Appendix 3, Part 3, Section A





DATE:  May 7, 2003.

Commissioner William Schabas (Presiding)
Commissioner John Kamara
Commissioner Laura Marcus-Jones
Commissioner Satang Jow
Commissioner Sylvanus Torto


WITNESS NAME: MR Victor Foh – representing All Peoples Congress (APC)

(The oath was administered).


I am the APC Regional Chairman for the Southern province. I am here to represent the party. I am here to talk about Governance.  I am happy to say that my party takes this Commission seriously. Our party has already made submissions to the Commission.

In our submission we talked about Sierra Leone under the SLPP from 1961 to 1967, Siaka Stevens’ leadership from 1968 – 1985, and Sierra Leone under President Joseph Saidu  Momoh. We ended the submission with a focus on how the SLPP is governing the state today.  Yesterday, people spoke of human rights abuses. They attributed the war to the unpopularity of APC. The war however, continued even after the removal of APC.  

I have come to talk about the things that brought the war. We are not only going to talk about our party APC, but also about the SLPP. I have taken an oath. I assure the Commission that I am going to say truth. As I look at the wall here I am delighted to read a poster that says: “Truth hurts but war hurts more”.  People say we must forget about the past and forge ahead. The slogan that strikes me most is the one in Krio that says “Tru at for talk.”  

We must do everything in our capacity to make sure that peace is sustained in our country.  It is the people of Sierra Leone that achieved victory in the war.  We do hope that we give them good governance.  I believe that there are people in the SLPP who have come to listen. I thank the SLPP government for establishing the TRC in accordance with the Lome Peace Accord.  

The APC came into being on 17 October, 1960 because of SLPP’s misrule.  In 1967, we went to the polls with the SLPP and won. The SLPP refused to handover power.  A soldier by the name of Hinga Norman arrested our leader Siaka Steven and the Governor. That soldier ignited the first military coup in Sierra Leone.

The Prime Minister at the time, Albert Margai, instigated the head of the army David Lansana to take power by force.  APC will never forget what the SLPP did to them.  The military became politicized. We would like the audience and the Commission to know that if the military became involved in politics it was because of the SLPP.

On the eve of independence the SLPP accused the leadership of the APC of attempts to stage a coup. Our leaders were arrested.  They were only released long after the independence celebrations had past. It will be relevant to note that Paramount Chief did not belong to any party.  But in all the elections the SLPP conducted before 1967 Paramount Chiefs were involved on its side. The APC believes that Paramount Chiefs should not be involved in elections.  

People have accused the APC of corruption. I have to say that the first Commission of inquiry set up in this country found the SLPP to be corrupt.  Up till now the papers are still writing about corruption.

Siaka Stevens was the founder of the APC.  People always say that all the problems in this country started under the regime of Siaka Stevens.  We in the APC said no to that.  I come from the Mende Line, the strongest base of the SLPP. I knew all the leaders of the SLPP- from Sir Milton to Sir Albert.  The politics of “unopposed” started in the SLPP.  Dictatorship started in SLPP. Cannibalism started by the SLPP.

Siaka Stevens built the stadium. Siaka Stevens built Youyi Building. The Congo Cross Bridge was erected by the APC.  We in the APC want to say that our leaders had vision. Under Steven security in this country was stable.  One would go around without fear of being attacked. There were however, SLPP players inside the APC.  The current Chairman of the SLPP Dr Banya, and S.B Marah are from the APC. If accusing finger is pointed at us today I will say it was Dr Banya and S.B. Marah.  They are now in the SLPP. These were the people responsible for the dictatorship. Our testimony is not to engender tribalism and endanger people.  But we have come to say the truth.

The introduction of a one-party system was a mistake by the APC. Albert Margai however, planned the one-party system. He took it to parliament but did not succeed.  One of the key issues in the election in 1967 was the one-party system.  When Siaka Stevens won the 1967 elections people forget about the one-party issue. It was with pressure from people like S.B Marah that Stevens was forced to introduce the one party. If the APC was blamed for that we should say that the APC by then was SLPP.

Siaka Stevens handed over power to Momoh in 1985. Momoh was a military man and a Member of Parliament by then.  Because the military was always staging coups we thought it was a good idea to hand power to a military man to avoid bloodshed.  Momoh had good intentions but he did not get the total support of the populace. Momoh came with the Green Revolution idea. When the project failed in its first year he openly said it. Strangely, people say that Momoh said that he had failed the country. Momoh was only referring to the Green Revolution.

