From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone News : Ombudsman Unveils 100-day Action Plan
By Emmanuel I. Kamara
May 29, 2017, 12:06

The Ombudsman of Sierra Leone, Mr. Melron Nicol-Wilson Esq On Friday 26 May 2017, unveiled his 100-Day Action Plan in a Press Conference at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) in Freetown, giving a new direction to achieving administrative justice and safeguard human rights in Sierra Leone and achieving HE President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity (A4P).

 

With just over a month in the Office of the Ombudsman, the people of Sierra Leone have seen what Melron Nicol-Wilson’s incredible work ethic and commitment to the cause of administrative justice and human rights has accomplished in a brief period.

 

The Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay delivered a goodwill message on behalf of the President Koroma. The Spokesman’s participation is reflective of the President’s interest in advancing the work of the Ombudsman.  Mr Bayraytay spoke highly of the Ombudsman and expressed hope that the new Omdurman would make an enormous impact in promoting good governance.

 

Ombudsman and Wife (Mr. & Mrs. Melron Nicol-Wilson)

 

The Ombudsman highlighted some of the challenges confronting in his office including: lack of powers to enforce the Ombudsman’s decision; inadequate resources to smoothly carry out the operations of the offices in Freetown and the regions; and backlog cases have seriously undermined the credibility of the Ombudsman and affect public confidence in the office. 

 

The Ombudsman has promised to deliver President Koroma’s agenda to “deal with cases speedily, with the highest level of professionalism and integrity’’. To achieve this agenda, the Ombudsman said that he would work hard to review the Ombudsman Act 1997 and propose to Parliament to enact enforcement powers to enable the Ombudsman to deliver its mandate. 

 

The Ombudsman’s 100-Day Plan of Action has been divided into three projects including: POWER Project, EMPOWERMENT project, and DELIVER Project (PED).

 

What follows is the new Ombudsman’s 100-Day Action Plan to empower his office to deliver administrative justice and safeguard human rights in Sierra Leone. It is the outcome of a nationwide consultation and institutional   assessment conducted by the Ombudsman in Freetown and the regional offices: Bo, Makeni & Kenema. The Plan focuses on enhancing public confidence, accountability, fairness and a new direction. The Ombudsman will immediately pursue the following actions:

1. Power Project: Three measures to give enforcement POWERS to the Ombudsman to be able to demand administrative justice & safeguard human rights:

•FIRST, consult with a group of legal experts and stakeholders to review the Ombudsman Act 1997.

•SECOND, propose an amendment to the Ombudsman Act 1997, with a view to enact enforcement powers for the Office of the Ombudsman.

•THIRD, develop a 5-year Strategic Plan designed to enhance public confidence, accountability, fairness and a new direction.

2.EMPOWER PROJECT: Three actions to EMPOWER the Office of the Ombudsman to deliver its mandate:

•First, relocate the Head Office of the Ombudsman to a more conducive environment fit for purpose, and provide support to regional offices.    

•SECOND, design a new organogram for the Office and terms of reference for units and staff in order to develop the institution. 

• THIRD, improve website design, commence quarterly newsletter, and develop other relevant information and communication   technology to enhance the work of the Ombudsman.

3. DELIVER Project: Three actions to DELIVER H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s instruction to the Ombudsman to “deal with cases speedily, with the highest level of professionalism and integrity’’.

• FIRST, immediately recruit additional staff including programme, mediation and legal experts to deal with cases speedily, with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.

• SECOND, support MDAs to create an effective internal grievance mechanism, with a view to reducing the number of reported complaints to Ombudsman.

• THIRD, develop and sign Memoranda of   Understanding (MOU) with line institutions   such as Legal Aid Board, Anti-Corruption Commission, Ministry of Labour, Human Rights Commission, the Judiciary etc., to ensure an   effective case management and referral system.


The Office of the Ombudsman is a public body established by Act No. 2 of 1997. The mandate of the Ombudsman is to investigate any action taken or omittedin the exercise of the administrative functions of any ministry, department, government agency, statutory corporation or institution set up with public funds.



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