September criminal Session Commences

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By Feima Sesay

As the September 2022 criminal session re-opens on 20th September 2022,   the High Court of Sierra Leone will be hearing 83 criminal cases, ranging from Conspiracy, House Breaking and Larceny,  Robbery, murder, , robbery with aggravation, wounding with intent, burglary, larceny,  Larceny in dwelling house, sexual penetration including other related offences.

During a call-over ceremony held  at the Freetown High Court Room No.1, the Honourable Justice Nicholas C. Browne-Marke, Justice of the Supreme Court, was presiding over  all the 83 cases.

 Justice N.C Browne-Marke JSC presided over a total of 83 criminal cases and 20 amongst them was  sexual penetration which is the highest  in this session  followed by conspiracy 17, Murder 11  Robbery 9 , Wounding with intent 10, larceny   10, and  fraudulent conversion.

According to the several particulars of offenses read by the court registrar during the session, most of the offences were committed late last year and early this year.

Justice Nicholas Brown Marke  said cases are pushed to the high court for call-over after ending  preliminary investigation at the magistrate court as well as new indictment from the law officers department.

In his remarks, Justice N.C Browne-Marke,  noted that young people don’t want to learn  trade but they want to live a luxurious life, which he said is  leading them into crime.

He admonished all  the accused persons  to stay away from trouble and find something better to do for themselves rather than commiting crimes.

Gen.S.I. Sesay Bade Farewell To RSLAF

By Alhaji Saidu Kamara

On Friday 16 September 2022, (Rtd) Lt.Gen Sullay I. Sesay, the immediate erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff, bade farewell after serving the military for 31 years without any blemish record.

The pull out parade in honour of the former CDS was organised under the leadership of the new CDS, Lt. Gen Peter K. Lavahun.

The ceremony was held at the headquarters Joint Force Command , Cockeril Barracks Wilkinson Road.

 The occasion attracted both serving and retired senior officers of the RSLAF, the Police, SLCS, Fire Force ,ONS,  senior government functionaries, MPs and members of the diplomatic and consular corps.

The Assistant Chief of Defence Staff in charge of personnel and Military, Secretary Brig.Gen M.S.Kamara, earlier thanked distinguished guests for honouring their invitation noting that this occasion is a military tradition which the RSLAF will uphold and always maintain whereby the outgoing CDS will officially hand over the  office and the administrative head to the incoming CDS and the pulling out parade for the ex-CDS.

He said while the outgoing CDS and his wife drove along waving, they will be accompanied by all serving Generals and Brigade Commanders.

In his valedictory address, the outgoing CDS (Rtd) Lt.Gen S.I.Sesay said “today is a historic day for himself and his family.”

He recalled in 1991 when he was enlisted to the RSLAF addidng that he was not expecting to become the CDS, but Allah through his protection and guidance made it possible to attain the highest rank in the military.

He thanked President Bio for appointing him as CDS – a position he served for over two years and happy that he was handing over the baton to a colleague of the same batch that  trained in 1991 as incoming CDS.

The outgoing CDS thanked the management team of the RSLAF, the political heads of Ministry of Defence, The Director General of Ministry of Defence and the civilian support staff of the Ministry of Defence for their support and cooperation during his tenure.

He also thanked the First Lady for her support especially the land mark constructuon of 100 bed ultramodern Hospital without the Funds of the government.

“Though I have been retired but I am still active and always ready when called upon to give advice or support towards the RSLA” he noted.

He advised the personnel to be professional and remain apolitical and always be loyal to the commander and the government of the day.

The Deputy Defence Minister, /Rtd/ Col.M. Massaquoi, on behalf of his boss the Defence Minister thanked Lt. Gen  Sully I. Sesay for his dedicated service to the government and people of Sierra Leone.

The outgoing CDS was appointed CDS of the RSLAF on 17 June 2020 and retired on the 12 August 2022.

He is an alumnus of the African Center for Steategic Studies.

Gen. /Rtd/ Sullay Sesay was Commissioner as an infantry officer 1st October 1991 having an illustrious and colourful career of over three decades.

Gen. /Rtd/ Sesay has an enormous amount of experiences in holding key command and staff appointment.