As an honest man he was brave to say the truth.  When Momoh saw that the economy was not growing, he accepted IMF conditionalities for aid.  At the time he was overthrown rice and fuel were on the way to the country. IMF officials were also in town.  The soldiers who left their duties at the war-front to come and overthrow the Government spoke about nepotism and tribalism in their speeches. By the time the soldiers were leaving office those junior officers had promoted themselves to Generals.  Those that were living in zinc houses built mansions before handing over power.  They later asked for amnesty.  Whilst they were stealing properties from APC politicians, they were building houses and keeping money for themselves.

 Let’s go back to Momoh. In 1991 J. S. Momoh signed a new constitution. The constitution was drawn by the APC. The constitution came into operation in 1992.  Momoh like Gorbachev saw that one-party rule was no longer fashionable. Without anybody putting pressure on him Momoh bowed down to democracy.  We as a party welcome the constitution made by Momoh.  We appeal to our brothers in the SLPP to hold this constitution.  Momoh urged for elections. Many political parties registered including the SLPP, PDP, and of course APC. If credit is to be given to anybody for democracy that credit should go to Momoh.

I want to say if we have two main bridges in the country for the flow of goods it is the work of the APC. The road from Kenema to Bo was constructed by the APC.  We started the Bumbuna hydroelectric project..  We have a School of Hygiene.  The APC brought  development to the country.

Why did the rebel war start? Perhaps our brothers in the SLPP will answer that question.  At the outbreak of the war most of the fighters were children of the SLPP. People say that the rebel war came about because of APC’s mismanagement. I want to ask a question- SLPP is in power with mismanagement and misrule. Can we say that the APC should go to the bush and start a rebel war?  The constitution is been violated by the SLPP. I can cite so many examples of this.

 As a party we describe the RUF war as a national tragedy. We hope and pray that it never happens again. How do we ensure that there will be no more war in the country?  We need good governance.  We should expose ourselves.  We should guide the press. We should not interfere with the judiciary. We should ensure that parliament does it work without interference by the executive.

All the arms of government, we submit as a party, must enjoy independence.  No particular arm of government should overrule the other.  It was our view that tribalism is the root cause of the war. The NPRC staged a coup, which is treasonable.  Unfortunately, so many of our brothers were the key players in the illegal and notorious junta.  And more unfortunately, most of the NPRC functionaries are today in the SLPP government. Governance under the NPRC was a disaster.  Civilians in very high places gave advice to the junta to seize properties from other citizens.

The SLPP Government pitched the Kamajor militia against the Sierra Leone Army. Through that unfortunate decision we lost our democracy. The AFRC staged a coup. Not surprisingly the AFRC was removed by foreign troops.  We hold as a party that a military junta should be removed by peaceful means.  The military intervention caused serious problems for the poor civilians.  On the 2nd of June 1997 no less than 80 people lost their lives in the fight between foreign forces and the junta.

After the AFRC was overthrown the present President was reinstated. As a political party we are all under the Government although we were been strangled. The last elections were run in a very poor way.  Democracy was not practiced. Local government has still not been put in place.  This Government is trying to bring another rebel war by delaying democracy.   Everything is bungled up. America even spoke about it.

In conclusion, because of time, I want to ask few questions. President Momoh was accused of loving his tribe. He promoted Ekutay his tribal group. Is it wrong then for Sir Abert to promote his mende group, I would say yes. In 1967 The head of the Civil Service was a Mende. The head of the army was a Mende. Is it not wrong?  We want to give equal opportunity to all.  I want to say that all the bad things were caused by the SLPP. I want to say politics in Sierra Leone is SLPP/ APC. May be we should ask: “the egg and chicken which is older”.  

At the formal opening of this hearing a statement read by our honourable leader said that the APC was ready to forgive everybody who ganged to fight the party.  Our brothers in the SLPP, we have a new aim under the leadership of Ernest Bai Kororma. We are against military intervention, and we beg our brothers to respect the constitution.

Commissioner Schabas – I thank you very much for coming to testify at this Commission.   We appreciate your coming.  I want to ask my colleagues to ask you questions. But before that I would like to ask you a question.  Do you have anything to say about the laws that guided the TRC.  Do you have any proposals to make to the TRC?

