Members of Parliament on Tuesday 4th February 2020, unanimously passed a Motion demanding all donations, gifts, grants and pledges made to the State should be made known to the House of Parliament pursuant to Section 118 sub-section 7 of the 1991 Act No 6 Constitution of Sierra Leone. Honourable Daniel Brima Koroma representing Constituency 064 Koinadugu District raised the Motion after the Leader of Government Business, Hon Sidi Mohamed Tunis tabled a document containing donated items from the Peoples Republic of China to Parliament. Before raising of the Motion, the Speaker, Hon Chernor Abass Bundu expressed thanks and appreciation to China for their continuous support to Parliament and Sierra Leone. He called on the Leader of Government Business, Hon Sidi Tunis to continue with the practice of notifying Parliament on donations made not only to Parliament but also Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Raising the Motion, Hon. Daniel Brima Koroma, cited section 118 sub-section 7 of the 1991 Constitution, stating that Parliament should be notified of any donation, gift, grant and pledges made to the State for the House to have full knowledge and monitor the process while performing their oversight functions. Hon. Koroma cited the recently donated 50,000 bags of rice donated by China to Sierra Leone for the School feeding program under the Free Quality Education project, that was under investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission, explaining some of them only became aware through the social media. He said Parliament is constrained to contribute to the investigation of the rice saga as they were not properly informed by the relevant authorities, which is why he is calling on Parliament to enact the Motion for every MDAs to inform Parliament about any donation, grant, gift or pledges received.
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The Motion was seconded by Hon Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, Constituency 061 Kambia district, maintaining that the donated rice is for the children of Sierra Leone who are in their various districts, which is why MPs should be informed for proper monitoring of the distribution process. “Parliament have approved a lot of funds for the Free Quality Education and the School feeding project which makes it necessary for MPs to be informed about the donation,” he said, assuring that they want to see the free quality education project succeed for the benefit of the children. The Acting Leader of Government Business, Hon Sahr Mathew Nyuma, Constituency 019 Kenema district, however argued that it is not necessary for a Motion to be raised as there is an existing law in the Constitution on the matter, explaining all they need to do is to send a Memo to all MDAs informing them about what Section 118 sub section 7 said. This was supported by Hon Bashiru Silikie, Constituency 082 Bo district but the Speaker maintained the purpose of the Motion was to re-affirm what Section 118 subsection 7 said to MDAs as he sees nothing controversial with the Motion. With overwhelming votes the Speaker of Parliament passed the Motion after clarifications.
By Alhaji Manika Kamara
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