By Mustapha Dumbuya
The All peoples congress (APC) interim transitional governance committee has updated the media on its preparedness to run the affairs of the party leading to the 2023 General Elections.
During the conference, Abdul Kargbo, MP, said that the Judgement delivered by Hon. Justice Adrian Fisher, on April 28 2022, is pleased to inform Party members, supporters and the general public that in compliance with the said judgement of the court, the ITGC was fully constituted on Friday May 13, 2022 with Alfred Peter Conteh as Chairman.
Kargbo continued that at a well-attended handing over ceremony at the Party Headquarters, the former National Secretary General, handed over the Secretariat including, but not limited to, a detailed handing over note, bank statements, bank accounts information, membership documents and all offices of the Secretariat to the Chairman of the ITGC.
Mr Kargbo pointed that Amb. Yansaneh also provided a signed detailed financial statement of expenditure of all funds held in the different accounts and how the funds have been expended on behalf of the party from October 2017 to April 28, 2022, adding that subsequently, Hon. Abdul Kargbo was unanimously elected as the Secretary of the Committee and Head of the Secretariat.
He Further that in pursuant to the court’s ruling all existing Executive Offices were vacated and the ITGC constituted the following sub-committees to assist in the smooth running and operations of the Party during the transitional period. The Secretariat Sub-Committee were Hon. Abdul Kargbo as head, Ibrahim Prince Tholley, Alhaji Aka Koroma, Hon. Rugiatu Rosy Kanu, and Cnl. Alhaji Santigie T. Kamara as members.
The Organizing Subcommittee involved Hon. Tom Issa Tucker, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu, Hon. Aaron Aruna Koroma, Marie Tambaka Kamara, Rashid S. Sesay, Chernor Sesay and Hon. Amadu Kanu and the Publicity Subcommittee are Sulaymani Burnnch Karnara, Hon. Abdul Karim Karnara, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu, Bintu Rabi Contch and Chernor Sesay.
The Finance Subcommittees were Hon. Emma Simbo Fraser, Hon. Lahai Marah, Hon. Aaron Aruna Koroma, Cnl. Alhaji Santigie T. Karnara, Chernor Sesay and Hon. Amadu Kanu and the Legal Affairs Subcommittees are Alpha Muctarr Jalloh Esq, Hon. Alpha Amadu Bah Esq, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu, Hassan Karnara Esq and Hon. Lahai Mara-h.
“Within the next few days, the Committee will develop rules and regulations to govern all internal Party elections leading up to the
National Delegates Conference and shall deliver same to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) not later than May 27 2022 for onward publication in the government gazette as required by law,” he explained.
He said that the Committees will also very soon constitute the other twenty four members of the Transitional Interim Independent Elections Management Committee pursuant to the Court Judgement with the responsibility to conduct the elections.
He clarified that similarly, the Committee shall in the coming days appoint an audit firm to carry out a forensic audit on the financial activities of the Party between October 2017 and 28April 2022. Along these lines the ITGC has received up to date bank statements from all banks holding the finances of the party and wishes to emphatically dispel all unfounded rumours that the party has only three million Leones in the bank.
The Honourable also said that the Committee shall resolve membership issues in accordance with the Court Order delivered by Hon. Justice Adrian Fisher and the Committee wishes to thank the former executives and assures all Party members of its commitment to work in unison to promote the ideals of the Party and set the stage for a victorious 2023 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Councils election.
According to him, the Committee shall keep the Party and the general public informed of further developments relating to the implementation of the Court Orders and further assures members of the party and the general public of a level playing field for all aspiring candidates in our internal electoral processes and a smooth and transparent transition for the All Peoples Congress Party.
Smiles: UK Minister for Africa & Bio
The United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean has paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio where she praised his leadership that has seen some remarkable development in the country.
