With a hefty donation of assorted food items and clothing worth millions of Leones, Rokel Commercial Bank has become the first corporate institution to come to the aid of victims of the Susan’s Bay fire disaster.
The raging inferno which broke out on Wednesday 24th March consumed more than half of the slum (about the size of 10 football fields) that holds an estimated 1,000 inhabitants on the coastline of the Central Business District of Freetown.
RCBankâ€™s Public Relations Officer, Rev. Spilsbury Williams in a sombre tone said the bank as an indigenous bank felt compelled to stand by the people in this time of distress and emphasized the bankâ€™s commitment towards its corporate social responsibility at all times. â€œCharity begins at home and Rokel Commercial Bank is your own bankâ€¦the bank of the people. We will always stand by you through thick and thin.â€ He said.
Section Chief for Susan’s Bay, Pa Alimamy Kamara who received the donated items on behalf of the fire victims recounted the suffering his people have gone through since the disaster and commended Rokel Bank for being the first institution to respond to their plight. The Chief however appealed for temporal shelter to house the victims – most of whom have been sleeping rough in public spaces around the slum area.Â Â
Councillor for the area, Madinatu Kamara also appealed for more assistance by calling on other institutions to emulate the Rokel Commercial Bank.
“This bank has really demonstrated that it cares for the people and we shall ever remain grateful for this timely and wonderful gesture. Some of our people have gone for three days without eating a decent meal but these food items will be distributed in a judicious manner so that the real victims benefitâ€ she said.
In a conversation with this medium, the Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr. Walton Ekundayo Gilpin said the bank remains committed to one of its core principle of being the peopleâ€™s bank and that adherence to its corporate social responsibility is non-negotiable. â€œAt times like these, we need to give back to the people and this is also about complementing the efforts of government which from every indication is working tirelessly round the clock on disaster mitigationâ€ he said.
The sense of desperation and anguish was palpable as poor inhabitants managed to scoop out whatever little that was left of their gutted homes.
Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Visits Sierra Leone
By Lansana Fofanah
The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Boukadoum, yesterday paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, the President Julius Maada Bio and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nabeela F. Tunis.
Ambassador Boukadoum came at a time when Algeria and Sierra Leone are enjoying multi-lateral ties in the area of trade and investment and international diplomacy.
Â Welcoming Ambassador Boukadoum and delegates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation conference hall, Tower Hill, Freetown, Minister Tunis said that President Bio’s meeting with the Ambassador, was successful as they were able to identify key priorities in the area of trade and investment, education, mining and agriculture.
The Minister said that Algeria’s relationship with Sierra Leone, span way back since 1980 when the country hosted the Organization of Africa Unity.
The Minister commended the President of Algeria for extending an invitation for President Bio to visit Algeria which is expected to happen anytime soon.
In response, Ambassador Boukadoum gave his admiration about Sierra Leone’s rapid development in terms of peace and security,human capital development.
He said that both Sierra Leone and Algeria maintain similar position on Committee of Ten agenda in the United Nations.
Ambassador Boukadoum, promised to reactivate the investment roadmap that was agreed between the two countries before the outbreak of coronavirus as his visit to the country has given him lots of positive thoughts that he will relay back home.
“Sierra Leoneans should not underestimate what the have as there are positive developments going on under the leadership of President Bio,” he said.
IHPAU Kills Hospitality Sector
Dr. Austin Demby: Minister of Health
By Mustapha Dumbuya & Mohamed Jalloh
The Integrated Health Project Administration Unit (IHPAU) under the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) is deliberately suffocating some members of the hospitality sector for failing to honour contracts for catering services rendered to IHPAU.
The debt arisen from the catering services has risen to over Le338,670, 000,Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Million Six Hundred and seventy thousand Leones particularly owed to Dohas Hotel, Heaven on Earth Catering Services in Bo and After 12 Catering services in Kailahun.
The debt to the caterers was incurred during IHPAU mass malaria sensitization campaign in August 2020.
According to our sources IHPAU has been utilizing the services of the Ngoyela Caterers without paying the 5.5% Withholding tax returns to suppliers for over a year.
Reports have stated that IHPAU that normally implements programmes and activities of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) is using the ministry as a cover to reneging on paying the debt owed to the Ngoyela Caterers.
