PARLIAMENT RATIFIES IDENTITY CARDS PRODUCTION

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The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 22, March 3 2022 ratified an Agreement for the production of multipurpose identity cards for the development of Sierra Leone.

The following Agreement was ratified by Parliament:

Agreement for the production and issuance of securitized multipurpose identity cards (National, Non-National & ECOWAS), ID Verification System and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) and Constrat Systems Sierra Leone Limited

Presenting the Agreement, the Minister of Internal Affairs, David Panda Noah spoke about the mandate of the NCRA Act, in light of the production of identity cards and other important duties. He informed that the Institution has registered several people.

The Minister also told Parliament that NCRA was building the capacity of personnel in order to meet demand and other related required supports were on course. According to the Minister, the following identity cards would be produced: National, Non-National and ECOWAS identity cards.

The identity cards, he said, would serve many purposes, including accessing banking, National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NaSSIT), amongst others. The development the Minister said would help the authorities to track criminals, development purpose and other related matters. He emphasized that the identity cards would help in many ways. With this identification and registration, the Minister said data management would be enhanced and informed that NCRA had registered 5.9million people on their data base. He also stated that the Agreement has no implication on the State and government would also benefits.

“The NCRA,” he said, “is on massive awareness regarding same and went on to assure Parliament on the confidentiality and privacy of users.”

Contributing to the debate, Chairman of Internal Affairs Committee, Hon. Alusine Kanneh said his colleague MPs were au-fait with the development, regarding the identity processing, adding that they have been waiting for the identity cards. He informed that identification of this nature would help citizens to identify and curb out criminality, as well as helping people to travel across ECOWAS countries.

On his part, Hon. Abdul Karim Kamara said the identity cards would help the people to go through services. He recalled bad incidences related to criminal impersonation, adding that the Agreement would address some of the similarity problems.

“With this one, I am sure would address justice related issues,” he stated. However, he raised concerns over the price of the National Identity Card, Le75, 000 as exorbitant for ordinary people. He also informed that the attachment of the National Identification Number would ease the process of passport issuance.

Hon. Sahr Charles said having a national identification card is prudent and recalled the process from the past government and commended the current government for continuity. He also told the Minister to look into the pricing for the people and spoke about the decentralization of the system to ease accessibility. He appreciated the production of the identity. He said they would want to see other features in the identity cards, especially for students and ease tracking criminals and other benefits. He said the country has been far behind for this kind of development.

Hon. Joseph William Lamin described the day as very important, relating the identification to benchmarking. He informed that they are coming to have a reputable identification. He spoke about confidentiality of the process, in light of protection. The MP informed that NCRA has registered 5.9million people, adding that it was very significant and spoke about the uniqueness of the identity cards as well as duration and cost. He informed that the job was well done and it was a merit for the government scorecard.

Hon. Wuyata Songa highlighted the inter relation between identification and security, referencing a recent incidence that affected her.

Leader of Opposition, Hon. Chernor R.M. Bah said the identification system had been a process from the past government to present. He informed that Agreement is necessary but decried the huge cost of the transaction especially for the ECOWAS identity card and pleaded on the Minister to do the needful for the people of Sierra Leone.

Concluding the debate, the Acting Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie said the Agreement is not controversial and supported the Opposition Leader’s submission for the fees for the National ID card and highlighted the other cost of national ID cards in the Sub-Region relating to pricing. The Acting Leader highlighted the importance of the National ID Card when it comes to operations .He called for decentralization of the production of the National ID Card.

In another development, Parliament has on the same date, 22/03/2022 ratified the following Agreements :

1. Air services Agreement between the Government of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone

2. Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

3. Memorandum of Understanding between the Aeronautical Authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Sierra Leone

4. Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and

5. Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Sierra Leone and Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The various Agreements were presented by the Deputy Minister of Transportation and Aviation, Rex Bhonapha.

Two Land Fraudsters Sent To Prison                                       

 By Feima Sesay.                          

Samuel Sylverlie and Komba John Bull were yesterday sent to prison by Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road Court No. 1 for allegedly obtaining 56 million Leones from Augustine Moiwa for a 5-and-a-half town lot of land.   Inspector Kadie M Taylor is Prosecuting the matter.    

The two people were arraigned in court on three counts charges ranging from Conspiracy to defraud Contrary to law, Causing Money to be paid to another person with intent to defraud, Contrary to section 32 of the larceny Act 1916 and obtaining money by false pretenses. 

