Exchequer Kalokokoh Moves from SLCB to Finance Ministry

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By Rachel Monjama Horner

He was probably sleeping when the announcement was made—may be tired from the historical happenings at the Japoma stadium in Cameroon where the National Team, the Leone Stars, had held the Desert Foxes of Algeria earlier in the day to a goalless draw at the Cup of African Nations. Sierra Leone was returning to the competition for the first time after twenty-six years of absence at the continent’s biggest soccer fiesta. Kalokoh is one of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans who have made it to Cameroon to support the lads.

While the country was still celebrating this laudable effort, word came from State House that “it has pleased His Excellency” to make some announcements to his team. Many, I am sure were interested in the appointment of Hon Alpha Khan from the opposition APC who served in the previous administration.  But on the list was also Bockarie Kalokoh, who was probably dreaming away in his hotel room.

Surprised? The President has nominated him to swap places from the upper part of George Street in Freetown, where he currently serves as Acting Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank to the other end, at the Ministry of Finance to serve as Deputy Minister 2.

Like the goalkeeper who saved Sierra Leone’s blushes against the Algerians on the day, Kalokoh may have also felt excited for the privilege to serve in Government, albeit unexpectedly.

For starters, Kalokoh is an outstanding professional in banking and financial management, having served in many capacities in premium financial institutions in and out of Sierra Leone. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Hons in accounting(major) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone and an MBA from Jack Welsh Management Institute, USA.

Kalokoh is bringing with him to the Ministry of Finance over twenty years of experience in Assurance Risk Management: Accountancy; Finance, Banking, Marketing, Administration and General Management. He possesses a maximum degree of experience in the banking and financial industry in Sierra Leone. For those who have been following his exploits, this makes him distinct and puts him on a solid pedestal to contribute to the country’s financial management scheme.

Before he was nominated Deputy Minister, Kalokoh was also Director, Finance and Administration at the SLCB. He was General Manager Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Director of Finance and Administration, Union Trust Bank (UTB), Finance Analyst at KPMG in Lagos, Nigeria.

Colleagues in the financial institution say the new No 2 exchequer has the penchant, wisdom, and knack to deliver in his new assignment. They say he has maintained a considerable foothold in the institution, and his track records are indelible.

Kalokoh is a man who believes in competence and performance. President Julius Maada Bio didn’t make any mistake to appoint a financially savvy person to hold such an important position at the Ministry of Finance.

He is currently a council member at the Sierra Leone Stock Exchange. He is also a Board Director, Golden Tulip Kimbima, since 2016.

Mr Kalokoh is an all-rounder, a powerful financial technocrat that has tremendously contributed to the development of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank. Many believe he can bring quality reforms to the Ministry of Finance.

Bockarie Kalokoh is happily married with two children.

NCRA & Partners Discuss 2022 Plans

By General Swalliho

The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has held its first general meeting with staff from across the country to reflect on activities carried out in 2021, the successes recorded and the challenges faced and navigate plans for 2022.

Giving an overview of the purpose of the meeting, Director of Human Resources, Mr. Mohamed Lamin Deen said that the essence of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for staff across the country to share knowledge and lessons learnt in previous year and to draw from those lessons to plan for 2022 with the aim of achieving the overall goal of the Authority.

Addressing his team, the Director General Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi encouraged all to be supportive and to respect the values of team work.

The D.G also advised staff to be delligent and to work hard in order to make themselves relevant in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Mr. Massaquoi further informed the meeting that the  2022 operational plan will include women’s empowerment, especially in the leadership positions of the Authority.

The Ag. Director of ICT Mr. Jusufu Henry Swaray did an explicit power point presentation of a system developed on the electronics issuance of securitized Identity Credentials. “The essence of this innovative move is to contain the occurrence of Identity fraud, putting in place control measures for the preparation, validation and issuance of Identity documents. The system will also help to facilitate assignment of National Identity Numbers ( NIN ) at birth,” Mr. Swaray said.

Most importantly, Director Swaray affirmed that this innovative effort will further help to avoid if not deny duplication in the issuance of Identity documents.

Challenges faced in generating data on the Registration of other vital events eg, Marriages from across districts were presented and discussed. The way forward and plans were laid out to see how improvements can be done in order to surmount challenges faced in 2021.

In attendance were; the Director General, Directors, PROs, Managers, other Senior Officers , DROs, RITOs and DITOs from across the country.

