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SPECIAL REPORTS : Afsatu Kabba  

An Intriguing Tale Involving One Week of Afsatu Kabba's Life (February 9th - 16th 2010)
Jul 5, 2010, 13:22
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From:           Ag. Director of Fisheries

To:      Permanent Secretary

9 February 2010

1.     I wish to inform you that the following fishing vessels, registered under OKEKY AGENCIES LTD, have been inspected and found to satisfy the requirement for issuance of fishing licences:

Name of vessel
Fleet of 14 fishing vessels:

Call sign

12 Months license duration

1.Suyu 605


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

2.Suyu 606


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

3.Zhijiang 1


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

4. Zhijiang 2


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

5.Yuan Yu 629


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

6.Yuan Yu 630


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

7.Puyu 6001


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

8.Puyu 6002


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

9.Puyu 6015


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

10.Puyu 6016


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

11.Min Yu 701


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

12.Min Yu 702


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

13.Yan Yu 629


10-02-10 to 09-02-11

2.  I approve the issuance of fishing license to the above fourteen fishing vessels.


Dr. Mohamed B.D Sesay

Acting Director of Fisheries


From:         Permanent Secretary

To:    Honourable Minister

9 February 2010

Hon. Minister,  The above minute refers. The Ag. Director of Fisheries (DOF) has carefully perused the attached documents in respect of Okeky Agencies application for the issuance of Fishing License for a fleet of 14 Fishing vessels. I humbly recommend your endorsement to the above Agencies application to enable the Ag. DOF to issue Fshing Licenses to Okeky Agencies.

Paul Sandy (Permanent Secretary)

Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources

Date: 12th February 2010

From Hon Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources

Thru: Permanent Secretary

To: Ag. Director of Fisheries


Request for detailed explanations of the reason for the change to the information previously recorded, and to submit true copies of documents qualifying the vessels as approved for licensing.

As you are aware, we agreed that the correct approach to the issuance of license should be handled in such a way that yourself, the permanent secretary and myself will approve all the pre-licensing work before starting to write up the license in the license book. This was not done and I am quite surprised. Some inconsistencies of information have been identified, but the circumstances surrounding them have not been reported to me.

This occurrence has led me to make a close examination of the documents you submitted to my office. I have identified the following:

i.               No transshipment activity has been conducted as you have advised this should have been undertaken before approval of license.

ii.              No submissions of certificates and documents that caused the apparent delay in your approval procedure. (Reference to SLMA, CA, Call Sign changes, inspection reports, etc. )

iii.         Call signs that were recorded earlier are now invalid. I dont know why there is so much confusion with the call signs and this is critical to radio reporting and identification of the vessels. Call signs recorded in log books, licensing records and transshipment forms are at variance,

iv.           The recruitment of local crew subsequent to approval of licensing looks like a contravention of procedures prescribed by regulation, in place for ascertaining crew composition is adhered to.

v.             You have approved vessels indicated in the minute as should not be licensed until after resolution of net destruction case without any mention of details of the dispute resolution.

vi.           No information regarding the disapproval of yan yu 630 for licensing.

vii.    No information on the reasons for reduction of fleets.

viii.   No report on the situation of by-catch has been produced which should include, the ratio of by-catch to shrimp or by-catch % in relation to main catch.

ix.     No mention of the persistent intrusions into prohibited fishing areas.

x.     An authentic international tonnage certificate was not produced at the inspection of the vessels for which I was present.

Can you please peruse every single point mentioned above and provide the relevant documents and explanation in writing of the issues that I have identified and mentioned. More attention is to be paid to analyzing the call sign changes as indicated below and verification of information by searching through well renowned ships database which is publicly available.

Suyu 605- BVTS to BHPW

Suyu 606- BXAF9 to BHPW2

Zhainjiang 1- BXCF1 to BKJL

Zhainjiang 2-BVTT to BKJL2

Puyu 6001 BKIZ1 to BKTH1 to BKTZ1

Puyu 6002- BKIZ2 to BBFJ to BKTZ2

Yan yu 632- BVTL to BBEJ to BBFJ*

*this was the call sign of vessels PUYU 6002 as mentioned in the Minute.

Please respond to this request within 24 hours upon receipt.



Minister; Hon Haja Afsatu Kabba

Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources

Hon. Minister,

16th February 2010

Request for detailed explanations of the reasons for the changes to the information previously recorded, and to submit true copies of documents qualifying the vessels as approved for licensing

I have the honour most respectfully to refer to the above mentioned matter and to humbly state that, I have perused the concerns and issues raised in your letter (i-x) addressed to the Ag. Director of Fisheries through my office and to inform you that I have carefully checked the attached documents which were inadvertently not submitted for your attention.