The police noted on count one that the accused Samuel Sylverlie on the February 4 2021, at Moko Town, Bathurst village, Freetown, with intent to defraud conspired together with Desmond English and Komba John Bull to defraud Augustine Aiah Moiwa the sum of fifty six million Leones with the pretext of selling five and half town lot to him knowing it to be false.           

Counts two stated that the accused Komba John Bull on same date at Charlotte village Freetown, with intent to defraud, fraudulently cause Augustine Aiah Moiwa to pay the sum of fifty six million Leones to Desmond English and Samuel Sylverlie who purported to have a piece or parcel of land lying and situated at Charlotte knowing same to be false.

 Whiles counts three added that the accused Samuel Sylverlie on the same date at Charlotte village Freetown with intent to defraud obtained the sum of fifty six million Leones from Augustine Aiah Moiwa by falsely pretending that you have a piece and parcel of land lying and situated at Charlotte village for sale knowing same to be false. 

However, Magistrate Kekura issued a bench warrant against the absent accused person and sureties, respectively.

The matter was adjourned to the 28 March 2022

36 Years Masoner In Jail for Alleged 300 Timber Logs Theft

By Feima Sesay

 Bobson Sesay (36), a Mason was on Wednesday 23 March 2022 sent to prison over 300 pieces of Timber logs Theft from one Moses Lakadi.  The Deputy Superintendent of Police Isatu Gbassy Fofanah is prosecuting the Matter.

The accused Bobson Sesay made his first appearance before Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road court No. 1 on two counts charges of Conspiracy contrary to law and Larceny by servant  contrary to section 17(1(a( of the larceny Act of 1916.)

According to the particulars of offence for counts one, it was alleged that the accused on 16 November 2021, at cross village Depot, off Waterloo conspired together with other persons unknown and stole 300 pieces of Timber logs valued at Le 240, 000, 00; 3 power saw machines value at le250, 000; and 1 batter engine oil valued at Le330, 000, totaling two hundred and eighty eight million, five hundred and eighty thousand Leones (Le 288, 580, 000, 00).

The police further alleged on counts two that, the accused on the same date and place, a servant to Moses Lakadi did steal 300 pieces of Timber logs, 3 power saw machines, on five gallon rubber containing engine oil and other assorted items all to the total sum of Le288, 580, 000, 00 property of Moses Lakadi. No plea taken.

However Magistrate Kekura refused bail and adjourned the matter to the 28 March 2022.

Education Minister Champions Schools on Public Education

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At 6am today, we boarded our vehicle on a schools tour to three districts: Bombali, Magburaka, and Port Loko. Our goal was to engage teachers and pupils in various public schools and communities.

The first stop was in Makeni at the Bombali School for the Blind! We brought them a school bus. These blind students in secondary school have to walk or take dangerous okada rides to school. They were so happy and wanted to test drive the vehicle right away. I got a tour of the campus and loved everything I saw.

The second stop was Magburaka Boys (with a detour at TDEC Primary school). MBBS had the second best result in the country. I wanted to know the magic behind their success. It was evident. The decorum, discipline, quality and commitment of all, the management, and the cleanliness, etc. were proper. It is hard to see a school like theirs in Sierra Leone. Interestingly, the Principal used to be my teacher at Prince of Wales!!!

While there, I had to take a quick call with ‘Education Above All’ and established a formal partnership with them. Work is rural and global at the same time.

The third stop was Murialdo. They had the best student in WASSCE 2021, and I wanted to engage the staff again to understand their secret. All these schools have the same issues: late subsidies, rural, few teachers on pay roll, but they continue to excel.

But what’s the sauce?

1. Local leadership. In all those communities, the Paramount Chiefs were present. At short notice, they all came and reaffirmed their commitments to their children’s future. The District councils were also represented.

2. School Management. The Principals at all those schools are exceptional. The MBSSE Principal gets to campus at 5:30am every morning. I mean… who would dare come late after that? Both schools take credible internal assessments… they print the papers, set them like international exams etc. The teachers are all committed.

3. The pupils- they are all so happy to be in school. They are proud to be in their uniforms. They are as excited to be doctors as they are committed to coming to school on time.

I mean, I am just so proud and humbled to serve these kids.

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