 9 February 2020 US $ 50 million. We are still working very hard to secure more funding for various interventions throughout the Western Area Peninsula. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Chinese company China Gerzhouba Group Company to develop the Orugu Dam Project that will deliver 100,000 cubic meters of treated water supply to communities east of Freetown. The company has delivered the feasibility design report on the project. Next steps include the completion of the report and the development of a good finance model that will be used to deliver the project. The Freetown Emergency Response Project is on course, and will enhance water supply to Regent, Mortomeh and Kaningo Communities. The advert to recruit a consultant to undertake feasibility studies and designs for the creation of a dam and reservoir facilities to supplement the existing Main Guma Dam will soon be launched. Creating the Enabling Environment for Staff Productivity to Improve The first task in reforming the organisation and improving service delivery involved creating the right environment for staff productivity and creativity to strive. The following activities were undertaken: Good Working Environment for Staff Good ambience was created in all work locations, including painting of facilities, provision of office furniture and computer equipment, toilet facilities, replaced leaking roofs on the main Stores building, Staff Clinic and the Main Treatment Plant in Mile 13. The drive this year is to fence most of the company’s exposed facilities, including the East and Central Offices, and the Tower Hill Pumping Station. Logistics Utility Vehicles are an important part of service delivery, facilitating the movement of staff and equipment to work sites throughout the city. At the start of 2019, only 6 vehicles, all over 8 years old, were in working order. Another batch of 7 derelict vehicles were being kept on the road at great expense. 3 9 February 2020 The company, therefore, embarked on a program to renew its fleet of vehicles. All necessary approvals were sought, and all procurement measured taken, to purchase 5 utility vehicles and an SUV in three batches: the first batch of 3 utility vehicles was received in April 2019 and were deployed in the Area Offices; the second batch of 2 utility vehicles was received in December 2019, and one was deployed in the Main Treatment Plant in Mil 13; the third batch of one vehicle, the SUV, was received in January 2020 and was assigned to the office of the MD to replace the 8-year old utility vehicle that was previously assigned to the office. The company a l s o received 3 Bowsers of capacity 10000L to support the company’s Community Services operations. Improved Staff Welfare Eight months of backlog in the NASSIT contributions was paid off; staff loans, salary advances etc. are provided regularly to staff. In addition, the terms and conditions of service was revised significantly for all staff cadres and monthly salaries are paid regularly on time. Measures taken to improve workplace health and safety for staff. Capacity Building As part of the MCC- funded Institutional Strengthening Program; the company signed an MoU with Ghana Water Company Limited for knowledge sharing and capacity building. During the course of the year, over 20 GVWC staff were embedded in the operations of Ghana Water for periods of up to two weeks. Several other capacity drives were undertaken in-house with consultants from Adams Smith International to develop proper systems and processes, job descriptions, inter-unit collaboration and coordination, data capture and analysis, etc. Guma also worked with SMEC to undertake a condition assessment of all physical water supply assets, create a digital model of the piped networks, and geo-locate all the assets. With this, GVWC 4 9 February 2020 now has a digital representation of all the physical assets, enhancing the company’s maintenance and operations. The outcome of all this work is reduced service shutdowns and improved delivery of projects. Institutional Level Issues The company has streamlined all procurement activities through the use of framework contracts, undertaken external audits for 3 years: 2015, 2016 & 2017. The external audits for 2018 & 2019 will be undertaken this year. 5
Deputy ACC Commissioner presents Report.
The Deputy Commissioner of the ACC Augustine Foday Ngobie has presented the report on “The Monitoring for efficiency in the management of fleet and fuel in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.”
The presentation of the report was done in the Ministry of Local Government Conference Room Youyi Building.
Present were the Deputy Commission ACC, Director and Deputy Director of Prevention ACC, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Health and Sanitation, Transport and Aviation and Agriculture and Forestry, the Commissioner of Asset and Government Property Commission, representatives from Accountant General, Internal Audit of the Ministry of Finance, NP (SL) Limited, Total (SL) Limited, the fourth estate, Head of Units and staff of the Prevention Department of ACC.
The Deputy Commissioner Augustine Foday Ngobie in his opening statement stated that “The findings and recommendations in the report are not indictment but a guide to show how to minimize wastage and mismanagement of fleet and fuel in the two Ministries.” He said the ACC in the fight against corruption needed the compliance of MDAs by following the recommendations of closing the loopholes identified by the report. He added that noncompliance may lead to “The Commission evoking certain sections of the ACC Act and that may lead to a full blown investigation.”
In his opening remarks, the Director of Prevention Department of the ACC Rashid B. Turay gave an overview of the report. He said the Commission has been conducting reviews in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs ) and that one issue that continued to surface across MDAs was “The issue of mismanagement of fleet and fuel”. He said, “As a result of the recurrence of this mismanagement, the Commission decided to undertake the review in the two key ministries to which the report will be presented ,which has the primary aim of reducing waste in the management of fuel and fleet in the two Ministries”
He said in putting the report together, “The Commission worked with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Asset and Government Property Commission, and DSTI to verify government vehicles in term of purchase, transfer and disposal here in Freetown and the regional offices.”
