Environment Ministry Participates in Stockholm + 50 Consultative Meeting

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The consultative meeting was organized by UNDP in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment at the Radisson Blue Hotel, in Aberdeen, Freetown.

This saw the participation of MDAs, Parliament, Paramount Chiefs, Members of the Diplomatic Councilor Core, Local Councils and Civil Society Organizations to primarily discuss and bring out action plans on mitigation and adaptation to fight Climate Change in Sierra Leone.

Given her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Madam Nancy Tengbeh who chaired the consultative meeting expressed her profound gratitude to all invited stakeholders, noting that Stockholm +50 engagement with local and international partners demonstrates to the world that the Sierra Leone’s ecosystem and biodiversity is important hence called for their preservation.

She cited the Medium Term National Development Plan that indicates several targets on environmental preservation. She said the Ministry is working closely with its supervising Agencies to restore degraded areas to life. Consequently, she emphasized that failure to protect the environment would have adverse consequences on individual livelihood.

She thanked UNDP for making the consultative meeting a success and implored all relevant stakeholders to make meaningful contributions that would reflect the Stockholm declaration to accelerate the implementation of the UN decade of Action that seeks to preserving the environment for a sustainable development goal.

In his keynote address, the Minister of the Environment, Prof. Foday M. Jaward said the consultative meeting is a high level one that seeks to commemorate the outcomes of the 1972 Stockholm Conference which served as a contribution to the environmental dimension of sustainable development to accelerate the implementation of commitments made in the context of the decades of action and delivery.

He disclosed that several commitments were made by country parties during the signing and ratification of three Rio Conventions on biodiversity, climate change and land degradation and later also the Stockholm Convention. He noted that it is this backdrop several actions, programs and initiatives have been undertaken at the level of government, regional, district and community levels since Stockholm Conference on Environmental and Development in 1972.

He affirmed that government has ratified four conventions, policy and legal instruments been formulated, institutions established, projects and programs implemented to address the trend of a deteriorating natural resources base and quality of Sierra Leone’s environment.

He noted that government has already demonstrated the political will to tackle environmental challenges hence the establishment of the new stand-alone Ministry of the Environment, reviewed of six legislations, ungraded key institutions after the Stockholm Convention. In addition, he mentioned the roll out of the National Tree Planting Project with core objective to plant 5 million trees in all five regions in the country.

He considered the submissions of the first and third National Climate Change Communications, noting that government is currently revising all necessary preparations for final submission to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

 Consequently, he noted that Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) estimated that by 2030, Sierra Leone would suffer cumulative annual flood-related losses totalling US$200M. He continued that an extreme weather event would be more costly with loss of lives and properties.

He emphasized that plastic and plastic waste management continued to pose an environmental hazard in the country. He said a single used plastic policy is also being developed.

He therefore applauded World Bank in supporting the Ministry to develop the National Plastic Policy and Action Plan. He called on religious institutions, churches, mosques, local communities and Civil Society Organizations to undertake environmental projects in their locations and operations, noting that since it is the UN decade of ecosystem restoration. 

Meanwhile, the UNDP Resident Rep. Pa Lamin Beyai underscored the significance of the consultative meeting, noting that it brings together government and its partners and other stakeholders to discuss environmental issues affecting Sierra Leone in the context of Stockholm +50.

He said the meeting provides an opportunity for inclusive society that called for government discussions on the main theme of Stockholm +50 that has effective planning for transparency of the country’s responsibilities and opportunities to protect its nature. He took into consideration the awareness of protecting the planet, noting that it sets the path for people to overcome the triple prices of climate change and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste. 

He disclosed that the UN conference on human environment also known as the stakeholder conference was the first UN conference held on the environment in June 1972. Sequel to this, he added that today’s event is organized by the Ministry of Environment and its partners to reflect on the 50 year declaration on preserving the environment.

He said this forum would produce the platform to deliberate on how to accelerate transformational change that would lead to sustainable and greener economy, creating more jobs and healthy planet for all without leaving no one behind.

Conclusively, he noted that UNDP would looked for continuing collaboration and partnership with the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Environment and other institutions to support the country’s effort towards a resilient and zero carbon future.

 At Tankoro Chiefdom…

Local residents accuses chief Saquee    

By Mento

The Paramount Chief of Tankoro Chiefdom, Kono District in the Eastern part of Sierra Leone, Chief Gabba Paul Saquee had succumbed to public scrutiny over multiple allegations of operating clandestinely or working secretly against his own people in favour of the much talked about unacceptable attributes of the management of Koidu Limited, a mining company which is known for underground system of mining.

In a recent visit to Koidu Town, Sierra Express Media gathered that although the management of Koidu Limited underground system of mining had been perceived by the local residents and miners as more risky or dangerous than that of the Open Cast system of mining.

