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President Bio Celebrates 55th Birthday with SLPP Women in Sierra Leone

State House, Freetown, Monday 13 May 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has joined supporters and well-wishers celebrating his 55th birthday at an event organised by the Sierra Leone People’s Party Women’s Wing at their Headquarters, Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown.

In his welcome address, Secretary General of the party, Umaru Napoleon Koroma, said the members were very happy to celebrate with the President and commended the women for organising the event.

Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who also witnessed the event, said it was a great day for the party to celebrate the birthday of their own who had risen to the highest office in the land. He expressed appreciation to the women of SLPP for always believing in and standing by President Bio.

In his brief response, the President thanked the members of the party and, in particular, its Women’s Wing for organising the event to celebrate with him. He said he was proud of the women as they had always been part of his journey and therefore commended them for their continued support to the party.

“I am truly thankful to God for this day. I want to use this opportunity to commit this nation to God and to ask Him to guide, protect and direct us in the New Direction, which is the Right Direction. I am ready to provide the disciplined leadership to deliver to this country and make our Party proud,’’ he said.

Women’s Leader for the SLPP, Fatmata Sawaneh, who delivered the vote of thanks, said: “We thank God for the life of our President and for celebrating this day with us. We have always been with him and we will continue to be with him. I want to use this opportunity to thank all those who helped us in celebrating this day”.

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President Bio First Cabinet Reshuffle

Click Here For First Partial Cabinet List

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Monday 29th April 2019 Is Not A Public Holiday

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Electoral Commissioner for South, Judicial and legal Service Commissioners Subscribe to Oath of Office

State House, Freetown, Tuesday 9 April 2019 – The new Electoral Commissioner for Southern Region and Judicial and legal Service Commissioners have subscribed to the oath of office before His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio in Freetown.

Section 32 sub-section 6 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone provides that: “A member of the Electoral Commission shall before assuming the functions of his office take and subscribe before the President the Oath as set out in the Third Schedule to this Constitution”.

Commissioner Edmond Sylvester Alpha thanked President Julius Maada Bio for the trust and confidence reposed in him. He assured the president and the people of Sierra Leone that he would work assiduously with the leadership of the National Electoral Commission, NEC, for effective teamwork, adding that he would help to provide a level playing field for all political parties and stakeholders and to conduct credible, transparent and impartial elections in the country.

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio congratulated Commissioner Alpha and admonished him to perform his duty with all amount of professionalism that would help build national cohesion and strengthen the democratic principles of the country.

“My government will give NEC the necessary support that is required for the effective functioning and conduct of a free, fair and transparent election that will help strengthen our democracy. I congratulate you once more and I wish you well in your new office,” President Bio said.

In another related event, Section 140 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone provides that: “There shall be established a Judicial and Legal Service Commission which shall advise the Chief Justice in the performance of his administrative functions and perform such other functions as provided in this Constitution or by any other law”.

To that end, Justice Reginald Sydney Fynn, President of the Court of Appeal and Lawyer Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley, recently appointed Solicitor General, took the oath of office. They thanked the President for the opportunity to serve at the judiciary and the country, adding that they would work very hard to maintain and uphold high standards at the judiciary, which they described as an important ingredient towards the success of a country.

The President congratulated the two and urged them to dispense justice to everyone in a transparent manner, noting that justice was an important component of a democratic state.

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Experts from the Anti Corruption Commission Meet President Bio at State House

State House, Freetown, Tuesday 9 April 2019 – Experts from the Anti Corruption Commission, ACC, have called at State House to update His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio on the ongoing crafting of the fourth generation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

The 2019-2023 Strategy, which is the fourth after the expiration of the third generation of 2014-2018, seeks to map out the vision aimed at focusing on the efficient delivery of public services, mainstreaming anti-corruption measures and strengthening the public sector to confront the scourge of corruption.

During the meeting, Director National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat, Nabilahi Musa-Kamara, said the meeting with the President was part of the ongoing consultation regarding the crafting of the document. He said the issue of corruption was very critical to the development of the country, adding that they were aware of the commitment already demonstrated by President Bio in the fight against corruption.

He said since its establishment in 2000 the ACC had experimented with the implementation of three National Anti-Corruption Strategies. He said they had gone across the country and had engaged almost every sector of the society on what people should expect to see in the Strategy in years to come. He noted that the ACC was both nationally and internationally obliged to develop or maintain effective anti-corruption policies from the participation of everyone within the context of its legal system.