Victor Foh – I want to thank the Commission for asking me that question. (He presents the recommendation).

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – I thank you for coming and honoring our invitation. I just have one question for you.  You know the TRC is mandated to consider the antecedents of the war, what happened before and what went wrong. Looking at the submission I am rightly to conclude that you want us women and men to be assured that your coat had been changed, and the current APC party is a new party. Am I wrong to conclude that APC could not have been all that democratic, that there were things done which could not have been all that good to Sierra Leone? That is my question.

Victor Foh – I thank Madam Commissioner for this fine question.  You have rightly quoted from what our new leader Ernest Koroma said. He did say that the APC is here to forgive and forget. We do accept that within the APC Government so many things went wrong between 1968 to 1978 and 1978 – 1991. A whole lot of issues were mentioned that was wrong.  This is why our leader has said that we are willing to forget and forgive.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – I thank you

Commissioner Jow - Thank you for the submission. As Commissioner Marcus Jones said, the TRC, mandated to investigate the rebel war, will look back into the things of the past government, may be as far back as during independence.  You spoke about the good things that the APC did i.e. building good houses- the National Stadium, Youyi Building, and the construction of Congo Cross Bridge.   What was fundamental freedom like in Sierra Leone the under Siaka Stevens? For instance, it was alleged, that the APC mishandled students during the 1977 strikes. Can you say something about the expulsion  of students and lecturers, and the ban on Students Union Government? Some people believe that all these things contributed to the formation of the RUF.  I would like you to clarify this area.

Victor Foh – It is a fine question.  Under the APC a lot of things went wrong.  I have not only spoken about the good side but also about the bad side. Reflecting on the 1977 students strike, I would say that the party did wrong.  Many people who came into the party acted over-zealously. When government is in the hands of the APC, and things go wrong they will say it was a party.  We will not deny it.  As I have said in our submission, we are sorry. We have now changed our attitude.  On the question of expulsion of students, government established a Commission of inquiry.  When government entrusts power into the hands of people and at the end of the day there is a problem the government will be blamed.  Fourah Bay College has a government of its own. The institution is independent. A letter was sent to us to expel those students. We are sorry.  We did not see the rationale why these students went to Libya and form a group to kill their own people.  I know that the students who were expelled from college are the strong backbone of the RUF.  We are sorry and ask the people of Sierra Leone to forgive us. We are asking the present government to learn a lesson from the APC.  The thing that annoys me most is that those that were in the APC Government making decisions are now in the SLPP government.

Commissioner Jow  - You spoke about the four arms of government, you described the media as the watchdog of the country. Can you tell us what the relationship was like between the media and the executive of the APC?

Victor Foh – This is another good question. I want to thank you in brief. The relationship was not cordial.   I will tell you what happened. The SLPP did not allow the APC to enjoy the fruits of the elections. We won the election, but at the time the APC was underprivileged. They were uneducated. The press was against the APC.  Most of the editors were strong SLPP supporters. We had the mandate of the people to rule for 5 years, but the SLPP did not want us to govern.  Whilst the leader of the SLPP was a lawyer, the leader of the APC was a unionist.  The APC’s relationship with the press was not cordial. We tried to mend relations with the press but I think it was a bit late.

Commissioner Kamara - Thank you for giving us a lot of information that will help us in our report.  I will like to go to the statement you have made. You mentioned the 1967 election.  Am I correct in the recording that the results were APC 32 SLPP 28 and the Independent 4?

Victor Foh  -  Yes

Commissioner Kamara – You said that the Paramount Chiefs should not  be involved in politics?

Victor Foh -  Yes

Commissioner Kamara – What did your party do in the 24 years that it ruled to address that issue.  You said the Paramount Chiefs were not supposed to take party in politics.

Victor Foh – Our attempt to do that went through heavy storm. Sierra Leone shares boundary with Guinea and Liberia. In Guinea they have no Paramount Chiefs. In Liberia government appoints Paramount Chiefs not like Sierra Leone were the people elect their Paramount Chiefs.  What we did was to form a group to address that issue, because we were trying to gain support from the populace. We feel that everybody in the country should have one vote.  