Gen. Sesay served as Platoon and Company commanders in the eleven years war in Sierra Leone and as Contingent Commander for the Sierra Leone sector reconnaissance Company in Darfur, UN Mission in Darfur /UNAMID/- 2012, Sudan where he was decorated by the United Nations.

 Many gifts were presented to Gen.Sullay Sesay from the Army wives Association, MOD, Veterans.

The ceremony was chaired by the Director of Public Affairs Information and Communication, Col.ABS. Bah.

*A 22 Year Old Standing Trial For Causing GBH*

By Feima Sesay

A 22 year old man, Sorie Fofanah, on Tuesday 20th  September 2022 made his first appearance before Justice Nicholas Brown Marke during the opening  of the September High Court  criminal session at the main law court building.

The accused was arrainged before the court on a count charge of causing grevious bodily harm contrary to section 18 of the Offenses Against the Person Act 1861.

The Particulars of Offence stated that the accused on 30th March 2022 in Freetown, with intent, caused grevious bodily harm to Samuel Fofanah.

The accused in his allocutus pleaded for mercy.

State counsel, A. Jalloh, in a brief fact said on the  aformetioned date, the  accused went to buy a hard liquor drink commonly called ‘pega gin’ at the shop of the victim when an  argument ensued between them and the accused was having a knife in his pocket.

Jalloh furthered that during the course of the argument, the accused splashed petroleum on the victim  and used  a gas lighter to set him ablaze thereby the victim sustained serious  injury. The  matter was reported at the East End Police Station where he was issued a medical report for treatment and the accused was investigated and charge to court.

Lawyer Cecilia Tucker from the Legal Aid Board, made representation for the accused and  in her defense  pleaded that the judge tempered  justice with mercy on the accused, noting that he is a first time offender and has not wasted the court’s time by pleading guilty.

Justice Brown Mark refused bail to the accused and adjourned the matter  to  Wednesday 21st September, 2022 for judgement.

NaMED Engages stakeholders in Bombali District

By Mustapha Ezekiel Dumbuya

The National Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate-NaMED has engaged key stakeholders at the Bombaili District Council Hall.

 The engagement was geard towards Accountable Governance for Basic Service Delivery (AGBSD) Project component three-3.

Mr Unisa N. Koroma, the Chairperson, in his opening statement welcomed all participants to the District stakeholders engagement. He furthered that  it was a welcoming idea to have such engagement with stakeholders in governance and admonished all to make use of the opportunity as it was the right platform  to ask all questions relating to the World Bank Project.

Addressing participants, the NaMED Director General, Dr James Edwin, reiterated NaMED’s commitment to Accountability and Transparency in all activities relating to governance  which was  why NaMED decided to engage stakeholders especially beneficiaries/ end-users of the project. 

The Director assured that every suggestion, comments and questions would be addressed because the key focus is for various institutions that are part of the project to tell NaMED their functions, what exists  and how they have been doing it in their various institutions.

Dr. Edwin disclosed that the project is going along with every material like capacity  building, laptops etc needed to do the work.

Completing the first part of the workshop, Local Councils, Ministries Department and Agencies -MDAs as well as other key stakeholders presented an overview of the AGBSD project component 3.

In attendance was the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Local Government, Monitoring & Evaluation Department  in Local Councils, District Health Management Team-DHMT  representatives, Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education -MBSSE including other MDAs.

Accountable Governance Project Supports Annual Seminar on Intergovernmental Transfer System (IGTS)

 By: Aruna Augustine Kamara

Communications Specialist, Accountable Governance

The Fiscal Decentralization Division (FDD), Ministry of Finance with financial support from the Accountable Governance for Basic Services Delivery Project (AGBSDP) between 1st onto 3rd September organized a three-day Seminar on Intergovernmental Transfer System (IGTS) in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.

 The seminar according to the Deputy Director of FDD, Mr. Adams Kargbo, was to review previous year’s system of allocation of grants to the Local Councils by the Central Government, discuss and agree on the devolved sectoral indicators/ variables to determine a formula to the Central Government for allocation of 2023 budget allocation to all the local councils across the country.

