October 20, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Police officers yesterday baricaded the entrance of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Secretariat on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown, thus preventing some staff members from entering the office.
According to Operations Officer at the Cetral Police Division, Assistant Superientendent Alhaji Musa Bangura, he received information from his boss that some APRM staff had planned to picket the office as a delegation from Liberia visited.
“Our presence at the office is to ensure sanity. We have been able to put the situation under control,” said ASP Bangura.
He revealed that one of those that were prevented from entering the office premises was arrested and taken to the Central Police station because of his disorderly behaviour to police officers.
Chairman of the Governing Council of APRM, Dr. Osman Gbla, was seen arriving in the office under protection by some police officers.
One of the agrived staff, Mohamed Alusine Kabia, who is National Programme Manager, accused Dr. Gbla of writing to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development that they were no longer staff as their positions had been advertised.
He said nine of them were shocked to see a newspaper in which their positions were advertised, adding “We decided to hold on to the newspaper and report the matter for those that are govering us in the ofice to know.”
He explained that as they were trying to enter the office last Friday, they were prevented from doing so by a team of police officers who told them they were responding to a distress call from someone at the APRM secretariat.
He continued that fortunately for them, Minister of Political and Public affairs, Nanette Thomas, was around and that she had informed the officers that there was no disorderly conduct by any staff.
“When the minister came, there was noise allover the place. Dr. Gbla requested the officers who were down to go up and arrest us in the presence of the minister,” he stated.
Kabia said they informed the minister that Dr. Gbla had advertised their positions without notifying them, and that when the minister asked what they wanted her do, they requested that Dr. Gbla should be removed from the secretariat in order for sanity to return.
He said the APRM boss in Sierra Leone wanted them to go on transfer as District Coordinators and that they regard the move as a demotiom that they would not accept.
“We were surprised when we came to the office yesterday [Tuesday] morning to work and police officers prevented us from entering because there was a delegation from Liberia,” he added.
However, Dr. Osman Gbla told our reporter the staff members were not happy because they he had sanctioned that be transferred to the provinces, which according to him is a routine.
He claimed that the aggrieved staff destroyed two computers in the office, which was why he requested for police officers to provide security.