The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Tourism Board and the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) at the Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen in Freetown have held an operation and security pillar engagement with bar, restaurant, club and hotels owners on the way forward regarding COVID-19 enhanced measures compliance at public spaces.
Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt emphasized on the importance of this engagement given that it is geared towards providing guideline for the operation of bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. She noted the undeniable fact that Covid has unprecedentedly ravaged the hospitality sector but informed the gathering that they are determine to minimize the effect on the sector by taking the necessary precautions.
She encouraged and appealed to all in the sector to take the vaccine and raise the awareness of the importance of vaccination especially as this will ensure a cluster immunity boost capable of protecting more people. She stated that the international community is now ranking the percentage of people vaccinated in a country which she said would determine the number of people that would come to the country. She called on those in the sector to be serious about vaccination in order to get the sector back on track.
The Spokesperson for NaCOVERC, Solomon Jamiru remarked on how the Pandemic is taking a different turn making life more difficult for most people. He mentioned that as the fight against the virus continues, the key decision to scale down restrictions is informed by the epidemiological data. He mentioned that as the third wave of the virus continues to strike, the priority of the government is to protect the lives of its citizens, noting that the current nature of restrictions on entertainment and the hospitality sector continue to be in force.
He called on the sector to be forward looking and provide a sense of the model of restriction that they would consider and the framework NaCOVERC and other stakeholders would consider for safe resumption of activities in the sector and assured them that government is ready to listen and consider. He said government itself wants to see resumption of normal business operations but as a government they would not compromise public health and the only mechanism for protection is vaccination. To this end, he encouraged vaccination of everyone in the sector.
Business owners within the sector made a plea to Tourism ministry and NaCOVERC to increase sensitization around the importance of vaccination to dispel negative myths and propaganda which they said is the greatest obstacle to compliance currently.
US Ambassador to Sierra Leone Pays Courtesy Call on Minister Kai-Kai
His Excellency David Reimer, the United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone has paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai at his Tower Hill office, in Freetown.
The meeting, among other things, was meant to provide an opportunity to discuss progress in the development trajectory of Sierra Leone including the Development Cooperation, NGO Coordination, District-level Development Coordination as well as Sierra Leone’s eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact consideration and other key development areas.
In his welcome statement, Minister Kai-Kai thanked Ambassador Reimer for the visit, acknowledging the United States Government’s support over the years, particularly during the country’s civil war, the Ebola outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Kai-Kai also gave an overview of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2019-2023) as well as initiatives the New Direction government currently implement to ensure that Sierra Leone continues to have a modern, diversified, efficient and financially sustainable economy.
The Ambassador, on his part thanked the Minister for the warm reception, highlighting critical development interventions the US government continues to support in Sierra Leone, particularly in the health sector.
The two countries continue to maintain high level of bilateral cooperation.
Alleged Le183.4MTheft at Zenith Bank…Staff Testifies
The first prosecution witness Louis Turayon Monday 30 August 2021 testified in the on-going preliminary investigation into alleged fraud at Zenith Bank before Magistrate SahrKekura, against the marketing officer of Zenith Bank, Wellington branch and one customer of the said bank.
The accused persons Marvin Onyedikacti and Hassan MorieYajah were dragged to court on three counts charges of Conspiracy contrary to law, Larceny and Larceny by Servant, all contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
According to the charge statement on count one, police alleged that both accused persons on diverse date between 14 March 2021 and 13 July 2021 at Zenith Bank Rawdon Street Freetown conspired together with other persons unknown to commit a felony to wit Larceny.
The Police further alleged that on count two the first accused Marvin Onyedikacti on the said dates at Zenith Bank Wellington Branch stole the sum of one hundred and eighty three million, four hundred and forty one thousand six hundred and forty Leones (183,441,640) property of Zenith Bank.
Whiles counts three stated that the second accused Hassan MorieYajah on same date in Freetown did steal the sum of fifty million Leones (Le 50,000,000) property of Zenith Bank.
In continuation of his evidence recognized both accused persons and recalled the aformentioned dates.
He added that on 7 July 2021, the bank received a complaint from one customer allegeding that 450 USD has been missing from his account, adding that upon receipt of that information they told the customer to do it in writing which was done.
The said complainant letter was produced and tendered in court to form part of the records.
He said after receiving the complaint from complainant, they conducted an internal investigation, adding that during the course of the internal investigation it was revealed that the fund in question 450 US dollar was transfer from the account of the complaint to one IsataMomoh account using mobile banking.
According to him it was also discovered that the said IsataMomoh was the wife of first accused person.
The witness said after it was discovered that the monies were transfer to first accused wife, they then asked first accused question as to what led to that
He said they also notice funds that was being transfer to the account of first wife and trace the fund back to the dormant accounts of various customers.
The transfer was withdrawn from a dormant account which has not been in existence for a while.
Looking further into the dormant account, he said the bank discovered another hugeamount of money of over 50 million Leones transfer to the second accused person’s account, and the curiosity arose to the fact that when account are open, bank normally request for initial deposit.
He added that in the case of second accused account, all the transactions were done using mobile banking from the same dormant accounts of customers that were debited to IsataMomoh’s account.
He added that during the course of further investigation it was revealed that several amounts were debited from customers’ account and credited to the second accused’s account.
He said from their investigation, the first accused used the transit account as a means to transfer various customers’ funds into that of his wife, sons and second accused accounts.
He said after they have established that fact, they visited the house of first accused at new site Samuel town Waterloo.
Turay continued that on their arrival they discovered a connection between first and second accused persons and they were brought to the bank for questioning where first accused he said confessed to the offence.
He said the first accused further told them that he took the money for his younger brother kidney operation in Nigeria.
According to him second accused also admitted making withdrawal from the various accounts on the instruction of first accused and that he handed all the funds to first accused.
The first accused promise to cooperate with the investigation and gave us various accounts number which agrees with the ones that were discovered during the course of their investigation.
He said they were both handed over to CID HQ for further investigation and that he made statement to the police at CID HQ.
The aforementioned transaction slips were all tendered in court respectively to form part of the prosecution case.
Defense counsel for first accused Marvin Onyedikacti renewed his application for bail which was denied by the Magistrate.
The accused persons were sent back to prison and the matter adjourned to 6thSeptember 2021 for further hearing.
ASP Ibrahim Mansaray prosecuted the matter on behalf of the Inspector General of Police.