The seminar was presided over by a five-man Local Government Finance Committee, having former Moyamba District Council Chairman, Mr. David Woobay as Chair of the Local Finance Committee Chairman.

The three day Seminar on Fiscal Intergovernmental Transfer System brought together Mayors, Chairmen, Chief and Deputy Administrators of Local Councils, technical leads of devolved sector Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health and Sanitation, Social Welfare, Children’s and Gender Affairs and Water Resources, two representatives from the Civil Society Organizations/ None State Actors (NSAs) and Members of Parliament from the Accountability and Transparency and the Local Government Finance Parliamentary Committees.

In his opening statement, the Chairman of the Local Finance Committee, Chairman David Woobay, welcomed participants for having positively responded to the invitation sent out to the Local Councils and line Ministries and NSAs within a short timeframes.

 He said although the mandate of the Local Finance Committee had ended this gone June, but it had pleased His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio to renew the Committee’s mandate with his leadership.

‘’Hon Members, Local Council Heads and Ministry Officials, again everyone is gathered here to agree on the formula for allocation of financial resources to the Local Councils for 2023 fiscal year. We have started the seminar too late. However, we have to run through the programme agenda and complete the job. I therefore appeal to all participants to be time conscious in order to complete the programme of agenda’’, said the Local Finance Committee Chairman. This meeting, he added, was very important because 2008 ended with allocation to Councils without consulting. However, that had changed and we now seek huge consultations to improve local service delivery.

The Chairman, called on all Local Councils to enhance improved local service delivery at their respective Districts and City Councils. He added that he was not appealing because he is a member of the ruling party, but rather convinced proper management of resources for effective service delivery is very crucial to national development.

‘’We are here to review what we have done in the last three years in the execution of local council’s mandate. Your (participants’) contributions are highly important and I therefore employ Chairmen, Chief Administrators and Finance Officers to be diligent in carrying out their duties in their respective councils.

Chairman David Woobay valso appealed to heads of the devolved sector Ministries to be forthcoming in attending Local Councils’ meetings.

 This he said is against the backdrop that their attendance has not been encouraging in the past adding that they should be attending monthly meetings and should be seen answerable to the people in the respective Councils.

He officially declared the Seminar on Intergovernmental Fiscal Systems open and wished the August body successful seminar and lastly, urged participants to be mindful of efficient time management in ensuring that the issues are exhaustively discussed, agreed on activities and decisions reached to determine formula for next year’s allocation system to the Local Councils.

Representative of the Parliamentary Chairman – Local Government Finance Committee – Hon. Kekurah Vandi, relayed greetings from the House of Parliament to the Local Finance Committee and participants at the seminar.

 He did convey apologies on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee whom was unavoidably absent.

 In his proxy remarks, Hon. Vandi, emphasized that there are lots to be done to have the Local Councils effective.

 ‘’The Local Government Finance Committee regrets the back and forth in resolving the multiple issues that are to be addressed in Local Councils each time these issues are brought to the well of Parliament.

The issues include poor generation of home source revenue, challenges faced in ensuring smooth running of the Local Councils, improper devolution of devolved functions to LCs amongst others’’, said Hon. Vandi.

He added Parliament is not pleased with the level of devolved functions to the Councils – Parliament therefore wishes to see more functions devolved to the Local Councils. He sighted example to the provision of basic education to the LCs as not being properly devolved.

For instance, in Bo District and other districts, the Local Councils detected fake/ ghost schools and teachers which the Councils are limited to address any remedial actions needed.

Hon Vandi urged the devolved Ministries to make sure that if functions have been devolved, the required resources should be sent to the Councils to take absolute responsibility in carrying out these functions. He said Parliament wants to see the Councils to be equipped with competent and qualified staff and the Central Government to prioritize quality staffing for the Councils.

 He entreated the Chairman of the Local Government Financing Committee to do all in his powers to ensure that devolved functions become better and more properly devolved.

Hon. Vandi admonished all Councils to work hand-in-hand with their constituency representatives: Hon. Members are to be able to resolve problems Councils are faced with. The Finance Committee wants functions to be better devolved to the Local Councils to step up the games to support the Councils to ensure work is done.  Much has been done regarding generation of home-sourced revenue, but little has been achieved. With devolution, the Chairmen will speak to that as there are lots to be desired.