Victoria Grace Ford, a British politician, also thanked the President for the many reforms, she noted, would add to the attainment of modern democracy, adding that the Free Quality Education initiative was particularly crucial, especially with premium on women and girls now pursuing courses in the sciences at higher institutions of learning.
“Your Excellency, thank you for your leadership. This is so amazing. Even in the midst of the Coronavirus, you were able to do what many developed countries couldn’t do. That is the right thing to do. The establishment of the One-Stop Center, the Gender Empowerment Law, the Sexual Offences Model Court, the repeal of the seditious libel law and most importantly, the abolition of the death penalty,” she noted.
In his short remarks, President Dr Julius Maada Bio thanked the visiting minister and the UK government for their continued support to the country, adding that Sierra Leone was a beacon of stable democracy that was providing a template for development for other West African countries.
He also noted that despite the devastating effects of the COVID-19 and the war between Ukraine and Russia that was adversely affecting economies around the world, Sierra Leone had not used that as an excuse for not making change and development.
“Over the last 4 years, my government has championed Gender Equality issues and has placed it at the heart of its New Direction agenda. The new Gender Empowerment Bill has enshrined a commitment to 30% of public appointments going to women. The ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ initiative by the First Lady is tackling child marriage and sexual violence through public awareness and advocating for stronger sentencing to end female genital mutilation for those under 18 years, by actively engaging traditional leaders. Also, the Munafa Fund is providing SMEs with micro-finance of which 70% are female-owned,” President Bio explained.
The President asked the UK government to support the new AgriTech4Africa partnership, saying that rapid adoption of agricultural technology and innovations, specifically tailored to the needs of the African smallholder farmers, was key to meeting the food needs of Africa and the world.
Japan: Ambulance & Medical Equipment for Lungi Airport
The Transport Advisor of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation has commissioned one used Ambulance vehicle and other medical equipment for the Health Clinic of Freetown International Airport, Lungi donated by the Japanese Embassy to Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the project, The Project Lead, Dr. Alusine Yilla who doubles as the Head of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority Health Clinic in Lungi Airport said that the project for the procurement of used ambulance vehicle and other medical equipment for the health clinic of the Freetown International Airport is a grant of 53,645 USD by the Japanese Embassy through the Catholic Agency for Oversees Development (CAFOD).
Explaining the background of the project, he said that due to lack of medical equipment, the clinic had not been able to fully respond to needs of community residents and airport users, adding that because there were not enough medical beds, patients were often transferred to other clinics and hospital to receive basic medical care.
He stressed that because there was no ambulance owned by the Health Clinic, and patients were moving to other medical facility by regular vehicles, which adds physical burden.
He emphasized that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, health related concerns at the airport increased, and it was necessary for the clinic to be better equipped in order to sufficiently operate.
Dr. Alusine Yilla said that with the intervention of the Japanese Embassy through the Catholic Agency for Oversees Development (CAFOD), the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority Health Clinic was able to secure a grant for the procurement of 1 used ambulance vehicle and other medical equipment among others such as 5 used medical bed, 1 thermo camera,5 wheelchairs 5 Non-contact thermometer and infection prevention and control materials masks and gowns.
He thanked the Deputy Head of Mission and Consular of the Japanese Embassy to Sierra Leone, Mr. Mitori Naoki for the humanitarian assistance given to the Government and People of Sierra Leone in ensuring a safe and better service delivery of the Lungi Airport Health Clinic.
In his statement, on behalf of the Honorable Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabine Kallon, the Transport Advisor of the Ministry, Dr. Adams Stevens expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to the government of Japan for the donation, and several others that would come.
He said that the Republic of Sierra Leone and Japan have enjoyed excellent relations since the independence six decades ago, adding that over the last three decades in particular, Japan has contributed immensely to the socioeconomic and infrastructural development of the country.
“Japan has supported UN lead initiatives, such as: The school feeding program, Rural development; Electricity generation; Human capital development; and small holder farmers” Dr.Stevens noted.
