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21st January 2019

Archive - The Organiser News Stories: May/August 2016

 

Sierra Leone Govt. Receives Millions of US Dollars from Foreign Bodies

By Press Release (01/08/16)

The Sierra Leone govt. has confirmed being a recent recipient of millions of United States dollars from many international organisations.

According to the press release dated 27th July 2016, the government of Sierra Leone announced the following: (Pictured: Dr. Samura Kamara, left, Sierra Leone's former Finance Minister).

"The general public is hereby informed that Government of Sierra Leone has received the sum of USD 34. 12 Million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the approval of the Fifth Review of Sierra Leone’s Performance under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement on July 1, 2016 and funds disbursed on July 11, 2016.

"Furthermore, the Government has also received the sum of USD 30 Million as Capital Gains Tax following the conclusion of the sale of Airtel Sierra Leone to Orange Group. Other expected disbursements include 23 Million Euros from the European Commission and USD 20 Million from the World Bank during the course of the years.

"These amounts will be made available to the private sector through the weekly Foreign Exchange Auction at the Bank of Sierra Leone.

"The Leone equivalent of these funds will be utilized to support the Government Budget, including continuing funding for the Government’s infrastructure program; including roads, energy and water and the payment of recurrent expenditures to support the operations of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)."

The press release was signed by Dr. Patrick S. Conteh Minister of State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

 

 

Journalist Bailed as Clash with Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Intensifies

By SLAJ Press Release (01/08/16)

As bad blood between some journalists and government officials continues, the latest journalist involved Sam Lahai has been bailed.

According to a Sierra Leone Association of Journalists SLAJ press release, Journalist Sam Lahai was recently released on bail from his detention at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Freetown. (Pictured: Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Sengu Koroma).

The Kenema based journalist who is also the Assistant Secretary General of SLAJ East Regional Executive spent a weekend at the CID on the orders of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Rtd Maj Sengu Koroma, for allegations of defamation.

Lahai's bail bond was strangely set at Le20 Million and was released to the President of SLAJ, Kelvin Lewis, Public Affairs Secretary Princess Gibson, and legal team comprising Joseph Egbenda Kapuwa Esq and Musa Mewa Esq.

According to lawyers,  the bail bond is ridiculous as the maximum fine for the (alleged) offence on conviction is Le 1 Million.

In an earlier press release calling for the immediate release of the detained journalist and an urgent repeal of criminal defamation laws, SLAJ notes that politicians continue to conspire with the Police to use criminal libel laws as a potent tool to cower journalists from holding public officials accountable.

"Their intention, we have come to realize, is not to rightly defend alleged infringement on their reputations but to lock up journalists and "teach them a lesson", " the release further states.

SLAJ reiterates its call on the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure the immediate repeal of defamation laws as contained in the Public Order Act of 1965, and urge other stakeholders to support this call.

The SLAJ press release was signed by the National Secretary General Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.

 

FBC Outlines Reasons for the Sacking of Professor Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah

By FBC press Release (01/08/16)

The University of Sierra Leone has finally made public the reasons why professor Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah was recently dismissed. It reads thus:

The Case Against Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah (Associate Professor) Department of History and African Studies Fourah Bay College (USL) (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma is the Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone).

Presented to The Court of the University of Sierra Leone on Wednesday 13th July, 2016

Background

1.1 Following persistent reports of insubordination, acts of indiscipline, negative attitude to work, lack of participation in the 
 affairs of the Department of History and African Studies, refusal to teach assigned courses and breaches of the employment contract, and Code of Discipline for Senior Members of Staff, made against Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah, I took action to invite him for a discussion.


1.2 During our meeting I appealed to him to cooperate with his colleagues in the Department, and to contribute to achieving the mandates of the University.  My appeal was for a change of attitude on the part of Dr. Abdullah, and maintenance of a conducive working environment in the Department.


1.3 Following our meeting the reports which I received from the Head of Department indicated that Dr. Abdullah was “neither ready nor willing to change his behaviour”.  It was reported that he had breached his employment contract, the Code of Discipline for Senior Members of Staff; refused to teach courses assigned to him by the Head of Department; failed to attend meetings of the Department; refused to heed the advice of, and admonition by the Head of Fourah Bay College (the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor); disrespected his colleagues and the principles of collegiality; refused to accept an offer of appointment as head of department without any reason; intimidated students; failed to respond to some letters of query.

Appointment of an Investigating Committee

In view of the above adverse reports against Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah, the University Appointments Committee was unable to renew his appointment when it came up for renewal; he had not been recommended by his Head of Department.  According to the Head of Department (Dr. S. N. Spencer), “he was not satisfactorily performing his teaching responsibilities and not cooperating in other departmental activities”.  The Appointments Committee was informed that he had been queried by the Head of Department, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, where the Department of History and African Studies Is domiciled.

To establish an informed basis for decision making the Appointments Committee constituted an investigating committee to look into the conduct of Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah.

During its deliberations the Committee considered reports made against Dr. Abdullah by the Head of Department of History and African Studies, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Fourah Bay College.  The Committee was informed that Dr. Adbullah:

Did not participate in the activities of the Department; Refused to teach courses assigned to him by the Head of Department;

Shouted at students who failed to answer his questions correctly and called them ‘stupid’; consequently many students voted with their feet resulting in the shrinking of his class size.  Students did not choose his modules because they were afraid of him;

He was hostile and rude to visitors who had called to make enquires at the department; He behaved rudely to messengers who had gone to the department to deliver mails; Failed to get along with colleagues because he disrespected them; Unable to work as a team member; Always saw problems but not solutions;

Findings of the Committee

The Committee found that Dr. Abdullah was not ready to take up any administrative responsibility in the Department of History and African Studies.

His attitude towards his colleagues has been unprofessional. He turned down an offer of appointment as head of department. He failed to teach courses assigned to him. He disrespected the authority of the Head of Department. He verbally abused students.

Due to the shrinking of his class size and refusal to teach other courses assigned to him he became virtually underemployed.

 

The Alie Kabba Circus: Editor Sorie Fofana's Journalistic Blunder!!

By Diana Media Team (29/07/16)

The Alie Badara Sanjan Kabba's political campaign is gradually going from bad to worse thanks to his deceptive national vision.

The deceitful briefs and lies from the Alie Kabba failed SLPP flag bearer campaign sunk even lower recently when they recruited Mr. Sorie Fofana to do their dirty work. (Pictured: The grumpy face of Alie Kabba in the dock on bigamy case in Freetown). 

In an ill-conceived and amateurish attempt to lend relevance to the laughable Mr. Alie Kabba, Sorie Fofanah, a 'journalist', published a poorly-researched article entitled: "A Major Diplomatic Blunder". 

Sadly, after reading Sorie Fofana's article, I am left wondering if journalistic integrity can so cheaply be bought. Unfortunately, I must reproduce excerpts of the said article here verbatim; to allow readers to judge for themselves:

A Major Diplomatic Blunder 
  

By Sorie Fofana

"One of the outstanding SLPP flag bearer aspirants, Dr. Alie Kabba, was last December, dragged to court, by his estranged wife Madam Finda Diana Konomanyi. Since then, Dr. Kabba has made several attempts to get this matter settled amicably out of court, this is a purely family matter. "

I must start by again questioning the author, Sorie Fofana's journalistic credibility. He refers to a Dr. Alie Kabba. Mr Alie Kabba is NOT a PHD holder, or a medical doctor. That Alie Kabbah and with his sycophants, keep attaching this title to his name tells us a lot about his deceitful nature. I'd urge Sorie Fofana to do some research on this matter.

The matter currently at the courts is NOT "purely a family matter". I need not labour a point that has already been decided by our Magistrate courts: That Alie Kabba perjured himself by lying under oath that he was a divorcee when he tied the knot with Madam Diana Konomanyi.

Sorie Fofana asks: "What does Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray have to do with a disagreement between wife and husband?"

Again, I pity Sorie Fofana for how easily he has been deceived by his paymaster. But then again, a credible journalist would have fact-checked his story.

When Alie Kabba proposed marriage to Madam Diana Konomanyi, he was fortunate to meet President Ernest Bai Koroma as result. And at their meeting Alie Kabba requested that the President play a role in his marriage and be his 'God Papa'.

However, the President could not be present at the wedding and asked that Honourable Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray acts as 'God Papa' in his stead. It therefore stands to reason, and is respectable in our nation's traditions, that the 'God Papa' plays an important role in mediating any problems in the marriage.

So, Mr Sorie Fofana, being that it was Alie Kabba who requested that Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray heads the delegation of elders  who met my dad, Mr F.D. Konomanyi, to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage, isn't it fitting then that Honourable Minkailu Mansaray should play as big a role in Alie Kabba's plea for mercy for his deceit and criminality?

A few weeks ago, Alie Kabba was at our family residence in Koidu city to meet our dad and apologise for having deceitfully gained Madam Diana's hand in marriage. He made sure to bring with him Alhaji Monoma, a gentleman who is a beacon of respectability in Sierra Leone.

Why? Because Alhaji Monoma, like Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, was witness to and played a major role in the wedding of Mr Alie Kabba to Madam Diana Konomanyi. Why is Ali Kabba now being so disrespectful and insolent to a gentleman he deemed fit to head his wedding delegation?

I ask Mr Sorie Fofana these questions: What are the roles and responsibilities of a 'God Papa'? As a Madingo man, Mr Fofana, what does being a 'God Papa' mean to you?

As the 'God Papa' and head of Alie Kabba's wedding delegation, at Alie Kabba's own request, should Alie Kabba not now seek the Honourable Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray's counsel?

I hope that the insolent Sorie Fofana can now see that what he calls 'purely a family matter' should be settled by the 'God Papa', amongst others.

And for the record, Mr Sorie Fofana, this is now, and has always been a criminal matter. Which is why it is now at the high courts. A journalist would check with the law courts, so I suggest you do too.

 

Professor Abdullah Fires Back for the Termination of his FBC Contract

By Lansana Fofanah (29/07/16)

The fighting back has begun in the aftermath of the sudden sacking of Professor Ibrahim Abdullah by the court of Fourah Bay College.

Professor Ibrahim Abdullah has reacted to the recent decision by the Court of the University of Sierra Leone to terminate his long term service as Associate Professor in the Department of History and African Studies. (Pictured: Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah under fire to sort out this mess).

Speaking to journalists at the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall on Campbell Street in Freetown recently, Professor Abdullah said that the decision by the University Court to terminate his service is a complete manifestation of the rottenness of the system that exist in the educational sector in the country.

He described the whole scenario as lack of professionalism as Faculties are hired without due regards to specialization, unqualified people promoted, Masters Holders becoming Deans and Heads of Departments and allowing under graduates with BA degrees to lecture a final year course in the same university.

Professor Abdullah said that in 2005/2006, when he was teaching third and fourth year students, he realized that students were novice in compiling bibliography and referencing which they should have known before reaching that level.

He then had cause to request to lecture the module that was being taught by Dr. Sylvanus Spencer. He requested for the course outline and bought books to assist students in the module but in his two weeks of teaching, he encountered difficulties with Dr. Sylvanus Spencer.

Professor Abdullah said that in 2006/2007, Professor Joe A.D Ali sacrificed a whole semester and joined the government in campaigning for election with the hope that he might be appointed as Minister of Education.

“Joe A.D Ali was supposed to supervise dissertations which he did not and upon seeing their work, I had to match them to the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Kpakima. It was then I knew that they were operating a Poro system there, because you cannot expose them, once you do that they go after you,” he said.

Professor Abdullah said that since his rejection to accept an offer of becoming the Head of the History Department to which in his own right is not mandatory, the Vice Chancellor Professor Ekundayo Thompson started flagging the issue all around.

Professor Abdullah said that it takes only a genius five years to have a BA Degree and become a Professor which according to him is not the case of Professor Thompson. He described the Vice Chancellor as the man with the least qualification for such positions as even to Google his name on the internet is an ordeal.

Professor Abdullah said that during Professor Thompson’s tenure at the Institute of Public Administration and Management, 25 students were awarded first class degrees as that rose an eyebrow. “It took him four years to destroy IPAM now he is destroying the whole University,” he said.

Professor Abdullah said that he never appeared before the University Court that was set up to try him and that the report that the University is flagging around was never showed to him. He said that there has been a mandate from State House instructing the University to reinstate him and pay all backlog salaries and entitlements owed to him but that has also fell on deaf ears.

He said that there are 7,200 students, with only 9 Professors, 7 will be retired in two years time so only two Professors will remain as the situation stands.

Professor Thomas B.R. Yormah, another speaker who described himself as a victim of the same mess said that the University Act states how someone is employed and relieved of their duties but that has now been flouted by the powers that be. “The University is guided by the University Act, even a student cannot be expelled without due cause let alone a Professor,” he said.

Professor Yorma said that the Vice Chancellor Thompson was never interviewed for his position as he was appointed to head that position when Professor Redwood Sawyer left. Since then he has refused to leave, he affirmed.

The Coordinator of Center for Accountability and Rule of Law, Ibrahim Tommy said that the University’s decision is unfair as the decision derived was never taken in a natural justice environment. 

 

Garbage Burning is Good for Producing Electricity for Sierra Leone

By I. Barrie (29/07/16)

This writer has pieced together an excellent but very simply idea of reducing electricity shortage in Sierra Leone!!!

What may seems like a joke is a reality in most developed countries such as Germany, Netherland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, the most cost effective and environmentally friendly form of energy production. (Pictured: Former Deputy Energy Minister Ismael Songu Koroma).

Since I became too interested in our country's development, I came to the conclusion that there are four major areas that a country can fully develop and provide decent living standard for it citizens. It includes electricity supply, water supply, good road net work, telecommunication network. Without the four mentioned, development will be an utopia and can never be achieved fully.

The process of burning waste or garbage for electricity is a new, environmentally friendly state-of-the-art technology which is more in demand than ever. This method of gaining electricity is not only cheap, clean and efficient, but also keep the surrounding clean.

Given the fact that in Sierra Leone and to single out Freetown in particular, garbage disposal is a huge problem. If we can turn waste to useful raw material, it is a pure revolution that has huge potential for providing basics for the country.

For example, people with Omolanke etc. visiting your homes to collect useful raw materials like  garbage wastes can bring them income by selling it to an electricity plant for processing. As will be for scrap metals and for people coming to sweep your yards to collect the trash to make money. This is not science fiction but a technological reality.

How do you burn garbage to produce electricity? It is simple and straight forward: The method the electricity plants use is called incineration. It is done by burning the garbage at high temperature, called thermal treatment and the heat that is produced from burning the garbage will in turn heat water to produce steam which runs a turbine that produces electricity.

It obviously needs investment which is worth considering.  If we can get 50 to 100 megawatts of electricity plant using this technology, it would be a big boost to our country's energy needs.

Like our hydro electricity power, waste for energy is all year round venture that will make electricity distribution supply a 24/7 affair.

I urged our government to embrace this technology sooner rather than later so as to say bye! bye! to black out and welcome a nonstop electricity in Sierra Leone.

 

Man Charged with the Murder of Sierra Leonean Lady in Houston USA

By News Report (26/07/16)

A man has been arrested in the death of a 31-year-old woman whose body was found earlier this month in a ditch in South Houston.

Leroy Stoots, 43, is charged with murder for his role in the killing of Kumba Sesay, according to the Houston Police Department.

http://m.chron.com/houston/article/Man-arrested-in-death-of-woman-found-in-south-8389883.php (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma and President Barack Obama).

Friends say woman found dead in South Houston Ditch was well known in community. Police have identified the woman whose body was found in a Southeast Houston ditch.

Kumba Mariatu Sesay, who everyone knew as Marie was shot, killed, and dumped in a ditch on a Sunday morning in South wind. That's near Jones High School in Southpark. One of her long time friends, who didn't want to be identified, reflects fondly over their 14 years of friendship.

She would come over and eat up all my food and flip through my Netflix without finding one thing to watch," said the friend. "And then we would start talking about business, and talking about God. That's what I'm going to miss about her."

http://abc13.com/news/woman-found-in-ditch-was-well-known-in-community/1414849/

 

 

Brazil Rot Chickens: Scavengers Refused to Heed to Govt. Warning!

By a Press Release (26/07/16)

The dump site is increasingly becoming an eyesore that the present and past governments have not secured properly for health reasons.

This recent chicken saga has forced the government to respond by issuing out a stern warning through a press release. It reads: "The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is making it abundantly clear to the general public that the frozen chicken, FRANGOSUL, product of Brazil has been condemned as unfit for human consumption. (Pictured: Health Minister Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah, needs to legislate now to stop this madness once and for all).

"With police and other stakeholders present at the Granville dump site (Bumeh) just after Upgun, over 75 percent of the consignment was crushed with mud, human and animal faeces including domestic and industrial wastes by MASADA's front load machine.

"Due to alleged mechanical failure of the machine some of the consignment  was not crushed. This resulted to fracas/fight between the police and desperate people who managed at the cost of tear gas and took away some cartons of the rotten and heavily contaminated chicken.

"DO NOT EAT THIS POISONED CHICKEN because you will suffer from Chicken food poisoning caused by two types of bacteria called CAMPYLOBACTER and SALMONELLA.

"Because the chicken has been contaminated with all types of faeces, you will suffer from DIARRHOEA, CHOLERA and HELMINTHIASIS (all types of worm infestation).

"If anyone has the following symptoms please go to the nearest health facility for treatment:  Fever, Abdominal pain, Upset stomach, Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhoea.

"Please protect yourself and the public from diseases: Do not eat or sell those contaminated Brazilian brand chicken!"

 

UNESCO Declares Islam as the Most Peaceful Religion of the World

By a Press Release (26/07/16)

This is shockingly an understatement for the United Nations Educational Scientific Cooperation UNESCO to say Islam is most peaceful.

PARIS: In a major development that should silence critics of Islam who have been blaming it for terrorism, UNESCO has declared that Islam is the most peaceful religion of the world. (Pictured: UN boss Ban Ki Moon).

The United Nations body released a statement recently that revealed that UNESCO had partnered with International Peace Foundation six months back to study all religions of the world and find out which was most peaceful amongst all.

“After six months of rigorous study and analysis, we have concluded that Islam is the most peaceful religion,” Robert McGee, head of comparative studies wing of International Peace Foundation declared in a press conference that was attended by UNESCO officials too.

When asked about the terror attacks being carried out in the name of Islam, including the recent ones in Dhaka and Baghdad, the UNESCO official denied that it had anything to do with Islam.

“Terror has no religion,” he said, “Islam means peace.” 

 

Sylvia Blyden Urges Police to Probe Criminal Conspiracy to Defraud

By Press Release (24/07/16)

The Sierra Leone Police are presently investigating a very high profile financial conspiracy unearthed at the Ministry of Social Welfare.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia Blyden has recently initiated this investigation by calling on the police to look in to the conspiracy to defraud donor funds at her ministry. (Pictured: Sierra Leone's Inspector General of Police Mr. Francis Munu is determined to go to the bottom of this matter).The Organiser newspaper is publishing below the full text of this Special Report forwarded to the police by the Minister:
 
Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs
New England Ville, Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone
MONDAY 18TH JULY 2016
TO: Inspector General of Police
TO: Assistant Inspector General of Police for Crime Services
TO: Director of Criminal Investigations Department of Sierra Leone Police
 
COPY: His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
COPY: The Honourable Vice President Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh
 
CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD GOVERNMENT OF DONOR FUNDS
 
This is a Report of a Conspiracy and it is being reported against a foreign-owned Internet company called AFCOM SL Ltd, my predecessor Alhaji Moijue Kaikai and some staff of Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) which ministry I currently head. I upfront wish to inform that this is a sensitive matter because of the following reasons:

1. AFCOM’s Managing Director, Adel Suliman, a Sudanese foreigner, is on record to be a close associate of senior government officials.
2. Secondly, AFCOM has the ability to manipulate its way through our government and get away with outrageous acts of criminality. For example, they were recently caught in SIMBox fraud and they wriggled out of it.
3. Alhaji Moijue Kaikai is seen as an important member of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party and a proverbial ‘sacred cow’ by some.
4. Key AFCOM Director Honourable Ansumana Kaikai is an elected member of Parliament under the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

It is against the above backdrop that I am submitting my Criminal complaint today with a hope that the Sierra Leone Police will be able to investigate this matter without being subjected to any intimidation or fear of powerful persons who might have interest in quelling this serious report of a grand criminal conspiracy.
 