The constitution in section 72: 1-5, makes the position of the Paramount Chief an entrenched law. This institution is a political landmine. 95% of the populace in the provinces is illiterate. Those people are answerable to the Paramount Chief. They take orders from him. Anything the Chief tells them is final. That was why we found it very difficult to delve into that issue.

Commissioner Kamara – So you are saying that it was because you wanted to gain favor from Paramount Chiefs that was why you left them to take powers into their own hands.

Victor Foh  - We started sensing that the Paramount Chiefs being in politics was wrong.  But we did not have the necessary support of the people to do anything.  

Commissioner Kamara – Another issue is development. Why did the APC in the early years of its rule abandon all the plantations that were established in the country by the SLPP?

Victor Foh – I thank the commissioner for this question.  While I was preparing to read my submission I saw the posters on the wall.  The posters talk about truth. I will speak the truth and nothing but the truth. I will say it truthfully how the APC abandoned the plantation.  My father was a Plantation Manager. Therefore, when the SLPMB was dissolved I suffered. The staff of the SLPMB was busy selling cocoa and putting the money was into SLPP coffers.  The Beoku Betts Commission can answer most of these questions for you.  The leader of the SLPP was involved. SLPMB was created for SLPP sympathizers.  During those days APC workers were sacked. Supporters of the SLPP were given promotions even when they were not educated. The SLPP secured a large space of land from my maternal part.  They did that because of politics. The Beoku Betts commission can give an answer to the question of SLPMB. If democracy should prevail, politics should not continue to infiltrate commissions like these. It will result to the same thing.

Commissioner Kamara – I will limit myself to only one question. You said that the APC had done a lot and you have apologized.  If the leader the APC was accused of being a dictator, what options other than taking up arms do you think these organizations had?

Victor Foh – The mandate of the TRC is to seek the truth and grant forgiveness. We all have made mistakes. We have also made strides for the country.  We have apologized for our mistakes. What will civil societies do to remove a dictatorship? Our understanding of civil society is that political parties form the bulk of it.   Many of the politicians come onboard when election is on the verge. politics in Sierra Leone is APC, SLPP but during the time of the election we have 15 to 18 parties all fighting to be opposition.  All these groups have politicians in them. All these social groups are not truthful they concentrate on power and politics.

Everybody in civil society in this country is a politicians. We have about 1,000 NGOs registered in a small country like this.  All of them belong to the SLPP. The government funded most of their projects. When civil society stands for the truth it will be respected.

Commissioner Torto – Thank you for coming. In addition to the submission you made, you have defended some of these issues.  My question is limited to the verbal presentation.  You will forgive me if I ask you questions from your submissions.  In your verbal presentation you mentioned some sensitive issues. You said for instance, that cannibalism started in the SLPP government.  Do you know of any case where the SLPP was tried for cannibalism?

Victor Foh – I will give you a host of instances of cannibalism. I have said earlier that I am the Chairrman of the APC for the Southern Region. I was born in Jimmy Bargbo and I have worked in eight districts in the country.   There were times in Kenema when people went to bed before 10: 00’ clock. They would otherwise be captured for human sacrifice.  It is unfortunate that I don’t have a right to call people to come and testify. If you go to Congabay, ask for one human Baboon.  There is evidence before this Commission that the Kamajors were involved in cannibalism. I will not say that they are not my people. The country means a lot to me. But I will say that they were eating people.  I do not want to go further.

Commissioner Torto – But there is no particular case to show that anyone was held.

Victor Foh – If we are talking about court cases, in the interest of truth and reconciliation many people will not be here.  I have made an honest statement and I stand by it.


Commissioner Schabas – Welcome to the afternoon session. You are still under oath and we are going to continue.  Let me ask my colleagues if they have any questions for you.

Commissioner Torto – The next question is about handing power from late Siaka Stevens to his successor, Momoh.   You stated in your paper that the army should not be involved in politics. Why then was power handed to a military man Momoh, who was commander of the military force?

Victor Foh – What I am going to say is the truth because I am under oath. Some of the statements I made here are personal. The APC has answered that question in our submission.  We were under constant threat by the soldiers.   I have said that mistakes were made. And I must add that those mistakes were more pronounced during the one party reign.  And I have also said that most of the dictators who were in the APC are today in the SLPP government. The mistakes were joint mistakes of the APC and the SLPP.  