Representative of the Parliamentary Committee on Accountability and Transparency represented by Hon Dickson Rogers – and Hon. Ngavao.

 In his brief statement,  acknowledged that Members of his Committee are aware and do understand the numerous challenges the Councils are faced with.

 ‘’Perceived moneys approved for local councils that do not reach Councils in time and sometimes disbursement of allotted development grants from Central government does not reach the Councils throughout the allotted timeframe’’.  He therefore buttressed the appeal of previous speakers that central government should commit more resources to the Councils, resources allotted should reach out onto them in good time in order to enable the Local Councils implement and provide the much needed services to avert abysmal under-performance in carrying out their mandates.

Moneys District Councils require for supporting their local development activities do not reach or come on time so that they don’t involve into obtaining loan to keep running of their administration.

“Lastly, several efforts have been put into local revenue generation. In recent past, we all gathered for Councils to be able to generate taxes from the GSM companies, which is promising and we remain hopeful if it works well. The duty of the Accountability Transparency Committee is to ensure that every dime disbursed to Councils is utilized for the intended purpose with the allotted amount for the good of the people in their localities,”  he noted.

He further admonished all to ensure accountability and transparency in the utilization of public funds allotted to Councils for devolved functions to be carried out in the respective Councils.

 The Financial Secretary and the Minister of Finance, said questions that would promote fiscal development in the medium term are very crucial during the deliberations thereby  informing the gathering that the seminar also served as a consultation that would inform the development of a new Fiscal Development Strategy.

In response to opening statements, the Director of Fiscal Decentralization Division, Mr. Adams Kargbo, said the issue of late transfer of funds to the Local Councils has been a perennial problem, but much improvement has been made in recent years.

However, the Director cautioned that as Councils continue to advocate for the devolvement of additional functions, he urged the Local Councils to properly carry out the already devolved functions to instill trust and confidence that more devolved functions will be appropriately and effectively handled when devolved  to Councils.

He added that the FDD and the Local Councils equally want to see increase in the revenue allocations – and therefore implored all the participants to respond honestly and urged Councils to submit findings of those concurrent

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Lansana said his Ministry wholeheartedly welcomes the seminar on Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer System. He described it as important and timely, because this is where decision is reached to allocate to respective Local Councils. He said this seminar resolves perceptions regarding allocation of resources to the Councils.

 ‘’As a Ministry, we will be able to respond appropriately to questions that will be directed to us on technical issues regarding the allocation of resources to LCs.

Following the opening statements, a presentation on Intermediate Generation Grants System that has been used over the years to allocate grants to Local Councils from the Central Government was done.

 In his presentation, the Assistant Deputy Director FDD, Mr. Salieu Kamara, said a preposition to modify the structure of the Intermediate Generation Grants System to comprise of three grants:

Sectoral block grants for main developed sectoral services

Unconditional block grants to fund local administration and other development services and 

a more robust system of development grants, for instance, by introducing sectoral development grant windows under the LGDG system

Following the review of the first grants system, the Second Generation Grant System was introduced.

The thought behind the SGGS is to ‘’linking finance to functions through a system of client-based expenditure norms and affordable service delivery standards’’. The SGGS has four components which are as follow:

Second Generation Grants has 4 components:

Devolved sector grants,

Administrative grants,

Unconditional Block grants and

Local Government.

 Development Grants

Principles of transfer formula: Providing revenue adequacy, preserving budget autonomy, Enabling equity and fairness.

The guidelines for Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer System FY2023 are as follow:

Should be linked to the ideals of the second generation

The lump sum portion should be between 15% – 20% in the sector formula

The rationale for use of “adjusted population” in allocation primary health care funds is now obsolete and should be now be linked to the service level indicators  (from only two sources – Statistics and the related MDA)

Should be very clear on the level of output before setting primary health indicators of the Councils. The three-day seminar ended on clear note of adoption of the Second-Generation Grants for 2023 allocation of grants to all twenty-two Local Councils by the Central Government.

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