Now, my predecessor Alhaji Moijue Kaikai, most curiously refused to do a formal handing-over of Office of Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs so I have had to diligently find out on my own, what the state of affairs are.
 
In that vein, on assuming office in April 2016 with no guidance notes, I asked the ministry’s Head of Professional Services (Joseph Sinnah), the Deputy Head of Professional Services (Mrs. Mariatu Bangura), each of the four Directors and an alleged Child Protection Consultant (Tina Davies) to submit to me a Status Report on their Activities. I also asked Head of ICT (Mrs. Mariama Yormah) to submit to me a Status Report on the fast Internet Connectivity, which my predecessor (Alhaji Moijue Kaikai) had announced in the print, electronic and social media was now working in every single district of Sierra Leone. Please find one such media report quoting Moijue Kaikai (Exclusive Newspaper of 10th March 2016) attached to this complaint as Annex A1/A2. In that news interview which was referenced on front page of Exclusive Newspaper as his “legacy” he was leaving behind, my predecessor is quoted inter alia thus:
 
“Under my watch as Minister, all the 14 districts including the Western Rural District and the headquarters can boast of having ultra modern offices, equipped with solar light and Wi-Fi Internet facility”
 
Please find the April 2016 report from Mariama Yormah attached as Annex B. In that report, she claims the contracted internet installations were working “effectively” in listed locations. Important to note at this point that what was contracted was not just any kind of Internet but installation of high speed and very expensive ($700/month) VSAT Internet service.
 
Please find report of Director of Children’s Affairs (Mrs. Kadi Buya-Kamara) attached as Annex C-1 alongside a draft attached as Annex C-2 which had been initially done by her deputy.  On the day I took over, Mrs. Buya Kamara had not been to work and her deputy had drafted the status report on behalf of that directorate but Mrs. Buya Kamara on eventually appearing for work, vehemently rejected that draft as not being reflective of the facts so she refused to sign it.
 
The vehemence with which Mrs. Kadi Buya Kamara had rejected the draft done by her deputy, drew my curiousity and I enquired of this. In response, Mrs. Buya Kamara took her time to explain issues including the fact that though a contracted Internet Connectivity for all 13 districts (including Western Rural district) by Afcom was supposed to be under her mandate as it was a Child Protection programme, she, as Director of Children’s Affairs, had been sidelined from it and from another psychosocial support by my predecessor Moijue Kaikai, Madam Tina Davies, Joseph Sinnah, Mariatu Bangura and Mariama Yormah.
 
I then advised her to re-write the Report in a way she considered as factual and to express her concerns in the re-written report. So the two reports are here attached as Annex C1 (Buya Kamara’s) and Annex C2 (rejected version).
 
Also, a Joint Report by Mrs. Tina Davies, Mr. Joseph Sinnah and Mrs. Mariatu Bangura is attached as Annex D1. It can be seen Mrs. Kadi Buya-Kamara’s name was typed as a proposed co-signer of the Report but again, Buya-Kamara refused to sign that joint report; giving me the same reasons she had earlier stated:- that she could not vouch for the correctness of the claims contained in the Joint Report so she will not sign the report. The three other co-signers on Page 7 of their report, fully endorsed as factual, their referenced attachment which was a special report on “Case Management & Information Management Systems”. That CMIMS report was authored and signed specifically by Mrs. Mariatu Bangura, the Deputy Head of Professional Services and is here attached asAnnex D2.
 
Mr. Charles Vandi, Director of Gender who had been doubling as MSWGCA Sector Lead in post-Ebola Presidential Delivery Team (PDT), gave me copies of Weekly updates (Dashboard Reports) that he had been submitting to His Excellency the President at State House about activities of the 6-9 months President’s Post-Ebola Recovery priorities. According to submissions he made on March 24th 2016 and March 31st 2016, Mr. Charles Vandi informed His Excellency the President that Internet Services had been installed in all 14 locations. As this complaint will show, that was a brazen lie by Mr. Vandi which indicated very high level of utter disrespect for the President. I was to later request from Dr. Yakama Jones, the Data Manager at the PDT for copies of all of what Mr. Charles Vandi had presented to the President at State House about the ministry’s programmes. Dr. Jones sent me data in her possession which had been submitted to His Excellency the President by Mr. Charles Vandi. Dr. Jones’ data she gave me for March 2016, was identical to what I received from Mr. Charles Vandi and they falsely indicated Internet had been installed in 14 locations around Sierra Leone.  The March 24th and March 31st reports are here attached as Annex E1 and Annex E2.
 
Also attached here as Annex F, is a report on the ministry’s EVD Response by Charles Vandi. On Page 3 of that report, under accomplishments, he categorically informs that CMIMS (Case Management and Information Management System) equipment was installed in all districts and delivering service effectively. It was untrue and part of the conspiracy to pretend Internet service was being delivered.
 
Also attached here as Annex G1 is another document that I received from Mr. Sinnah, professional head at MSWGCA which was an Original Invoice prepared by Mr. ADEL SULIMAN who is CEO of Afcom (SL) Limited, a foreigner from Sudan and also a flight risk should investigations commence. That Afcom Invoice dated March 29th 2016 was demanding full balance payment that Adel Suliman claimed was “outstanding” payment for services worth $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars). These alleged completed services included installation of Internet Services to 14 locations at a cost of $14,000; annual Internet Subscription for 14 locations at cost of $117,600 (One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Six Hundred Dollars); amongst others.
 
The Invoice stated Afcom had been paid, a little over 40% of total ($82,142.86) and was demanding “outstanding” balance of $117,857.14 (One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Eight Hundred & Fifty Seven Dollars and Fourteen Cents).
 
I requested of Permanent Secretary (P.S.) Momo Bockarie Foh for understanding of the Afcom and district Internet installations. In replying, he informed that although he was the Permanent Secretary, he had no idea about the Afcom contract. I found that very strange and I told him so. He furthered that it was my predecessor Alhaji Moijue Kaikai who was the mastermind behind entire Afcom contract. He drew my attention to actual VSAT Contract signed with Afcom and pointed out that though he should have signed it, my predecessor had manipulated to have Head of Professional Services, Joseph Sinnah sign it without P.S. knowledge as to how it came about.
 
I was quite intrigued at it all especially as both the Permanent Secretary and the Director of Children’s Affairs who were both supposed to know about this Child Protection Internet service, were vehemently distancing themselves from any knowledge of what was happening with Afcom. So, using my journalism skills, I undertook some quiet investigations and learnt that infact, Afcom in connivance with Alhaji Moijue Kaikai and other staff of my ministry, were actually conspiring to defraud the Government into paying for services not ever rendered and that all the media interviews given by Moijue Kaikai claiming he left Internet installed in every district, were all part of a larger conspiracy to hoodwink His Excellency the President, Donor Partners and the general public. The facts which quietly unfolded were startling. It was clear that even beyond the $200,000 conspiracy, a Multi-Million Dollars Donor-funded project to, amongst other things, provide VSAT Internet service to all district offices, was not functional and had failed on many aspects due to fraud and incompetence.
 
Armed with that information I had quietly gathered, on Friday 15th April 2016, exactly one week after I took office, I decided to undertake a whirlwind nation-wide tour of the entire country in order to elicit the reasons why a Multi-Million Dollars Donor-funded project to, amongst other things, provide VSAT Internet service to all district offices, was not functional despite the contract signed by Afcom SL Limited with the Ministry to provide such 12 months internet service at cost of $182,400 (One Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand, Four Hundred U.S. Dollars) alongside provide another totally different supply of Call Center equipment and configuration at $17,600 (Seventeen Thousand, Six Hundred U.S. Dollars) for a grand total of $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars).
 
The proposed VSAT Internet Service that was contracted in 2015, was primarily to ensure every district office (including Western Rural & Headquarters) could use an expensive UNICEF-procured, Internet-based software called PRIMERO to upload on to a secure web-based online computer server, critical information on cases of children needing various forms of social protection around Sierra Leone. A second benefit was that it will expand reach of a proposed 116 Call Center that was to have been installed at the ministry’s headquarters so it could also receive free calls concerning child protection from all the districts.
 
At this point, I wish to remind the Sierra Leone Police that in addition to being a fully trained and qualified medical doctor, I am also a well experienced Internet Consultant who operated my own Internet Consultancy company here in Sierra Leone, other African countries and in America. In Washington DC, USA, my company, known as WEST AFRICA DOT NET LIMITED was registered by the Government of Washington DC with me as the President & Chief Executive Officer. At the turn of this 21st Century, that my Internet company was the foremost Internet service consultant serving the West African subregion from the capital of the United States. In such capacity, I assisted West African leaders and governments to unravel complicated Internet issues. See Annex H for a news report on how 14 years ago, I assisted the Sierra Leone Police to use Internet to catch criminals in December 2002.
 
In my capacity as an Internet Consultant, I now wish to advise Sierra Leone Police of the difference between a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) satellite ground station which delivers fast Internet service and a microwave Radio link ‘line-of-sight’ Internet service. Firstly, it is important to note that a VSAT Internet service can be up to ten times (x10) more expensive than a microwave/radio service.
 
Most critically for this scenario is that VSAT Internet service only needs electricity supply on location for it to connect to Satellite supplying it but in sharp contrast, a line-of-sight radio link is piggybacking off a local base station that must be within visible distance. So, even if a radio link has electricity supply at its installed location, if the “line-of-sight” base station it is accessing Internet service from is not powered with electricity, the radio link cant supply Internet to that location.
 
Therefore, for this critical child protection Case Management Internet/computer software system, a VSAT satellite system is much better for rural district offices than an unreliable microwave Radio link. This against backdrop that the proposed Case Management & Information Management Systems (CMIMS) with PRIMERO software should be accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to my ministry and Partners; all at huge cost of US$2,114,333.00(Two Million, One Hundred and Fourteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty Three United States Dollars).
 
So it was that on 28th September 2015, MSWGCA signed a contract with Afcom to install very expensive VSAT Internet services ($700 per month per district) in all district offices - based on Afcom’s 9th September 2015 Technical and Financial offerings. Please see the Contract itself, the Financial Proposal and the Technical Proposal attached as Annex I, Annex J and Annex K respectively. 
 
As is seen from the Contract in its Title, Preamble and Article 1.1(c), Afcom was to have deployed a very expensive VSAT Internet service to all my ministry’s district offices including the one in Western Rural Area at Waterloo as well as to Western Urban headquarters location. According to terms of contract, Afcom was to take no more than 3 weeks to install the VSAT Internet services at each district offices and no more than 5 weeks to complete entire $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) contract. Immediately after signing the Contract last year, the United Nations Child Protection agency, UNICEF, paid out the sum of $82,142.86 to Afcom from designated African Development Bank donor funds based on terms of Contract signed with my ministry.
 
Annex G1 is the March 29th 2016 Invoice prepared by Mr. Adel Suleiman himself and addressed to my Ministry in which Afcom is demanding for the sum of US$117,857.14 they claim is an “outstanding balance” on the $200,000.00. I want to draw attention to the DATE of that Invoice. It was issued between the time my predecessor was sacked on March 7th 2016 and the time I took up office on April 7th 2016. It was issued following several media interviews of the sacked Moijue Kaikai wherein he had claimed he left all 14 locations (districts & headquarters) installed with Internet access. The Conspiracy to defraud is glaring.
 
As I had earlier stated, upon me sensing something was not correct about the Invoice and Contract, I ordered for payment to be halted and for more background information to be given to me on this service for which we were to pay $200,000. I was given responses but they were not satisfactory and so since I did not have a single Handing Over note from my predecessor Moijue Kaikai, I decided to physically check so-called VSAT Internet services purportedly installed at my ministry’s various district offices. I invited both UNICEF and AFCOM to travel with me as I did the inspection between April 15th 2016 and April 18th 2016. (See Annex L).
 
My findings were abysmal. I was shocked at the brazen extent of the Conspiracy to defraud. There was no VSAT Internet service installed in any of the 13 district offices or Headquarters. Only very unstable and dysfunctional Microwave Radio-linked “line of sight” Internet equipment were installed – and even at that, only in 11 locations. So, the Internet either did not work or had never been installed at many locations. Furthermore, at those districts where Internet was accessible, district staff swiftly confirmed that stability and speed of the Internet were usually of poor quality but Afcom deceptively improved service to coincide with my visit.
 
In Bonthe and Port Loko districts, Afcom had not even bothered to even do any internet service but they were demanding to be paid $200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) in full. This was nothing other than Brazen Thievery. When placed against the media utterances of my predecessor Alhaji Moijue Kaikai that he had left office with Internet installed and working in all districts together with the reports of Charles Vandi, Tina Davies, Joseph Sinnah and Mariatu Bangura, a grand conspiracy to defraud Government of Donor Funds and to perpetuate Brazen thievery, clearly unfolds. The Conspirators also had no fear of being caught neither did they have required respect for His Excellency the President as evidenced by the submission of Mr. Charles Vandi to no less a person but the President himself that Internet Services had been installed in all 14 locations as of March 24th 2016 and March 31st 2016. It must be noted that it was in person that Mr. Charles Vandi submitted Updates to His Excellency the President. The brazenness of the conspiracy is grievous.
 
What this all means is that, Afcom had no business sending out that March 29th 2016 Invoice requesting for “outstanding balance” so as to be settled for all the $200,000 and my ministry staff had no business encouraging Afcom to send in such Invoice.
 
There was another poignant aspect. As a new Cabinet Minister who took up office on 7th April 2016, I was also faced with a situation wherein I received strong warnings from UNICEF urging me to proceed “before May 7th 2016” with disbursing remaining funds totalling over $1,000,000 (one million dollars) from an African Development Bank (AfDB) Grant ‘SM140052’ entitled: “STRENGTHENING COORDINATION AND OVERSIGHT CAPACITY TO PROVIDE CARE AND SUPPORT TO EBOLA AFFECTED CHILDREN” from which $2,114,333.00 Grant, the payment to Afcom was to be made. UNICEF alerted me both verbally and in writing that they doubted if AfDB will do another extension after May 7th since the Bank already did an extension in December 2015. UNICEF wrote to AfDB exploring possibility of such another extension beyond May 7th 2016. (Please see Annex M). In the letter, the remoteness of such extension was implied.
 
The entire expenditure for this failed Child Protection Case Management system is in excess of two million dollars. This very expensive venture cannot work if there is no Internet installed at the districts. Afcom cannot be paid by UNICEF unless I approve that they have completed installation as contracted for. If they did not complete the Installation by May 7th 2016, the funds will be lost and the entire project would have crumbled.
 
I was placed under tremendous pressure by my staff, UNICEF staff and other persons for me to approve the disbursement of over one million dollars before May 7th 2016. I however believed that the children of Sierra Leone deserved better than what was turning out to be a failed Child Protection system. So, I stood my ground and refused to approve for disbursement of balance payments. I only approved for two months salaries for contracted social workers and for continuing the programme’s coordination. I stopped all other payments including that which Afcom was demanding to be paid.
 
As the clock ticked towards May 7th 2016, the pressure on me to pay AFCOM and disburse the over one million dollars, reached astronomical levels. On May 3rd 2016, just four (4) days to deadline of May 7th 2016, I had cause to call the Police when we discovered a foreign herbalist (Juju-man) from Niger with an AFCOM staff; complete with a bag full of African black magic implements hunched down together just few feet from the secluded enclave entrance to my Minister Office door where I had been set to pass by. Both the 32 years old herbalist and AFCOM staff had no business being there. They were handed to Police for investigations.

I continued to stand my ground that I will not approve disbursement of the funds. Most interestingly, reason prevailed and suddenly on May 6th 2016, UNICEF informed me that AfDB was now pliable for my humble self to sign to extend the usage of the Grant beyond May 7th 2016 until September 30th 2016. This extension automatically gave leeway for Afcom to regularise the status quo by doing what they had signed contract to do which was to install expensive VSAT Internet service in 14 locations. I agreed to the extension in principle and patiently bade my time watching to see if the Conspirators will amend attempt to defraud the Government of Donor Funds.
 
I want to here state that when I raised an alarm during my April trip to the Provinces, a “Public Notice” from Afcom (Annex N) that publicly attacked my person, gave excuses as to why Afcom could not install the VSAT Internet systems they were contracted to install in the district offices. I can assure that none of those stated excuses are tenable. All they point to, is a criminal collaboration between Afcom, my predecessor and some of my ministry’s staff.
 
After I used my ICT skills to scientifically debunk their excuses and upon them realising my resolve not to honour their Invoice for uncompleted Internet services, Afcom then proceeded to write an open Apology (Annex O) to me; distancing themselves from the “Public Notice” which they publicly disowned with an amusing claim that they did not know where it originated from.
 
With a respite now given - that the AfDB Grant will be extended to September 30th 2016 - Afcom proceeded to carry out Internet installations in Port Loko and Bonthe for the first time ever since they signed the Contract in 2015. In other words, despite their earlier criminal attempt to collect Donor Funds for services which they had not rendered, it was only in June that they finally installed Internet to Port Loko and Bonthe. However, as earlier stated, the Internet they have installed in Port Loko is not the VSAT which we contracted them to do. Similarly, the Internet in Bonthe, whilst supposedly being VSAT, is not stable or reliable. The 14th location which should have been the Headquarters, is yet to receive any VSAT Internet connectivity. Since I took up office, all I have been using is Internet Service from another company known as IPTEL whilst the rest of MSWGCA staff are using government’s ECOWAN K-1 Internet services.
 
When I first raised an alarm back in April 2016, Mr. Adel Suliman, the CEO of Afcom simply packed his bags and flew out of the country. He is a foreigner from Sudan. I wish to reiterate that Mr. Adel Suliman is a flight risk and so during the Police investigations, this must be taken due note of. Since I knew Mr. Suliman was quite key to the criminal investigations that this matter deserved, I patiently awaited his return from his flight overseas. He has since returned to the country and has now, sent yet another Invoice he prepared to my ministry, requesting to be paid. Interestingly, this latest Invoice was prepared by Mr. Adel Suliman twice. The first one had an error in the date which was botched as “Billing Period: July-March 1 2016”; it was a modification of the March 2016 one. Realising his error, Mr. Adel Suliman later that same day, sent a second one which had error corrected and Invoice re-dated as 29 June 2016 (29/06/2016). These Invoice were verbatim of 29th March 2016 demand for $117,857.14 (One Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Eight Hundred & Fifty Seven Dollars and Fourteen Cents). The June Invoice got accompanied by a covering letter from Afcom’s Managing Director Mahmoud Idriss in which he describes it as Afcom’s “final invoice for the service” and gives another document which he claims are “complete scope of deliverables, indicating completion for all items” they were contracted for. The two June Invoices and accompanying letter & attachments are all here attached asAnnex-G2, Annex-G3, Annex-G4 and Annex-G5.
 
However, it is clear that contrary to succinct Title, Preamble & Article 1.1(c) of the Contract (Annex I) defining the Internet service to be installed was through VSAT systems, in reality, not a single VSAT Internet installation has been installed in 13 locations whilst the only VSAT Internet installation supposedly done in Bonthe (yet to be verified if it is indeed VSAT), is not reliable. Despite this glaring lack of service, Afcom is again writing to demand payment and brazenly copied UNICEF Country Director into this their latest demand letter. The Conspiracy to defraud the Government of Donor Funds is still continuing.
 
Attached here as Annex P is also a report dated July 7th 2016 by Mariama Yormah in which she states under “key deliverables #3” Afcom has completed Internet Service they got contracted for; but Afcom contract is to deliver VSAT Internet service so Where are the VSATs?
 
In light of all the above and in a bid to set an example that will act as a deterrent, I hereby request that a criminal investigation be opened into what I see as Grand Conspiracy. I am forwarding this matter to Criminal Investigations Department of Sierra Leone Police and not directly to the Anti Corruption Commission as it is not a corruption case but rather a criminal attempt to defraud Government through a wide scale conspiracy. This falls squarely under purview of the Sierra Leone Police.
 
This is furthermore, a Conspiracy which has the potential to deprive the children of this country from getting benefits of a Donor-funded Programme that was in excess of two million dollars.
 
Indeed, whilst this complaint focuses on aspect of failure to install VSAT Internet as contracted for but yet still conspiring to defraud the State for services not rendered, I will like the Sierra Leone Police to also be aware that there are other areas of criminal activities perpetuated at MSWGCA under the 6-9 months Post-Ebola programme. For example, if you look at the Dashboard Reports submitted by Charles Vandi (Annex E1/E2), he makes claim about “Case management tools being used by Social Workers & NGOs”. That entire issue of “Case Management Tools” and “Social Workers” is engulfed in deception, corruption and fraud.The Police might wish to open an investigation into that matter if they so desire.
 
