January 30, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Legal Aid Board, with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) on Thursday, 26th January, 2017 concluded eight days training for 35 paralegals that would be deployed across the country to help provide justice for the poor.
The Legal Aid Board was established by an Act of Parliament with the aim of providing legal aid to poor people in Sierra Leone and legal advice in civil cases, provide family mediation service and provide information about its services.
Speaking at the certification ceremony held at the Senior Police Officers Mess at Kingtom in Freetown, Executive Director of the Board, Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles said the Board recorded tremendous successes in 2016, as they were able to open offices in different parts of the country.
She continued that in 2016, they provided legal services to over twenty-six thousand Sierra Leoneans and other foreign nationals respectively.
She thanked the Open Society Initiative for West Africa for providing the funds for the training and payment of the thirty-five paralegals.
She promised to maintain good relationship with OSIWA, and that they would make sure that the trained paralegals carry out the function they were trained for.
She called on the trained paralegals not to take advantage of their position and use it for their own selfish interest but to make sure that they serve the interest of the poor people and help promote justice and peace in the country.
She said they would soon open offices in Kono District and Bonth respectively.
Also speaking, OSIWA Sierra Leone Country Officer, Joe H. Pemagbi, said they were very much happy to partner with the Legal Aid Board, as his organisation was also working on legal and justice empowerment in nine African countries of which Sierra Leone was one.
He said few months ago, the Legal Aid Board approached them for support and being that they were also working on legal empowerment, they were very happy to working with such institution bent on providing justice to the poor.
He disclosed that they were supporting six justice promoting organisations in Sierra Leone, and hoped that Legal Aid Board would work with the said organisations in the interest of all.
Meanwhile, OSIWA also presented keys for five motto bikes and handed over office equipment including computers, printers and others to the Executive Director of Legal Aid Board.