AS CORRUPTION STINKS AT USL…PROCUREMENT OFFICER TRANSFERRED

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Since the 23rd of July 2021 when the bid opening was stopped by the University of Sierra Leone authorities, I have been closely collecting detailed information.

1. When the bid opening was going on, on the 23rd July 2021, the Registrar, Mrs Olive Barrie called the head of procurement to stop that meeting immediately. All those who bided were told to go. People like AA Enterprises, solution center, Eddie K enterprises and many others.

2. Olive Barrie transferred the procurement officer Mrs Ettie Johnson to college of medicine at the exams office.

3. The chairman of IPAM procurement unit was also sacked.

4. Huge items like computers and Accessories, Equipment, Printers

Judiciary Engages Stakeholders on Administration of Local Courts

 The Judiciary of Sierra Leone and the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice have today commenced one-week tour across the country to engage key stakeholders in the administration of Local Courts ahead of preparation to fully enforce the Local Courts Act No. 10 of 2011.

Representing the Hon. Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, one of the High Court Justices, Hon. Justice Aiah Simeon Allieu said the power in the administration of Local Courts was transferred to the Judiciary immediately the Act was legislated by the House of Parliament.

Referencing Section 5 of the Local Courts Act of 2011, Justice Allieu stated that it spelt out qualifications for appointment and appointment of officers.

According to him, the administration of Local Courts was purely the affairs of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, but because of the many challenges that confronted the Local Courts, there was urgent need to bring it under the supervision of the Hon. Chief Justice.

Among the reforms he highlighted were the establishment of Local Courts Committee; Qualification for the appointment of Local Courts Chairmen and the creation of new positions such as Vice Chairman, Account Clerk, Finance Clerk and Bailiff among others. He said when the new Act was legislated they held trainings and public education to educate all stakeholders in the administration of justice at local level.

“We are here to also identify those challenges and how to address them,” Hon. Justice Allieu said, adding that, “the administration of justice cannot be complete if the Local Courts are not reconstituted.”

Shaid Korgie, the National Coordinator-Justice Sector Coordination Office explained that the purpose of the visit was to engage, assess and give clarity on the status of Local Courts administration.

He went on to state that the Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution made it clearly that the administration of Local Courts should be under the Judiciary and all functions performed thereto are Judicial functions. He said the Attorney General’s Office is providing the support to enhance justice delivery.

Outlining some of the key challenges, the Paramount Chief of Gbane Kandor Chiefdom in Kono District, PC Edward Saa Mbawa III, said the Local Courts hasn’t got the much needed attention from the central Government, stressing that they have not received salaries for more than a year now. He stressed that nothing has been done to address those challenges.

PC Tamba E.T. Foyoh IV of Sao Chiefdom who doubles as Chairman Council of Paramount Chiefs in Kono District commended the move, noting that this confusion among stakeholders affected the smooth administration of Local Courts.

The team from the Judiciary comprised of the Court Operations Manager-Mrs Olayinka Laggah and the Head of Communications, Elkass Sannoh. The team is travelling today to engage stakeholders in Makeni City before moving to Port Loko.

=OPINION=

Chernor Bah V The Paopa Henchmen: Hay hay!!! De game don therrrmeh?

By: Mahmoud A. Idriss

Hello Mr. Chernor Bah. I notice your effort to single out my company in your post on payments made by the Ministry of Information and Communications to persons and private businesses. While I respect your right to report on things you believe to be information the public has rights to, I take strong exceptions to the insinuations your post generates in the same light. Reporting half facts as a journalist is in and of itself unethical in nature.

What your post fails to mention is the services my company provided and the process we went through to get the contract we delivered on. The insinuations that payments made are in fact corrupt transactions, is unfair to small private businesses genuinely trying to build their capacities to compete against foreign companies in an already highly skewed market landscape.

Have you sat back to think what the effect of your mentioning my company in your suggestive post will be when we bid for international tenders and u have to defend such posts? Have you sat back to think how people who have respect for domestic entrepreneurs would process such information?

Such posts are part of the reasons it seems nothing good ever comes out of this country. In our personalised views of who we are and what we do, we are willing to make casualties of anyone irrespective of what their own stories are. I would have appreciated if before singling out my company and mentioning it by name, you or your team would have contacted me to give u a version of what those payments are in respect of. That would help you or your readers understand whether those payments were proportional proportional the services…or not.

It is not like me to respond to social media posts like these. But I think in the interest of my company’s reputation, I should protest this most unethical behaviour and let you know that you have already caused significant damage to my person and my business through half-hearted posts, whatever your motivations may be.

Have a wonderful day whole you continue to bask in your much coveted glory.

Here comes The Brilliant Mr Chernoh Bah

Mahmoud A. Idriss —-I want to thank you for your comment and response to the publication of the financial transactions of the ministry of information.

Your response is very helpful in the sense that it justifies the authenticity of the statement of financial transactions that we have published. Your response is a direct confirmation that the reported transactions actually occurred. As you may note, we didn’t just select your company as the only one that received payments from the said ministry. We only published a statement   showing a list of financial transactions carried out between 10 January 2020 and 28 December 2020 by a government ministry, which included billions of Leones ( of public money) withdrawn by individuals or in some cases transferred to private companies. Our goal with this publication is to show the public, on whose behalf these funds are being supposedly spent, how their public funds are being used by public officials and on what set of activities those funds are being spent on. In the case of the ministry of information, the statement of transactions show that over Le5.9 billion was withdrawn from one of its operational accounts, 90% of which are in the form of cash withdrawals by individuals and some of it also includes payments in hundreds of millions or billions to private companies including the company you have identified as yours.

