Sierra Leone Ombudsman Tejan Ahmed Israel Jah Esq. has made a courtesy call to different Ministries departments and Agencies on different occasions to discuss beneficial issues.

In his engagement with the Ministry of Environment and his Management Team, he explained his mandate and functions, stating that his Office was established by the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No.6 of 1991, and the Ombudsman Act No.2 of 1997.

He noted that the issues of injustices and Maladministration should be a thing of the past if His Excellency the President’s, manifesto promise of revamping the Civil and Public Service architecture is to be realized. He noted that the reason for the courtesy call was to build a cordial working relationship between his office and the various MDAs.

Thanking the Ombudsman and Team for the visit, the Minister Dr. Jiwoh Abdulai stated that the Ombudsman has a huge and important task ahead to rid the Civil and Public Service of injustices and Maladministration. He notes that the workers should feel welcomed in their Institutions to ensure that service delivery is effective. He maintained that it is important for people to know where to seek redress when they suffer from injustices in their workplaces.

He pledged his Ministry’s support to the Office of the Ombudsman.

In another development, the Ombudsman also paid a courtesy call on the Honorable Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Chernor Abass Bundu at his Office at the Parliament Building to strengthen accountability and good governance.

While addressing the Speaker, he stated that although the Speaker knows about his work, he is there to build a more cordial working relationship that will enable him to fulfill his mandate with the support of the Speaker. He informed the Speaker of his Office instituting investigations into the redundancy of close to 100 staff members of Parliament. He stated that he will need the cooperation of all the parties involved to ensure that the process is fair, transparent,t and effective.

Responding, the Honorable Speaker stated that he is ashamed of what transpired regarding the issue of the staff. He noted that he was not informed of such action. He revealed that lawmakers, should not be seen as breaking the laws that they have passed.

He further notes that he is awaiting the report from the Committee which was set up to investigate the issue but notes that it should not stop the Ombudsman from instituting his investigations. He stated that his office is open if the Ombudsman’s investigations team faces any obstacles whilst carrying out their duties. He pledged his commitment to supporting the work of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman also visited the Inspector General of Police William Fayia Sellu, explaining the purpose of the visit, the Ombudsman said that it was to acquaint himself with the Inspector General, following his appointment as Ombudsman, and to also establish a smooth and cordial working relationship with him. He added that the courtesy visit was also meant to fully brief the IGP about a series of complaints he had received from personnel of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), bordering on alleged administrative injustices, which he said, would require the IGP to intervene and bring to logical conclusions.

The Ombudsman spoke about his mandate which he said extends to receiving complaints of alleged administrative injustices from staff and personnel in ministries, departments, agencies, learning institutions, security forces, and local councils, among others; noting that all he does is done in good faith and within the remit of good conscience.

Responding, the IGP alluded to the complaints received from the Ombudsman and promised to look into them in good faith and with a clear conscience. He spoke about the SLP’s internal control mechanisms in place, which he said, are guided by the provisions of The Police (Discipline) Regulations, 2001.

He revealed that all matters bordering on discipline and conduct are handled by the Directorate of Professional Standards and that sanctions meted out against personnel for any infractions are in line with the provisions of the Code. The IGP stressed that the SLP could not allow police officers to appear in court as accused persons when they are still considered to be serving members. Hence, he said, they are dismissed from the SLP through established procedures and then criminally investigated and charged to court as civilians.

In closing, the IGP pledged to cordially work with the Ombudsman and assured him of his unwavering support at all times, in the interest of justice. IGP Sellu extended an invitation to the Ombudsman to meet with the SLP’s management team, on a meeting scheduled for Wednesday 6th March, 2024, which the Ombudsman readily consented to. He noted that the SLP is ‘happy to have oversight bodies that checkmate our conducts’; as that would help to build trust and confidence.

“I do everything with a human face because I know I will one day leave the office. I am therefore guided by my conscience in whatever I do”, Inspector General of Police William Fayia Sellu