February 17, 2020
By Mohamed Sesay
A group of people who preferred to be anonymous have called on the appropriate authorities to cancel the February 8 cadet recruitment examination conducted by the National Recruitment Officer in the Ministry of Defense because it was allegedly ‘overwhelmed with massive malpractices’.
They called on the authorities concerned to conduct fresh examinations that would be very free from leakages and/or concentrate on the other exams which were free from malpractices.
“When the whole recruitment was manned by the 3rd Infantry Brigade at Murray Town Barracks, the process was very credible, but no sooner the Recruitment Officer in the Ministry of Defense took over to conduct the final examinations, than the entire process lost its credibility due to leakages in the examination from both serving personnel and civilians,” one of them said.
A source within the corridors of the Ministry of Defense told Concord Times that some three suspects were initially arrested, but were released as investigation into the issue continues.
“Two soldiers and a civilian were arrested. One of the soldiers and the civilian are applicants whilst the other soldier is working in the office in charge to conduct the exams,” the source said.
The 2019/2020 recruitment process into the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces was advertised on the 29th October 2019 and the deadline for submission of all applications for both Cadet and Recruit was on the 30th November, 2019.
There were Various Regional Recruitment Centres across the country, ranging from the 3rd Infantry Brigade situated at Murray Town Barracks, which was in charge of recruitment process in the Western Area, the 4th Infantry Brigade Teko Barracks in Makeni which covered all the districts in the Northern Region, the 5th Infantry Brigade Gondama was responsible for the recruitment process in the Southern Region, to the 2nd Infantry Battalion at R.T.I Kenema.
From the 1st to 4th December 2019, the screening process started where a huge number of applicants for both Cadet and Recruit were eliminated at the screening process for not meeting some of the criteria including academic qualification and age.
On Tuesday the 10th December 2019, the first examination on Adult Literacy and Numeracy, Mathematics, English and General Knowledge, was conducted under the supervision of the 3rd Infantry Brigade at Murray Town, which was credible according to the source.
On Saturday, 11th January 2020, the second examination dubbed as entrance examination was also conducted under the supervision of the 3rd Infantry Brigade at Murray Town Barracks and was proved to be credible.
On Monday 20th January 2020, the physical fitness and assessment test was done within the beach area from Diamond Casino, on to Gulf Club, coupled with premedical test on blood pressure, Eye test, and pile test was successfully conducted at all Recruitment Centres, save for 2nd Infantry Brigade Teko Barracks Makeni, where a journalist who applied as a Cadet officer died during the fitness test.
Meanwhile, this medium contacted the Director of Public Relations and Communication in the Ministry of Defence, Colonel J.A.S Gbondo, who said he was out of the country when the whole issue arose and could not comment on it until he is briefed by the appropriate authorities.