According to the owners of the restaurants offering catering services to IHPAU, their businesses are on the brink of collapse because capital is lacking to re-plough in to the business by way of ensuring its smooth continuity.
One of the owners of the restaurant said to public review that most of her staff has deserted her in search of another job because she can no longer afford to pay their salaries.
She continued to say that she is desperately in need of the money to ensure the smooth running of her business.
The manager said that she has been talking with Mohamed Amara who serves as the procurement officer of IHPAU for her money to be paid but further noted that he has always given her false hopes.
She explained that the Chief Monitoring Officer and the Permanent secretary from the Ministry of Health summon her to a meeting including the Former minister of health where an assurance was made but up to date she has not received any response from them.
The caterer said business hasÂ been unfavourable in the face of a Covid-19 pandemic and was hoping that IHPAU will pay her money as assured by the former Minister of Health and sanitation.
She further explained that IHPAU is indebted to many business organizations in the southern region Bo District such as Dohas Hotel, Heaven and Earth Catering Services and Your Choice Restaurant and Bar that provides livelihoods for many youths in the region.
The manager noted that if all these restaurants are closed due to financial insecurity it would have a devastating impact on the youths who would engage in anti-social behaviours to secure their livelihoods.Â
PUBLIC REVIEW effortlessly tried to get IHPAU to respond to the allegations but it was a futile attempt. The procurement officer of IHPAU cited that the chain of command at the institution must give permission before speaking to the press.
In unanimity, the caterers have called on the new Health Minister Mr. Austin Demby to use his power and influence to ensure that they receive their monies
â€œGive to Caeser what belongs to Caeser,â€ one caterer noted.
Â PUBLIC REVIEW SPORT
SLFA Clarifies Funding for Leone Stars in Lesotho and Benin
The Sierra Leone Football Associationâ€™s attention has been drawn to the press release by the Ministry of Finance dated 26th March, 2021 headlined â€œPayments towards Sierra Leoneâ€™s participation in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Lesotho and Benin and the Paralympic games in Tunisiaâ€.
Whilst the FA would like to thank the Ministry of Finance for its financial support and encouragement towards the countryâ€™s participation in international football and sports activities, as an institution which prides itself on transparency and accountability particularly where our countryâ€™s tax payersâ€™ funds are concerned, we would like to raise the following concerns:
1. The SLFA would like to inform the public and the Ministry of Finance that at no point in time has the SLFA been made privy of the published amounts Le 8,835,325,769 by neither National Sports Authority (NSA) or Ministry of Sports (MOS) despite several requests by SLFA officials.
2. The SLFA can publicly confirm that the sums published in the aforementioned release does not reflect the budget request presented to the MOS/NSA by the Sierra Leone Football Association for the matches (Lesotho and Benin).Â
3. Contrary to the Ministry of Finance approved amount of Le 8,835,325,769, the FA can confirm that itâ€™s officially requested from the NSA/MOS the sum of Le 1,923,750,000 (One Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty-Three Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Leones) for the Lesotho vs Sierra Leone match in Maseru.
4. Contrary to the MOF approved amount of Le 2,449,456,888, the FA can confirm that its officially requested from the NSA/MOS the sum of Le 2,450, 060,000 (Two Billion, Four Hundred and Fifty Million, and Sixty Thousand Leones) for the Sierra Leone vs Benin match in Freetown on the 30th March 2021. This amount includes cost for foreign based players (flight costs, accommodation, feeding) and CAF match officials as well. There are no records in our correspondence to the MOS/NSA of requesting the said amount in respect of allowances for players. The allowances of players and technical officials for the said match inclusive of winning bonuses is Le I,078,100,000 (One Billion, and Seventy-Eight Million, One Hundred Thousand Leones) only
Furthermore, the FA would like to draw attention to the fact that the Lesotho vs Sierra Leone match is based on a reciprocal agreement meaning, the SLFA/GOSL will only be liable to cover the costs of the Sierra Leone delegation flights and extras for the remaining 9 officials in Lesotho.
Finally, the SLFA would like inform the Ministry of Finance and the public that ALL expenditures at the national stadium ahead of the Benin match is being undertaken by the SLFA without the financial assistance of the NSA or MOS.
Our Institution remains committed to Raising Our Game through Good Governance and Integrity.