Let me now come to the question of why power was handed to Momoh. Since I cannot read the mind of the late Siaka Stevens I will give my personal views.  I am making this submission on behalf of the APC.  President Momoh was commanding officer of the armed forces and he was in parliament. After the first ten years when the multi-party started Siaka Stevens’ rule had problems with the military that had wanted to take power. Between the years 1968 – 1978 the soldiers were constantly trying to overthrow the Government. There was so much violence in the country at the time.

It was perhaps against this background that Siaka Stevens thought it fit that power should be handed over to Momoh.  President Momoh was quiet and never took part in coup.  He was a content man in my opinion. That was why power was handed over to him.  It was a God sent power. I don’t really think that power was given to Momoh because of tribal reasons. It was because of the military threats.  

Commissioner Torto – You talked about political prostitutes in your submission, Dr. Sama Banya, S.B. Marah etc. You said they are the root causes of some of the problems we have in this country. They were all members of the APC. I should say that they all contributed to destroy this country.

Victor Foh – there is a Krio adage that says: there is no bad bush to throw away a naughty child”.  (bush nor dae for truway bad pikin).    We brought one party and called people to come and develop the party. Salia Jusu Sheriff became the first Vice President. M.S. Mustapha, an SLPP man also came on board.  SLPP brought in its people to spoil the country.   If we had dismissed them, what would have happened?  We thought that if they were with us we could change them.  

Commissioner Torto – If those people come back to the APC will you accept them?

Victor Foh – if I were an autocrat not a democrat, and if as a leader of the APC, I am asked to clean this country and to let democracy prevail, the people listed in Page 30 who are chameleons will have nothing to do with politics in this    country for the interest of development and peace.

Commissioner Humper – We thank you for spending this time with us. I have a lot of questions to ask but due to limited time, I will not say much.  I need short answers please.   It is part of the mandate of the TRC to uncover past human rights violations. Based on what you’ve said, there were serious violations of human rights during the reigns of APC. Would you affirm that to err is human?   

Victor Foh – Time is not in our favour, I want to answer this question but not in two words- a Yes or No answer. When our brothers took over power from the British they were committed human violations. Our country’s first leader committed the worst violations.  They banished Paramount Chiefs who were not in favour of them.  Siaka Stevens was arrested. Mafantha prison was built for APC supporters. The Public Order Act of 1965 silenced the press. We did not know about human rights. The APC committed human rights violations when it came to power. This is my answer.
Commissioner Humper – I just want to ask you one question. Which year in the history of Sierra Leone would you describe as the darkest chapter?

Victor Foh – I believe it is the period from 21st of March 1991 when the rebels struck at Bomaru in Kailahun District to 1st January 2002, when the war was officially ended.

Commissioner Humper – I thank you very much

Leader of Evidence - I am not going to ask you any question.   Would you like to send us some information on issues that are not covered in the written submission?  One of them is the issue of violence, the issue of regionalization and how it needs to change, and suggestions on how to improve on democracy.  There are also the issue of how to improve parliament, the abuse and misuse of the office of the ombudsman, and the Justice Cross Commission. There have also been allegations that the SLPP gave support to the rebels to remove the APC. It has also been alleged that the SLPP were behind the NPRC to remove the APC from power.

Victor Foh – We respect the Commission. We will do our best to give you answers to these issues.

Commissioner Schabas - Have you any questions to ask?
Victor Foh – I have circulated our recommendations.  To conclude I want to repeat what our leader said in his statement at the opening ceremony of the hearings.   The APC as a political party in the country was the first to suffer in the hands of the rebel. We are ready to forgive all those who took up arms against the APC. We pray that there is no reoccurrence of the past. We also pray for everlasting peace in the country.  I thank you sirs.

Commissioner Schabas –  I want to thank you too.

The other witness should be the RUF representative. We have sent a letter and a reminder, but nobody has turned-up. It is an obligation on any citizen of this country to take part in this hearing.

Leader of Evidence: – Eke Holloway – for the Government of Sierra Leone? We have also sent a letter and a reminder but nobody has turned-up.  I suggest that we issue subpoena on them.

WITNESS NAME: Sylvia Fletcher- representing the UNDP

Mr. Chairman and members of the commission I would like to make a statement on behalf the United Nations.  Your job is to get the truth about what happened in the country during the 11-year war.  We hope that the truth will help to bring reconciliation. The UNDP will give its own help to the process of unraveling the past for reconciliation.  We are not here to tell you about everything that happened during the war.