Furthermore, as your principal adviser, please lets be cautious with external interferences as against internal as we have a set target to meet in the Result Based Management (RBM) programme.

May I take this moment to inform you that, your stance which I wholly share with you, has achieved success both locally and internationally yet caution needs to be maintained at all times.

I therefore humbly submit for your attention and eventual approval of licences, the Ag. Director of Fisheries response and its attachments.

Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources

To:    Hon. Minister, MFMR

Thr:  Permanent Secretary, MFMR

From:         Ag. Director of Fisheries

Response to Hon. Ministers Request


Thanks for the request for information. I am responding to your questions with an open mind and with the full understanding of your natural drive and propensity to ensure that gains from the sector are optimized and distributed in an equitable manner for the sustainable development of the country.

Undoubtedly, the sector, under your direction, has made tremendous progress and it has earned its rightful description as a group sector with huge potential for contributing not only to traditional areas like fiscal revenue, employment and nutrition but also support to infrastructural development and other societal needs that are necessary ingredients in the human development indices.

Together, we have tried and this is now widely acknowledged amongst our development partners. But I should hasten to state further that we have only built the foundation and with time we shall progress further with a common vision.

Fisheries management is multidimensional, comprising the critical elements of biological conversation, economic considerations and social welfare. In view of my training, I would naturally opt for the attainment of biological conversation as the prime objective. But the reality is that success of any fisheries administration, especially in under-resourced countries, is assessed from the point of view of socio-economic impacts! That is the main reason why coastal countries south of the Sahara are often compelled to issue fishing licences to vessels that have flouted fisheries laws across various EEZs. Colleagues in the sub region know my stand on this issue. I am a strong proponent of fostering good governance for sustainable fisheries management. My writings and contributions in international fora can absolve me.

Economic realities and pressing need for food security have always contradicted the noble ideas of responsible fishing practices. The conundrum of maximinizing yield in metric tones of fish or financial returns cuts across globally. Can you ever imagine the fishing vessels ASPARI, caught several times for IUU fishing, has an approved EU number that authorized fish export from the vessel! What a common fisheries policy! Can you also imaging that even though we eloquently informed the ICCAT meeting in Brazil of the arrest of YU Feng 102, the vessel is still on the list of authorized tuna vessels recognized by ICCAT? What a double standard!

With all due respect, Hon. Minister, you would have realized by now that I am a fervent supporter of aligning our fisheries management goals with international instruments. But please let us be proud of some of our achievements to data, viz;

1.     Implementation of mandatory pre-licencing inspections of all fishing vessels with submission of relevant vessel documents

2.     Collaboration with other relevant insitutions to conduct inspections

3.     Transparent and methodical licencing procedures in the office

4.     Centralization of transshipment zones

5.     Etc, etc

More importantly, the current compliance by all fishing companies, irrespective of their sizes and fortunes, has demonstrated our genuine position to eradicate illegal fishing practice and enforce the provision of the 1994 fisheries management and development ACT. This is a challenge we must continue and I pledge my support for the pathway that you have expressively mapped out.


1.     Indeed the vessels have not carried out transshipments for over a period of time. Their request to transship in December 2009 was not entertained as the Ministry had already directed that all transshipment activities be moved to Harbour or Kissy Dockyard at the commencement of the New Year. The transshipment could only have been possible with the availability of a carrier, which may not be very immediate. The carrier is not local based and only arrives in any Port at scheduled dates.

2.     Documents for inspections, sanitary, previous records of maritime registrations etc are available. The vessels had registration with SLMA but their registrations have been annulled (see deletion certificates for individual vessels). The vessels are registered at the Port of China and this changed their status to being foreign vessels. The inspection team confirmed the availability of valid original registration certificates onboard all the vessels during the inspections. Being foreign vessels, the 2003 Merchant Shipping Act preclude them from SLMA but tonnage fees should be paid to SLMA. There is however an ongoing parliamentary discussions with SLMA, Ministry of Transport and Aviation for review of the tonnage and registration fees. Thus as of now, SLMA is not accepting any payment is lieu of both.

3.     Indeed detailed analyses of call signs for few vessels showed inconsistencies and the company was informed accordingly. I have received assurance of corrections. Some of the inconsistencies were due to the change of Port of Registration from Freetown to China.

