As the voter registration enters Phase 2, there have been reports of ECSL staff rejecting Registrants presenting themselves for Voter Registration since the commencement of the exercise on account of fake Birth Certificates used as a requirement to determine the nationality and age among other citizens of Sierra Leone.

The Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) during a Press Conference organized by the ECSL on Monday, 19th September 2022 informed the general public that the NCRA was supporting the ECSL on the provisions of the respective institutional mandates of both the NCRA and the ECSL in the conduct of Voter Registration and update of the Voter Register with key Legal Identity documents such as Birth Certificates used as a requirement to determine the age and citizenship of Registrants.

Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi, Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) said that identity fraud such as fake Birth Certificates have continued to embarrass us as a people, as a country, and as a Government for decades and urged everyone to make it a thing of the past as the NCRA is resolved with the support of His Excellency, the President to halt identity manipulation and dynamism in Sierra Leone.
Recent concerns from the public have alarmed that ECSL Registration Officials are turning away Registrants purportedly carrying fake Birth Certificates and that they should verify those Birth Certificates with the NCRA.

The NCRA at the request of the ECSL acted on the concerns by setting up a responsive 24/7 Situation Room to support the ECSL with the prompt verification of Birth Certificates presented to the Registration Officials across the country. Through this system, Mr. Massaquoi intimated the public that the NCRA has continued to track hundreds of fake Birth Certificates presented for Voter Registration and has promptly responded to the ECSL on the outcome of the verified Certificates covering all categories but primarily among them are the First Time Voters who attempt to add the ages to be eligible to Vote in the 2023 general elections.

The Director General further opined that some Certificates were issued a year or years before the Births of the children apparently with their parents anticipating their pregnancy and subsequent births, others indulging in multiple registrations with different dates of birth, birth Certificates with unauthorized signatories, use of illegal Stamps and Seals, erroneous coding, misleading entries, misplaced numberings, unknown personnel endorsing the Certificates among others that one finds despicable, the Director General fumed. etc.
‘’This practice has caused serious international embarrassment to Government and the people of this country over the years and must be brought to an end’’, DG Massaquoi said.

He added that with support from Development Partners, the NCRA in January this year, launched the use of Securitized and Serialized Legal Identity Credentials including Birth, Deaths, Marriage, Divorce, and Adoption Certificates which he said have unique security features that cannot be counterfeited or forged with the daily track of their issuance including anyone issuing them.

The DG assured the public that the NCRA will continue to work closely with the Electoral Commission in making sure that the principle of one man one identity applies in all Identity transactions in the country, including Voter Registration thus halting identity dynamism in Sierra Leone.

A birth Certificate is a fundamental identity document that helps to determine the nationality of an individual; serves as a foundational document for legal identity and it is legally produced and issued by the NCRA under the NCR Act of 2016.

DG Massaquoi concluded by assuring the media and the public as a whole that the NCRA is resolved to making sure that the issue of identity manipulation, one man with multiple and dynamic personal information used for different purposes as well as the issuance and use of fake Birth Certificates will become a history that we will be proud to tell as a nation.

The Director General warned those with perpetual and continued trade in this nefarious enterprise to desist from it as perpetrators will not only bear the consequences but will lose opportunities that such despicable trade is intended to attract. He used the opportunity to warn those who kill their relatives before their actual deaths to stop as records of all the vital events (Births, Deaths, Marriages, Divorces, and Adoptions) are available and will be referenced to authenticate all claims of deaths and where death is proven to be false, perpetrators will be named and shamed in addition to other consequences they may bear.

“Our Identity Management Infrastructure cannot be beaten; it is battle tested and will stand the test of all times,” DG Massaquoi maintained.