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Kenema Plaza may become ‘white elephant’ project

- Dr. Bernadette Lahai

DECEMBER 16, 2014 By Jariatu Bangura

Dr. Bernadette Lahai
Dr. Bernadette Lahai

Minority Leader of Parliament has opined that the shopping plaza in Kenema, constructed by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), might become a ‘white elephant’ project due to rapid increase of rent.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, speaking during a parliamentary screening of nominees to the NASSIT Board of Trustee at Committee Room No. 1 yesterday, expressed concern about how the social security institution was utilising funds, including the ones used to construct the Kenema plaza.

She observed that there were many tenants when the plaza commenced operations, but the facility is gradually losing them due to exponential increase in rent.

“The cost for rent at the Makeni plaza is far more different from that of Kenema. People have to pay Le9m per year for a single shop within the Kenema plaza and many are not encouraged to even make the attempt to occupy a space at the plaza,” she said. “It is ridiculous that people have to pay only Le5m for a shop within the Makeni plaza.”

She disclosed that a tenant at the Kenema plaza had taken NASSIT to court because of the unreasonable increase in the cost of rent, adding that the authorities should treat the issue seriously or else the worst could happen.

Dr. Lahai urged the nominees to pay a special visit to the plaza if they are approved by Parliament.

The nominees include Jonathan Admire Thomas – proposed Board Chairman, Audit Service Sierra Leone; Ahmed Akar Ahmed – proposed member Petroleum Regulatory Agency Board; Ester Panda – proposed member National Public Procurement Authority; Nazir Alie Kamanda-Bongay; Oman Pious Conteh, Alhaji Salieu M. Sanusi, respectively proposed members Board of Trustees of NASSIT; Rev. Joseph Yather Konteh – proposed member Road Maintenance Fund Administration, among others.

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