LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER DISSOLVES MAYOR’S DELIVERY UNIT AT FCC

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The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Amb. Tamba Lamina, has during the publication of the administrative inquiry report into the management of the Freetown City Council ordered the Mayor’s Delivery Unit (MDU) at Freetown City Council (FCC) to be dissolved with immediate effect on the grounds that it is not legally seated in the Council.

“As a Ministry, having gone through the recommendations of the inquiry team, which stated that FCC had a toxic and acidic working environment, dysfunctional relationship, financial mismanagement and that the MDU is a parallel administration to the statutory administration, we have resolved to disband it from the Council,” Minister Tamba Lamina pronounced.

He stated that the decision of the Ministry was in accordance with part 14 subsection 97 to 99 of the 2004 Local Government Act, which outlines the roles of the Local Government Ministry with regards monitoring, supervision and oversight. He added that sections 97 (4) clearly gives the Ministry the responsibility to investigate defaults in any Council, map out ways to rectify it, choose the type of actions or interventions that may be required to settle the same and support the said Council to effectively exercise its functions.

He disclosed that the Ministry is very much concerned about the underperformance of FCC and that it has developed a number of benchmarks which FCC must conform with. Adding that the Ministry is meeting with FCC on Tuesday 22nd February,2022 to agree on timelines for the abduction of the said benchmarks.

He ended by reading a good number of recommendations from the report including the one to restore the dignity and effectiveness of the core staff that had been redundant in the Council since the establishment of the MDU.

Members of the enquiry team read couple of sections on their findings during the investigation. Among other things they highlighted were that FCC had taken and implemented major decisions without consulting the Ministry.  For instance,  the decision to establish the MDU to raise property tax was a unilateral decision taken by FCC in complete disregard to the supervisory Ministry (MLGRD), that visiting dignitaries of FCC do not pay courtesy calls on the Ministry and many others.

Other interesting findings and recommendations were disclosed during the publication ceremony where staffs of FCC, MLGRD, the inquiry team and the media were present.

General Manager sets to delivered at Lungi Airport

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It was a moment of frank, direct and straightforward talks at the Compound of the Paramount Chief of Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom between the Management of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority [SLAA], Sub Chiefs and other Local Authorities including Owners of the Land where the Airport is situated.

 The General Manager of the Airport – Mr. Jack Massaquoi had gone there with a cross section of his Staff and other Key Stakeholders for an engagement which bothered on the enhancement of Safety and Security of the Airport.

 Mr. Jack Massaquoi appeared to be under sustained pressure in ensuring that the Objective for which the Airport Management was set up – requiring his leadership to exhibit and maintain a User Friendly, Safe and Secured atmosphere at the Airport is maintained.

The attention of the General Manager was recently pierced by some Senior State Officials who, while flying back to the Country, noticed some Tall and Untrimmed Trees along the Airport Perimeter Fence together with what appeared to be a Desperate and Continuous Attempts by Unscrupulous Persons are of the habit of smuggling themselves into the Airport through the Tunnels with the objective to steal. Perhaps the scariest reason for the swift move of the General Manager was the attitude of Community Members who have now cultivated the idea of Depositing their garbage right into the Airport Fence. The General Manager cited an instance in which some Solar Panels and Navigational Equipment were recently carted away from their installations by thieves who must have dangerously gained entrance through the Airport Tunnels.

As rightly observed by Mr. Jack Massaquoi, all the above mentioned issues are a Serious Threat to the Safety and Security of the Airport Users, Aircrafts Equipment and other Properties at the Airport. ‘The Tall and Untrimmed Trees have the potential to disturb the vision of Pilots flying down at the Airport, while the Cabbage will attract Birds and can as well lead to some major setbacks’ – Mr. Massaquoi dilated.  It was on that backdrop that the General Manager made the move for an engagement with the Paramount Chief and his Local Authorities for a workable solution. The General Manager and his entourage which included the Deputy General Manager, the Airport Army Commander, the Local Unit Commander in charge of the Airport Police Division and the Officer in charge of the Office of National Security in Lungi, were heartily welcomed to the Chief’s Compound by the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom Speaker.

The frank talks started in earnest when the Section Chief of Sucktarr asked to know what the Security Unit at the Airport Authority has so far done to combat the situation. This was buttressed by the Section Chief of Kasonghan who observed that the dumping of cabbage into the Airport Fence could be more dangerous with Smokers who might carelessly drop down jots anywhere and at any time. The most direct and straightforward concerns were raised by the representative of the Committee of Land Owners – Mr. Shebora Kargbo.

 He spoke on the Ineffectiveness of the Community Relations Committee which is supposed to meet on monthly bases to address emerging issues between the Management of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority and the Community Stakeholders for a peaceful coexistence. While noting that the Committee has not had any meeting in the past several months, Mr. Kargbo disclosed that the Management of the Airport has also not carried out the payment of their Land Lease Rent for quite a long time now. Several other speakers outlined in their separate observations, the need for Identification Cards and how they have often been embarrassed at the Entrance of the Airport even when on official visits.

