J.T Lebbie: They terminate my contract to silence me

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Jame Tamba Lebbie

By Ishmael Dumbuya

The contract of the former Director of Public Relations and International Affairs, James Tamba Lebbie, has been terminated by the University of Sierra Leone with an immediate effect.

The University of Sierra Leone had been brewed into controversy and war of words between the University Court and the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education (MHTE), over the appointment of a Pro- Chancellor.

The Ministry of Technical and Higher Education last week dissolved the University Court after the latter stood against the decision of the Ministry to appoint a Pro-Chancellor of USL.

The letter dated  5th February, which indicated the termination of Tamba Lebbie’s contract, didn’t spell out the reasons for the termination, but what is clear is that couple of weeks ago the sacked director of public relations was against the notion that a pro- chancellor be imposed on the university by the Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education.

On January 16th the Court of the University of Sierra Leone upheld and maintained its decision on the approval and ratification of a Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone in compliance with the provisions contained in Sections 8 and 9 of the University Act 2021.

The court’s decision came as a result of the fact that Prof. Mohamed Samai is the sitting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) in line with Section9 (1) of the Universities Act, 2021 and has been performing the duties of the Pro Vice- Chancellor since November 2022, which means his appointment was done in line with Section 8(5) of the Universities Act, 2021.

Recently, the Ministry of Tertiary Education went into feud with the University of Sierra Leone over the retention of Prof. Aruna Lawrence Kamara as Acting Vice Chancellor, wherein the court upheld a decision to appoint Prof. Mohamed Samai from COMAHS to lead the university.

The following day, the sacked PR Director, James Lebbie, was on Epic Radio criticising the Ministry of Tertiary Education for their decision to retain Prof. Aruna Lawrence Kamara, when in fact Prof. Mohamed Samai is the sitting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (COMAHS), which is in line with Section 9 (1) of the Universities Act, 2021.

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