He maintained that the medicines and needed medical supplies received from Japan during the Ebola outbreak helped Sierra Leone conquer the disease, he added that the 8,000 vaccines received from Japan for Covid 19 has helped in the global fight against the viral disease.
He said that witnessing yet another humanitarian gesture in health and sanitation for one of the key entry points into Sierra Leone, assuring that, the good gesture would go a very long way in making air transportation into and out of the country safer, healthier and people would have more resilient to ailment
Le5.3 Bn Development Fund unveiled
His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has unveiled a Le 5.3b paid into the accounts of the Community Development Agreement, CDA, fund by Kingho Mining Company, a subsidiary of Leone Rock Metals, saying that it is a bold step to support the development of mining communities.
CDAs are required by law and involve the allocation of revenue from extractive activities to local communities. They are negotiated between extractive companies and host communities at the outset to reduce the risk of conflict later.
“I am very pleased to be here this morning to formally launch this Community Development Agreement payment to local community stakeholders. It aligns with my vision of formalising and regularising how mining communities can substantially benefit from mining activities in their areas.
“But we have gone one step further. In the past, the Government has not fully considered and planned for the eventual transition of mining communities. Transition from being mining-dependent to being self-reliant post-mining communities. When mines shut down, jobs disappear, economic activities cease, and communities go into a downward spiral of poverty.
“We have guaranteed not only that mining investments are secure and can be fully supported within a transparent regulatory regime, but that patient investors can also make a profit and repatriate or reinvest their profits. We are, therefore, most pleased to work with Leone Rock Metals, who, in spite of the financial shocks of the global COVID-19 pandemic, have made this major investment. President Bio also emphasised that he believed stakeholders and decision-makers could do better for mining communities, adding that increasing community development agreement payments from 0.01% of annual revenue in the previous operation year to one per cent during mining operations was in the best interests of mining communities.
“Mining communities should not hold begging bowls; they should be paid substantially more to invest in sustainable livelihood and community development projects that would sustain the economic viability and resilience of their communities. My Government has, therefore, proposed, for the first time in the history of this country, passing a law that increases CDA payments from a paltry 0.001% to 1% of revenues,” he said.
In a welcome statement earlier, host Paramount Chief of Dansogoia Chiefdom, PC Alimamy Bockarie Yalan Koroma III, thanked the government and the company for what he described as a big move, adding that such an amount was the highest any company had paid since the discovery of iron ore in Tonkolili in 2010.The traditional leader further noted that honour and dignity had been restored to his people and promised that they would continue to work and support the government and the Kingho Mining Company.
“Your Excellency, this is the first time such an amount is ever paid to the community. We want to thank you for providing such caring leadership. On behalf of the people of this chiefdom, I want to welcome you and your entourage and thank you very much for everything you continue to do for your people and the country,” he concluded.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba, said the occasion was historic as it would start a new era in the lives of the people of Tonkolili, adding that Kingho was the only company that had started to pay the one per cent CDA to communities, as opposed to the 0.015% in the Mines and Minerals Act. He further noted that there had been a lot of reforms in the sector and assured that his ministry would continue to advocate for better conditions for mining communities in ways that even the environment would be protected for the future generation.
“I am happy that the President himself is here today to unveil and hand over the Community Development Agreement Fund. Together, with the mining company, we will continue to support development in the communities. Thank you very much,” he noted.
Chief Executive Officer of the Kingho Mining Company, Gilbert Zhao, said it was a great honour to work with the people of Tonkolili who were now getting what they truly deserved, adding that the company would continue to look into the concerns of the people for a greater working relation. Mr Zhao further noted that because of the good working relationship between the management and its workers there had never been any disruptions of operations due to industrial actions, adding that even in the midst of the devastating effects of Coronavirus, Kingho was still in operations. “Kingho is not only here for today or tomorrow. We want to be here to make Sierra Leone better. We can do this together. Thank you very much,” he concluded.