“The ACC has put together a team of competent citizens to provide leadership in the crafting of the Strategy. The purpose of this meeting is to get the views of the President in terms of what should get into the National Anti Corruption Strategy. Essentially, the Strategy is a prevention mechanism to address corruption. We have engaged all political parties and they all have accepted the fact that corruption is endemic in our country. We have gone throughout the country and the fight against corruption has received wider acceptance,” he said.

In his response, President Bio thanked the ACC and the Team of Experts for doing a great job. He said corruption was a menace to the development of the society and was a security threat, adding that the political will to fight corruption was not only about making statements but it was more about taking actions, which he had demonstrated so far.

“I am happy that all the other political parties have accepted that corruption is endemic. We will not only make statements but also give the necessary freedom and support to all the institutions fighting corruption. I have spoken quite a lot about this and to the best of my knowledge I have given the support to all the agencies to fight corruption and we are supporting the Audit Service Sierra Leone to be able to come up with their reports every year.

“When I spoke about science, technology and innovation, it is about how we can prevent and how we can reduce the human contact because it is only when people are in touch with it that they can steal. If we can effectively use science and technology in the systems and processes to have little human interfaces it will be possible for us to control corruption. We will not hesitate to deal with anyone found wanting of corruption,” he said.

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President Bio Initiates Cross-Party Committee To Address Political Violence

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Alleged Two Police Saboteurs Arrested at State House

In an unpalatable development two Police Officers deployed at State House were arrested on the grounds of circulating a sensitive outcry on the Social Media regarded to be very inciting.

The Sierra Leone Police have therefore opened an investigation into alleged corruption and welfare complaints by State House secret services and bodyguards. According to Police Head of Media, Brima Kamara, they received a complaint in an audio recording claiming, “Presidential guards are not okay” with regards to their welfare.

“The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) has established beyond all reasonable doubt that the audio recording making the rounds is the handiwork of a few police officers who are bent on smearing the good image of the office of the presidency,” Brima Kamara said. Police officers, on condition of anonymity, allege that they are paid a meager Le70,000 as Daily Service Allowance (DSA) which is often not paid on time. “Our boss, AIG William Fayia Sellu, is not addressing our welfare concerns at State House,” they claimed.

They also accused some senior Police Officers of corruption and soliciting bribes for deployments at State House. “We have arrested two police officers and investigations are ongoing,” Kamara added. Police officers have been arrested and placed under formal investigation by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) with the view to determining the veracity of all the claims highlighted in the audio recording and also finding out what precipitated the release of the audio to the public.

The Media and Public Relations Unit stated that want to reiterate that the SLP is a disciplined institution with well-established communication channels and redress mechanisms, which guide, direct, and address complaints emanating from personnel within the Force. Brima Kamara assured the public that all allegations of sabotage and corruption referred to in the audio recording are false and a misrepresentation of what obtained at the office of the presidency. Information from other police officers indicate dissatisfaction among other units of Police, who say they have legitimate complaints.

Some officers mentioned a tribal connection also afflicts State House security operations. “Issues raised in the audio will also be equally investigated,” Brima Kamara concluded. According to a senior official at State House they are currently conducting an internal investigation and President Bio has been briefed on the issue. Some state security bodyguards disclosed that it’s better and rewarding to work at the Office of the First Lady Fatima Bio than State House.

©The Calabash Newspaper

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New Solicitor General Takes Oath of Office at State House

State House, Freetown, Friday 29 March 2019 – The newly appointed Solicitor General of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley, has subscribed to the Oath of Office before His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio in accordance with the Constitution during a ceremony held at State House.

Shortly after taking the oath of office, Mr. Tarawalley said he was thankful to President Bio for the honour and privilege to be appointed Solicitor General of Sierra Leone, adding that he was aware of the challenges but vowed not to betray the President’s trust. He noted that the New Direction Government had made tremendous strides in revamping and restoring trust in the legal system of the country.

“Good laws and good legal system are part of the development and growth of any nation and I commend your government on that. It is my pleasure to work in tandem with the Attorney General to build, develop and improve the justice department otherwise known as the Law Officers’ Department, which is the largest government law firm. If our laws must be respected, we must respect them and to me this is doable,” he said.

In his brief response, President Bio congratulated Lawyer Tarawalley on his new role, saying that he had been meticulously chosen and therefore so much was expected of him because the country was lagging behind and that a lot of work was required to catch up with the rest of the world.

“We are beginning to find our place in society and we should continue on that part. That is why I want to encourage everyone to put their hands on deck because this is not something we can do alone. Now is the time to work and there are very good signs that we are on the right track. Therefore, as you join us, I want to implore you to continue to work very hard. On my part, I promise to provide the quality leadership necessary to change the bad reputation of the country,” he said.

