President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma received inquiry report of the World Bank sponsored-failed West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP), the Minister of Fisheries and Marine resources, Capt. Aliue Pat Sowe and other officials of the Ministry have been going through sleepless night, sources claimed
The report which was presented to the President by the head of the Public Service Commission, Dr Max Amadu Sesay highlighted allegations of mismanagement, procurement flaws and corruption for which the President has asked the Chief of Staff and Anti Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone to look into.
The World Bank Project which is being implemented in Sierra Leone started work in 2007 as a way of preventing the problem of alleged rampant illegal fishing by Asiatic and European fishing vessels that took over from the previous industrial fisheries by factory vessels from Russia but two years ago the project collapsed with the introduction of the Joint Monitoring Centre which led to the reduction of trawlers from 80 to 30 between 2012 and 2014 and an increased in the catch of shrimp and larger sardinella
This project profited 38,000 local fishermen and increased government revenue from 6 Billion Leones to about 30 Billion Leones but ever since it was killed two years ago the country has been on the losing end.
In a State House Press Release on the issue, President Koroma is reported to have said that the report will be looked at closely and recommendations thereof will be implemented to the fullest, adding that “ the report will help to create awareness among civil servants to be looking into their activities as well as sending a clear message that no one is untouchable.”
The president reiterated government’s commitment in restructuring the Civil Service by giving it the relevant professionalism in the execution of its mandate.
He pointed out that the Secretary to the President in consultation with the Chief of Staff and the Anti-Corruption Commission will work closely on the recommendations.
However, the World Bank has uplifted the project with 4 Million Dollars to rejuvenate the project before the end of 2016.