 As a result of the alleged reoccurrence of damaging and deadly incidents within the company’s mining site or operational areas, but Chief Saquee who is the traditional custodian of the Chiefdom stands accused of making no positive moves to advocate on behalf of his subjects in order to encourage the management improve on their protection and safety measures or interventions.

 He went further to order correspondents to stop calling or sending text message on his cell phone, but let them go ahead with the publication if they wanted to.

Sources further intimated this press that Chief Saquee was strongly protecting the interest of the mining entity because he is in allegation of not only receiving daily kickbacks in form of salary in the end of every month as if he is one of the employees, but he is also accused of enjoying the lion share of the so-called meagre Community Development Fund and money paid on behalf of land owners, such as annual surface rent.

Another burning issue according to some vulnerable employees of Koidu Limited, until a job seeker had to bribe certain authorities within and outside the company in the tune of millions before one can be employed, which means one must be connected with either a senior staff in the company or having close relationship or connection with local authorities before he or she might gainfully employed.

Investigation revealed that Koidu Limited was in South Africa, but they were quickly driven away as a result of the frequent complainants of incidents of death.

Because Sierra Leone had been perceived as a dumping ground in the sub region for any indiscriminate activity, Koidu Limited was established in Sierra Leone, where reports say, smuggling of the country’s mineral resources by the management of Koidu Limited and other mining companies in Kono District is now order of the day.

Contacted Chief Gabba Paul Saquee via mobile phone to throw light or respond to the damning allegations as Custodian of the Chiefdom, he replied that he had nothing to do with the management of Koidu Limited.

The local residents of Tankoro Chiefdom are calling on the swift intervention of the Government of President Julius Maada Bio to ensure that the management of Koidu Limited do the correct job for the safety of the precious lives of our poor brothers and sisters.

In his official response, the Corporate Affairs Manager for Koidu Limited, Ibrahim Turay insisted that all accusations leveled against the company were baseless and challenged that Koidu Limited is one among few diamond mining companies that fully adhered or complied with government mining policies, advancing that they were taken to high esteem among the locals for honouring their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

According to Turay, the Underground system of mining which they have been practicing over the years is more unique and safe than the Open Cast method of mining.

He explained that the Open Cast system of mining is hazardous than the Underground system of mining but it is commonly practiced among mining companies in Kono District.

APC PROMULGATES ELECTION RULES, APPOINTS NATIONAL AUDIT FIRM

The membership and supporters of the All Peoples Congress, and the

General public is hereby informed that the Rules of Procedures and

Regulations for the Conduct of lower level elections of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party have been promulgated by the Interim

Transitional Governance Committee (TTGC).

This is in compliance with the orders contained in the Judgement

delivered by Hon. Justice Adrian Fisher, J. on the 28th of April 2022.

The said rules of procedures and regulations are compliant with the

1991 Constitution, the APC 2022 Constitution and the Political Parties registration Commission (PPRC) for the conduct of all lower level elections.

The Party shall within seven days of the promulgation forward to the

PPRC the said rules for publication in the Sierra Leone Gazette a    required by law.

Similarly, the Committee has appointed Peter Kamaray & Co. Consultancy to carry out a Forensic Audit on the financial activities, of the APC Party for the period: October 2017 and 28th April 2022 and they shall provide report of the said audit within sixty days of    their appointment.

The Interim Transitional Governance Committee (1TGC) wishes to restate the Committee’s commitment to keep the Party and the

general public informed of developments in the Party accordingly.

 Ponder my thoughts.

By  Andrew Kelli

JOHN IDRISS LAHAI : ONE-MAN WRECKING MACHINE

The trepidation Dr. John Idriss Lahai has instilled in many people with bogus credentials who hold high positions in Sierra Leonean society reminds me of the story, “When Grandma goes to court” which has been published in any number of joke and anecdote books.

The story goes that in a trial in USA, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why yes I do know you since you were a little boy, and frankly you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you are a big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you’ll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you. The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?” She replied, “Why yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He’s lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem, He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.” The defense attorney nearly died. The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice said: “If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I’ll send you both to the electric chair.”

It is a brave man or woman who will ask Dr. Lahai whether he knows him or her. He appears to be an unshackled wrecking machine destroying the underserved reputation of many “big men” in all spheres of life in this country. He unearths overnight what could have taken our investigative agencies light years to fathom. Some people have impugned his motives, but most agree on one thing – Academic fraud is prevalent in this country, giving pretenders advantage over those who choose to be honest. People shower themselves unashamedly with undeserved accolades. Meritocracy has been thrown out the window and this syndrome appears to be institutionalised.