If we want to lament, on the causes of the war, we need a special paper to lament on that.   The problems that led to war in Sierra Leone have been brewing since the 1970s. But nobody can fail to recognize that poverty in the country was a contributing factor to the war. Bad governance and disrespect for human rights were also key issues that contributed to war in this country.  Another root cause of the war was that Government was not in control the security groups. There was no discipline among the rank and files of the army and Police.

Sierra Leone has emerged from the war badly damaged. Hundreds of thousands of houses were destroyed. Schools, businesses, and farms have been destroyed. In the last few years Sierra Leone has continuously ranked as the poorest country in the world. Women and youth remain seriously disadvantaged. Government institutions are very weak.  These are critical challenges to address if we are to prevent a recurrence of the turmoil the country went through.

The United Nations recognizes these challenges and has poised support for the Government and people of Sierra Leone. Many of the developmental challenges Sierra Leone faces have been captured the UN’s Millennium Development Goal. In its specific support to Sierra Leone however, the UN is paying attention to country specific-challenges- namely addressing basic needs of the people like food, security and shelter; addressing the problem of youth marginalization, mainstreaming women in economic, social and political, and access to justice. The UNDP is partnering with NGOs, and the private sector in tackling these challenges.

Sierra Leone now has peace. Concretizing and sustaining the peace is the underpin of the UNDP’s support to Sierra Leone.

Commissioner Schabas  - We are happy that you have presented this paper.  I will now ask my colleagues if they have any questions for you.   

Commissioner Marcus Jones  - We are very grateful for your presence here. Don’t you think that if the conditions of the Magistrates were improved, there will be more Magistrates that will serve in Freetown and the provinces?

Fletcher - It is one of the plans of the UNDP. We are working on it. Even the Civil Servants are not well paid. That needs to be addressed too.

Commissioner Kamara – I want to stay with this question of salaries. What is the UNDP, or IMF doing concerning the increase of salaries?  There are lots of qualified people but performance is poor because of low salary and lack of tools.

Fletcher – It is a complex issue. I am not representing the IMF.  

Commissioner Kamara – What makes the international community take certain decisions in aid of a country like Sierra Leone? Let us take the Americans for instance. They just came and repatriated their nationals, instead of helping as the British did. When UNAMSIL was humiliated the British came to their aid.  Why is it that the Americans did not come to help remove the AFRC from power?

Fletcher – These questions are beyond my position. The International community had agreed to spend money to develop this country.  When Government took power in 1996 the international community pledged support to help the country. But the AFRC staged a coup.  The international community was thinking of doing one thing and the country was busy with war.

Commissioner Torto – Thank you for coming.  I just have one question for you. Most people think that civil servants were not doing their work effectively because of low salaries. We should also not forget that even the laws that govern public service institutions are very old. The financial orders are still old principles. Some of them still talk about Pence and Shillings. Is the UNDP doing anything to improve on such issues?  

Fletcher – Thank you very much for your question.  One year ago the Government asked us to look into these laws. We have done some work on revising these laws.  .  

Commissioner Torto – Do you have any plans at the UNDP to assist the University of Sierra Leone? Do have plans for instance to help Njala University College relocate to its original campus?

Fletcher – We currently have a short-term plan for the university. This is an emergency plan. We do not have a specific time to do Njala.  We have done a computer section at FBC.

Commissioner Humper - Thank you so much for this presentation, I don’t have much to say because there is so much in this document.  

Leader of Evidence – I have one question. Can you give the Commission a copy of the corruption document and the Ombudsman report?

Fletcher – Yes.      

Leader of Evidence – We all know that Government is not financially strong. How do we hope to finance all that you have planned to do? What are the constraints? How does the withdrawal of UNAMSIL affect the recovery plan? I invite your recommendations as to what the commission should do?

Fletcher – I don’t actually have information on the amount that is to be spent.  The money is not going to be sufficient to undertake all the projects. But there are some monies that had been set aside. I do not have the documents here with me.  We should however not look at short-term solutions. We should loot at long-term solutions.

I thank you very much for this opportunity. We do not have our recommendations and suggestion here. They will be submitted later.

Commissioner Schabas – We thank you.