Indeed, some ministry staff have glaring criminal culpability in this conspiracy but from my initial findings so far, I may wish to exclude Permanent Secretary Mr. Momoh Bockarie Foh and Director of Children’s Affairs Mrs. Kadi Buya-Kamara who could both however help police investigators shed light on this serious malfeasance of ongoing conspiracy to defraud Sierra Leone of Donor Funds.
 
The following should however be very helpful during Police investigations:
•  MR. CHARLES VANDI, the Gender Director at MSWGCA
•  MR. JOSEPH CHARLES SINNAH, Head of Professional Services, MSWGCA
•  MRS. MARIATU BANGURA, Deputy Head of Professional Services, MSWGCA
•  MRS. MARIAMA YORMAH, the Head of ICT attached to MSWGCA
•  MRS. TINA DAVIES, the former Child Protection Consultant at MSWGCA
•  ALHAJI MOIJUE KAIKAI, former Minister whose relative is Afcom Director
•  MR. ADEL SULEIMAN, the CEO of Afcom
•  MR. MAHMOUD IDRISS, the Managing Director of Afcom
•  MR. LATILEWA ROBERTS, Business Development Manager of Afcom
•  MRS. FATIMA GBONDO, the Chief Finance Officer of Afcom who signs Invoices
 
For this particular complaint of conspiracy, given that even His Excellency the President was treated with such disrespect by Ministry officials feeding him with LIES at State House, all in bid to conspire to defraud Donor Funds, it is my greatest hope that Sierra Leone Police will treat this conspiracy to defraud matter with importance it deserves and that no matter the influence Mr. Adel Suliman, might wield in certain key circles, he would be brought to book for his role in this criminal conspiracy that affects the welfare of the Children of Sierra Leone.
 
Yours Faithfully,
———————
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Hon. Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs.
CC: The Commissioner, Anti Corruption Commission

 

The Failure of Imported Juju Man from Niger to Harm Dr. Sylvia Blyden!!

By Press Release (23/07/16)

The Organiser.net publishes why and how an imported Juju man from Niger to woefully failed to harm God fearing Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden.

Below is the full text of the complaint filed to Police by Honourable Minister Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. In her own words here is the extract: (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma flanked by Minister Sylvia Blyden, in blue, and first left her mother Mama Sylvia Blyden and family members at State House). 

There was another poignant aspect. As a new Cabinet Minister who took up office on 7th April 2016, I was also faced with a situation wherein I received strong warnings from UNICEF urging me to proceed "before May 7th 2016" with disbursing remaining funds totalling over $1,000,000.00. (one million dollars) from an African Development Bank (AfDB) Grant 'SM140052' entitled: "STRENGTHENING COORDINATION AND OVERSIGHT CAPACITY TO PROVIDE CARE AND SUPPORT TO EBOLA AFFECTED CHILDREN" from which $2,114,333.00 Grant, the payment to AFCOM was to be made.

UNICEF alerted me both verbally and in writing that they doubted if AfDB will do another extension after May 7th since the Bank already did an extension in December 2015. UNICEF wrote to AfDB exploring possibility of such another extension beyond May 7th 2016. (Please see Annex M). In the letter, the remoteness of such extension was implied.

The entire expenditure for this failed Child Protection Case Management system is in excess of two million dollars. This very expensive venture cannot work if there is no Internet installed at the districts. Afcom cannot be paid by UNICEF unless I approve that they have completed installation as contracted for. If they did not complete the Installation by May 7th 2016, the funds will be lost and the entire project would have crumbled.

I was placed under tremendous pressure by my staff, UNICEF staff and other persons for me to approve the disbursement of over one million dollars before May 7th 2016. I however believed that the children of Sierra Leone deserved better than what was turning out to be a failed Child Protection system.

So, I stood my ground and refused to approve for disbursement of balance payments. I only approved for two months salaries for contracted social workers and for continuing the programme’s coordination. I stopped all other payments including that which Afcom was demanding to be paid.

As the clock ticked towards May 7th 2016, the pressure on me to pay AFCOM and disburse the over one million dollars, reached astronomical levels. On May 3rd 2016, just four (4) days to deadline of May 7th 2016, I had cause to call the Police when we discovered an AFCOM staff with a foreign herbalist (Juju-man) imported from Niger; complete with a bag full of African black magic implements, hunched down together just few feet from the secluded enclave entrance to my Minister Office door where I had been set to pass by.

Both the 32 years old imported herbalist and AFCOM staff had no business being there. They were handed to Police for investigations.

I continued to stand my ground that I will not approve disbursement of the funds.
//// END OF EXTRACT ///

You may read the full text at website link below:

http://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_200529055.shtml

 

Sylvia Blyden Says Radio FM98.1 in Dangerous and Nasty Journalism!!

 By Abdul Malik Bangura (23/07/16)

The 98.1 FM radio is leading the unethical race to smear the good name of Dr. Sylvia Blyden due to her firm stance to avert corruption.

Honourable Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has described on July 21st 2016 edition of Radio FM98.1 morning programme as "one of the most dangerous, filthy and nasty pieces of journalism" that Sierra Leone has been subjected to. (Pictured: President Koroma and his tough Minister Sylvia).

Hon. Blyden insists that the utterances of one pseudo civil society activist who used 98.1 to incite tribal hate, was akin to the kind of broadcast that were made by RTLM in Rwanda, that led to a tribally motivated Genocide in 1994 which claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people  within a period of 100days.

The genocide saw 3 Rwandan journalists charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for direct and indirect incitements to commit serious human rights violations. She said, in the said genocide, a female prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, was killed for what resulted from hate messages that were disseminated by media practitioners.

"Everything he alleged is not only untrue and total nonsense but the use of negative tribalism as a cloak to hide alleged criminal activities, was nasty; very very nasty. It reminds me of those dark days around that radio station which darkness are well recounted within the TRC report," Blyden said. "The Independent Media Commission should not wait for me to even complain to them. They should have issued an immediate sanction against 98.1," Blyden ended.

This is so because a post conflict society as Sierra Leone where the war was seen as ethno-regionally and ethno-politically based, the immediate post-conflict society can easily slip into another conflict if the media does not behave responsibly.

Therefore, she is seeing such statements as inciting and should not be treated with any amount of complacency. She said that in itself is defamatory to her personality, as she has always treated Sierra Leoneans of all regions without any prejudice and bias.

She said, such statement has exposed her to hate. Meanwhile in this Friday's edition of Awareness Times is the full text of the 10 pages complaint lodged to the Police about a grand conspiracy to defraud by certain of her ministry's officials and other persons.  

 

APC and SLPP Politicians Receive Standing Ovation at the National Stadium

By Press Release (22/07/16)

Sports is a unifier despite political views. That's precisely the case when APC and SLPP hotshots enjoy deafening applause in Freetown.

Reports say Mr. Moseray Fadika and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella (pictured) enjoyed a kick-off with a host of supporters and football fans on Central One Football Association (COFA) League Grand Final on Sunday 10th July, 2016 at the National Stadium between Mountain City Football Club and the Fullah Town Football Club.

The football spectators responded with loud applause when Ambassador Fadika of the ruling All Peoples Congress Party (APC) and Dr. Yumkella of opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) were presented on the football pitch in a jam-packed stadium, and they smiled and waved.

"I think it's a big honour and privilege for all of us that Ambassador Fadika and Dr.  Yumkella are right here with us from the both the APC and SLPP. This is a show of peace and unity.  It's like a dream come true for all football lovers across Sierra Leone," an excited football fan said.

The presence of Ambassador Fadika and Dr. Yumkella adds a  buzz to what's a solid football tournament at the National Stadium.

Earlier the APC party leadership contender and presidential hopeful, Ambassador Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika, delivered an inspirational speech before a joint meeting of Mountain City Football Club and the Fullah Town Football Club, calling on supporters to promote peace, unity and tolerance.

He said: "Sport is an essential part of education and teaches us the values of respect for rules, team-work, equality, fair-play and non-violence. Therefore, I appeal to all supporters to refrain from violence and  spread this message of peace, unity, tolerance...have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful way."

Enquiries:
Communications and Policy Department Moseray Fadika Campaign Headquarters (Address):
17 Muctarr Drive, Off Regent Road, Lumley Freetown, Sierra Leone

Phone (direct): 
+232 78845765
+23276500576
+232 99368740

Mobile for (WhatsApp only) :+23288096487
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WE ARE BORN POOR, WE MUST NOT DIE POO

 

VP Victor Foh's Good Governance for Africa Speech in South Africa

By Press Release (22/07/16)

The Sierra Leone Vice President, representing President Ernest Bai Koroma, has given a succinct speech on Africanism in South Africa.

As guest of on May 3, 2016 VP Victor Bockarie Foh (pictured) thrilled the audience with his eloquence deliverance on Pan Africanism. Below is the verbatim speech made by VP Foh:

Your Excellency, President of the Pan-African Parliament 
Hon. Roger Dang Nkodo 
Hon. Vice Presidents 
Honourable members of the Pan-African Parliament 
Excellencies 
Distinguished Guests 
Invited Delegates 
Ladies and Gentlemen

I bring you fraternal and goodwill greetings from His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone.  I also bring you profound apologies from President Koroma for not being able to attend this Session of the Pan-African Parliament.  He asked me to represent him, and I am sure he is here with us in spirit, because he holds dearest to his heart the Pan-African Parliament and what you stand for, namely, Good Governance and prosperity for the people of Africa.   

On my own behalf, I consider this a singular honour for which I am thankful, first to my President for asking me to represent him and second, to the President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Hon. Roger Dang Nkodo, Vice Presidents, Honourable Members and staff of this august Body, for the privilege to address them on this occasion.  I am considerably humbled, yet extremely pleased that with PAP, Africa is certainly moving towards integration and development.

Mr. President, 

Excellencies

It is disheartening to note that while Africa is moving forward, we are confronted with emerging challenges which, otherwise, could be avoided.  The threat posed by armed organizations and the unsavoury attacks by these groups are among some of our greatest man-made challenges we are faced with.  Let me, on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone, express deepest sympathy to all those countries affected by such attacks.  As a country, we went through it for more than ten years, and we know how frightening and devastating these attacks could be, not least of all the fear and anxiety the people live with.  It is a pity that these attacks are happening in our “backyards” and by our own compatriots.  While these attacks may target individual countries, we must find a continental and / or global solution to them.  We believe PAP, through its mandate, can strengthen continental solidarity and build a sense of common destiny among the people of Africa. 

Mr. President,

Excellencies

Recently, we were visited by the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.  We lost scores of our compatriots.  It was a dreadful scourge.  As a country and as a sub-Region, we were devastated.  Economic growth and development were halted.  Our survival as a nation was threatened.  With the resilience of our people and through the support of friendly countries of the world, we fought a good fight and defeated the Ebola Virus Disease.  Some of our dear African countries banned flights to Sierra Leone and to the sub-Region.  We bear no grudge.  Suffice it to say, we learnt good lessons, and we will build on lessons learnt to push for greater African unity, and show each other that we should, and must be our Brothers’ Keepers”.  Sierra Leone is now Ebola-free, and we are on the path to Economic recovery. On behalf of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone, let me thank all those friendly countries that supported us and our sister countries in the Mano River Basin to combat the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.  We say so from the bottom of our hearts.

Mr. President,

Excellencies

A new Bureau of PAP has been elected into office.  I wish them a successful tenure.  Let me thank the out-gone Bureau for moving PAP to another level.  The secret to success is for the new Bureau to build on the foundation laid by the out-gone Bureau.  You can never succeed by quarrelling with your past.

 

Bye-Election in Kailahun is a Victory for the APC - Lauds Scribe Yansaneh

By Gunther AB Daramy (22/07/16)

Despite losing the elections to the opposition SLPP, the ruling APC government still believes the Kailahun result is a massive victory for APC.

The National Secretary General of the All People's Congress Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh (pictured) has said in Freetown the outcome of the bye-election in Constituency 001 in Kailahun District was happy for the fact that the APC party's candidate grabbed well over about 30% of valid vote cast.

He described this as a success given the number of votes the party used to pull in this area in previous elections. Mr. Yansaneh said the result shows that people of Kailahun are appreciative of the level of transformation being witnessed by them, under the current dispensation, administered by President, Ernest Bai Koroma, who is also the Chairman and Leader of the APC.

Ambassador Yansaneh used the opportunity to congratulate the people of Kailahun for exercising their rights to franchise, without resorting to political violence, as witnessed when a certain politician of the opposition visited the area.

He also commended the wisdom of the security sector for the Military Aid to Civil Power (MAC-P), whose presence made the voting atmosphere very peaceful for the electorates to come out in their numbers to  cast their votes.

He said even though the voters turnout at the election were low, he held the view that the APC come next general elections, will add up into the current percentage of votes.

"Sustaining the support of the APC in that part of the country is very crucial," said Ambassador Yansaneh, adding, party operatives in the area should ensure they spread their tentacles far and wide," he noted.

He furthered that the APC stands the test of time of being the only party in the country, which knows no borders, when it comes to ethnic, region or tribal sentiments. For this reason, he added, the party is very popular for its fine attributes of being the haven for all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans.

It could be recalled that the visit of humbled presidential candidate of the SLPP in the 2012 presidential poll, Mr. Julius Maada Bio sparked off violence that led to the injury of some young people.

Properties were reportedly damaged during the fracas. This ugly development prompted the security sector to invoke a MAC-P to man the entire electoral process. So far, Kailahun is peaceful. 

 

 

President Koroma and Egypt Focus on Health, Maritime, Security Issues

By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh (19/07/16)

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma and entourage were welcomed during the official visit to recent the Egyptian Capital, Cairo.

His Excellency was received on arrival at the Presidential Lounge of the Cairo International Airport on Monday June 27, by the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Eng. Yaser Al-Kadi, senior Government officials and the Minister Counsellor/Head of Chancery at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sulay-Manah Kpukumu, deputizing Sierra Leone’s Ambassador accredited to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Alhaji M.S Kargbo who is currently on another presidential assignment. (President Koroma and the First Lady).

A red carpet was rolled out for the President as he arrived with his high-level delegation, including, Foreign and International Cooperation Minister, Dr. Samura M. Kamara, Sierra Leone’s Envoy to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara, newly appointed Presidential Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay, Personal Assistant to His Excellency the President, Brian Gilpin, The Director of International and Legal Affairs Division in the Foreign Ministry, Saidu Nallo, among other dignitaries.

At the headquarters of the Presidency of the Republic at Heliopolis, President Ernest Bai Koroma was warmly received by his brother and colleague, His Excellency Abdel Fattah el-Sisi where they held talks on a broad range of issues bordering on bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

As Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council, President Koroma held consultations with President el-Sisi on the United Nations (UN) reforms.

Speaking to me in a brief interview after the closed door meeting with the two Heads of State, Presidential Spokesman, Abdulai Bayratay says the two leaders held fruitful discussions on issues of mutual interest and cooperation. He further says they focused on cooperation in health, maritime resources as well as security issues.
The C-10 comprises Heads of State from Sierra Leone, Senegal, Namibia, Congo Brazzaville, Libya, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea.

It is worthy to note that the African Union plays an increasingly important role in peacekeeping and conflict resolution. This is demonstrated by the African Union’s increased will and capacity to partner with the UN in carrying out hybrid missions in Somalia and the Darfur region of Sudan as well as supporting peace process efforts in the Republic of Mali and elsewhere on the continent.

President Koroma arrived in Cairo from the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, where he held similar bilateral engagement and he is also scheduled to proceed to Harare, Zimbabwe (three-nation outreach) on the African Union C-10 to elicit views of his peers on the ongoing UN Security Council reform dialogue going forward into the 11th year of the campaign before he returns to Freetown on Thursday.

According to the Presidential Spokesman, the meetings are to further consult on the way forward in the pursuit of the Common African Position on the UN reform and with a view to ensuring that Africa continues to speak with one voice and to secure two permanent seats and a total of no less than five non-Permanent seats in the Security Council of the UN.

Courtesy: By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States 

 

Sierra Leone Government Minister Refutes a London Newspaper Story

By Gunther AB Daramy (19/07/16)

Sierra Leone's Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux has refuted claims of Ebola Corruption reported by London's Daily Mail.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Cornelius Deveaux has reacted to a publication of the London based Daily Mail of Sunday May 1st 2016, which claimed Sierra Leone officials are suspected of stealing £12 million intended to fight the deadly Ebola while the British taxpayers pumped hundreds of millions into the country. (Pictured: Sierra Leone's Information Minister Mohamed Bangura, a very proactive minister).

Mr. Deveaux  said: “While the disclosure is lagging behind time and therefore becomes no news, portions of the article however reinforces call for international NGOs to give a clear account of how much money was received on behalf of the country and how it was spent.”

Deputy Minister Deveaux told a cross section of pressmen recently at his Youyi Building office that it is indeed true that an audit report did identify lapses in the use of Ebola money but that these lapses have been rectified with the provision of supporting documents where necessary to substantiate expenditure and refund of unsubstantiated expenditure.

Although he could not be definitive as to how much has been refunded, Minister Deveaux recalled that it was President Ernest Bai Koroma, whom in May 2014, at the height of the fight against the dreadful disease, first sounded the clarion for a transparent and accountable use of Ebola funds.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications noted: “The audit exercise which was done in November 2014, almost 18 months ago, remains a testimony of government’s commitment to maintaining prudency and efficiency in the management of public funds,” while sadly noting also that funds received by the international NGOs are yet to be properly accounted for.

Reacting to claims made in the article Cornelius Deveaux explained: "While payments were made to hospitals there was no proof the money was going to help fight the disease, that in such an emergency bureaucratic red tapes prescribed by the country’s procurement laws would have delayed the delivery of essential services needed to save the lives of compatriots."

He said procurement laws were bypassed to meet the then rising demand for services but that the scenario offers an opportunity for a review of the country’s procurement laws to make provision as to what should be done in cases of an emergency such as the Ebola outbreak.

"Lamenting that the outbreak claimed the lives of about 3589 compatriots, and not 11,300 as was wrongly claimed in the article," said Minister Deveaux.
He maintained that deaths were caused as a result of the vicious transmission cycle of the deadly virus, while pointing out that as a result of an efficient service delivery, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the outbreak, government was able to ensure more people survived the disease than those who died, out of the total number of people who contracted the disease.

Appreciating the role the UK and other international partners played in bringing the outbreak to an end, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications said article in the London-based Daily Mail reinforces the need for international NGOs who received funds for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone to be audited, noting that accountability and transparency should not only be seen in government but also in the activities of international donor partners.

The Government of Sierra Leone, he concluded, is very committed to the fight against graft, saying the number of audit investigations is a clear justification.

Courtesy: By Gunther AB Daramy (PA Media Affairs DMIC) 

 

APC/UK Women's Leader Khadi Kuyateh Gives Best Vote of Thanks!!

By Press Release (19/07/16)

The APC/UK Women's leader did not hide her feelings by recognising the patriotism members of her party continue to show.

"What can I say to the wonderful members of UK and the Diaspora who have shown patriotism for our mama Salone and loyalty to APC to come together to celebrate  our 55th Independence anniversary combined with a fundraising for the Ernest Bai Koroma's  Conference  Hall. (Pictured: A recent APC/UK meet in London).

"The ambience was super! That I will never forget. You said  it is all about our patriotism. I therefore  take this  opportunity  to than every single person who attended that historical  event. It is an event that will go down as the BEST EVER in the history of this APC  and  Ireland.

"My special thanks go to our one and only National APC Lady President  Elizabeth Mans Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources whom despite her hectic and exhausting involvement in the countries Independent celebration as women lady president an Cabinet  Minister just after few hours to be  precise jumped  on  the plane just to be with us?  I say to our lady Mans, kudos to you  on behalf of the APC women's committee and on my own behalf I say many thanks to and wish you all the best  in your life and your political career and wish u Allah's travel mercy as your task is purely  to sell your country's business out there.

"We extend our appreciation to the High Commissioner, Deputy and staff of Sierra Leone High Commission. We also say thanks to our sister, Cassandra  the  Women's  Leader and comrades from Germany who flew all the way to support us just after 3-day notification.   My women we appreciate  you. Also I want to say  thanks to our children, sisters and brothers the Youth Wing, Elders and stakeholders of the Branch. Many, many thanks  to you. You have shown that we, in the APC-UK, are all one this time and with a common goal.