Director Turay emphases that if there is any recommendation in the report the targeted Ministries believed could not implement, they must come to the Commission for further discussion on same ,else all recommendations must be fully implemented as the Commission has provisions in its Act which it can evoke if there is any noncompliance.
Mohammed Kutubu, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on behalf of the Permanent Secretary said “Vehicle management in
the Ministry was very chaotic.” He applauded the ACC for undertaking such projects and said the report will serve as a tool to ensure accountable management to the provisions of government. He assured the Commission that they will be committed to see that the recommendations be implemented by the ministry.
The Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation Mr. Brima S.T Kebbie said the issues in the report are common in almost all MDAs, and fleet and fuel management issue needed to be addressed in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation. He said the ministry will make sure all recommendations are followed up.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Mrs. Fatmata Mustapha said they are grateful to the ACC and Internal Auditors in her Ministry for taking up such activity. She stated that the issue of fleet and fuel management has been a problem in the Ministry and they look forward to regular system reviews. She added that the Ministry will follow the recommendations of the ACC. She however commented that there are recommendations in the report she may want to discuss with the Director of Prevention in their bilateral discussions.
The presentation of the findings was done by the Head of Unit , Monitoring and Compliance, Samson J. Saidu. He succinctly highlighted issues that were captured in the report some of which were poor maintenance of Vehicle Log Books, abandoned vehicles , movement of fleet without proper documentation, poorly capacitated transport officers, cannibalisation of vehicles, lack of adequate fleet data, inconsistent data between Headquarters and the Regional offices in respect of fleet , double dipping for projects and the allocation of fuel to non deserving officers contrary to provisions of the Civil Service Code to name a few. The recommendations in report were also highlighted by HoU, M&C , Samsan J. Saidu.
Questions asked and comments made after the presentation of the findings and recommendations were adequately answered and discussed.
In making the closing remarks, the Deputy Director of Prevention Department Patrick M. George stated that the report will help the two ministries to be efficient and effective in the management of fleet and fuel. He thanked all participants for honoring the invitation of the ACC.
Joe Lamboi Inspires Inmates
The Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service- Mr. Jospeh Lamboi has encouraged inmates not to give up in life on account of their imprisonment.
This inspiring speech was made on Thursday 6th February, 2020, while observing the “Black History Month Celebration” at the SLCS’ conference hall, former Special Courts Complex, Freetown.
The day was observed together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the U.S Embassy, some male and female inmates in Freetown. A documentary on black struggle, particularly in the U.S.A was played.
The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs- Mr. Lahai Lawrence Leema, while addressing a question posed by an inmate, said a lot of prominent people in society today and in history were was imprisoned. He said they used their period of imprisonment as moments of transformation.
DELIBERATIONS ON MONETARY UNION.
The ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Meetings comprising of the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), have kicked off two weeks intensive deliberations, on a road map to monetary Union, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the WAMA meetings, the Director General Mr. Momodu Bamba Saho, said economic activities in ECOWAS Member States generally continued to improve in 2019, in spite of global economic slowdown. He maintained that the meetings are being held against the backdrop of continued economic recovery in the region.
“The region is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Three Member States, Benin (7.6%), Cote d’lvoire (7.5%) and Ghana (7.1%) grew by over 7.0 percent in 2019. Twelve Member States are expected to grow by 5.0 percent or more in 2019.” he said.
According to him, in the area of compliance with the macroeconomic convergence criteria, Member States made some progress in the first half of 2019 as six (06) met all the four primary criteria compared to five (05) in the first half of 2018, adding that performance is expected to improve in the second half of the year as eight (08) Member States are projected to meet all the primary criteria at end-2019 compared to only two (02) at end-2018. He however noted that sustained achievement of all four primary convergence criteria has remained elusive, for Member States over several years.
“Although compliance with the convergence criteria has improved, Member States need to continue to strengthen policy implementation in order to comply with the convergence criteria and lay a strong basis for the establishment of monetary union.” he said.
In this regard, the Director General urged Member States to strengthen their resolve to maintain macroeconomic stability and put emphasis on economic diversification as well as structural reforms aimed at fostering private sector growth in order to realize the tremendous potential of the region and achieve the objective of the monetary cooperation programme.
In delivering the keynote address to open the meetings, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Prof. Kelfala Kallon said, stock will be taken at the meetings of the status of implementation of the revised Roadmap, bearing in mind the commitments made by state authorities to establish a monetary union by 2020. He noted that the decision regarding the selection of countries that would qualify for accession to monetary union would be undertaken after an evaluation of the state of readiness of Member States.
“As we get closer to decision point, I concede that this meeting is taking place at a period characterized by socio-political and economic developments and uncertainties, both global and domestic”.
The Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone recounted the challenges Sierra Leone was grappling with which were highlighted at the recent statutory meetings held in August 2019, in Conakry, including a subdued real sector, price instability and excesses in fiscal policy.
