Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) Lieutenant General Brima Sesay has said during their 2020 Budget presentation that initially they wanted to juxtapose the old structures they are occupying with the new ones, “but we do not want to be sensational”. The CDS was responding to a question posed by Alpha K. Bangura a member from the Budget Panel Review Team regarding the deplorable conditions the soldiers are living in. He recalled that Kukuna Susu close to the border of Guinea has one of the most porous borders. “I saw about three military officers there, I want you to really think of that place, in terms of accommodation it is really deplorable. In fact they have one mud house which is really not good for habitation and I saw the kind of work they do there. I saw the influx and what is coming in so if the morale is not there they might be tempted to do the wrong thing” he said. The CDS went on to say that they had wanted to show what they are constructing now but they do not want to be sensational in their presentation. “This is a public forum it is not nice for us to display what is really happening on the ground to some extent for obvious reasons, but you have gone there and you have seen it” he said. He added that “at times you will equate the RSLAF as the most disciplined force in the world if you go and see where our soldiers are being accommodated and most of these structures we are doing now are self-help projects undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and the Joint Force Command.”
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Bangura further asked about the status of the Kambia barracks as he has been there three times and looking at the pace of work that has gone in there not a single cent has been paid to the contractor. He advised further that since the Principal Deputy Financial Secretary is at the hearing they should invite him to see the nature of work done as that could be the trigger for payment. The CDS replied that what Bangura saw was work that has stopped for over two years and that if they had paid some money for that barracks they would have got their soldiers accommodated there by now. A member from the plenary Hannah Gillen pointed out that during their presentation there was no mention of challenges. The CDS replied that they have not stated challenges because if they do the presentation will not end. “That is why we subsumed everything under the saying that the limitation that the Ministry of Finance has given us is not quite sufficient” he said. He further answered by asking, “we are supposed to have aircraft, ships to cover 200 nautical miles, barracks in every district and some of you are complaining that we are still in civilian accommodation. Where are the barracks, have you built them for us, let us don’t come with challenges here, if we do you will run away from us” he explained. The Ministry of Defense was given a ceiling of Le100.8 billion but they presented a budget of Le175.1 billion with an excess of Le74.3 billion.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Login or Subscribe to read the entire article