"Further, not to be forgotten are our Comrades and my in-law who came all the way from Reading many thanks to you. A Special thanks to you for our ever ready and able Comrade from the Midlands.  Kudos  to you. Indeed You are awesome!

"My special thanks  go to sir Gipu and the Manchester comrades who came to grace this wonderful occasion. Sir Gipu Felix George. You are indeed  an unforgettable broadcaster and never forgotten voice; one's more many thanks.

"My special thanks also go to OMBA  the Lunsar Old Boys Association whom most of them are my brothers; my nephews; my in laws and nieces  and of course  the youngest who is my grand nephew; these groups went with over eighteen of them.  I thank you so much for your support. You actually showed me that I am a mother, a sister and an aunt and in law. To you once more many thanks 

"I'll  come now  to say special  thanks to our able Secretary  Alpha Bai Kamara  for his tireless  and unstoppable duties which were assigned to him since 30th November 2013. The fixer of this branch the most hard working  and successful  Secretary  this branch  has  ever had. So on behalf of the beautiful and noble women of APC-UK. May God's bless you our able Secretary we adore you.

Courtesy: By Khadi  Kuyateh APC-UK Women's Leader

 

 

John Benjamin Says Maada's SLPP is a Reckless and Distracted Group

By Abdul M. Bangura (16/07/16)

An ardent SLPP politician lambasting another ardent SLPP politician is an unfortunate milestone that happens only in the SLPP party.

Former chairman and leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB) has recently referred to PaOPa supporters as reckless and distracted group of individuals whose only interest is to bring the party into disrepute. JOB (pictured) noted this on Monday 27th June, 2016 when he wrote a complaint letter against the current chairman and leader of the SLPP party Somano Kapen to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC).

PaOPa group is a fraction of the SLPP, whose members are supporters of the 2012 presidential candidate of the party Julius Maada Bio. Both Maada Bio and John Benjamin are presently aspiring for the SLPP presidential ticket for the 2018 elections.

While John Benjamin was reacting on the complaint led by PaOPa supporters in a letter signed by Dr Abass Bundu, Regional Vice Chairman north; Edward Soluku, Regional Vice Chairman south; Ali Badara Kamara, Acting Secretary General and Madam Lulu Shereef, National Women’s Leader.

Others who also signed the letter include Lahai Leema, Acting National Publicity Secretary; Manso Dumbuya, Regional Vice Chairman West; Philip Tondoneh, Regional Vice Chairman east; Dr J.D. Rogers, Financial Secretary; Madam Martha Kanagbo, Treasurer and Anthony Y. Brewah, Legal Adviser.

Reports say all emanated from the conduct of the chairman and leader of the party during the just concluded sectional and zonal elections within the SLPP party.

Mr. Benjamin confirmed to Awareness Times newspaper through a phone call interview that the above-mentioned members of the party are “lawless and reckless.”

The letter pointed out that Kapen’s verbal directives to the regional chairman south instructing him not to re-conduct the elections in eight zones in constituency 067 in Bo district eventhough the Regional Elections Complaints Committee (RECC) had made a determination to that effect.

The SLPP therefore referred in the said letter to: “rules 21, 22, 23, and 24 of the clause 2 of the Rules and Regulations 2016 which give the RECC authority to investigate all election complaints emanating from the respective regions.” SLPP also referenced the fact that the proceedings of the RECC took place in the presence of a representative of the PPRC, but that did not stop Kapen from insisting that the ruling of the RECC was subject to his “personal review and approval.”

However, John Benjamin, who also was part of the process vehemently hit on the SLPP PaOPa supporters who signed the letter in what he referred to “the rules setup by the chairman and leader of the party in the conduct of the lower levels elections were agreed on by all parties involved.”

Therefore, he said complaining the chairman and leader to PPRC on issues that were agreed upon by all the parties in itself “lawless.” He said members of the SLPP must not learn to make decisions that “affect the general good of the party.”

Meanwhile, spokesman of the PPRC Lucien Momoh has also confirmed to Awareness Times Newspaper that the Commission has started looking into the complaints forwarded by various SLPP members about the conduct of their lower level elections.

He said the Commission has yet to come out with a public statement about the processes of the SLPP lower levels elections, but will do so soonest. He ended by assuring the general public of transparency in the process.

Courtesy: By Abdul Malik Bangura of the Awareness Times 

 

A Three-Day Cyber Security Conference Kicks Off in Sierra Leone

By Gunther AB Daramy (16/07/16)

Cyber Security is a major agenda for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry under its dynamic and proactive Minister Mohamed Bangura.

Ministry of Information and Communications in tandem with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has initiated a three-day Cyber Security Conference which kicked off on Wednesday June 29. (Pictured: Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux).

ITU is a body responsible to regulate global telecommunications industries by way of providing support to member states in terms of enhancing their telecommunications industries. It is geared towards putting the necessary policies and regulations in place.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux confirmed that the official opening ceremony of  Conference will be presided over by Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, who  gave key note address, deputising for President Ernest Bai Koroma because of an overseas trip.

Deveaux noted the conference will basically focus on a holistic cyber security assessment in the country. This session, he revealed,  will be administered  by four experts from the ITU.

He maintained that the experts will also meet with the necessary authorities involved in issues relating to Cyber Security in the country. Deputy Minister Deveaux furthered  that the ITU Cyber Security Experts will also evaluate the country’s Cyber Security Response.

He maintained that some of the ways the country will benefit from such conferences are that it will showcase Sierra Leone’s commitment to combat cyber crimes and terrorism. He added that it will also help in  raising awareness for policy makers to priority issues of cyber security and also prepare national strategies to mitigate cyber threats and its related activities.

“On our assumption in office, my Minister and I outlined a 90-day programme. This programme,  puts necessary things in place to make telecommunications more effective in the country," Minister Deveaux concluded.

 

 

Minister Minkailu Bah is Exceptionally Decent and Civilised Citizen

By John Y.Y. Fofanah (16/07/16)

Very seldom you hear a media house being described as worthless in Sierra Leone. But that's how Pipul Pikin Media was described.

The heart of Sierra Leone, Tonkolili district, is still in perplexed mood owing to a bogus, false, baseless and irresponsible piece written by a headless chicken called Pipul Pikin, a PaOpa surrogate, to allege that an industrious and well-respected son of the land, Dr. Minkailu Bah, used thugs to attack Ambassador Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika during a recent Friday prayer in Mile 91. (Pictured: Dr. Minkailu Bah).                           

Setting the records straight, no such incident or attack ever took place in the peaceful land of Yoni and that Dr. Bah never knew of Fadika's presence in Mile 91. So how could a man who was completely unaware of Fadika's visit disrupts it?

The Honourable Dr. Minkailu Bah, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, is a true muslim, a well disciplined personality, a statesman, a loving and caring father, a patriot, a humble and loyal servant, a unifier, and man who often sacrifices his own happiness for the wellbeing of his people. And never has he got any negative history.

Anyway, it is now known not to be a novelty for this lunatic Pipul Pikin as he is always hell-bent on smearing the good characters of hard working, well-meaning and result oriented Sierra Leoneans in every conspiracy piece he has written thus far.

Now, the million dollar unanswered question is after such tranquil atmosphere that prevailed in Mile 91 as experienced by Ambassador Fadika, where did this son of a bitch saw thugs attacking Fadika? And thus, one could believe that he is just trying to bring the good name of Hon. Dr. Minkailu Bah into disrepute as he is constantly doing to productive citizens of Sierra Leone.

But since Pipul Pikin has always opted to be infantile, the people of Gbonkolenken, Kafe Simira, Kalansogoia, Kholifa Mabang, Kholifa Rowalla, Kunike Barina, Kunike Sanda, Malal Mara, Sambaya, Tane, and Yoni chiefdoms will surely accelerate him to adulthood.

Courtesy: By John Yoni Yusif Fofanah 

 

Sierra Leone Flagged Ship Seized Carrying 2.1 Tonnes of Cannabis

By Ismail Akwei AFP (13/07/16)

Sierra Leone is in the news again for the wrong reason. A ship flying the Green , White, Blue flag has been seized allegedly with cannabis sativa.

Reports say French and Spanish customs have seized a Sierra Leone flagged ship on the Mediterranean carrying 2.1 tonnes of cannabis resin concealed in a secured cache. Pictured: Sierra Leone police boss Francis Munu. Reports say the government is investigating).

The bust conducted on June 17 adds up to the 5.4 tonnes of cannabis resin seized in a series of joint French and Spanish customs operations between June 15 and 25 in the Mediterranean, French customs said in a statement on Monday.

Seven people were arrested in total. It is not confirmed if the people arrested are Sierra Leoneans. The 5.4 tonnes of cannabis resin is valued at 32.6 million euros on the illicit drug market.

“On June 17, the French customs coastguard service together with the Spanish customs patrol teams arrested a ship flying the flag of Sierra Leone in the Mediterranean and seized 2.1 tonnes of cannabis resin concealed in a secured cache,” the statement said.

Early morning of June 20, 2 tonnes of additional resin were seized by Spanish customs on the Torre del Mar (Andalusia) beach after French customs helicopter located the weak vessel.

On June 22, the Spanish coastguards again seized 720 kg of cannabis resin on the La Atunara (Andalusia) beach, after a pursuit by French and Spanish speedboats.

Finally, on June 24, the French and Spanish patrol hunt arrested a boat spotted by the French air team and recovered 570 kg of cannabis in bundles thrown overboard by traffickers, it added.

 

 

APC Secretary Debunks Education Minister's Attack Story on Fadika!

By a Press Release (13/07/16)

The APC National Secretary General has strongly refuted reports that Education Minister led an attack on top APC party stalwart Fadika.

According to the press release, the attention of the All Peoples Congress Party has been drawn to a malicious and misleading article making the rounds on social media alleging an attack purportedly led by Education Minister Minkailu Bah on Moseray Fadika at Mile 91 where the latter was attending Friday prayers .

The article further alleges that as a result of the imaginary attack, Mr. Moseray Fadika was beaten, wounded, and left bleeding and had to be rushed to hospital for treatment. (Pictured: APC Scribe Mr. Yansaneh).

It is clear that the author of the fabricated story had no other intention than to tarnish the good image and democratic credentials of the All Peoples Congress Party by also further claiming that the leadership of the APC are always quick in condemning SLPP thugs but have kept silent on the illusionary Fadika incident.

The APC wants the general public to know that the contents of this article are false in its entirety.

In fact, if was Mr. Moseray Fadika who called me to bring the false article to my notice, denying the claim that he was attacked or beaten at Mile 91.

On the contrary, Mr. Fadika asserted that he had a very successful visit to the area.

Signed:

Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General APC 27th June , 2016 

 

Are Our Doctors Undermining the Government of Sierra Leone?

By Kuria Mansaray (13/07/16)

Are doctors in Sierra Leone sabotaging the ethics of their profession? Here, this writer highlights significant reasons for all to discuss.

The object of the medical profession is to save lives and not to make money. To satisfy their personal interests, some doctors attached to the Connaught Hospital have decided to rather see patients die instead of saving their precious lives. (Pictured: Late Dr. Khan, who died treating patients during the Ebola outbreak. Will our doctors follow such professionalism?).

Those who cannot afford money to do their test in private laboratories is one case in point. The government laboratory is not functional but sadly some aides of the doctors are using it for private consultations.

Speaking to some of the patients who were in very critical conditions, they said they are blaming the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for the lack of proper monitoring of the hospital facilities. They said the government hospital is without diabetic machine. Most of them said they cannot afford to visit private hospitals which are exorbitantly expensive.

Speaking to an eye witness who prefers anonymity, she told this writer that the nurses are the ones who have the machines. They are charging the patients the sum of ten thousand Leones for one hour treatment.

An elderly man who is also a patient is calling on the authority to replace the ministers due to their inability to handle the affairs of the hospital throughout the country.

In another engagement, the patients are expressing their dissatisfaction over the water supply at the hospital especially the Government Connaught Hospital.

They patients disclosed that they are always told by hospital staff to come with five gallons of water every day to assist their treatments. Since water is life, we are calling on the government of President Ernest Koroma and the Ministry of Water Resources to rescue the deteriorating situation.

All efforts made by this reporter to reach officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for comments proved futile.

 

 

Minister Addresses 120 Newly Trained Nurses in Sierra Leone

By Mamadi M. Khonte (08/07/16)

The Sierra Leone Health Minister has reminded the newly certified Nurses that the profession is a thankless but very compassionate job.

Government health facilities across the country are to benefit from a crop of 120 newly trained and certified State Registered Nurses from the Faculty of Nursing, College of Medicines and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Health Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah).
 
The nurses on Wednesday June 29, 2016 by courtesy of the Directorate of Nursing Services, Ministry of Health and Sanitation converged at the Ministry’s conference hall at Youyi Building in Freetown for orientation before going to their various duty stations.
 
Addressing the newly qualified State Registered Nurses, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah congratulated the nurses for their recent success and for making a choice of coming to the Ministry even though the working condition is not the best in the world. He reminded them that the nursing profession is a thankless job and needs courage, commitment and compassion.

Dr. Fofanah informed them that there are different structures in the Ministry, where grievances brought up by health workers will appropriately be addressed and encouraged them to always use the right channel of communication.

He said as a Ministry, they will engage the Ministry of Finance, Human Resource Management Office and the Accountant General’s Department to lift the moratorium on the recruitment of nurses and doctors with a view to filling the human resource capacity gaps in the health facilities.
 
Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 2, Madam Zuliatu Cooper said that the love of the country should be more paramount, adding that they as primary health giver must be patriotic by saving lives rather than the urge for money.

She said the success of a doctor depends on a very good nurse and reiterated the need for commitment and dedication to service. Madam Cooper said that the reflection of the white uniform must reflect the services they render, by being more responsible and compassionate.
 
The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Matron Hussainatu Koroma, reminded them that nursing is a noble profession for which they are expected to upkeep the ethics and code of conduct of the profession by setting the pace for others to follow.

Matron Koroma reiterated that as health professionals, they should adhere to the Civil Service Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics of the nursing profession. She spoke on the process of recruitment, and the position of 59 nurses that are already with pin codes.

The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer cautioned them to be mentors and role models for others, and to be ready to cope with the challenges in their different duty stations or health facilities.

Courtesy: Ministry of Health and Sanitation 2016 

 

Islamic Leaders Relieved as Sylvia Blyden Calms down Muslims!

By MSWGCA Media Unit (08/07/16)

Islamic scholars in Sierra Leone feel relieved after the Social Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blydens allayed the concerns of Muslims.

President of Sierra Leone Muslim Missionaries Union (SLMMU) and founder of Voice of Islam Radio (102.5fm), Sheikh M.A. Zaki Kallon has expressed that the country’s current Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has effectively allayed prior concerns of Muslim leaders across the country. (Pictured: Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden, with religious leaders at the Fullah Mosque in Freetown).

The words of Sheikh Kallon on Saturday June 25, 2016 were greeted with loud endorsement from the Imams from all 149 chiefdoms in Sierra Leone, all the 4 regional Imams and the top leadership of virtually all Muslim leadership groups in Sierra Leone.

The occasion was at the Ramadan Dawah Conference 2016 organised by Sierra Leone's United Council of Imams, the Supreme Islamic Council and Sierra Leone Muslim Missionaries Union in consonance with UK-Link at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown. The theme of the conference was: “Education and Faith - The Keys to Success.”

It was whilst giving his Vote of Thanks at the end of a highly successful event that Sheikh Kallon spoke what turned out to be the unanimous position emerging out of the leaders of the Islamic faith in Sierra Leone. This is that the choice of a relatively young Christian woman to superintend religious affairs in Sierra Leone, was a well-thought out decision by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Sheikh Zaki Kallon confessed that when the appointment of a Christian woman to lead the ministry responsible for religious affairs, was first announced, "a lot of concerns were murmured and passed around to us Muslims by certain people" and continued that "we Muslims were left very concerned and afraid for the fate of Islam in Sierra Leone". "We asked of one another, this question - 'where will Islam now stand in this country'?" he revealed.

However, he now confirmed, with his face beaming with huge smiles as he spoke, that they have been observing how the Minister has been carrying herself since her appointment and furthermore, going by her statement and actions right there at Miatta Conference Center, they the Muslim leaders were now of the strongest conviction that the choice of Dr. Sylvia Blyden to head that particular ministry, was one of the best ever made by His Excellency the President.

The above spoken words of Sheikh M.A. Zaki Kallon were not only endorsed by the room full of renowned Muslim clerics but further greeted with sounds of "Allahu Akbar!" which in Arabic, means "God is great".

Sheikh Zaki Kallon said because of the resilient and outstanding leadership the minister has displayed so far, they are of the strong confidence that Sierra Leone’s religious tolerance under the leadership of President Koroma is now cemented forever as one of his best legacies.

Earlier, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, who was the guest of honour at the Muslim conference, carefully explained her historical link with Muslims in Sierra Leone. She said when she was warmly embraced by Muslims of Foulah Town on her first visit there as a Cabinet Minister, many wondered as to how Muslims were so passionately embracing a Christian like herself.

She then explained that her great-great grandfather, Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden was the founder and first Director of Mohammedan Education in Sierra Leone. She furthered “though my great-great grandfather was born and raised as a Christian and even became a Christian preacher, he found out that there is more of an affinity between the Muslim faith and the typical African. Therefore, he decided to setup the Mohammedan Education as a means of ensuring Western Christian education was to co-exist with Muslim schooling in the Holy Koran."

She said her ancestor served Muslims so sincerely that until this day, his name is highly revered in Muslim circles like Foulah Town where he built the famous mosque and other Muslim educational institutions like Amaraia School. She said from 1900 until he died in 1912, Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden actively directed and supervised these Muslim institutions.

 

 

Ignorance on Epilepsy Leads to Deaths! Why People Need to Know!!

By Osman J. Conteh (08/07/16)

Epilepsy is not transmitted through contact. But it is a serious sickness that can easily cost lives if public education is ignored.

Epilepsy is a group of neurological diseases characterised by epileptic seizures. It is a chronic disorder that briefly interrupts the normal electrical activities of the brain. This will cause uncontrolled movement of the body, disorientation or confusion, sudden fear or loss of consciousness. (Pictured: Kailahun Government Hospital, one of the significant drives by President Ernest Koroma to cure and medically educate Sierra Leoneans nationwide). 

NOTE: According to scientific proofs, we are all epileptic, it only depends on the category we belong. We all lose consciousness almost every day. That is why epileptic seizures are classified into the following:

1. Partial Epileptic Seizures - A condition in which only one area of the brain is affected.
2. Simple Partial Seizures - People experiencing unusual sensations such as body jerky movements, hearing impairment, sudden sweating or flushing, nausea and feelings of fear.
3. Complex Partial Seizures - Is a temporal lobe epilepsy lasting for only one or two minutes.

The individual may appear to be in trance and moves randomly with no control. The individual's activities doesn't cease but behaviour is random and totally unrelated to the individuals surrounding and normal happenings.

Generalised Epileptic Seizures is the most dangerous one but cannot be transmitted through contact. This is a condition wherein the whole brain is involved. It is often signalled an involuntary scream caused by contraction of muscles that control breathing.

As lose of consciousness sets in, the entire body is gripped by a jerky muscular contraction. The face becomes red, breathing stops and back aches. Violent agitation in such that the person may be subjected to serious injury. After the convulsion subsides, the person is exhausted and may sleep for some minutes. Upon awakening, the individual may have no memory of what happens to him or her.

CAUSES: Head injury, stroke, brain tumor, lead poisoning, genetic conditions or severe infections like meningitis or encephalitis.

TREATMENT: There is no known prescribed treatment for epilepsy but symptoms can be treated with drugs like DIAZEPAM, ANTICONVULSANTS and special diet (Ketogenic diet). Surgery can as well be done by removing the brain tissue that is causing the condition. However, plenty of rest, regular exercise and stress reduction is another therapy.

FIRST AID: Clear the area of the victim to avoid sharp or hard objects, provide soft cushioning for the head such as pillow or folded jackets, turn the individual in wind direction to have a clear airway, take the individual to the hospital if necessary for treatment.

Let us all join together to help our brothers and sisters who are suffering from generalised epilepsy in order to save their lives.

Courtesy: Osman Justine Conteh (OJC) Public Health Student Year Two, UNIMAK, University of Makeni. 

 

APC/SLPP Clash in Bye Elections in Kailahun! PPRC Blamed!!