Prior to the review of Member States, the Bank Governor said that the macroeconomic fundamentals of Sierra Leone has improved modestly since then as a result of implementation of prudent policy measures that focused on promoting all-inclusive growth, restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability through structural reforms, fiscal consolidation and a viable external sector.
“Consequently, real GDP growth accelerated to 5.1 percent in 2019, from 3.5 percent in 2018. Inflationary pressures also continued to trend downwards in the right direction to 13.9 percent at December 2019, after having peaked at 16.6 percent in April 2019,” he said.
In the next few days several institutions within the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme will hold technical meetings that will lead to the 40th Meeting of the Committee of Central Bank Governors of the WAMZ and climax with the 43rd Meeting of the Convergence Council of Ministers and Governors which will be opened by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio.
VP Commissions the Construction of the ECOWAS Logistics
The Vice-President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has officiated over the groundbreaking ceremony of the construction of phases two (2) and three (3) of the ECOWAS logistics depot as well as handing over of the project sites to the contractor, SOGEFEL, at the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom in Lungi.
The phases 2 & 3 of the ECOWAS logistics base of which the ECOWAS Commission has allocated a budget of Eight Million, Four Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy Nine USD ($8,412,979) will provide support to ECOWAS peace keeping operations to effectively combat violent extremism and terrorist activities in the West African sub-region.
In his opening remarks, as Chairman, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai who used the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the event; stated that Sierra Leone had always welcomed ECOWAS with open arms and granting them freedom to explore the beauty of Sierra Leone and its warm people.
Minister Kai-Kai recalled, in 1997, the ECOWAS deployment of its military wing called (ECOMOG) to Sierra Leone to stop the RUF rebellion of which, at that time, Lungi provided the landing point and base for the troops during the country’s dark period. He said that today, after 22 years, including 18 years of peace and state building, ECOWAS were again in Lungi to kick-start a process that will start another base, A LOGISTICS BASE for West Africa.
“Sierra Leone was rescued by ECOWAS through ECOMOG to attain peace and stability and that has been sustained up to today. This tranquility has been recognized and rewarded with a huge responsibility of now hosting a depot that will contribute to the peace and stability of our sub-region”, Dr. Kai-Kai said.
Speaking on behalf of the PCMP Bai Shebora Sheba Gbereh III, the Chiefdom Speaker, Pa Komrabai said they were proud as a community to host the logistics depot facility for peace support operations. He congratulated and thanked all those whose dedication and effort made the project a reality. He noted that the construction phase will further create more jobs for the people of Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom.
In her statement, the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, Madam Finda Koroma noted that the logistics facility was timely and a very important project for the region’s peace support operations, in the wake of increased acts of terrorism and violent extremism that are being perpetuated in a number of the ECOWAS Member States with heavy and dire consequences on the civilian and military population.
She said that Sierra Leone and, in particular Lungi, were selected as the best location for the ECOWAS Peace Support Operations Facility due to the outstanding performance of Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) across the world in peace keeping operations, in addition to the political and strategic considerations. Madam Finda Koroma thanked former President’s, including President Julius Maada Bio for their unflinching support and continued advocacy at all levels of ECOWAS bodies for the operationalization of the ECOWAS Support Operations Logistics Facility.
In his keynote address, the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh expressed his gratitude to ECOWAS for fast tracking the depot, amidst the bureaucratic challenges involved in such projects; stating that he was pleased and honored to be a part of the history making ceremony. He said the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the logistics depot will send a significant message not only to the rest of Africa, but also to international partners that West Africa was ready to handle its security and build the infrastructure required to support peace operations.
Vice-President Juldeh Jalloh reiterated the commitment of the Government, under the esteemed leadership of President Julius Maada Bio, to continue in supporting the project.
“We are going to support this project in all facets— I have informed the commissioner about the importance of reactivating a national committee and get to work immediately. It is our responsibility to provide the adequate security and working environment so that this depot will be constructed within the 15 months period, as stipulated”, he said.
Vice President Juldeh Jalloh said in building the depot, ECOWAS has demonstrated that they have not only put together an infrastructure for peace support, but also building a sustainable bloc for sustainable development.
Other dignitaries in attendance included: Deputy Minister’s of Foreign Affairs, Planning and Economic Development, Transport and Aviation, Works and Public Assets, DNSCOORD, Chairman of Presidential Infrastructure Initiatives, Resident Minister North-West among many others.
“There are lots of programs slated for immediate implementation, which includes; operationalising the depot, construction of a new terminal, face-lifting the Airport (including runways) and construction of the bridge linking Freetown to Lungi”. Said Dr. Juldeh Jalloh* .
Addressing concerns raised by the delegation, V.P. Juldeh Jalloh assured them of possible answers, stating the need for a National Project Committee charged with the responsibility of addressing emerging issues. He said the security apparatus in the Lungi Garrison will be expanded to provide security and help to address terrorism.
In his Contribution, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis M. Kai-Kai gracefully welcomed the team, noting the timeliness of the project. He reiterated with emphasis the inclusion of local stakeholders in the processes, sighting the spirit of the Medium Term National Development Plan, which encapsulates the projected del ivery of the government.