One thing is for certain -John Idriss Lahai is a one man wrecking machine. He has even sullied the reputation of the ACC. The ACC with its initial stance that Dr. Lahai’s accusations did not amount to corruption because job holders did not use illegal qualifications to gain undue advantage in getting government jobs, now seems to have walked back its statements. With the ACC’s reputation somehow dented by Dr. Lahai, it has looked for easy pickings, and who better to investigate than a high profile Bank Governor. The ACC has finally presented its report on alleged bribery by the Bank Governor. Lo and behold this case of  “overap”, as the “servisman” would say has been occupying the ACC’s precious time! And the verdict? – The governor did not bribe people but misspoke. The Governor had said he “bribed” people who were hoarding Leones to bring them back into the banking system S68 million. The ACC’s conclusion stated thus: “The said statement was a mischaracterization of what transpired and the use of the word “bribe” in that context was in error as the Professor struggled to simplify a complex banking operation.”

 In the same vein, Dr. Lahai has simplified a “complex” problem. It is obvious that a lot of institutions have failed in ensuring that ours is a society based on merit. The implications of what he has unearthed are staggering. We now live in country in which many of our political institutions and MDAs may be governed by misfits with questionable credentials. We live in a country in which the medical personnel who treats you may have bogus qualifications. We live in a country in which you cannot be sure that the graduate you employ in your workplace may not have had his qualifications genuinely-little wonder many foreign companies shun them and bring in expatriates.

We live in a country in which charlatans may be given promotion over those who give their blood sweat and tears to receive their qualifications. Unfortunately, many institutions contribute to this, a major one being the Parliamentary committee that often approves Presidential appointees in record time with little or no vetting. Dr. Lahai is constantly reminding us in his slow release pill style that we have messed up and that despite the isolated actions being taken by various institutions and organisations, the government needs to wrap its head round this problem and take an unambiguous position to restore some modicum of meritocracy in our society. Dr. Lahai deserves our plaudits, even though this one-man wrecking machine may not find himself on these shores soon!

Fake passport deal…

Lebanese national arrested

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters in Freetown is currently investigating Fawaz Ayoub who is currently residing at Africanus Hotel who climbed to be a businessman in Sierra Leone.

According to sauces received by this medium said that Fawaz Ayoub has been issued fake passport to people especially Lebanese national who wants to claim Citizenship in Sierra Leone.

Sources also revealed that Mr. Ayoub who is currently in police custody for investigation has been engaged in this deal insuring out fake passport to colleague Lebanese with high cost.

Mr Ayoub was arrested on Monday 30th May 2022 in Freetown and brought to the CID headquarter for further questioning.

Presently the Anti-Fraud Department at CID room 47 is looking into the matter, while the suspect is been detained at the CID headquarters for further investigation.

Reaching the head of CID R.P. G Robert explained to this medium that the matter is currently under police investigation.

As investigations continue.

“We tie our success to hard work, unity, determination & motivation”

-Bo Rangers Captain

Bo Rangers lifted their first Sierra Leone Premier League trophy on Sunday after their win against FC Johansen last week in Bo, finishing the league with 78 points.

Lifting the trophy sky-high towards thousands of spectators, the Premier League Board Chairman, Allieu Vandi Koroma Esq, handed over the champion cup to the Elephants’ captain, Morie Alie.

“We were determined to win this trophy especially for the fans; they’ve really gone through a lot, so we decided to play for them and here we are”, Alie said.

He tied their success to hard work, unity, determination and motivation. “We had winning bonus for every match. We were training at 2pm everyday and I believe we were the only team training at odd hours,” he said.

Speaking on representing Sierra Leone at the CAF Champions League, the 28-year-old remarked as saying: “We have the structures and support from fans to represent Sierra Leone [in the CAF Champions League]. We only have to increase our work rate because that’s an international platform.”

Bo Rangers won 25 matches, the highest win in the 2021/2022 Premier League. The champions registered the least draw (3), and lost the least number of matches (6).

The Southerners scored the highest number of goals (53) and conceded the least (17). The Elephants won their last seven matches including four away fixtures, scoring 19 goals and garnering 21 points in the process.

Bo Rangers Coach, Jose Solomon Cortes, said he is proud to have won the first league title for the Elephants. “This is historical, and we did it for the fans at home and abroad,” the Chilean added.

He continued: “When I came, I saw that one of the biggest problems of the team was that they hardly win away games; they were just winning at home, and that was not enough to win the league. I tried to change the winning mentality away from Bo.

“Even when we had won the league, I had a big talk with the team and made it very clear to them that we should remain professional and tried to win those two matches to show the whole country that we respect the other teams.”

Speaking about the future, the 49-year-old white coach said he will sit with the Bo Rangers Management to see the next plan.

“To the fans, my mission when I came here was to help the players and the club take a new step…to make a new kind of training technique and to show them organized football.

“I think we have done very well. Now we can play dominant football like you do in Europe, and for me, the target is that this club continues to develop this kind of play, dominant attacking football,” he surmised.

Bo Rangers scooped most of the awards. Musa Tombo Kamara won the Best Player, Best Striker and Highest Goalscorer awards. Saidu Bah, Best Midfielder and Esheik Kamara, Best Defender.

The champions who received a Le 250,000,000 cheque, are expected to stage a trophy parade after their players return from international duties.

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