By Philip Koroma (05/07/16)

The Political Parties Registration Commission has been blamed for the chaos between the ruling APC and opposition SLPP in Kailahun District.

Residents of Kailahun township have as well expressed dissatisfaction over the irregular visits and monitoring of political parties in Kailahun district especially as the Constituency 001 parliamentary Bye Election unfolds. (Pictured: Inspector General of Police Francis Munu praised for calming the chaos in Kailahun).

Speaking to Eastern Radio on the line from Kailahun, a Civil Society representative Amara Sewa said the presence of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) that is responsible to regulate the activities of political parties has paid little or no attention to the constituency 001 parliamentary bye election slated for the 9th July 2016 in Kailahun township.

He said the perpetual absence of PPRC represents in most stakeholders meeting on the conduct of political parties before, during and after the parliament Bye Elections has left many to ponder over their existence in the region and the district.

Mr. Sewa said the PPRC recently paid a visit to Kailahun after the first political fracas that ensued between the All Peoples Congress party and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party  and has since not engaged them which, according to Sewa, is giving rise to the number of violent activities in the district.

Mr. Amara Sewa is therefore calling on the commission to step up its activities in the region by frequently engaging both parties ahead of the parliamentary Bye Elections in Kailahun. The presence of PPRC during meetings with political parties has been felt as it used to be with Victor Hugo Kamara.

Several stakeholder meetings have been held in Kailahun township ahead of the parliamentary Bye Election on the 9th July 2016 with PPRC not represented. 

However, Amara Sewa heaped praises on the police, ONS, NEC, Civil Society and the media for their frequent visits and involvement in the managing the crisis. Mr. Sewa is hopeful that the PPRC commission will make its presence felt in Kailahun by actively involving in key stakeholder's meeting.

As we go to press, there are reports of political party supporters being shot with live ammunition. But no deaths have been confirmed.

 

 

President Koroma Meets President Mugabi in Zimbabwe on UN  Reforms

By Press Release (05/07/16)

As the Security Council Reform Agenda intensifies, President Ernest Koroma has paid an official visit to President Robert Mugabi in Harare.

The Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma arrived in Harare last week for consultations with President Robert Mugabe on United Nations Security Council reforms as Africa steps up efforts to bring the Ezulwini Consensus to life. (Pictured: Presidents Koroma and Mugabi).

The Ezulwini Consensus, an agreement made by African leaders at Ezulwini, Swaziland in 2005, calls for at least two permanent seats with veto powers, and five non-permanent seats for Africa on the UN Security Council. President Koroma chaired the Africa Union Committee of 10 tasked to push the AU position on UN Security Council reforms.

Speaking to journalists after meeting President Mugabe at State House in Harare, President Koroma said the two discussed bilateral issues. "We had fruitful discussions on issues bordering on bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe," said President Koroma.

"We also discussed issues on the ongoing UN Security Council reform in which Africa has presented a position. We discussed how we can advance Africa's cause and the Africa position in the UN reform."

President Koroma added that on bilateral issues, the deliberations were centered mainly on strengthening the collaboration going on between the two nations on areas of technical support and the agricultural sector.

President Mugabe said he exchanged notes with his counterpart on bilateral co-operation and United Nations reforms. "It has been those two areas of cooperation between our two countries," he said.

"It was about the United Nations and the reforms he seeks to effect as regards to security position. He would want to see our Ezulwini Consensus coming to fruition."

 

JFK Selected for 'Excellence in Leadership' by the African Achievers

By Press Release (05/07/16)

Sierra Leone's Justice Minister and Attorney General is being tipped for another distinguished accolade to add to his glittering career.

The members of the Board of Directors and entire Management team of the African Achievers Awards have selected the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara for an award for “Excellence in Leadership”. (Pictured: Justice Minister JFK waving).

The Award has over 30 categories including Most Valuable African President, Lifetime Achievement Award, African Hero’s Award, African Change-maker, African Impact Award and African Industrialist of the year, to name but a few.

In their letter to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the conveners of the African Achievers Award explained that the selection was “in recognition of your commitment to public service and fighting for the nation - especially injustice and corruption. We are convinced that the service to your country is immeasurable and that makes you a deserving recipient of the African Achievers Awards”.

This selection will add to JFK’s long list of achievements in the field of public service and anti-corruption in the continent. The former Deputy Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, now Attorney General and Minister of Justice is also a member of the African Union Board on Anti-Corruption. JFK is also the proud recipient of the World Bank Integrity Award 2010, joint winner of the International Association of Prosecutors Award in recognition for promoting International Criminal Justice and Avon International Award in recognition of support for Women's Rights.

The African Achievers Award is highly rated in the continent as one of the most prestigious award ceremonies that exemplifies the trajectory of progress and quality in the whole of the African continent. It is said to attract over 230 million viewership on local and international Television (such as DSTV & SKY Dish), with over 95 million views online. The ceremony brings together Africa’s best and brightest deserving achievers who have distinguished themselves in various fields.

Previous recipients include President Jakaya Kikwete and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara will be Sierra Leone’s first and finest example among a long list of potential winners in the continent this year.

Many observers believe that this award will provide added momentum and motivation to the learned Attorney General and Minister of Justice in his determination to improve the quality and access to justice especially in strengthening judicial performance, expedition of trials, freedom of expression, women and children’s right in the country. 

 

Sierra Leone Diplomat Nelson Williams Kidnapped in Northern Nigeria!!

By Abdul M. Bangura (02/07/16)

Sierra Leone's diplomat has been kidnapped in Nigeria. The Sierra Leone government has confirmed this terrible news.

This is the verbatim report from the Awareness Times newspaper in Freetown: So sad to report that Sierra Leone Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria Rtd. Major General Nelson Williams has been kidnapped in Nigeria. I just spoke to our Embassy sources in Nigeria. Yes, he has been kidnapped sometime yesterday.

He left the Sierra Leone mission in Abuja and went to attend a military graduation ceremony in Kaduna. (Pictured: Sierra Leone High Commissioner Afsatu O. Kabba with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari).

At 4am this morning, the embassy accountant received a strange phone call. It was the kidnappers. They placed Nelson-Williams on the line and after he identified himself to the accountant, the Kidnappers came back on the line and informed he was in their custody and they had kidnapped him and wanted a ransom demand of around 44 million Naira (about $150,000).

The kidnappers have now called the Embassy twice this morning threatening unsavory outcome if their ransom demand is not met. According to sources, one of the calls had Nelson Williams sounding very low and frightened.

The whereabouts of his driver (and those he was supposed to be with on the said trip), is presently unknown.

The exact details of how the kidnap happened is currently unknown. The Nigerian Police, Intelligence Service and Foreign Office in Nigeria are now working with the Sierra Leone Embassy in Abuja to investigate the matter.

The Nigerian military has also been informed. Nelson Williams was a former Head of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces.

Courtesy: By Abdul Malik Bangura Awareness Times, July 1st 2016

 

SLPP Chairlady and Brother of Late Honourable Declare For Ruling APC

By Fayia A. Fayia (02/07/16)

The APC government of President Ernest Koroma continues to gain grounds in the SLPP stronghold of Kailahun as more people defect.

The chances of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party winning Constituency 001 Bye- Elections are increasing as more prominent people continue to defect from the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). (Pictured: Minister Maya Kaikai with microphone).             

Reports say, the latest defector in Kailahun is Christiana Ansu  Amara aka Christiana Thorpe who was the Chairlady of the SLPP for Sandeyallu Section, Luawa chiefdom.

Joining her in the APC campaign team is the younger brother of late Honourable Patrick Foryah, Amara Morie who have all decided that the ruling APC is the right party for Sierra Leone, thanks to the development strides the party has taken nationally.

This is a major development which the Eastern Regional Vice Chairman  Maya Moiwo Kaikai described these defections as historic and a big political boost for the APC party.

Minister Maya Kaikai, who is the most famous son in the APC government, is the present Minister of Local Government.

Courtesy: By Fayia Amara Fayia reporting from Constituency 001 

 

Ramadan: Fadika Donates Food Items to Muslims in Sierra Leone

By Press Release (02/07/16)

Tycoon Moseray Fadika's donation to Muslims nationwide has been hailed as timely especially during Lailatul Kadrr (night of power).

Reports also say philanthropist Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika, who has presidential ambitions under the All Peoples Congress party donated to APC members on Thursday 29th June, 2016. (Pictured: Comrade Fadika).

Mr. Fadika is believed to have provided food items, water, cows and cash to Muslims nationwide including those in the APC party as part of their Lailatul Kadrr prayers.

Receiving the donation at the APC Head Office at Old Railway Line Brookfields in Freetown, Alhaji  Mohamed Dondodo Bangura commended Ambassador Fadika and added that the donation was timely and it is a step in the right direction.

Mr. Moseray Fadika's team comprising of Bilal Bah, N'thoma Samura, Abdulai Fadika,  Abdulai Sayenoh and Tundae Scott confirmed that about 2,000 bags of rice were donated to the APC Party.

The Western Region APC Chairman and his Executive received the donation on behalf of the beneficiaries in the Western Area the team.

Mr. Fadika also made similar donations to the Abdul Aziz Masjid Muslim Jamat (UMAS) situated at Sorie Town. The Chief Imam Alhaji Hassan Bangura who received the donations noted that the Moseray Fadika Movement will always go for forward and never backward.

Courtesy: Medish +23288616890 Social Media Promoter for Ambassador Moseray Fadika

 

 

Electrification of Port Loko Township is Welcome News for Citizens

By Momoh L. Turay (28/06/16)

Port Loko in the north of Sierra Leone is expected to enjoy electricity supply soon, a windfall that the people of Port Loko would surely welcome.

This important news was recently confirmed by the Site Manager for the Port Loko Bankasoka Mini Hydro Project Mr Abdul Ajasco Bangura. (Pictured: Deputy Energy and Power Minister Ismael Songo Koroma).

He disclosed that they no longer use Lister Generator to light up the Chinese Compound and the Hydro Environment because they have finally started using the natural Bankasoka water to supply electricity to the compound with high powered and correct supply of electricity with no noise.

There were photos circulated showing the Site Manager pointing at the small blue sample machine that is supplying electricity. 

Mr. Ajasco Bangura further explained that other electrical installations are still ongoing and the clearing of the compound as they continue to wait for the increase of water at the dam.

The Site Manager also confirmed that for the past weeks EDSA is presently completing their survey within the township for the installation of the transmitters and electric pylons, hopefully by July the installation will start.

"And they will officially 'scratch the matches' by August, 2016," the Site Manager Mr. Ajasco Bangura proudly pronounced.

 Courtesy: By Momoh Lawrence Turay

 

Electrification of Port Loko Township is Welcome News for Citizens

By Momoh L. Turay (28/06/16)

Port Loko in the north of Sierra Leone is expected to enjoy electricity supply soon, a windfall that the people of Port Loko would surely welcome.

This important news was recently confirmed by the Site Manager for the Port Loko Bankasoka Mini Hydro Project Mr Abdul Ajasco Bangura. (Pictured: Deputy Energy and Power Minister Ismael Songo Koroma).

He disclosed that they no longer use Lister Generator to light up the Chinese Compound and the Hydro Environment because they have finally started using the natural Bankasoka water to supply electricity to the compound with high powered and correct supply of electricity with no noise.

There were photos circulated showing the Site Manager pointing at the small blue sample machine that is supplying electricity. 

Mr. Ajasco Bangura further explained that other electrical installations are still ongoing and the clearing of the compound as they continue to wait for the increase of water at the dam.

The Site Manager also confirmed that for the past weeks EDSA is presently completing their survey within the township for the installation of the transmitters and electric pylons, hopefully by July the installation will start.

"And they will officially 'scratch the matches' by August, 2016," the Site Manager Mr. Ajasco Bangura proudly pronounced.

 Courtesy: By Momoh Lawrence Turay

 

United Nations Conclude Two Day Peace Building in Sierra Leone

By State House Release (28/06/16)

The Global Peace Index report clearly shows that Sierra Leone has beaten Ghana to become the most peaceful country in West Africa.

This good news came about just after a high powered delegation of the United Nations Peace Building Commission (UNPBC) has completed a two-day visit to Sierra Leone to emphasize the Commission’s role in the country’s peace building process. (Pictured: UN Scribe Ban Ki Moon).

The Commission further seeks to highlight its role in harnessing the pledges made for the recovery priorities. The UNPBC also recognizes the country’s efforts in becoming a success story of peace and is exploring on how it could continue to help in sustaining the peace process in Sierra Leone.

At the end of the visit from 14 June, 2016, the head of delegation Mr Macharia Kamau debriefed President Ernest Bai Koroma on the outcomes of the several consultations the team had with political parties, Civil Society, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and the National Electoral Commission NEC).

“We come away feeling that this country is on the right path; this country is not where it was ten years ago. Something fundamentally different has happened; this country has experienced great transformation," said Mr Kamau.

The head of the UNPBC delegation emphasized that under the leadership of President Koroma said the people have found their voice and developed self-belief which is something that comes only with strong leadership.

On his meeting with the political parties, Mr. Kamau said several issues were discussed and some concerns were also raised including the Census Provisional Results.

The head of the delegation however informed President Koroma that they expressed the view that according to the information they have from the international community on the ground, the census provisional results were credible and truly reflect the situation and so they have no objections to those results. 

 

Information Minister Bangura Cleverly Sells Sierra Leone Globally

By Emmanuel Stafford (28/06/16)

The ruling APC party 2012 elections campaign was mainly anchored on the slogan 'Action Betteh Pass Intention'.

Hence, the pragmatic development strides of the government need not be over emphasised.  One of the most pragmatic government minister in contemporary days Mohamed Bangura has demonstrated with alacrity his passion for holistic national development as he traverse the length and breadth of London promoting the agenda for prosperity. (Pictured: Minister Mohamed Bangura).

The proactive Minister Information and Broadcasting was in London recently to attend the ICT Ministerial Forum at the Commonwealth.

He toured the Portland Place in Central London (BBC), then to the Crawford Tenants Hall, Denmark Road and to Camberwell where he interacted with a cross section of the ruling APC party members.

Minister Bangura is in record to have spent sleepless nights in holding meetings with international media firms, business moguls and other potential development partners geared towards the rebranding of Mama Salone.

My source in London opined that Minister Mohamed Bangura is a real game changer...". Indeed the man is so proactive, in just few weeks in office his transformative initiatives are yielding dividends!

From Beirut, to Turkey, from Nigeria to UK, Minister Mohamed Bangura is everywhere making things happen. Thanks to President Ernest Koroma for appointing such a result oriented Minister.

Courtesy: By Emmanuel J.M. Stafford in Bo City                                                                        

 

 

Minister Diana Konomanyi's Uphill Task to Resolve the Lands Ministry!!

By N'Bompa (25/06/16)

Many independent observers think the Lands, Environment and Country Planning Minister has inherited a difficult ministry in Sierra Leone.

The tug-of-war for land acquisitions by private individuals, administrators,  businesses, mining companies goes on unabated with total disregard to rules and regulations set by the lands ministry, recently taken over by the new minister Diana Konomanyi. (Pictured: President Koroma and Minister Diana Konomanyi).

This crisis caused most of the chaos that left the weaker ones knocked out of having their own shelters.  Many end up erecting shabby structures at prohibited places such as the protected areas, water dams, on the top of the hills and the bays etc.

It is a serious scenario that affects our environment, planning, water catchment areas or dams. No wonder many Sierra Leoneans, particularly those residing in the capital Freetown, have little or no pure drinking water for hours on end.    

Over the years, the lands ministry has been maintaining the country planning division without reflecting on the expectations of the country today. The unit that was responsible for issuing building permits was transferred to the ministry of works. Since then, how many of our people have secured building permits before erecting a structure?

The environment was shared by the Lands Ministry, Works, Mineral Resources, Mines Ministry, Tourism and MAFFS. With the birth of the EPA-Sierra Leone and the National Protected Areas Agency (NPAA), much was expected but today we speedily blame Guma for the vast shortage of water in the capital city. Sadly, our noble and highest center for health services, the Connaught Hospital run without water at times.

Nevertheless, the new no-nonsense Minister of Lands Hon. Diana Konomanyi has been very proactive by pressing to promulgate the policy and enforcing its implementation drastically with no sentiments. Many people always ask about who owns the land? Is it the State, the Communities, the Paramount Chiefs, the MPs, the Councillors, the Land Ministry or the Village Headmen? Who?

Some headman have diverted ownership of many lands to themselves by selling lots of state lands that do not reflect in books of the consolidated fund.  For example along the New Regent/Jui highway at the Magegba village area, in the Western Area Rural District, President Ernest Koroma, when he took over power in 2007, wisely warned everyone to keep off the said area.

Unfortunately,  numerous structures have been erected there despite President Koroma's warning. That was why the new Minister of Lands, Diana Konomanyi has reacted swiftly by instructing the demolition and clearing of that area without delay.

Now many Sierra Leoneans are waiting anxiously to know where Minister Diana Konomanyi's next destination would be to clear the land that we love our Sierra Leone? That is why I am doffing my humble hat to our Madam Minister.      

 

Kenema Luke's Commercial School Board Embarrasses Education Minister

By Philip Koroma (25/06/16)

Sierra Leone's longest serving Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah has continued to face educational problems throughout the country.

The Board of Directors of the Luke's Commercial Secondary School in Kenema have reportedly embarrassed both the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr. Minkailu Bah (pictured) and former Minister of State East now minister of Local Government and Rural Development Maya Moiwo Kaikai following their refusal to pay the former Acting Principal of the school Mathew Yorpoi his allowance.

It could be recalled that a directive was issued to the board to offset the payment of the money due Mr. Yorpoi within the shortest possible time not exceeding seven days effective 3rd February 2016.

The Provincial Secretary's office was to coordinate the whole matter for compliance. In a letter dated 29th March 2016, the former Minister of State East Maya Kaikai expressed utmost displeasure over the inordinate delay in the payment of the said allowances due Mr. Yorpoi which he considered outright disregard for his office and by extension the Minister of Education, Science and Technology.

Since then, the Board of Directors on the 1st April 2016 acknowledged receipt of the letter and replied that the board cannot meet at the moment to take a decision on the matter because the school lack funds but that a board meeting will be convened immediately funds are available.

However, the 7-day deadline given by both the Minister of Education and former Minister of State East has elapsed with no hope for Mr. Mathew Yorpoi getting his money. The principal of the school was also asked to calculate and present the salary differences due Mr. Yorpoi from 2000-2011 being his claim for acting allowance and to discuss the calculation in a meeting previously scheduled for the 3rd February 2016.

The principal and board members also boycotted another meeting which was seen as an affront to the authority of the ministers. The board was therefore instructed to pay Mr. Yorpoi Le34,298,750,00 as acting allowance approved by the school administration and communicated to the ministers as attached within the 7 days on receipt of the letter. 

As we go to press, it is still not confirmed whether the board has carried out the payment instructions of the two government ministers.

 

 

12 Young Sierra Leone Leaders Attend 2016 Mandela Fellowship in US

By Ahmed S. Nasralla (25/06/16)

Great opportunity for young leaders in Sierra Leone who are joining others from Africa to attend this year's Mandela Fellowship in Washington.

Radio Democracy 98.1 FM Station Manager, Asmaa James, is among twelve Sierra Leoneans who will participate in this year’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders in the United States of America, and will join 1,000 other young leaders from across Africa. (Pictured: President Koroma and Obama).

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship programme of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Launched in 2010, YALI supports young African leaders gain skills and connections that accelerate their career trajectories and strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

Asmaa’s six week academic and leadership training will focus on civic leadership and public management. “I can't wait to share ideas, gain new ones and connect with other leaders,” said Asmaa with excitement at the prospect of improving her capacity as a young woman leader.

US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, John Hoover said:  “I am proud you (Asmaa) have been chosen to participate in this year’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, a signatory legacy of President Obama in his bid to strengthen ties with between United States and Africa.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (inaugurated in 2014), brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

The goals of the Fellowship are to invest in a new generation of young African leaders who are shaping the continent’s future; respond to the strong demand by young African leaders for practical skills that can help them take their work to the next level in the fields of public service and business; deepen partnerships and connections between the United States and Africa; and build a prestigious network of young African leaders who are at the forefront of change and innovation in their respective sectors.

“I want to specifically thank President Obama for giving me this unique opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming an influential power woman and leader,” said Asmaa, who has demonstrated immense leadership skills in her five years as Station Manager of Radio Democracy.