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“We are impressed with your performance in Office and have faith in you,” Cynthia Huger, Head of Agency, Millennium Challenge Corporation

Washington DC, Wednesday 13th March 2019 – The Head of Agency and Vice President of the Department of Administration and Finance at Millennium Challenge Corporation, Cynthia Huger has told President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone that the Millennium Challenge Corporation is impressed with his performance in office and has faith in him to deliver. She made this statement during a courtesy call on President Bio at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington on Monday 11th March 2019.

Cynthia Huger praised President Bio for his determined fight against corruption and congratulated the Government for passing the “control of corruption” indicator with an impressive score. She also thanked President Bio for the improvement in electricity and water supply adding that “If you need any held along the way then we are happy to help you”. The Head of Agency commended President Bio for his governance reforms and stated that they will also be available to help with the reforms and institutional capacity. “You have the will and determination to move the country forward. With the MCC, we are not asking you to pay back any money but just want to help you,” Cynthia Huger stated.

Responding, President Bio thanked the Head of Agency for recognizing the progress made by his government adding that they are making frantic efforts to meet the eligibility criteria of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. President Bio said that he has assigned the Vice President, Dr Juldeh Jalloh to be in charge of the Millennium Challenge Corporation programme and that he is confident that the Vice President will deliver on it.

President Bio also said that as a government which believes in collective responsibility, at the Ministerial level, deputy ministers have been given primary responsibility for data collection on the Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard. He highlighted his priority of human capital development, the fight against corruption and commissions of inquiry and the protection of women and girls through the state of emergency declaration. A passionate President Bio said that whilst the government has done a great job on fiscal discipline through revenue mobilization and control of expenditure, he wants these economic gains to trickle down to ordinary people to improve their living conditions.

President Bio said that the eligibility criteria by the Millennium Challenge Corporation must be something every responsible government should aspire to do for their people and should not just wait for the incentives from Millennium Challenge Corporation. During the courtesy call, the United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E Maria E. Brewer who accompanied Cynthia Huger also thanked President Bio for his efforts in protecting women and girls from rape and sexual violence. The Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis thanked the Millennium Challenge Corporation for their support and stated that the government will do everything it can to meet the eligibility criteria.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. Government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to poor countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, from fighting corruption to respecting democratic rights.

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President Julius Maada Bio Decorates Dr Jane Goodall as Officer of the Order of the Rokel

State House, Freetown, Wednesday 27 February 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has decorated Dr Jane Goodall with the award of the Order of the Rokel of the Republic of Sierra Leone at a ceremony held at State House.

The honour, Sierra Leone’s highest and most prestigious decoration, recognises Sierra Leoneans who have distinguished themselves by making valuable contributions to the country. She is British and one of a small number of non-Sierra Leoneans to have earned that respect in recent times.

Dr Goodall, DBE, anthropologist and United Nations Messenger of Peace, was instrumental in founding the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the only place in Sierra Leone that keeps rescued chimpanzees. The establishment of the reservation for chimps makes Freetown the only capital city in the world where one can come in contact with chimps.

Dr Goodall’s discovery in 1960 around chimpanzees had been considered as one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth-century scholarship. Her field research at Gombe, located in western Kigoma Region of Tanzania in East Africa, transformed the understanding of Chimpanzees and redefined the relationship between humans and animals in ways that continue to emanate around the world.

In her acceptance speech, Dr Goodall said she was truly humbled by the honour, adding that it provided a reason for hope to nature in the country. She said Sierra Leone had a beautiful forest and advised that protecting and restoring it was one of the ways of mitigating climate change.

She noted that it was great to know that protecting the forest, would mean protecting the biodiversity and by protecting the forest it would be able to give out clean water and air to the environment, adding that the forest was tremendously important for human survival.

“A reason for hope is that young people are beginning to help people, animals and the environment because they are all interrelated. As individuals, we are beginning to use our brains every day to think about how we can leave an as huge ecological footprint as possible. We have to give nature a chance and nature will come back.

“You have wonderful forests and areas which people around the world will like to come and visit. I will do my level best to help conservation which might include tourism or agro-culture to help conservation in Sierra Leone,” she assured.

On his part, President Bio said he was pleased to have Dr Goodall in the country and acknowledged the great work she was doing around the world. He said there was a lot of environmental degradation around the world, noting that human activities were impacting negatively on the environment.

He stated that certain ecologies had been destroyed and that was leading to poverty and adverse weather conditions around the world. He said Dr Goodall’s experience had taught the world about the relationship between human beings and the environment.

“Thank you for your dedication and hard work around the world and rest assured we will support you. I will join my colleagues who are active in supporting wildlife around the world. Thank you so much for accepting our honour,” he said.

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