RCB & IPAM Hold Banking and Finance Seminar

Preparations are underway for a seminar that is set to significantly influence the narrative on financial inclusion, financial literacy, innovation, Marketing and digitalization of the finance and banking industry in Sierra Leone.

Hosted by the Rokel Commercial Bank in collaboration with the Faculty of Accounting and Finance of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), the seminar scheduled for the 21st January 2022 at the New Freetown City Hall will attract representatives from the public and private sector who will brainstorm on the aforementioned for the development of a roadmap that may influence national policy on how the financial market can be better utilized to stimulate growth through various innovation schemes.

It will essentially seek to develop a blue print (in the form of a communiqué) through which financial experts, technocrats, civil society and ordinary citizens can communicate their ideas on how they envisage a Sierra Leone that is ready to embrace new growth parameters through innovation and digitalization of the financial space.

The upcoming seminar will be the first of its kind to be hosted mainly by a financial institution like the Rokel Commercial Bank which had been a leading advocate for financial inclusion and financial literacy in Sierra Leone. On top of this, it is coming  at a time when the bank itself has migrated into a more robust core banking system that has monumentally boosted its digitalization and expansion programmes.

The event will be climaxed by the launch of the Rokel Herald, a high quality print publication that chronicles the activities of the Rokel Commecial Bank as well as key information on it’s products and services.  The event will also witness the launch of an Executive Masters Degree Programme on Banking and Finance by the Institute of IPAM.

To Protect and Respect the National Team…

Mercury Says ‘No Bets’ on Leone Stars

By Morlai Sesay

In a Press Release dated Friday 7th January 2022, the Management and Staff of Mercury International have intimated the public, its valued retailers together with its valued customers that the company (Mercury International) would not allow bets to be placed on Leone Stars matches, stressing that the decision was made by the Board in order to protect and respect the National Team.

The Press Statement continued to read that Mercury International has always maintained a strict policy in that regard and that it would continue to enforce same, hence its staff and retailers are regularly sensitized and informed of it.

” Unfortunately, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) featuring Leone Stars games  will appear on the www.mercurybet.com website as the site is being run by foreign agents therefore removal of Leone Stars games on our site will cause it to be removed by thousands of other betting platforms run by other non-affiliated international companies; however, bets cannot be placed on these Leone Stars matches and an attempt will result in the following error being displayed: BETSLIP AUTHORIZATION APOLOGIES, THIS EVENT IS UNAVAILABLE TO MERCURY BET PLAYERS!! You can bet on other AFCON games not featuring Leone Stars, but management has decided that this is the best decision to protect the players from any kind of unnecessary backlash and pressure,” they affirmed.

The Release ended that Mercury International wishes to reiterate its commitment to providing gaming services of the highest quality to the people of Sierra Leone while simultaneously ensuring strict adherence to its laws and regulations and maintaining its stellar reputation earned over the past Fifteen (15) years and that Mercury International would like to wish Leone Stars good luck in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

NDMA Assesses Environmental Risks at Moa Wharf

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), accompanied by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), recently visited the Moa Wharf community to assess the environmental dangers posed to the community and how it would affect the lives of the inhabitants. 

The community is situated back of the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) aka Cottage.

In tears, Amanita Sesay, a pregnant woman who has three children, said she went for antenatal treatment; and that on her return, she found the ‘soil had shifted’, and that the walls seemingly caved in on their toilet, just a leap away from her door, which posed a threat to the lives of her family. 

The Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Abu-Bakr Bangura, said that in order to address the looming threat, “We need to take action.” He went on to admonish community heads on the need for them to be sensitive and conscious. .

The assessment looked at people digging clay to construct new homes, which is compromising the safety of the inhabitants…

The NDMA witnessed the cleaning of the Moa Wharf gutter, over-filled; a threat to the lives and properties. Director of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, NDMA, Thomas Lebbie, said the cleaning of the gutter is crucial for containing overflowing when it rains and causing possible loss of lives and properties and from bacterial diseases.

The NDMA also engaged stakeholders and outlined the dangers associated with inimical human environment actions. The visiting team admonished the community leaders to be vigilant – in protecting their communities from human activities considered dangerous to their very existence.

The NDMA says it will continue its mandate to mitigate natural disasters through its early warning mechanism. Raising awareness and working with actors at the local and the governance level is essential in addressing the looming threats that might lead to a tragedy.

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