From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone,Ombudsman Interacts with the Press
By Abdul Fonti
Oct 7, 2009, 17:22

The Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone yesterday held extensive talks with members of the fourth estate, during a press briefing summoned at his Siaka Stevens Street office in Freetown. Ombudsman Edmund Cowan who has just returned from a three week tour of South Africa, Namibia and Malawi, told journalists that his office received a total of ninety six (96) complaints for the period July to September 2009.

“Complaints received fall under various types of categories that include, non-payment of salaries and benefits, for which we had a total number of 50 complaints; biased and unfair treatment 17 complaints,” Hon. Justice Cowan said adding, “we have concluded about fifteen complaints, of these, fourteen were in favour of the complainants while one was in favour of the institution complained about”.

Justice Edmund Cowan exposed that Ministries, Departments and Agencies respond to queries at a slow pace, which the Ombudsman said is responsible for the delay in the investigative process. “Some institutions deliberately refuse to reply to any of our correspondence and others see us as an intruder in their domain,” he pointed out, adding that: “These are the reasons why we still have 77 complaints under investigation, making it impossible for us to conclude more cases”.

The Ombudsman said his office has recruited investigators, an admin/finance officer, secretaries, information technology officers and a public relations officer.

Mr. Cowan registered profound appreciation to the government and the Justice Sector Development Project (JSDP) for the support given to his office so far.

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