-Opposition Whip demand
February 19, 2021
By Kelvin W Morgan
Opposition Whip, Hon. Hassan A. Sesay of the All People’s Congress (APC) has stated that parliament should be informed about gifts or donations received on behalf of Sierra Leoneans by any individual or institution.
The demand came about when the Leader of Government Business laid on the table of the House, some gift received from the Chinese Embassy for use by the Ministry of Youth Affairs.
Hon. Hassan A. Sesay said it is but good that when gifts are received, they should be laid in parliament or the receiving Ministry, Department and Agency informs Parliament that such has been given to them.
“I think that when good things are done, there is need for those people to be appreciated. It is good that we must always appreciate the good things that the government or people receive on behalf of the country. This act has been done severally and they have not brought any before this house or laid on the table of the House,” he said.
He said the last time Parliament received donations from the Chinese Government, MPs commended them for that and that he thought that such act of appreciating other nations should be a norm, as they have been helping in the governance process so far.
“But Mr. Speaker, the constitution of Sierra Leone stipulates that donations or gifts received by MDAs be made known to parliament. I know there were gifts and when people give you gift they want to be appreciated,” he emphasised.
He said Section 118, sub-section 7 did not discriminate the kind of gift that should come to parliament as long as it is a gift meant for the people of Sierra Leone, parliament must know.
He said Parliament was not informed about the fleet of vehicles that were given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“A gift was donated to the Ministry of foreign Affairs Ministry but parliament was not informed, so too was rice from the Chinese Government, and as the people’s representative, we need to know,” he said.
He stated that the last time when he spoke on the issue, Speaker, Dr. Abass Bundu, promised that an explanation will be given, but that such was yet to be actualized with the then minister exonerated.
Responding to Hon. Hassan Sesay, presiding Speaker,Hon. Segepor S. Thomas, supported the idea hence urged the Clerk that a memo be sent out to all MDAs to always inform parliament when gifts or donations are received on behalf of Sierra Leoneans.
But according to Leader of Government Business, Hon. Matthew Nyuma, a memo has already been circulated to all MDAs, adding that since the rice saga from the Chinese government, MDAs have been cooperative.