The group departed for the US on Friday 17th June 2016 for the Summer Fellowship.

Courtesy: By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)  

 

"We Respect IMF/World Bank over Mamamah Airport," Foreign Minister

By Press Release (25/06/16)

The Sierra Leone government has confirmed that the country has always abide by the dictates laid down by the IMF and World Bank.

Sierra Leone's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara has said his country did not go against the advice given by its traditional development partners, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank regarding the construction of the Mamamah Airport in mainland Port Loko District. (Pictured: Sierra Leone's only airport at Lungi. Mamamah Airport, when completed, would greatly help the country). 

Minister Kamara made this clarification during a recent interview at the event of his three day official visit to China, on the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Minister Wang Yi.

According to the top diplomat, government sees the project as being very important and one with great potentials for the country's future growth and noted that President Ernest Koroma has not hidden the fact that the project holds the future of Sierra Leone.

"When constructed the new airport will help trigger a lot of development within the country's economy including in recreating tourism potential and investment. It is our responsibility to make sure that the project now starts but for the project to start, we have to agree on financing with China," Minister Kamara said.

He stressed: "The initial loan provided by the Chinese was not concessional. It did not meet the 31% grant elements. They had to impress the Chinese side based on Sierra Leone's  debt sustainability analysis. We have to negotiate to make the loan concessional at the minimum level and we achieved that objective."

The other issue then was the Net Present Value, which defines the ability to repay. "We have negotiated for the loan to be as concessional as possible, so as not to undermine our ability to repay after the grace period."

Sierra Leone and its development partners like the IMF and World Bank, Dr. Kamara said, have been working as a team as they both have a duty to "help us borrow prudently as a country."

As institutions, the top Diplomat said, they have a responsibility to help countries develop "but to develop  in a way that protects their fiscal exposure and their capacity to be able to harmonize any borrowing."

Both IMF and World Bank, he said, are not against the new airport project, as all they want is to protect the country's future capacity of debts payment.

"They agreed that the new airport project is a national project" and Sierra Leone should be clear about its economic viability  as well as its stability within the context of the country's debt sustainability analysis.

Asked when the construction is expected to commence, Minister Samura Kamara said, President Ernest Bai Koroma  wants the project to commence before end of 2016 and should be in advanced stages before end of his presidential term.

The Foreign Affairs Chief on 15th June, 2016, met with, and discussed issues of mutual interest both at the bilateral and multilateral levels with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

He also had a high level meeting with the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, Li Yuanchao in the afternoon hours of the same day and prior to that, met with the Vice President of China EXIM Bank.
 
Both meetings took place within the period marking 45 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries and were geared towards fostering relations between the two Republics both at the diplomatic and people-to-people levels.

The Chinese, on their side, made clear their commitment to supporting Sierra Leone's development drive on a range of sectors including human resource development, infrastructure, health and agriculture, amongst others, whilst commending efforts made so far by the country in her development trajectory.

At the geopolitics level, Sierra Leone, through the Foreign Affairs Minister has stated its position on the South China Sea, calling for parties to the conflict to be allowed to resolve the matter as brothers at bilateral and sub regional levels through the Association of South East Asian Nations - ASEAN, a position that is in support of what China is proposing.

 

 

Parliament Endorses Law to Postpone Local Council Elections

By Press Release (25/06/16)

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has passed in to law with some amendments 'The Local Government (Amendment) Act, 2016'.

The Act, passed on June 16, aims to amend the Local Government Act, 2004 by providing for the postponement of local council elections, not more than the date on which Presidential and Parliamentary elections are to be conducted. (Pictured: Deputy Speaker Chernor Bah).

Presenting the Bill prior to passage into law, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maya Kaikai said among other things that the import and purport was to postpone the conduct of local council elections by amending Section 5 of the LGA, 2004, which provides that local council elections should be held after four years.

He furthered that Section 8 regarding the Regulation for the conduct of elections for village headmen after every three years should also be postponed. He also noted that the “reasons for the postponement are due to the fact that NEC (National Electoral Commission) is yet to do the ward boundary delimitation for the conduct of local council elections and resource constraints”.

Whilst responding to concerns raised by MPs, Mr. Kaikai said that “Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held in 2018”, and recalled that “President Koroma had notified NEC not to add a day for the conduct of the 2018 elections”.

Hon. Abu Bakarr Koroma, Chairman for the Committee on Local Government, whilst contributing to the debate, he described the Bill as “non-controversial”, and decried the absence of Mayors and Chairmen. He also referenced constitutional provision that relates to the “delimitation of wards and constituencies, 5 and 7 years respectively before the conduct of elections”.

He also supported the amendment regarding the conduct of elections for village headmen.

Hon. Mustapha Braima briefly described the Bill as “non-controversial”, whilst he “feared that this amendment would not drag to the point of affecting the Presidential election”.

Hon. Claude Kamanda, Majority Whip of Parliament in his contribution did state that “the Bill is not seeking a permanent extension for councillors, whose tenure is four years, but that the amendment would come into force where NEC was unable to delimit the ward boundaries”.

Hon. Paramount Chief from Moyamba, Alie Kavura Kongomoh called on the Minister to “review the LGA, 2004, whilst saying that the chiefdom councils had been forgotten, and noted that in local governance, the first thing people should think is the chiefdom administration”.

Hon. Kemokoh Conteh also supported the Bill and noted that “Ebola and resource constraints” also prevented NEC from delimiting the boundaries for the conduct of elections”.

Hon. Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi described the amendment as “risky”, and noted among other things the “it would give NEC open and blank tenure as to when to conduct local council elections”.

Hon. Sidie M. Tunis, Acting Minority Leader of Parliament, also described the “amendment as simple and important, whilst noting that local council elections could not be held because of difficult circumstances”. He however said that “he hoped that resource constraints will not affect the 2018 elections and also hoped that the Bill is not part of the plan to effect the much trumpeted more time campaign”. He also decried “the 2015 population and housing census, despite commendation from our development partners”.

Hon. Leonard Fofanah, Acting Majority Leader of Parliament also described the Bill as “non-controversial” whilst explaining the importance of local council administration in the country and noted it as a “breeding ground top politicians”. He also assured the PC Kongomoh that chiefdom administration had not been neglected, citing their would-be role in the National Civil Registration Act.

He also said that “NEC would not postpone the conduct of local council elections indefinitely”, whilst noting that “the conduct of elections are predicated by a number of players”. He ended by saying that “elections are won based on performance.”

 

 

The Police Invites President of Okada Riders to Make a Statement

By Jane B. Mansaray (23/06/16)

The Sierra Leone police and the Bike Riders Association, commonly known as Okadas, have in recent times been very strange bed fellows.

Reports say the police has declared David Kamara alias David Prezo of the Bike Riders Association wanted prior to the recent violence perpetrated by riders in Freetown. This was made known on Tuesday 14th June 2016 at a press briefing held at Police Headquarters in Freetown. (Pictured: AIG Francis Munu).

According to a Police Press Statement, on Thursday 9th June 2016, groups of motor bike riders (Okada riders) engaged in multiple riotous and criminal conducts that led to the burning down of tyres on major roads in Freetown and setting ablaze a vehicle belonging to the Office of National Security (ONS) including five motor bikes that were parked at the New England Police Station in Freetown.

Similar attempts were reported to have been made around Up-gun axis but the Police acted promptly to avert the chaos.

Reports reaching Police Headquarters also indicated that these Okada Riders have plans to sustain their attacks especially at nights by further resorting to violent confrontations with security personnel.

It was also indicated that some members of the Sierra Leone Commercial Motor Bike Riders Union executive led by the Riders President, David Kamara had incited their colleagues in the provinces to engage in demonstrations similar to the magnitude currently being perpetrated in Freetown.

The Director of Police Operations, AIG Al-Sheik Kamara encouraged the public to assist the Police with any information that would lead to the arrest of the Riders President and at the same time condemn the acts of lawlessness as they view the intending action of bike riders as a threat to public peace and a direct threat to the safety and security of the state.

Aggrieved bike riders are encouraged to channel their grievances through lawful and peaceful means.

The briefing was graced by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Frances Allieu Munu who spoke about his brief visit to New York on Peace Keeping mission.

AIG of various regions including Directors of various operations within the Police Force also briefed journalists about challenges and successes achieved so far in terms of security and professionalism.

The police applauded citizens for their collaborative efforts in achieving the Global Peace Index which rated Sierra Leone as the most peaceful country in West Africa. 

 

Permanent Secretary Thwarts Nurses Training as Expiry Drugs Found

By PM Press Release (23/06/16)

Sierra Leone government is determined to train the medical staff so as to improve the standard of care for our patients in the country.

Platinum Media has unearthed a rather disturbing revelation about how a special in - service training for 100 nurses in the Western Area was nearly thwarted because the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health was reportedly reluctant to provide a bus to convey the trainees to their training center. (Pictured: Health Minister Dr. Fofanah).

The Deputy Minister of Health -2, Madam Zuliatu Cooper had approached the medical wing of  ISAT - the British military advisory team in Freetown through DFID to help re-train local nurses in basic nursing care and medical ethics.

The move was an apparent response to public complaints over the poor manner in which our medical staff treat their patients, especially in government  hospitals.

The initial set of 100 nurses had assembled at Youyi Building recently only to be told that the bus to convey them to the training center was not available. This provoked anger and frustration among the nurses, some of whom accused the Ministry of a deliberate attempt to deprive them of a vital training opportunity.

In the course of our investigation, we discovered that the Deputy Minister had earlier requested  the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mohamed Brima Daboh to provide transportation for the trainees. In a brazen display of negligence and a possible propensity to sabotage the said training, Daboh refused to provide the bus as a simple contribution from the Ministry towards the training of its own medical staff.

All efforts to reach the Deputy Secretary remain futile but we have learnt that the training had eventually commenced after a robust intervention from the political leadership of the Ministry. While this incident may appear a bit minor, it is our conviction that there is a growing proclivity among some top civil servants to stifle the efforts of government at revamping our ailing health sector.

We have also learnt that the Ministry will be embarking on a nationwide distribution of medical equipment which have long been kept in warehouses whilst clinics and hospitals across the country struggle to provide these needed paraphernalia to patients.

Recently at the Connaught Hospital, we learnt of how a patient was deprived of an oxygen machine simply because the equipment was locked up somewhere and could not be made available because an individual who was supposed to sign off for its use wasn't around.

The distribution of the medical supplies is expected to start in the Northern Region this weekend and end in the East.

Courtesy: Platinum Media, (The Authentic Voice)

 

Information Minister Pursues China's Digital Investment for SLBC

By John B. Sesay (23/06/16)

China's digital technology has become very attractive in third world countries. Sierra Leone is leading the queue to grab this opportunity.

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications has assured of his committed zest towards transforming the sector especially in the area of digital television making clear that when the country's public broadcaster, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) goes digital, it  should be viewed as a development for the country and not for the President or himself as Minister. (Pictured: Minister Bangura, third left).

Mohamed Bangura spoke on Friday 17th June, 2016, in Beijing, during a meeting with the Chairman of Star Times Communication Network Technology, a company that had, earlier expressed the desire to invest its financial resources in Sierra Leone by providing Sierra Leoneans access to quality and affordable digital television.

According to Minister Bangura, Sierra Leone has been working towards digitalizing SLBC but  faced with challenges among which the Ebola outbreak, which he said, even prevented the country from meeting the 2015 deadline given by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the realization of digitalization of television broadcasting by Member States.

According to the Minister, he was impressed with the capacity of the company, given what he had seen, following an hour long conducted tour on their facilities by the company's Vice President.

The Information Chief assured of his support  to the company in pursuing the digitalization of broadcast television, even though Sierra Leone could not meet the 2015 deadline. “This project is not about President Ernest Bai Koroma or about me as Information Minister, it is about the people of Sierra Leone”, Minister Bangura said.

Sierra Leone, he said, has seen huge involvement by Chinese companies in its development, at the same time looking forward to their intervention in the media sector in the coming months.

He paid glowing tribute to the Government and people of China for the tremendous support given to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, saying President Ernest Bai Koroma continues to appreciate the Chinese intervention in all sectors of growth.

Speaking earlier, Xinxing Pang, Chairman for the company thanked the Government through the Minister of Information for its readiness to work with them in realizing digital television in Sierra Leone.

Going digital, he said, is more than just the technical aspect but comes in with huge capital needs, assuring that they are more than ready to ensure “digital migration in Sierra Leone.”

Xinxing Pang also dilated on the financing models to be utilized when once approval is sought and what could be expected of Sierra Leone, in the fulfillment of the project.

Star Times Communication Network Technology, he said, was established in 1988 in China and has become an influential system integrator, technology provider and network operator in China’s Broadcasting and Television industry and has constructed and operated digital TV businesses in 9 African countries, with over 830,000 subscribers.

In Sierra Leone, the company has established a link with SLBC through the Group’s African partner and has agreed to invest in building Digital Terrestrial Televisions network in major cities across the country at a required cost, running into million US Dollars.

Minister Bangura is in China for the 6th African Digital Television Development Seminar, organized by Star Times, in line with the 3rd Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation, held by the Government of China.
 
Courtesy: John Baimba Sesay, Information/Press Attaché Sierra Leone Embassy People's Republic of China

 

 

Police Probing Claims of Threats Against Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden

By Press Release (19/06/16)

Sierra Leone police are currently investigating claims of threats on the person of Dr. Sylvia Blyden by a top executive of the Welfare Ministry.

Below is the verbatim reproduction of an article from the REAL NEWS newspaper in favour of the culprit the Director of Social Affairs, Mr. Francis Kabia, who is allegedly reported to have threatened his boss Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children's Affairs. Also following is a letter from Minister Blyden clearly countering the above article where she spelled out what actually transpired that fateful day.

(Pictured: Dr. Sylvia Blyden flanked by the heads of the Christian and Muslim denominations in Sierra Leone during a recent courtesy call on the minister).

Abuse of Power in the Ministry of Social Welfare

Barely 24 hours after observing the Day of the African Child, there arose an unhealthy and unpleasant incident involving the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children's Affairs, Madam Sylvia Blyden and the Director of Social Services, Mr Francis Kabia.

Real News found out that Mr Kabia was summoned by Madam Blyden to explain why he issued a letter in respect of the Hajj. Mr Kabia responded that he is not the one who wrote the letter but the Permanent Secretary. "How can you say you are not the one when the Permanent Secretary said you wrote the letter"? Mr Kabia responded by saying "How comes I wrote the letter but was signed by the Permanent Secretary"?

At this point Madam Minister blasted: "You go tok so to you mammy wey you lef na ose"? It was when she repeated that cuss that Francis responded by telling her same.

Upon this, Madam Sylvia called the New England Police to effect the arrest of Mr Kabia. Real News met  him at the police station in the Crimes Office. After obtaining statements from him, the police went back to Madam Minister to inform her that they have no sufficient reason to detain Mr Kabia. But Madam Minister was adamant and vowed to have Francis detained by all means till Monday. She had called a senior police officer who gave directives for Francis to be detained.

Whilst Francis was being taken to the cell, upon a plea from a civil society activist to the Director of CID for his release, the Director professionally advised that Mr Kabia be bailed and report tomorrow morning.

This is not the first time Madam Minister had taken people to police for no just reason. It was confirmed that some weeks ago, she had an old man locked up for 5 days for selling around her office. The poor man suffered unjustly because of a Minister's abuse of power. How can a minister just get up and be abusing a very senior staff of the ministry?

Real News further gathered from some workers of the MSWGCA that ever since Madam Minister took office, she has been busy hunting her predecessor and now she has turned her fight to senior staff, Mr Kabia being the first victim of her excesses.

"Pa Ernest na bra bobs. Na ihn nor mor kin do den kine tin den ya. E go bring dis woman na dis sober ministry", retorted a middle aged woman.

Real News will bring you update on this. Stay tuned

©REAL NEWS AT REAL TIMES❗❗❗


Don't Mind the so-called 'Real News'. It is Just a Fake News!!

The Real News is that the minister has blocked all the holes which rats used to access to loot from. So the rats are very angry over this. They now want to attack her life. In the presence of the Deputy Minister and Director of Gender and to the hearing of her police bodyguard, Mr. Francis Kabia jumped and pounced towards the honourable minister whilst pointing his fingers at her and screaming at her that he was going to "fix u up for good". 

This following letter is the reality. Forget about the fake news.

Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs
New England Ville, 
Freetown, 
Republic of Sierra Leone

FRIDAY 17TH JUNE 2016

Officer in Charge
Police Station
New England Ville

Dear Sir,

*THREATENING BEHAVIOUR INSIDE MY MINISTERIAL OFFICE BY MR. FRANCIS KABIA, THE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL WELFARE AT THIS MINISTRY*

I wish to make a formal complaint that I am currently feeling that my life is under threat from one man going by the name of Francis Kabia who is also the Director of Social Welfare at my Ministry.

I am reporting Mr. Francis Kabia’s threats and utterances to the Sierra Leone Police because I feel badly threatened and fearful for my life even as a sitting Cabinet Minister.

This is no longer an internal ministry matter whereby he can be disciplined as he is now threatening to harm my person. Please kindly assist. I am fully prepared to make a Statement to any of your police officers.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Hon. Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs.
Republic of Sierra Leone.

CC: Hon. Deputy Minister
CC: Permanent Secretary 

 

"IMC Suspension of Monologue Radio was Wrong in Law," Court Says

By Press Release (19/06/16)

A judge in Freetown has blasted the Independent Media Commission IMC for suspending the controversial radio programme Monologue.

Justice Musu Kamara today, 17th June 2016, delivered her judgement in the matter between David Tam Mbayoh vs Independent Media commission after seven months of extensive submission for Lawyers for the party. (Pictured: New Information Minister Mohamed Bangura promised to uphold the tenets of press freedom).

She agrees with Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai that the IMC Act provides in section 9 (1) and section 21 (1), (2), and (3) the manner in which IMC can suspend  media house. The procedure is for the IMC to inform the media house of any breaches of the IMC Act and allow the media to remedy it. This the IMC didn't and acted rashly in suspending the program.

She also said section 9 (1) created an investigative committee and the committee's responsibility is to investigate complaints. 'No punishment should be slammed until the investigative committee has completed its findings', she said. However, the IMC did not wait for the independent investigation to conclude its investigation.

The judge went on that maybe the IMC had data at her disposal to issue a preemptive strike. She therefore concluded that the IMC should not have banned the program without following the law. "IMC acted rashly", she concluded.

The judge ordered that the IMC pays the cost of the litigation. Either both parties agree on the cost or the cost be assessed by the Master and registrar of the High Court

In an empty court room, lawyers representing the parties were the only ones in attendance. Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai representing the Applicant, David Tam Mbayoh, against Lawyer Africanus Sesay, Lawyer Brima Koroma and Lawyers Manso represented the IMC.

Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai who appeared to have won refused to comment saying he will have to read the judgement first. He is a leading human rights lawyer and represents media practitioners, human rights defenders and poor people under the aegis of his Society for Democratic Initiatives.

This is a second successive judicial review case one against the IMC for breaching its parent law and not following procedures. Jonathan Leigh won similar review a year ago and was represented by the same lawyer Abdulai.

 

Fadika Trust Storms Masiaka, Lokomasama and Kambia

By MF Trust Media Team (19/06/16)

Moseray Fadika has just ended a historic visit to the northern region of Sierra Leone where he was welcomed by thousands of his admirers.

As established by future tellers, upcoming events cast their shadows. So it was on Friday 17th June, 2016 when the Philanthropist, Business Tycoon and Ĺead Contender for the All People's Congress (APC) Flagship ticket, Ambassador, Comrade Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika (pictured) and entourage observed the Juma Prayers with residents of the various aforementioned Communities as part of their Ramadan Mubarak activities.

In a bid to go as Culture and Tradition dictates, Ambassador, Comrade Fadika and delegation pay homage to the 11 Paramount Chiefs of the Northern Province at Masiaka before they proceeded to Lokomasama, where they were received by Hon. Kombor Kamara and P.C Baimaro N'gbathor the 2nd respectively.

At Lokomasama, Comrade Fadika and Co, joined Muslims in observing the  Friday Juma prayer and offered an attractive donation to his audience for Sunakati, thus replicates similar gesture to members of the Central Mosque at Kambia  after the Asri prayer and Masiaka accordingly.

Furthermore, as part of his people's centered leadership trait Ambassador, Comrade Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika dined and interacted with the people of Masiaka on his return to Freetown, where locals from all works of life gathered to have a glimpse at this great and noble man.

