Police officers threaten strike
By Alusine Sesay
Dozens of Sierra Leone Police (SLP) personnel across the country are not happy over the delay in the supply of rice for the months of January and February, thus threatening to stage a protest action against the senior management of the force.
“It is very unusual for police officers to stage strike actions but we have been pushed to the corner. We have exercised a lot of patience but it appears as if the senior management of the police are not taking us seriously,” said a police sergeant at Kissy, who begged for anonymity.
Many SLP personnel interviewed by Concord Times, and who wished not to be named, are of the view that they are being discriminated against over the supply of rice, as both the military and Prisons Department have received their quotas, while theirs is still not forthcoming, “with no explanation given” as to the delay.
According to the Sierra Leone Police head of media, Assistant Superintendent Ibrahim Samura, the delay was due to the fact that the senior management of the police had earlier rejected the rice supply due to its poor quality.
However, ASP Samura could not confirm whether a timeline was given to the supplier to replace the poor quality rice.
“All I could tell you is that the supply was rejected as a result of its poor quality. I cannot tell whether a timeline was given to the supplier,” he said.
This appears bizarre in the hearing of the public as ASP Samura, who is supposed to provide credible information to the public on police matters, could not tell when the police officers would receive their rice supply. He has also, on several occasions, refused to disclose the name of the rice contractor, saying: “Go to the procurement department and they will give you the name of the contractor.”
Moreover, the procurement department of the police has also repeatedly refused to furnish us with the details of the contractor.
Some critically minded sections of the public are beginning to question the manner in which the said contract was awarded.
“Since the police are using public funds to procure the rice they supply to their personnel, it is in the public’s interest to know who the rice supplier is,” observed Abdulai Kamara, a civil servant.
However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs says it has no hands in the awarding of contracts by the police, as the Permanent Secretary, Prince E.O. Cole, told Concord Times that they only play a policy oversight role.
“The police are self-accounting and we only play a policy oversight role as a ministry but have no hands in the awarding of any of their contracts,” he said.