March 11, 2021
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Qcell Sierra Leone and SIERRATEL management yesterday boycotted the discussion and enactment of Cyber Crime laws.
The reasons for their absence were neither explained to the media nor to the public.
The All People’s Congress opposition Whip, Hon. Hassan Sesay, told members that the proposed bill is very important to punish criminals who commit serious crimes related to hacking, online harassment, data theft, disruption of online workflow of any enterprise, and attacking another individual or website among others.
He expressed worried as to why Qcell and SIERRATEL could not make themselves available for the hearing.
He said the drafters and lawmakers should ensure that the implementation of the bill be in the interest of the people and the country.
Chairman of the Information and Communications Committee, Hon. Boston Munda said similar engagement has been held with officials from the Ministry of Information, but the committee thought it fit that all Pre-Legislative session be held for the benefit of all MPs before the enactment of the said bill into law
He said it would be good for MPs to have vast knowledge about the importance and the benefit the bill it would bring to their representatives.
Acting Director in the Ministry of Information, Mohamed M. Jalloh said Cybercrime is a global issue and Sierra Leone is looking at the Budapest Convention and other regional documents like the Malabor Convention as regional benchmarks in dealing with cybercrime and the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection.
He said the bill has no limitation no boundary since hackers do not normally stay or operate within the country.
He said the ministry has held several workshops with stakeholders which have been used to draft the cyber security bill in consultation with relevant players for subsequent ratification by Parliament.
He said multiple member states have either ratified the Malabo Convention or introduced data protection laws to fighting terrorism and cyber-crime in cyber space to ensure peace, stability, justice and development in the country.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Legislative Committee, Hon. Abdul Marray Conteh said “this is a crucial face in development wherein nations want to be in the information high breeds in the connectivity from one to many”.
He said the E-Commerce, e-governance are some of the things that are bringing people closer than ever before and the internet is right in the middle of the new era, adding that the nation wouldn’t be at peace if there are not laws that will protect the good and bad ones.
He added that the power of the new media is a form of development, but there are people that are trying to destroy or tamper with the new development.
He said there are hackers and crackers. “We need to make this bill a greener light for the protection of those people’’.
He said cybercrime knows no boundaries, thus they need to provide guidelines on acceptable behaviour.
Leader of the opposition, Hon. Chernoh R. M Bah said the bill is so important that it would touch the lives of each and every individual.
He advised that there was need to sensitize the public on the ramification of the bill.