Fadika has shown countless levels of respect and responsibility to Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad making sure that the voiceless are treated with utmost respect, dignity and care, thus compliment President, Ernest Bai Koroma's legacy and Agenda for Prosperity. 
Amongst others at the historic confab, were Mr. Ajan Fofana, Mr. Abdulai Fadika, Mr. Alie Maraneh, Haja Fanta Fadika, Mama G of APC, Sheik Amid Kamara and Mr. Tunde Scott former Team Manager, F.C Kallon Football Club to name but a few.

Courtesy: Moseray Fadika Trust Media Team 

 

SLAJ Wants President Koroma to Revoke the 1965 Criminal Libel Laws

By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (05/06/16)

The 1965 Criminal Libel Law has been seen by many journalists as the stumbling block to have effective press freedom in Sierra Leone.

Journalists in Sierra Leone have again used the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Tuesday 3rd May 2016, to remind the country’s President to honour his pre-election promise of repealing the Seditious and Criminal Libel laws. (Pictured: Deputy Information Minister Cornellius Deveaux).

According to the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Kelvin Lewis, the continued presence and use of the Criminal Libel laws is a constant threat to the right to media freedom, which is a fundamental human right.

Mr. Lewis makes reference to the fact that two journalists could not be part of the World Press Freedom Day symposium organised by their Association because they were due in court to answer charges under the Criminal Libel Laws. Between 2007 and 2016, he continues, more than 25 journalists have been arrested, interrogated, detained and/or jailed and two have been convicted of Criminal Libel.

“Today SLAJ again reiterates its call to President Koroma, to make do his 8-year-old election promise, to repeal the Criminal Libel Laws. We continue to maintain that there are enough provisions in the Civil Laws to address any redress sought from those aggrieved by our work. If medical doctors are not charged with murder, and executed, for making mistakes on their theatre tables where lives are lost while practicing their profession, why should journalists be jailed for making mistakes while practicing their profession?” Lewis maintains.

Before his election as President of Sierra Leone in 2007, Hon Ernest Bai Koroma, a Member of Parliament at the time, was on record promising to expunge criminal libel laws from the infamous Public Order Act of 1965 if elected.

Every year, for the past eight years, journalists have been reminding him of his promise and urging him to honour his words. However, newly appointed Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornellius Deveaux, said President Koroma and his Government are fully committed to ensure freedom of expression and of the press flourish, but insist that repealing criminal libel laws is a process.

“As a government we are seriously looking into these issues regarding the media landscape. I urge media stakeholders to take advantage of the new leadership at the Ministry of Information to see how we can collectively address these challenges,” said Deveaux.

Courtesy: by Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

 

 

President Ernest Koroma Urged to Lift Ban on Overseas Employment

By Press Release (30/05/16)

President Ernest Koroma has been urged to lift the blanket ban on overseas employment on International Workers Day.

The Central Development organization (C.D.O) which is going to be responsible for recruiting under a company called Beowulf Worldwide has joined hands with the youth of sierra Leone in pleading with the President and government to issue licenses to credible companies like Beowulf whose contract expires by June. (Pictured: Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara, first left, followed by Vice President Victor Foh).

Sierra Leoneans that are having skills in plumbing, electricians, carpenters, steel fixers, labourers and even cleaners are going to be encouraged to apply after the license would have been granted, following up with the lifting of the ban.

"We  have thousands of jobs too on Static Security for places like Dubai, Qatar, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and more to come. Thousands of Sierra Leoneans that have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan are on standby. Ex-service men  and women are encouraged to apply too after the ban has been lifted.

"We are also joining line with our president and the Ministry of Youth Affairs, in solving one of their major concerns which is to reform the educational sector to prepare them for international work.

"Therefore, I am calling on all good wishers of 'Mama Salone' to join us in pleading with the president in making sure that our youths don't miss this kind of opportunities and also remember that late President Siaka P. Stevens once said: "Opportunity comes but seldom, if you do not grab it when it comes, it can never come again."

Ibrahim Conteh 
Secretary General 
Central Development Organization (C.D.O)
Constituency 106 Youth Secretary General

 

Sierra Leone Religious Leaders Share President's Gender Drive

By Lucia S.K. & Abdul M.B. (30/05/16)

Sierra Leone's male religious leaders are gender sensitive "heforshe" activists, which President Ernest Bai Koroma really shares.

Male religious leaders in Sierra Leone are proud to identify themselves as following in the gender-sensitive footsteps of their country's President Ernest Bai Koroma which is widely acclaimed as the most gender sensitive President in West Africa. He has eleven female ministers in his government and appointed the first woman Chief Justice and the first female Brigadier General. (Pictured: Africa's First Ladies pose. Sierra Leone's First Lady, left, back row).

There are also an unprecedented number of capable women he appointed to head key national institutions. The Sierra Leone Head of State was also acknowledged recently by the United Nations as a world champion for gender equality and empowerment of women. This is when he was named by the United Nations in January 2015 as an inaugural HeForShe champion.

At that 23rd January 2015 press conference in Switzerland, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that the global HeForShe campaign led by President Koroma and others "has signed up fathers who want to raise empowered daughters; leaders who know their societies will be stronger when there are as many women in parliament and in business as men - and want to be part of a global force for change.”

In addition to being gender sensitive in his leadership, President Koroma has presided over the most stable period of religious tolerance ever recorded in Sierra Leone. His leadership has won laurels and accolades for the country's state of religious tolerance.

It is against this backdrop that one of the newly appointed female Koroma Cabinet ministers who is responsible for, amongst others, Gender Affairs and Religious Affairs, recently met with Sierra Leone religious leaders.

The newly appointed Honourable Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, on Tuesday 19th April 2016, hosted the president and executive of the Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone at her ministry’s conference room. The purpose of the meeting was to do familiarization with executive members since the minister was now the Cabinet member responsible for all religious affairs in the country.

Speaking from his prepared notes, Sheikh Abu Bakarr Conteh, the president of the Inter Religious Council said as male religious leaders who were “HeForShe” activists, they were proud of President Koroma for making the choice of a woman like Dr. Sylvia Blyden to be the Cabinet Minister for that ministry.

"It is not just the women but let me assure all that the men of this country are also very pleased with the President’s appointment of Dr. Blyden”, Sheik Abu Bakarr Conteh said, adding to applause that “His Excellency did not do any mistake in his appointment of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. We are very proud of her and we wish her well.”

The president of the Inter Religious Council then raised series of concerns from religious leaders around the country. These included the need for a National Consultative Conference on Religious Affairs during which an already drafted Code of Conduct and a Memorandum of Understanding, will be validated.

The vice president of the council Catholic Archbishop Tamba Charles also highlighted the need for the government to consider doing surveys to determine acceptable radius between two religious buildings of worship. He said this was so as to stop rival worship places from using loudspeakers that disturbed the peace of each other. 

Various brief statements were given by many of the other male and female religious leaders presents. They all highly commended President Koroma for heeding the numerous calls on him to appoint a woman as Minister in that ministry.

They all expressed appreciation with the particular choice of Dr. Sylvia Blyden whom was variously described as a most fitting person to man that ministry.

Continuing, the religious leaders also expressed dissatisfaction over the way some people celebrates religious holidays.

Minister Blyden later thanked all the religious leaders for attending the call and admonished that she would only achieve the ministry's goals if they continue to work together.

Courtesy: By Lucia S. Kamara & Abdul Malik Bangura

 

AFCOM Clarifies Misleading Press Release on the Welfare Ministry

By Press Release (20/05/16)

AFCOM has made its position clear about misleading media publications relating to the Ministry of Social Welfare in Freetown.

The Board and Management of AFCOM’s attention has been drawn to a series of mainstream and social media publications and broadcasts pertaining to a contract between the company and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, in which, among other things, some calumnious references were made about the new Minister, Hon. Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden. (Pictured: Dr. Blyden with Attila, her predecessor).

AFCOM wishes to dissociate itself from these statements and regrets any negative effect it may have on the Minister. Because AFCOM treats the concerns raised by the Hon. Minister seriously, we shall engage with the Minister and other officials of the Ministry to address these concerns.

We regard the position of the Minister with utmost respect; and intend to engage the new Minister to apprise her of developments relating to the services, with a view to address any outstanding issues and continue the existing cordial business relationship with the Ministry.

AFCOM is committed to providing high quality ICT services to its numerous corporate and Government customers in Sierra Leone and other countries in the West Africa sub-region.

Adel Suliman, CEO 

 

Political Affairs Minister Nanette Speaks on Peace and Democracy

By Bockarie Kukuku Musa (14/05/16)

Good governance, peace and democracy should be the yardstick for any progressive nation and it was pleasant Nanette Thomas exhibited it.

The dynamic Minister of Political and Public Affairs Nanette Thomas has delivered a nice speech on good governance, peace and democracy at the Prestigious Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology. (Pictured: Minister Nanette Thomas on the road to success).

She strongly hits out at the roles and responsibilities of government in governance, democracy, rule of law, transparency and accountability and to admonish students to remain studious to help in the economic recovery of our beloved country Sierra Leone.

Minister Nanette Thomas urged students to resist any form of violence that will destroy the peace and unity we are enjoying. Before the commencement of her speech,  she asked everyone to stand and recite the National Anthem as a way to demonstrate patriotism and nationalism.

Other state actors at the occasion include Executive Director of Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority, Dr. Sarah Bendu, Chairman of Board, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority, Reverend Mike Samura, the Bank Manager Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Makeni Branch.

The Regional Coordinator for the North at the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs,  Ms. Salamatu Kamara, Mr. Martin Bangura of Makeni City and staffs of Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority were in attendance at the public lecture hosted at the College Auditorium.

 

Envoy Fadika's Biggest Cultural Festival in Beijing was a Success

By Bryan Randall (14/05/16)

Showcasing Sierra Leone's rich cultural heritage to other countries is a significant move and that is what envoy Lansana Fadika has done.

Sierra Leone’s Trade and Cultural attaché to the Peoples Republic of China has initiated a very big cultural festival in China which has attracted lots of interest from the Chinese government. (Pictured: Lansana Fadika).

Coinciding with the newly appointed Tourism Minister Sidi Yaya Tunis and the appointment of a new Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma, the energetic Cultural Ambassador Fadika set a unique record in China by organising this historic event. The launching ceremony of the Sierra Leone International Cultural Exchange was held in Beijing on April 30 this year.

Ambassadors of many countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Ghana, Cote d’lvoire, Mali, Gambia, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Japan, India and Nepal were invited. The following government institutions were also represented, like the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Commerce, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), as well as Chinese People’s Friendship Association.

At an earlier meeting, the Secretary-General Mr. Guoyi Zhang of African Asian Cooperation Organization expressed that, the Sierra Leone International Cultural Exchange Year, of which “peace, friendship, development and cooperation” are the major themes and was officially launched at the Capital Freetown, Sierra Leone on May 1st, 2016.

This event was a showcase on a variety of paintings, arts and crafts, folk art, TV & film, and photographs, to introduce the culture and art of modern China and Asia to the African people. These is to allow African people understand Asia better, and encourage Asians to visit Africa on exchange and experience-sharing programmes, to promote the friendship among people of different countries in the two continents.

The Minister of Culture and Tourism of Sierra Leone Mr. Sidi Yayah Tunis reportedly sent out letters emphasising the unique landscapes and tourist resources in Sierra Leone which need development. Friends from China and Asia are expected to visit West Africa on fact finding missions for investment purposes.

On bilateral trade, Sierra Leone enjoys promising prospects of cooperation and the strong economic complementarities between China and Sierra Leone seem very promising and a mutually beneficial future is well assured.

Courtesy: By Bryan Randall, AFRICAN ICON MEDIA 

 

APC/USA UNIMAT Family Challenges Sierra Leoneans to be Positive

By Unisa I.B. Kanu (14/05/16)

Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad have been challenged to strategise positive goals for developing their motherland in the years ahead.

On April 27 2016, we celebrated the 55th anniversary of our independence, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all my UNIMAT Family, Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora and at home. (Pictured: APC heavyweights of old. President Siaka Stevens, centre front row).

Fifty five years ago, our ancestors celebrated the new found freedom of independence. We can agree that the journey has not always been easy or smooth. However, it is through our resilience that we’ve been able to overcome wars, economic hardships, and recently the Ebola virus.

As we work through the day to day struggles of our generation, let us think about how we, as Sierra Leoneans will head into the next 55 years of our journey of independence. We have been fortunate to have a leader in President Ernest Koroma who has not wavered in the face of adversities, but has stood steadfast in advancing democracy, promoting  growth and infrastructure in urban and rural communities, and fostering transparency and accountability of government officials. 

I challenge you to start thinking about your vision and goals for our country. It is not enough for us to be spectators and react only when we are faced with challenges. Instead, I encourage you to align with us UNIMAT as we move towards strategically planning how we can impact the future of Sierra Leone.

We have the capacity to excel at whatever we set our minds to. Nothing is too small, no ideas too basic. Whatever skills or talents you have to move our organization forward are welcome!

As we prepare for our next APC/USA Convention, please keep in mind that we are broadening our organisation’s leadership to include women and youth who are playing a vital role in the next chapter of our work.

Again, as we keep on celebrating our 55th  years of independence, let us look towards to more partnership and collaboration for a brighter Sierra Leone.

Land that we love our Sierra Leone. In the Struggles of APC, there is Victory.

Courtesy: By Unisa I.B.Kanu UNIMAT FAMILY Atlanta, Ga

 

M.A. Jalloh Hailed as the Right Man for the Deputy Transport Minister Job

By Admired Writer (11/05/16)

The appointment of MA Jalloh as Deputy Transport Minister is one of the most popular presidential nominations of President Koroma.

After the appointment of the Koindugu District legend M.A Jalloh as the Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, the vibrant group of 'Friends of MA Jalloh' led by himself, paid a visit to their homeland. (Pictured: Minister Logus, right, and his popular deputy MA Jalloh).

According to the perception of the writer, President Koroma has this time around placed a round peg into a round hole. Amongst the delegates who visited Koinadugu District are Minister of Transport and Aviation Leonard Logus Koroma; Hassan Barrie, Deputy Minister of Energy 1; Ahmed Femi Mansaray, Deputy Minister of Political Affairs; Natcom Board Chairman, Mr. Momoh Conteh; the Women's Fullah Progressive Union; a top Fullah business tycoon; the Friends of MA Jalloh; Petit Traders Association;  friends and well wishers of M.A Jalloh and members of the Fourth Estate.

They were welcomed by a huge crowd  in the district including Paramount Chiefs, District Administrators, Culture and Traditional Performers, Bike Riders, Business Owners and Youths and school children.

At the Kabala Town Stadium, a spokes person for the Friends of MA Jalloh, Mr. Tejan Bah stated enthusiastically that the previous works of the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation show no doubt that Minister Logus will succeed if he works hand in hand with his new Deputy.

He said that if MA Jalloh is supported he could trigger the rest of them to join the APC party. The focus 1000 representatives asked for the strengthening of the Fullah base. "MA Jalloh is one of the facilitators for the development of the Fullah union and could lead the tribe to contribute to national development," he said.

The APC Chairman of the Koinadugu District, Dr. Fasineh Samura stated that he likes the operating teamwork in Koinadugu. He also said that as the SLPP is engaged in dividing their party, the indomitable APC is building and strengthening theirs. The NATCOM Board Chairman, Mr. Momoh Conteh thanked President Koroma  for the appointment of Deputy Minister MA Jalloh.

He said that there should be no "bad heart" for this appointment because of the conflicts between the five tribes in and around the Koinadugu District. The Deputy Minister 1, for Energy and Power, Hassan Barrie echoed the indomitable APC party motto: Action, Progress and Commitment as an oath towards development nationally.

He said that by simply taking a look at the condition of the Makeni/Kabala highway, one could safely conclude that the indomitable APC party is a development vector for the district. He asked MA Jalloh to consider development of Tambaka to Bombali, Neini Chiefdom to Kabala road networks. As they are under the electrification sector, they have projected to electrify all district head quarter towns with at least 1-2 mega watts by 2018.

The Minister of Transport and Aviation, who doubles as Political Consultant, Leonard Logus Koroma, was reflecting on the adage that charity begins at home and expressed how jubilant the Koinadugu people are since they entered Fadugu to Kabala with the outpour of masses showing their gratitude to President Koroma for this appointment.

He congratulated MA Jalloh and his people and assured all that this is a marriage between them and he will delegate more responsibility to him. According to the Minister consultancy prior to, the 2012 general elections, the indomitable APC party scores between 85-95% votes in the northern province. 

 

"APC is Not a 'PaOPa' Party," Ernest Koroma Warns APC Party Stalwarts

By Press Release (11/05/16)

The Chairman and Leader of the All People's Congress President Ernest Koroma has told party supporters that the APC is not a 'Pa O Pa' party.

The phrase commonly is associated with the opposition SLPP's former flag-bearer Julius Maada Bio (Pictured). The Krio phrase 'Pa O Pa' means "at all cost". President Koroma however pointed out that any party that fails to plan positively to win elections is not a political party.

The APC leader made this statement whilst launching the party's Veteran Welfare Association at the Port Loko District Council Hall on Wednesday April 27, 2016.

He commended the efforts of the veterans and called for the need to sustaining the association to prudently settle matters among the party's membership.

He urged the party  to welcome anybody who aspires for the leadership of the APC, but however frowned at attempts at divisiveness within the party, which he said will not be taken lightly.

The Chairman and Leader of the APC also encouraged the Port Loko District Executive to replicate the veteran association to every district and even ward level to help in stabilizing the party. "The veterans will be in a better position to address emerging party issues among stalwarts without recourse to the national executive," he said.

President Koroma added that he thought of the veteran association because the APC being a wholesome party needs everyone onboard, particularly party stalwarts that have served the party for over forty years.

Applauding the continuous service and determination of the veterans, President Koroma said the wholesomeness of the party is crucial to its growth and development.

On the achievements of the party and the significance of unity, he asserted: "We shall not go to opposition but rather remain in power through the democratic process." He furthered that the achievements of the party are not just for the 2018 elections but future ones.

He encouraged all to continue to intensify their efforts towards the unity of the party and enhance the good initiatives that will continue to keep the part in governance.

Courtesy: APC NEWS@THE SHRINE©2016

 

 

Sierra Leone Information Minister Bangura Promises to Improve ICT

By Marcus A. Bangura (11/05/16)

It is inevitable to improve Information Technology in any country and this is exactly the promise made by the Minister of Information.

The Ministry of Information and Communications in collaboration with Sierra Leone Cable Network Limited recently meet with ECOWAN Investors in a conference organized to mark a historic transformation of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country. The conference was attended by representatives of telecommunication companies and internet service providers (ICPs). (Minister Mohamed Bangura).

In delivering his statement, the minister recalled the landing of the submarine fiber optic cable at the Lumley beach on 18th February, 2013 and explained that before the country exclusively relied on satellite for international connectivity, which was both costly and provides broad band access and distribution.

He said the launching of the submarine cable, the government requested for funds from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the China Exim Bank to deploy a terrestrial fiber optic backbone as a means to improve the limited broadband access and reduce the concomitant costs.
  
The minister informed members that  in pursuant  to financing the agreement between the GOSL and the IDB for ECOWAS Regional Backbone Infrastructure and e-Governance Program- ECOWAN  Sierra Leone Project, which  became effective on 6th September 2011, the ECOWAN Team recruited a Consultant to carry out a financial and legal advisory for the establishment of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for a national fiber optic backbone and access network.

The Minister in his determination to develop ICT in the country has the unfettered conviction that as part of the implementation process it is the desire of government to develop a sustainable Open Access Regime for the ECOWAN  and the National Backbone project, divorce of discrimination and significant Market Power.

The minister admonished members that it is expected that the study will bring to the forefront a strategy to manage the process, as well as develop the ownership and operational structures of PPP between government and the private sector so as to develop the capacity on the terrestrial fiber optic infrastructure  for adequate utilization.

The minister informed the audience that government is mindful of the fact that fibre backbone networks are expected to serve as carriers, where lit fiber services and dark fire capacity will be available on whole sale.

He called on telecom operators ISPs and other interested private sector players to invest in the last mile infrastructure. He challenged the private sector to harness the opportunity as there are various socio-economic and commercial benefits of the fibre optic backbone.

He called on the consultants to carefully analyze and propose different options regarding the viability and sustainability of the networks using different assumptions, models and scenarios in view of resource mobilization and market conditions.

