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DENI-SL press release

DENI-SL press release

Members of the Domestic and Expatriates Nationals Investment- Sierra Leone (DENI-SL) Steering Committee wish to draw the attention of Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad about certain inaccurate statements that a few individuals have circulated on the various Sierra Leone Discussion fora.

The DENI-SL initiative did not begin during the SLPP government of ex-President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba as some have erroneously alleged. In fact, the birth of DENI-SL was the direct result of a visit to the United States by then Minister of Presidential & Diaspora Affairs, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, as part of President Ernest Koroma’s initiative to encourage Sierra Leoneans abroad to return home and contribute to nation building.  It must be noted that his first meeting and call was with the Sierra Leonean community in the United Kingdom at a meeting held at the Sierra Leone High Commission.

Members of the Sierra Leone community in the USA will recall meeting with Minister Kanu at town hall meetings held both in Columbus, Ohio and Somerset, New Jersey on November 22 -23, 2008 respectively and at Sierra Leone’s Embassy in Washington, DC where he reiterated the important role Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora can play in moving our nation forward. It is as a result of the country’s dependence on donor funding, a situation he calls “unreliable and untenable” that he summoned Sierra Leoneans on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government to form partnerships and invest in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that are slated for privatization.

Such a challenge underscores not only  government’s conscious efforts in reaching out to her nationals  but encourages Sierra Leonean citizens at home and in the Diaspora to actively participate in the ownership of our national assets as a sustainable way to reducing poverty without helplessly relying on donors forever.  This unprecedented move affords all the opportunity of keeping our assets in Sierra Leonean hands where profits generated are not only re-invested into the economy but will spur the desired economic growth through the provision of jobs for a vast majority of the populace.

The Steering Committee of DENI-SL also notes with disappointment the false information that a few within the Sierra Leonean community have continued to circulate that each DENI-SL consultant presently in Freetown is receiving a monthly salary of USD 10,000.00.  Such reports are not only misleading and preposterous but a clear manifestation that a few unscrupulous individuals do not appreciate the good work that these fine men and women seek to do in the interest of our beloved Sierra Leone.

The Steering Committee can confidently affirm that there is no consultant who is being paid USD 10,000.00 monthly. In the interest of transparency, it is important for all to know that these consultants were initially hired for a period of three months. Recognizing the many challenges they encountered during their first month with regards to getting the relevant information needed to meet their responsibilities, their stay was extended for another month. The one month extension ended in November 2009.  Sierra Leoneans will be surprised to know that their agreed upon monthly payments as established on their respective contracts were never paid on time. Such inconveniences often led them to survive out of their own meagre resources until they receive their payments.

Since November 2009, these Sierra Leonean patriots and Fred Kwoba (a non-Sierra Leonean) who have mostly received their monthly payments late continue to work in Freetown without remuneration.  If these men and women do not have Sierra Leone at heart, it would be clear to all that the work they just completed of compiling the first draft report and their recent visit to Sierra Leone’s Parliament where they impressed and called upon members of Parliament to put country first and support DENI-SL’s mission rather than follow partisan politics, would definitely not have happened.

Sierra Leoneans should also understand that these consultants along with members of the Steering Committee have been working on this project since 2008 without any form of emolument. While the consultants are the only ones that have received some form of late payments, members of the Steering Committee continue to work for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone pro bono.

Recently, one of the brains behind the DENI-SL concept in the person of Amadu Massally has sustained blistering attack on his personality from a few in our community. In his capacity as global coordinator and one of the consultants presently in Freetown, the Steering Committee wish to notify all Sierra Leoneans that how proud they are of the  outstanding leadership and people skills that he has demonstrated in his leading role. 

Recognizing that President Koroma is deeply committed to harnessing the many and varied skill sets of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora as he himself has communicated over and over again, the DENI-SL Steering Committee sees nothing wrong in the selfless efforts initiated by members of the Sierra Leonean Diaspora community in supporting the appointment of Amadu Massally to the Office of Diaspora Affairs.

In fact, if anything, the many dedicated Sierra Leonean organizations as well as DENI-SL that seek the interest of our nation stand to benefit from the efforts a very patriotic Sierra Leonean who will always be a passionate advocate for causes that are in the best interest of the people of Sierra Leone. Not only does he bring the right management and leadership skills, but many in the Diaspora community believe that he has what it takes to lead the ODA to the next step and to uniting the various groups that have been sidelined for far too long and would want to have their voice heard in the process of rebuilding our nation.

Should it pleases President Koroma to appoint Amadu Massally, the DENI-SL Steering Committee  wish to inform Sierra Leoneans that there are equally competent and capable Sierra Leoneans who understand the DENI-SL concept as well as its implementation and can successfully lead this ground breaking initiative to achieving its goals in the best interest of the people of Sierra Leone.

Anthony Abdul Karim Kamara, Jnr., Public & Media Relations Coordinator, DENI – SL

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