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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

OMBUDSMAN KICKS OFF INTAKE CLINICS AND SENSITISATION DRIVE IN THE PROVINCES

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Following a press release on the visit of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone and team to the Provinces, the Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston Esq., and team have completed their first day of sensitisation and Intake Clinic in Koidu City, Kono district.

Meeting with stakeholders and community elders in Koidu city, the Ombudsman explained the mandate of the office of the Ombudsman which is contained in section 7 of the Ombudsman’s Act of 1997.

The Ombudsman noted that his office is responsible to look into issues of maladministration that occurs in ministries, departments and agencies, statutory bodies, corporations, prescribed authorities and institutions of higher learning. The Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston said that the office was created by section 146 of the Constitution Act no. 6 of 1991 which gave rise to the Ombudsman’s Act of 1997.

At the 9th Infantry Battalion, the Brigade Commander Lt. Col W.T Pessima, thanked the Ombudsman and team for the visit. He noted that it shows the respect and importance the Ombudsman attached to the welfare of the security forces.

Addressing officers and men of the 9th Battalion, the Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston said that as a prescribed authority, the officers and men should be aware of the functions and mandate of the office of the Ombudsman. He noted that the office is the public protector and a nation-wide free service, and encouraged them to make good use of the services of the office.

During the interactive session, the other officers and men raised an issue about the difference in the age requirement for retirement within the military, which is five years less than that required by NASSIT. Battalion Commander Lt. Col. W.T Pessima said that this issue has been put to rest with the recent civil registration and thanked the Ombudsman and team for the visit and sensitization.

At the Tankoro Police Division, Kenema, the Head of Office Gawa Wilfred Amara, explained that the office of the Ombudsman is charged with the responsibility to receive and resolve complaints. He said that section 7 of the Ombudsman’s Act states the functions of the office of the Ombudsman.
Several issues ranging from delay in PAYMENT of salaries, withholding of rice supply, meagre house rent allowances and the stoppage of annual leave for police personnel were among the issues and complaints received by the team. At the new Sembehun City Council Hall, the team of investigators received 10 complaints from members of the public.
Similar visits were also made to Paramount Chief Fengai Kaimachendeh of Beseh Chiefdom Koidu, Mayor of the new Sembehun City Council, Mayor Komba Sam and the Sierra Leone Correctional Service in Sefadu, where the ombudsman noted remarkable innovative ideas implemented by the head of the correctional service.
Excerpt of pictures and videos are below.

Also, in a similar vein, a second team from the Ombudsman’s office led by the Director of Complaints, Mediation and Investigations, Andrew Johnson Esq., were in Kailahun to conduct an Intake Clinic where they received and tried to resolve complaints from members of the public. Whilst in Kailahun, the team visited the Kailahun Police Division where they met with the Local Unit Commander and Commanders of other stations within the Kailahun Division. The team also met with the Deputy Education Secretary, Kailahun district, all officers of the Sierra Leone Correctional Services, the Chairman Kailahun District Council and officers and men of the 1st infantry battalion in Daru. The team also resolved two com noplaints from NaCSA and received 14 complaints from members of the public in Kailahun.

Christopher Wallace-Johnson
Communications Officer
Office of the Ombudsman

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