As minister of the people, the minister explained that he government is commented to promoting the local content policy that will benefit small, medium and large players who are the primary sources of the telecom market.

The minister advised the consultant to develop a legal and regulatory framework that will guide the regulator in achieving the desired objective. The minister believed that it will support entrepreneurial skills of local investors as well as youthful investors.

He told members that the backbone infrastructure is an essential facility, designed to reach customers and empower competitors to run their business with limited chanced of replication.

The minister concluded with the principle of open access. He went further to say that interconnection offer of the company should be subject to the approval of the Regulatory body.

In summary, it should be understood that the impeccable minister of Information is poised to see ICT develop in the country.
Courtesy: Marcus A. Bangura, Special/ Personal Assistant, Minister of Information & Communication 

 

Will the Information Minister Abolish the Notorious 1965 Public Order Act?

By GT newspaper (08/05/16)

This is the unavoidable question as the Minister of Information and Communications rolled out his ambitious eighteen months vision.

In a recent exclusive interview with the Global Times newspaper in Freetown, Mr. Bangura said that in the next four weeks, he intends to revive the ailing Sierra Leone News Agency SLENA and the Sierra Leone Daily Mail, known for being the mouthpiece of any seating government. (Pictured: Minister Bangura receiving an award from his Lebanese counterpart recently in Beirut).

The Information Minister disclosed that his Ministry in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office is looking at urgently replacing the obnoxious Public Order Act of 1965 with a law that is consistent with modern democracy and press freedom.

As a former media practitioner and media owner, Mr. Bangura assured that by the time he leaves office, the relationship between the Government and the Media would have improved significantly.

Mr. Bangura said that he wanted to secure the blessings of President Ernest Bai Koroma before he proceeds with his vision for the Ministry of Information and Communications.

 

 

Three Anti-Corruption Vehicles Damaged by SLPP Disorderly Conduct

By Press Release (08/05/16)

The Independence Day fracas between two factional SLPP supporters has damaged three Anti Corruption Commission vehicles.

It happened on April 27, 2016 a day when Sierra Leoneans were peacefully observing Independence holiday but some supporters of the SLPP flag-bearers  Kandeh Yumkella and Alpha Timbo were engaged in destructive behaviour which the Sierra Leone police cautiously brought under control. (Pictured: ACC boss Ady Macauley). The ACC was however a victim of the fracas and below is the letter to confirm the reports: 

ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION
CATHEDRAL HOUSE
3 GLOUCESTER STREET

FREETOWN
SIERRA LEONE, WEST AFRICA
TEL: 232-22 221468
FAX: 232-22 221900  

                                                                               28th April 2016

THREE ACC VEHICLES DAMAGED BY DISORDERLY CONDUCT

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) wishes to inform the general public that on the 27th April 2016 between 13:00 and 14:00 hours, a group of persons attacked its 3 Gloucester Street  office and vandalized part of its building and some of its operational vehicles.

Upon seeing our armed guard, they pelted stones at our vehicles and building causing damage provisionally estimated to be between  fifty and hundred million Leones.

This damage to the vehicles come at a time when the Commission is grappling with its operational fleet to carry out its activities.

The Commission considers this act by vandals, unacceptable. Meanwhile the Sierra Leone Police is investigating the matter.

The  ACC remains resolved and undeterred in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone

……………………………………
PATRICK SANDI

 

 

Accountant General to Pay Teachers in Bank Accounts in Sierra Leone

By Press Release (08/05/16)

The days for teachers to receive their monthly salaries bodily are ending according to the Education Ministry and the Accountant General.

Latest reports say the Accountant  General in Sierra Leone has embarked  on  the exercise to pay  the  salaries of all teachers  into  their respective bank accounts as soon as possible. (Pictured: Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah working hand in glove with the Accountant General for teachers' welfare).

Salaries for schools through the Ministry of  Education  Science and Technology will be validated to ensure  consistency with the payroll details held at the Accountant General's Department.

This validation exercise has brought out a lot of inconsistencies  between  the data received  from the Ministry and the  payroll at the Accountant General's Department. Reports say some of the startling problems include wrong pin codes, omission of names and wrong bank account numbers.

To ensure  that  these  inconsistencies are cleared and  that teachers are  paid correctly into  their bank  accounts,  the payment  of salaries to teachers for the month  of April 2016 will be delayed  until the  10th of  May 2016 after  which  payment will be  made.

"Any inconvenience is deeply  regretted," the press release signed by Kebbe A. Kouroma
Accountant  General concluded. 

 

SLPP Chairman Kapen Blasts SLPP Diaspora for Fermenting Trouble

By Mustapha Wai (05/05/16)

The SLPP Chairman Chief Kapen has described his party supporters in the Diaspora as trouble makers for their country, Sierra Leone.

The SLPP Chairman Chief Kapen has described his party supporters in the Diaspora as trouble makers for their country, Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Chairman Kapen, centre front row, with some SLPP flag-bearers).

In a recent telephone interview with SLPP Mustapha Wai of Mamba TV, Chief Kapen blasted the SLPP supporters in the Diaspora for fermenting trouble at home.

The lambasts came about following the recent fracas among SLPP supporters during the country's 55th Independence Anniversary celebration in Freetown that led to the destruction of property including the Anti-Corruption Commission building.

When asked why as SLPP leader, he could not stop the SLPP party hooligans from going to the streets to cause trouble.  This question made Chief Kapen furious. In his response he said with a deep croaking voice in Krio:

"No no no Wai, nor tell me da word dae.  How you go talk so. Den rude wan ya nor get respect for we. Even when ar tell them say we nor get clearance look waitin den go do. Una dae respect Una laws den yander but wuna nor want mek den respect de laws of we country. Do ya ar beg, ar get hyper tension," Chief Kapen noted.

Pa Kapen narrated to Mr Wai how he escaped from the party office due to the tear gas the police fired there during the fracas. Pa Kapen expressed frustrations at the SLPP hooligans and blames the party Diasporans for not only fermenting troubles at home but also creating comfort for bad behaviour.

Courtesy: By Mustapha Wai of Mamba TV

 

Chinese Team & Works Ministry Survey Mamamah Airport & Hill Station

By Press Release (05/05/16)

The infrastructural development of the government has been very impressive. The Works Ministry is helping to make this dream a reality.

Officials of the Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure were joined by a four-man team delegation from China to survey the 3.5 kilometre Hill Station/Regent village and the Mamamah International Airport route that will join the Wellington/Masiaka highway. (Pictured: President Koroma's road construction drive is phenomenal in Sierra Leone's history).

Reports say the Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure is encouraging the team to work as fast as possible in order to help solve the transport and traffic problem in the country.

The Minister of Works Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay together with his Deputy are currently engaging staff of the Housing Department of the ministry.

Minister Kemoh Sesay was concerned with the mission, vision and the necessary legislation that guide the work of the department.

Within his 100 days in office, building permits will be made on automated basis so is the application for government quarters.

A seven-man committee has been charged to research and develop a building policy and building code for the attention of Law Officers Department for policy development.

 

SLPP Confesses to Intra-Party Indiscipline in the Fracas with Police

By SLPP Release (05/05/16)

It is a serious indictment on supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party in the aftermath of the SLPP and Police fiasco.

According to the SLPP spokesman Leema Lahai, he told the world the truth, the whole truth about what actually transpired during the country's 55th Independence Anniversary celebration when supporters engaged in hooliganism in Freetown on April 27, 2016. (Pictured: Kandeh Yumkella).

Mr. Lahai pointed accusing fingers on SLPP supporters of flag-bearer Alpha Timbo and a faction supporting Maada Bio for fermenting the trouble during the national holiday that caused the destruction of property in the city. Below is the verbatim dispatch by the SLPP spokesman:
SLPP LEEMA LAHAI SPEAKS

"After a very short while, the Director of Administration got a call from the Freetown East District Chairman of SLPP instructing the director not to move with the mask devil outside the perimeters of the SLPP premises, which is contrary to s.25 of the 1991 Constitution (limiting freedom of movement).

"The East District Chairman Mr. Med K. told the director of administration on a phone conversation that the Odele Union has rejected the Arie Wutehteh from celebrating because they did not meet their traditional rite on time.

"In reply to Med K, the Director of Administration told him that was not the right procedure. Once the party had informed the Sierra Leone Police SLP through a formal letter, if there is any discrepancy along the line which requires clarification by the SLP, this should have been in writing for the records, but to talk to Med K. who in turn had to talk to the national party head quarters through cell phone was not administratively correct. As such, he was ignored," the dispatch ended.

But the BBC stringer Umaru Fofana sadly reported a controversial version of about what actually transpired that fateful day, which astonishingly portrays a different story to the SLPP Spokesman's official version. 

 

 

Mayor Kelfala and District Chairman have Destroyed Kenema Town!

By PM (03/05/16)

Kenema, the headquarter town of eastern province, has become the most backward and unfortunate district in Sierra Leone today!

This is due primarily to the senseless political machinations of the controversial Mayor of Kenema City Council JS Kelfala (pictured) and top officials of the Kenema District Council. This has catapulted in to the increasing abandonment of Kenema by progressive thinking politicians in the country.

Platinum Media has learnt that Mayor J.S Kelfala, apparently possessed by a dangerous political ego has long triggered and maintained a sour relationship between central government and local council.

This state of affairs has left Kenema, a stronghold of the opposition SLPP party, far less developed than other districts in the country. We have discovered that the political leadership of Kenema has done far less to augment or showcase  key development projects as a way of preventing the central government from scoring perceived political points in an opposition stronghold.

The recent visit by six Councillors from Kenema District to President Ernest Bai Koroma to bridge this apparent divide has been welcomed by most people in Kenema City.

"It is evident in many popular radio programmes here in Kenema that the people know exactly what is happening. Our Mayor and the District Council Chairman have failed us," 32 year old Emmanuel Jusu, a school teacher in Kenema explained.

Similar views were expressed by many young people who spoke to Platinum Media at the popular Total Spot in central Kenema. 
According to Festus Kallon, many people in Kenema can't understand why the Kenema City Council failed to properly account to Parliament for resources it received as devolved funds from  Central Government.

"I also believe the Council has deliberately selected roads that are less important and visible to be repaired just because they hate seeing government getting the praise for constructing tarred roads in Kenema," Mr. Kallon noted.

Speaking to Platinum Media, Councillor Joseph Alpha recounted several development challenges in the district which he attributed to the unproductive political leadership by the City and District Council.

"We have been cursed and lambasted by our own people because we have decided to come and apologise to President Koroma whom we believe has the capacity and intention to transform our district," Councillor Alpha said.

He called on government to rehabilitate the main road connecting the commercial centre of Kenema City and complete other viable projects like the Kenema City Hall and other roads in the township.

SLPP opposition strong man, John O. Benjamin was quoted in a local tabloid to have condemned the move by the seven councillors branding it a disgrace to their party.

Platinum Media has been reliably informed of a firm commitment by the President to kick start the rehabilitation of Hanga Road and other projects in Kenema. Observers now believe the projects, when completed will cause the further isolation of Mayor Kelfala and his cohorts by the very people they claim to represent. 

 

Abu Shaw Incredibly Proud to Join the All Peoples Congress Party

By Press Release (03/05/16)

Abu Shaw, the CEO, Proprietor, Publisher and Editor of theorganiser.net newspaper is now a full-fledged member of the ruling APC.

His membership was recently approved by the APC National Secretariat in Freetown following the welcome recommendation by his sister Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and  endorsed by Messrs Alpha Bai Kamara and Pat-Sowe both executives of the APC UK/I in London.

"It is a dream come true and words are insufficient to express my delight in joining the APC," Abu Shaw noted. (Pictured: Abu Shaw proudly displays his historic APC Identity card).

Reports say, all came about after his one year disappointing membership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP. It was largely due to Alie Kabba's deceitful poli-tricking among other personal reasons, that eventually drove Abu Shaw away from the Palm Tree. See more details on this issue in Abu Shaw's block buster commentary at: theorganiser.net

It is reminiscent of when he shifted his allegiance from the ruling Conservative Party to the Labour party in the United Kingdom.

"Now, I feel very much relieved since my surgeon with the Labour party came to fruition which I think is a very similar relief since my application was approved by the progressive APC party. I will do everything humanly possible to uphold and promote the ideals of my RED party," said Abu Shaw.

As he expressed his thanks and appreciation to all those who made his day, Abu Shaw has called on all well meaning Sierra Leoneans to come on board the APC party as soon as it's possibly can because the development oriented APC train is moving forward.

"It's never too late to join the APC party," Abu Shaw reiterated.

 

What Do Young People Need from the Government to Survive?

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo (03/05/16)

This is the burning question that all young people in Sierra Leone would like to have a suitable and most appropriate answer to. Below:

Centre for Research Documentation Policy Studies and Development of Law

4 Lamina Sankoh Street Freetown (Pictured: Former Youth Affiars Minister Alimamy Kamara. But will the New Youth Affairs Minister Bai Mamoud Bangura raise the bar?).

Youth development has traditionally been viewed as a parallel (and separate) track to education. Our educational reform discourse has erroneously focused on bifurcated debates over achievement versus opportunity gaps, equity versus excellence, academics versus non-academic skills, college versus career readiness; rather than focusing on all aspects of learning and development as complementary components to each other.

A new report, from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework, calls attention to the need to integrate the knowledge of youth development and education in order to help young people succeed as adults.

Youth development does not happen in isolation. Decades of research, from John Dewey, James Coleman, to Urie Bronfenbrenner, all suggest that context matters and that young people’s development is influenced and impacted by both internal and external environments. In particular, the obstacles young people face in following a successful path to adulthood vary greatly by contextual factors such as poverty and the resources available in their communities.

Thus, as the new developmental framework notes, our definition of young people’s success in Sierra Leone needs to become more inclusive -“that young people can fulfil individual goals and have the agency and competencies to influence the world around them.

The framework asks us to recognise the congruence among diverse learning experiences across settings as critical stepping stones in “helping young people develop an awareness of themselves and of the wide range of options before them, competences to pursue those options, and the ability to make good future choices for their lives as engaged citizens in the world”.

The framework is consistent with the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Guideposts for Success, which notes that all youth need:

a) Access to high quality standards-based education regardless of setting; 
b) Information about career options and exposure to the world of work, including structured internships; 
c) Opportunities to develop social, civic, and leadership skills; 
d) Strong connections with caring adults; 
e) Access to safe places to interact with their peers; and e) support services to allow them to become independent adults.

For young people to get the support they deserve, adult beliefs, as well as the systems that guide practice working with young people, need to be re-imagined so that youth development and education are seen as inextricably connected.

Especially in the era of accountability and standardized assessments, the framework report notes that it is critical that we rethink the systems of practice, focusing attention on building learning organisations where adults and young people can learn, reflect, and grow in safe spaces that encourage continuous development and improvement.

For example, too often we see learning with an isolated experience; however, what multi-disciplinary research tells us that young people need to make meaning of their experiences in what Jenny Nagaoka, lead author of the framework, calls the action-reflection cycle of a developmental experience. An action-reflection cycle provides young people with space to both experience a new opportunity and to reflect on it in meaningful ways:

Have they enjoyed this new experience? What aspects did they like or not like, and why? Did this new experience help them understand a topic or an issue in a deeper way and connect with past experiences?

The action-reflection cycle allows young people to build agency, an integrated identity of who they are today and who they want to be, and to acquire new knowledge, skills, mindsets, and values.

Young people are continuously developing and learning. Thus, they benefit from access to wide-ranging learning opportunities and an array of support.

 

 

Social Welfare Minister Inspects One Billion Leones UNICEF Contract

By GT Newspaper (01/05/16)

Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden has inherited a ministry with a serious internet loophole.

Reports say Minister Blyden has expressed indignation over the way AFCOM (SL) Limited implemented over a Billion Leones contract for the installation of a nationwide district level internet connectivity in some parts of the Ministry's district and regional offices across the country. (President Koroma and Minister Blyden at State House).

According to Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the contract for the installation of solar lights and high speed internet facility in all district offices of the Ministry was fully funded by the United Nations International Children's Educational Fund UNICEF.

Two companies (SBTS and AFCOM) were shortlisted for the contract for the installation of the high speed internet facility. SBTS was not awarded the execution of the contract because they lack capacity to implement it. The company is also accused of having messed up an earlier contract awarded to them by NASSIT. A spokesman for SBTS has denied both allegations.

AFCOM, a Sudanese company, won the contract for the installation of the facility in all the district and regional offices of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs.

A spokesman for AFCOM told the Global Times that, the installation was not done in the Port Loko offices because of the location of the building. He said that UNICEF was satisfied with the work they have done so far.

The other segment of the contract for the installation of solar lights in all the district and regional offices of the Ministry of Social Welfare was awarded to Barefoot Women.

A spokesman for Barefoot Women told the Global Times that the Ministry's offices in Makeni did not benefit from the project because they are housed in a private property. "Once the Ministry moves its offices to their own building, the installation will go ahead," she confirmed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sylvia Blyden has said that she is not satisfied with the explanation given to her by the two technical staff members of AFCOM (SL) Limited over the execution of the contract in Port Loko and Kambia districts.

She has expressed happiness over the job done in Koinadugu, Tonkolili and Bombali districts. Investigations continue.
Courtesy: Global Times newspaper

Sylvia Blyden Appreciates the Workers After Her Nationwide Inspection Tour

(01/05/16)
Meanwhile, Social Wlefare Minister Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has expressed appreciation and satisfaction with the workers following her two-day tour to acquaint herself with the latest ministry issues in all the districts.

The leadership style she has illustrated by first visiting her district offices specifically to see and investigate about the status of the solar and Internet facilities provided by UNICEF and installed by AFCOM, is indicative of good leadership.

After her short visit to the various districts, she ended by congratulating all the workers especially Bonthe for the manner in which she was received. Throughout her visit, she overemphasised to all workers to diligently work hard so that the citizens may have joy and proud for their citizenship through their welfare issues.

She pleaded to all workers to maintain the code of civil service and treat issues officially in term of documentation. Indeed she is the Iron Lady of Sierra Leone development.

Courtesy: De Sun-Sun Rise Communication Unit 

 

Information Minister Bangura Plans to Improve SLBC and SLENA

By Editayo G. Temple (01/05/16)

After his visit to Lebanon, Sierra Leone's Information and Broadcasting Minister Mohamed Bangura has plans to give SLBC and SLENA a facelift.

Newly appointed Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Bangura has in his first official engagement abroad, lobbied the government of Lebanon to revamp the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation SLBC and the Sierra Leone News Agency SLENA. (Pictured: Minister Bangura, right, with journalist Editayo Temple). 

Mr. Bangura told this newspaper in an exclusive telephone conversation from Beirut about this significant agreement. The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Victor Bockarie Foh was head of the delegation to Lebanon.

In light of the aforementioned, the Lebanon Information Minister, Ramzi Joreige also expressed his admiration for the development strides achieved so far by the APC Led government under the outstanding and result oriented leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma.

The Lebanese Minister presented a gift to Minister Bangura in a bid to register the Government and People of Lebanon's commitment to the empowerment of the SLBC, SLENA and by extension the Ministry of Information and Communications in Sierra Leone.

In response, Minister Mohamed Bangura thanked his counterpart for the gift and promises and assured to promote the bilateral ties between both countries and share best practice in the interest of the general good.

Credit: By Editayo George Temple, Proprietor, Universal Times Newspaper

 

NATCOM Donates 50 Mobile Phones to 3 Chiefdoms in Koinadugu

By Amara Samura (01/05/16)

NATCOM says three chiefdoms in Koinadugu district in the north of Sierra Leone are going to benefit soon from AIRTEL Mobile connections.

The chairman of the National Telecommunications NATCOM Mr. Momoh Konte addressed the people of Neya, Mongo and Sulima chiefdoms in Koinadugu district about the official launching of the connection of AIRTEL mobile coverage in their three chiefdoms. (Local Government Minister Maya Kaikai linking every parts of the country through technology).

There was jubilation and joy when Mr. Konte disclosed the good news. Around forty thousand inhabitants will benefit from this facility provided by AIRTEL through the intervention of NATCOM.

NATCOM has reportedly donated 50 mobile phones each to the three chiefdoms totalling 150 as part of their commitment to complement the work of AIRTEL.
Reports say AIRTEL has also presented four mobile phones each to the Paramount Chiefs of the three chiefdoms.

TRIBUTE: Alpha Shaw

Journalist, Student Activist, Leader, 1958-1980

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