Hon. Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Shebah Gbereh 3rd. is the Member of Parliament for Port Loko District and also the Paramount Chief of Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom. He was the last to address the gathering. He started his remarks by out – rightly condemning the ugly occurrences at the Freetown International Airport. He however commended the swift move by the General Manager to solicit support from the Community. The Hon. Paramount Chief said even though the Airport is often very much inaccessible to the Natives due to the restrictions imposed by its Management, he will prevail on his People to do their best in protecting the properties at the Airport largely because it is a National Asset that ought to have a clear mandate for its safeguard.

The Paramount Chief however urged for the Local Content Policy with regards the Award of certain Contracts at the Airport, the Re-activation of the Community Relations Committee for the actualization of the desired results especially those whose Sections boarder with the Perimeter Fence of the Airport, Land Owners and for Members of the Community Relations Committee to be issued with Identity Cards.

‘Mr. General Manager Sir, my Section Chiefs and the People of Kaffu Bullom are more than willing to help in the safeguard of the Airport.

But our intervention is sometimes constrained by the level of disregard from your Management. I believe some of these issues would not have surfaced should there been regular meetings. Therefore, I want to suggest for the reactivation of the Community Relations Committee, the issuance of Identification Cards to my Section Chiefs and for your management to also consider the need to offer compensation to Owners of those Economic Trees that will be cut down around the Perimeter of the Airport. Allow me to also suggest for the setting up of Dustbins at certain Locations to forestall the dumping of Cabbage into the Airport Fence’ – Hon. Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Sheba – Gbenreh 3rd. concluded.

Most of the suggestions and recommendations of the Hon.  Paramount Chief Member of Parliament was taken in good faith by the General Manager who opined that such engagements are necessary to be observed at regular intervals. In response to what his Management has so far done to address the situation, Mr. Massaquoi said he had summoned an emergency meeting with the Security Apparatus at the Airport where the need for all to step-up their operations was re- echoed. ‘Besides, I have instructed the procurement and the immediate reinstallation of the Stolen Solar Panels and Navigational Equipment. My Management has also concluded the Installation of 50 Watts Censor Lights on all the Airport Installations in a bid to ensure the Security of our Equipment and Safety at the Freetown Airport’ Mr. Massaquoi reiterated….

Have a look at the Photos below to brighten the eye of your mind.

 Justice Stevens Sentences 3 For Sexual Penetration

 The Court of Appeal Judge presiding over cases at the Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown, Honourable Justice Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens (JA) has sentenced 30-year-old Driver, Adams Conteh to 15 years’ imprisonment for sexually penetrating 12-year-old Agnes Bovi (not real name).

Adams Conteh was before the court on one count indictment of sexual penetration contrary to section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2012, Act No 12 of 2012 as repealed and replaced by Section 4 (a) (iii) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2019, Act No. 8 of 2019.

According to the police, Conteh, on a date unknown between the 1st day of January 2021 and the 12th day of August 2021, at Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone engaged in an act of sexual penetration with the victim, a pupil.

Upon his arraignment, the accused had denied the allegation brought up against him by the State.

Hon. Justice Stevens granted the trial by judge alone Application made by the State Prosecutor, Musa Pious Sesay, in the interest of justice and speedy trial.

During the course of the trial, Lawyer Sesay led in evidence a number of witnesses in support of his case.

The Class 6 pupil at the time and victim in the matter had told the police that she agreed to accompany her friend to the compound next to them. She said while they were there, the accused made a sign to her with his hand and called her inside their house which she did.

She said the accused used the occasion to forcefully sexually penetrate her and left her in pain as she was bleeding because she had been deflowered.

She said she couldn’t tell her mother because she was afraid until she fell sick and was later discovered to have been sexually penetrated.

After the close of the Prosecution’s case, the accused testified in his own defence and called a witness in support of his case.

After thorough examination of the totality of the evidence adduced before the court, Hon. Justice Stevens noted that the accused was as guilty as charged.

In his allocutus, the convict pleaded for mercy.

In his plea in mitigation, Defence Counsel C. Taylor Young said that his client was a first time offender and had been in custody since his arrest.

He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.

In another related matter, Justice Stevens also sentenced 19-year-old Pupil, Samud Brima Conteh to 5 years’ imprisonment, term to run concurrently.

Conteh who was 17 at the time of the investigations, was before the court on a three count of Sexual Penetration.

He was alleged to have on the 3rd day of May 2020, at Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone engaged in an act of Sexual Penetration with a 12-year-old pupil.

In his statement to the police, Conteh admitted that the allegation against him was true.

20-year old Teacher, Alieu Sheik Umar was also sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for sexual penetration.

Umar had denied having any relationship with the victim who was 13 years of age at the time.

The victim identified the accused as her Arabic Teacher.

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