Justice sector crumbles apart in Koinadugu – OGI learnt
Even though the government is doing its best to provide access to justice for every Sierra Leonean, irrespective of geographical location, indicators at the Kabala Magistrate Court, the Police Station and the Prisons have proved inefficiencies on the part of the judiciary sector in the northern district headquarter town and its surroundings. (Photo: Kabala prisoners)
These came out glaringly last Saturday when the Open Government Initiative (OGI) in a series of its usual field trips and town hall dialogue meetings discovered that the judiciary in Koinadugu seems to be facing an uphill task with inefficiencies as evidenced during inspections of both the Kabala Police Station and the district’s Prisons unit.
Led by the Local Unit Commander Assistance Superintendent Amadu Deen Sesay, the OGI Director Khadija Sesay and team were taken on a needs assessment tour of the Kabala Police Station, where the team learnt that there are inadequate facilities at the said division.
Speaking in a meeting held at the LUC’s office, shortly after a tour of the station, APS Sesay was blunt enough to inform the delegation about the appalling detention conditions in cells at the Kabala Police Station, which he said can’t be accounted for by his administration. ‘We are not given the mandate to use mattresses nor mats in cells’, said ASP Sesay.
He disclosed that there are no cells for female and juvenile suspects saying; ‘Since I was transferred to this division less than two weeks ago, I have not had any juvenile matters’.
Further inquiries into the welfare of suspects, ASP Sesay replied; ‘There is no provision made for food by the Executive Management Board of the Sierra Leone Police and as we can see, food comes from suspects’ individual parents and relatives’.
Inspector Alex Mohamed Conteh of the Family Support Unit said he does receive a lot of juvenile matters, most of which are family related. He said all juvenile matters are being channeled to the FSU who investigate and later refer them to the appropriate authorities for further redress.
‘Most of the time, these matters are given back to their parents even before completion because there is no holding space for juvenile suspects’, disclosed Inspector Conteh.
At the district’s Prisons, the delegation was received by the Regional Director Shar-Lamin N’gobeh who took the team to the male and female cells, the clinic and the kitchen, where the diet of prisoners was inspected and proved fit for consumption.
The Kabala prisons housed twenty-nine prisoners – three female, one convicted and the two others were on remand, whilst the male cells housed twenty-seven inmates in all.
The Regional Director Shar Lamin said prisoners are well taken care of and trained in middle-level man power in various skilled jobs so that when once they are out of detention they would always consider the prisons as a re-correctional place and not a home for capital punishment, hence the call on government for the supply of medical facility for prisoners.
By Joseph Kamanda in Kabala
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