Legal Link has on Tuesday 1 March 2022 trained about 150 pastors, 40 Muslim and Christian law students and 2 Bishops on legal compliance issues at the Winners Chapel Teens Hall in Freetown.

Calabash Newspaper reported that the legal compliance training was organized against the backdrop of the plethora of court cases currently handled by Legal Link regarding religious institutions in Freetown.

โ€œThese cases bothered on non-registration of religious institutions, illegal acquisition of land, properties and real estates as well as the non โ€“ payment of salaries, NASSIT contributions and end of service benefits to employees,โ€ they noted.

It was further understood that the rationale for the training was to help reduce the number of cases in court against religious leaders and their institutions and to further broaden their knowledge and horizon on certain legal matters ranging from the setting up of a church and its legal registration process, church acquisition of land, estate and properties, preparation of leases and tenancy agreements, marriage and divorce issues, the handling of labour and staff matters, understanding NASSIT, Minimum wage and income tax laws and their legal consequences, church ethics, church versus local Government and church versus court proceedings.

Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Director of Legal Link, Rashid Dumbuya Esq, said that the legal compliance training has helped greatly in imparting knowledge to religious leaders in the country thus improving the administrative skills of those leaders within their respective religious institutions.

He noted that such state of affairs has led to a significant reduction of court cases against religious institutions in Freetown since last year.

He therefore urged religious leaders to take advantage of these legal trainings as they are being conducted every year.

Since 2019, Lawyer Dumbuya revealed that over 2000 religious leaders have benefited from the legal and compliance training in Freetown.

He disclosed that five important modules were taught during the training with the first on understanding church registration process and the legal issues involved; the second was on church acquisition of properties – the place of conveyance, lease agreements, tenancy agreements, deed of gifts, Wills and Letters of Administration.

According to him, the third module was about understanding the legal issues surrounding Marriage and Divorce; the fourth was about Church handling of labour and staff employment matters- understanding the Minimum wage law, NASSIT Act and the Income tax Act while the fifth module was about Church versus court proceedings.

Testimonies from religious leaders about the legal challenges being encountered in court by various religious institutions regarding land acquisition, non-registration and wrong handling of employment matters captivated the audience and made the training of immense significance.

Several participants that took part in the programme commended Legal Link for coming up with such a timely training for religious leaders in Freetown where land conflicts have become a great challenge for religious institutions.

They encouraged and called on the organization to roll out similar trainings in the provinces so that pastors and imams living in the provinces can benefit also from this all important training.