I do not see how our disclosure of the fact that a specific company, in this case the company you have identified as yours, did received payments from government amounts to a destruction of that company’s reputation or business activities. We made no accusations yet against any of the recipients of the funds paid out by the ministry of information. We didn’t focus on examining how the payments were made and for what purposes they were carried out. We only disclosed how the ministry distributed or used over Le5.9 billion of public funds from more than Le6 billion that was transferred into one of its accounts in 2020. This is public information.

Now do we intend to find out or publish further details on whether these specific payments were in conformity with the public finance laws and regulations? Yes, we might do so…but in the case of this current publication, our focus was to just release the banking transactions that show exactly how many payments were made, who received payments from the ministry and the specific amounts that were paid.

We didn’t on our own create the names of the various individuals and companies that received these payments. We only released a document that shows what a specific ministry did with public funds. Are we wrong in showing the public this information? Were the said payments made or not? Are any of the listed transactions wrong? Your response is useful to us because it helps to confirm the authenticity of the information we have released to the public.

Now, it would have been a different discussion if your contention was that your company never received any such payment from the ministry. If that were your argument, then it would have raised the question of how did your company’s name appear in a government statement of financial transactions? It seems to me from your response that you are unhappy that your company’s name was mentioned as one of the recipients of public funds. If that is the case, then the questions that will follow are these: did your company receive payments from the ministry of information in 2020? You have already answered that it did receive the listed payments. There is no argument on this one.

Now the next questions are these: why was your company paid? What services did it render? How was it awarded the contract? What other companies competed for the said contract? These questions are very important but they are not the focus of this publication. Again, we made no accusation against any individual or company. We only released information to the public relating to how their monies are being spent. Accountability isn’t just about showing when monies were stolen or diverted it also includes disclosing how public officials conduct public affairs including how they spend public money. The public are within their right to know how government runs and functions. So if a company does business with government and that business is conducted according to the business laws without any infraction or element of corruption, the owners of that company would honestly not be bothered or they should not be worried if their activities or transactions with government are disclosed to the public. Transactions dealing with public money aren’t governed by secrecy; they are public activities and the public are entitled to know them.

Once again, I want to thank you for your response and the time you have used to help confirm the authenticity of the financial details we have published.

Our goal is to enhance transparency in the use of public finances, and this includes showing the public how their appointed and elected representatives are using public funds.

We intend to further examine the basis and circumstances under which some of these listed transactions were conducted in subsequent publications. For instance, that is when we discuss how your company received a contract from the ministry, and whether any laws or rules were followed, and whether the services rendered meet the value of the payments?

Enjoy the rest of your day sir.

=SPORTS=

Over S/Leone’s Group E AFCON Draw…

TM Babadi Trust & Confidence in Leone Stars

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) in collaboration with the Cameroon Organizing Committee on Tuesday August 17 in a flamboyant theatrical display, successfully concluded the draw for the 33rd edition of the continent’s biggest football festival in Yaoundé, Cameroon and Sierra Leone has been placed to share Group E with defending champions Algeria, Equatorial Guinea which, like Sierra Leone, makes its third appearance to the tournament and two times champions Cote D’Ivoire which shows up for the 25th time.

This placement has been perceived by many Sierra Leoneans, at home and abroad, as throwing the Nation in the lion’s den, consequently sparking a barrage of pessimistic and sarcastic comments across social media and other platforms. Most of these comments express lack of hope in the Country’s National Team for making it past the group stage.

Sierra Leone had been to two editions of the Nations Cup (1994 and 1996) and on both occasions the Country couldn’t make it to the second rounds and apparently some Sierra Leoneans think this is not going to be any different.

This arrant pessimism seems to have caused the recently appointed Team Manager Babadi Kamara to express dissatisfaction and make a passionate plea to all Sierra Leoneans both home and abroad to “believe, trust and have confidence in the Nation despite sharing group with the tournament’s defending champions Algeria and two times Champions Cote D’ivoire. We respect our opponents but at the same time we will sternly refuse to be seen as a pushover”.

”The draw is out, the group is tough but it means now that we have to go to work and work even harder both in and out of the pitch to ensure the best preparation possible. We sprung surprises against teams like Nigeria during the qualifiers, there’s nothing stopping us now from doing even better in the tournament proper”. TM Babadi added.

Recounting his experience with some of the African Football legends who were invited for the draw in Yaoundé, the Leone Stars Team Manager said, “When asked about their impressions about the upcoming tournament, El Hadji Diouf, Regobert Song, Asamoah Gyan and Didier Drogba all said awesome things to hail  their respective countries. This by all indications is what patriotism is truly about and believing in oneself is the greatest strength anyone should wish for”.

As Leone Stars’ build up to the TotalEnergies AFCON Cameroon 2021 intensifies, the Sierra Leone Football Association continues engagement with several countries in and out of Africa for possible friendly matches in the upcoming ordinary and FIFA calendar dates. The following have been confirmed so far; 26th August in Ethiopia and the 29 to 31 August for a 4-Nation tournament in DR Congo during which Sierra Leone is expected to compete with South Sudan, Congo Brazzaville and the host Nation DR Congo.

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