February 17, 2020
By Mohamed Sesay
The Ombudsman of Sierra Leone has on Friday expressed determination to curtail outright violation of employees rights by naming and shaming any government official culpable of maladministration, ranging from improper sacking, unfair discrimination, bias, injustice, pension claims,to undue disadvantages against their staff.
Leon Jenkins Johnston made the above commitment to the press during the commemoration of his one year in office.
He said despite the challenges experienced in delivering its mandate, the Office of the Ombudsman was still dedicated to delivering their services in order to champion administrative justice and safeguard human rights.
Celebrating the day with the theme ‘Embracing the year of delivering, to enhance administrative justice’, he said the Office of the Ombudsman would focus not only on the vision of the New Direction, but also on the year of delivery by encouraging the citizenry to demand administrative justice and to prevent maladministration in public offices.
‘‘Just as the Anti-Corruption is there to deal with corruption, that is the same way the Office of the Ombudsman would deal with administrative issues, maladministration and injustice. Thus, I will do so by naming and shaming those that are in the habit of indulging in maladministration, because if we are to push this country forward, we shall do it all together,” he said
Highlighting some of his successes with the help of a dedicated Complaints, Mediation and Investigation Division, he said the Office of the Ombudsman continues to play it paramount role in the receipt, investigation and resolution of complaints.
He added that in 2019, the office received a total of seven hundred and seven (707) complaints nationwide and that out of that number, three hundred and sixteen (316) complaints were from Freetown.
He said one hundred and twenty-six (126) were mediated, investigated and resolved, while one hundred and two (102) complaints were transferred, with eighty-eight (88) were received from the Sierra Leone Police and the Ministry of Lands.
He said eighty-one (81) complaints were received from Kenema and that twenty-three (23) were mediated, investigated and resolved, twenty-eight (28) were transferred and thirty (30) were under investigation.
He said from Bo, one hundred and eighty-four (184) complaints were received and that fifty-five (55) were mediated, investigated and resolved, ninety-nine (99) complaints transferred, while thirty (30) complaints were under investigation.
In Port Loko, he said sixty-one (61) complaints were received, twenty-three (23) mediated and resolved, one (1) transferred and thirty-seven (37) complaints were under investigation.
He further mentioned the nature of cases that the Office of the Ombudsman under his leadership have dealt with, ranging from the non-payment of salaries, backlog and benefits, to non or late payment of gratuities or pension from NASSIT.
He called on ministers and other government officials to be more compliant and responsive in dealing with complaints against their respective institutions.