4.     At the time of inspection, all Sierra Leone crew have been discharged but the vessel owners informed the inspection team that they will be recruited immediately when license are secured. I was informed that the decision to discharge the local crew members in the first instance was prompted by the extended stay in port whiles issues of designation of transshipment and inspection zones were being deliberated. The company considered it costly to maintain crew onboard in port over a period of time.

5.     The company gave me assurance that they will address the issues and had invited the affected fishers for settlement. I personally intervened to ensure that the issues will be resolved though by 2004 Local Government Act, the twin functions of canoe licensing and conflict resolution are the prime responsibilities of the local councils. I recognize, though the resolution of the dispute should be facilitated by the Ministry. The vessel YUAN Yu 630 is one of the vessels.

6.     See 5

7.     The company has traditionally 18 shrimp trawlers; one of the vessels, Suyu 614, is detained for various violations and the three were not submitted for inspection obviously because of fear of rejection by inspection team. I am informed that they shall may be scrapped or sent to Dakar for thorough dry-docking.

8.     Bycatch discussion, with fishing company association, in shrimp trawlers is being facilitated by Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries. The first meeting was held last Friday and we agreed to disperse for further consultations. The meeting shall be reconvened at a latter date. In the meantime, whilst discussions are ongoing, some of the technical measures being proposed by the Ministry in order to minimize incidental landings have been discussed and the stakeholders are generally agreeable with these bycatch mitigating measures. These measures include increase of minimum permissible codend diagonal stretched mesh size from 42 mm to 45 mm, restricting of shrimp trawling to night only (in view of the nocturnal active life of these species). This has, in now way changed the Ministrys stance on the 70% deterrent measure to discourage excessive bycatch, which was effectively by the 1st January 2010.

9.     Persistent incursion in the IEZ is an issue that all companies are guilty of. Most respectively, we should be mindful of this observation so that lest be accus
10.    Calculations of fees are based on GRTs which ideally should be verified by international tonnage certificated. All the fishing vessels had original certificates of registration from China, incorporating vessels specifications (including gross and net tonnage). The tonnage certificates for the individual fishing vessels are attached. I believe we should accept these certificates. With the measures we are putting in place to ensure good governance, we shall inform stake-holders that International tonnage certificates is a condition of the licence henceforth. The fact of the matter is that almost all the vessels that have been licensed did not produce international tonnage certificate.

Concluding remarks

With all due respect, I wish to categorically stressed that my action to recommend the issuance of fishing licences to the said vessels have been based purely firstly on professional considerations with innermost desire to accomplish the provisions of the Agenda for Change and your vision therein.


I recognize the strides the Ministry have taken, under your leadership, and your burning desire to sustain those achievements. I wish to assure you that I am in this fight with you and promise to support you and government in promoting economic growth from this sector.


I wish to emphasize that no personnal gains are envisaged in the conduct of my work and that issue of compromise are foreign to my character in the accomplishment of my duties.


Professionally, Hon. Minster, I advise you to license these vessels. The insuance of licences to these vessels would not in way undermine our current stand and image, which have now become indelible, the points have been  made and we can only continue from here and backward never.


In my enthusiasm, if procedurally, I may have gone wrong, please forgive me. My actions, I repeat and it stands to be proven, are borne purely out of consideration for you and the Ministry and nothing more. My concern is that up to the time of responding to your questions, we have less than 30 licensed fishing vessels and for an undeveloped fishery like ours that relies heavily on licences and royalties for revenue generation, there is a direct correlation between number of licensed fishing vessels and fiscal returns.


I would asure you at this stage, when our sector would have developed with onshore facilities and transformed into a service sector, the desire to licence as many fishing vessels would be obviated.



Dr. Mohamed B. D. Seisay [ 16th February 2010]

16th February 2010 Summons from Anti Corruption Commission for Haja Afsatu Olayinka Kabba

The Republic of Sierra Leone

Anti-Corruption Commission

To: Hon Haja Afsatu Olayinka Ebishola Kabba

10 Femi Turner Drive


The Anti Corruption Act 2008

ACC REF: DOC/2777/2778/01/082-09


Notice Under Section 53(1)


An investigation is being carried out into an offence(s) alleged or suspected to have been committed under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008. In exercise of the power conferred on me by section 53(1) of the Act, I hereby required you to attend the Commission and be examined on oath, affirmation or otherwise and to produce any documents that the Commission may require.


In accordance with section 53(3) of the above Act, Evelyn Walker, Bashiru Konneh and Franklyn Campbell are also empowered by this authorization to require from any person information as to whether or not there is any document at any other place, which is to be produce, inspected or investigated.


Dated this 16th day of February 2010

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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