WITNESS NAME:  Representative of UNAMSIL

The first comment is to thank you for allowing us to make a statement at this Commission.  The first part of our written submission deals with human right situation abuses and violations, past and present in Sierra Leone. We have paid special attention to the issue of amputation, women and children. Let me remind the Commission that at least four thousand civilians were amputated during the war. It is estimated that three out of every four persons amputated died. Concerning children, the fact that a total number of 7,000 children were disarmed speaks volumes. It is disturbing to note that 500 of the child combatants were girls.  In laying emphasis on the right of women we want to inform the Commission that investigations have shown that there were 50,000 to 64,000 rape cases during the war.

Linking human rights issue with justice in the country has been a critical element in our work. It is on this score that UNAMSIL has been supporting the work of the TRC, the Special Court, and even the local court in Sierra Leone.  Relatedly, UNAMSIL has been pushing for a strong human rights culture in Sierra Leone. Towards this, UNAMSIL has been undertaking community sensitization on human rights, and supporting the work of local activists.  The scope of our work has certainly not covered every impediment to human rights protection in Sierra Leone. The imperative of reforming laws must not be lost on the Government and civil society. There must also be an effective parliament system. The issue of lack of access to justice must be urgently addressed. Civil society should also put premium of monitoring human rights violations, especially in the police and courts. We end with a reminder that there is an integrated relationship between human rights, good governance and sustainable peace.  I thank you.

Commissioner Schabas – We are happy because you have presented a good material within a short time.  You suggested that Sierra Leone gets a Human Rights Commission. Do you see the TRC promoting an institution like that?

UNAMSIL – The recommendations of the TRC are a very important part of the institution’s report.  I believe that it would be good if the TRC takes the establishment of a human rights commission into consideration. And let me add that there is a need for the Commission to follow-up on its recommendations. The Commission must make sure that all the recommendations are implemented.

Commissioner Schabas - Thank you.  UNAMSIL has been here for some time and has done a lot of work on human rights.  It would be great if UNAMSIL could help us with any human rights materials it has.

UNAMSIL  -We have quite a lot of material at UNAMSIL. We only need a systematic methodology to use it. We have a report from a conference which makes mention of the TRC over 10 times. That shows the importance UNAMSIL attaches to the Commission.  We are ready to help.

Commissioner Schabas  - Thank you.  I’ll now turn over to my colleagues.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – Thank you very much.  I’ll like to talk about amputees.  I wonder how these victims survive.  This problem came to the fore when we went to the provinces.  Some amputees have been moved into newly built houses.  Some amputees have extended families that expect financial help from them. I note that in your presentation, you mentioned that there is need for government to develop a scheme for the amputees.  Do you have any suggestions as somebody who deals with human?

UNAMSIL  -  It was difficult to determine the number of amputees.  2,040 were interviewed. There were 1,055 victims of direct amputation.  We established files for each victim. We tried to sensitize people about what is going on. We lobbied the government, international community to help. As you may  know it is not within the mandate of the Human Right section to raise funds.  These preliminary investigations were conducted in both rural and urban areas.  We contacted the government to help amputees.  The first step was to contact the international communities and to share this information with them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones  - Thank you

Commissioner Jow - In your written submission, you made mention of the things the RUF did, and how the human rights violations occurred.  You said some organizations came into the country to verify human rights violations.  We as a Commission have had the opportunity to visit these places too, especially during our sensitization exercise. Has UNAMSIL carried out any follow-up in some of these sites?

UNAMSIL – We carry out follow-ups through our regional offices. Allow me to stress that we cannot do follow up in every cases. The Human Rights Commission that is to be established could up the issue of follow-up. Manpower in the Human Rights section is minimal. We make great use of the manpower of local NGOs.

Commissioner Kamara – Welcome back to Sierra Leone, I will ask a few questions.  The first one has to do with Human Rights violations in the country; past and present.  As the Human Right Section of UNAMSIL, what was the Human Rights violation before 1991 and from 1961?
UNAMSIL  - UNAMSIL was established in 1999, so we have no records of human rights   of those periods.  

Commissioner Kamara – Do you have anything to say about. It may have happened within the period of UNAMSIL’s stay in Sierra Leone.

UNAMSIL – We did not receive systematic information on disappearances. We are aware of cases of disappearances, but we didn’t include them in our submission. As you may know also, in the case of Sierra Leone it is difficult to attest the number of cases of summary execution.  In Human Rights disappearance means one that cannot be seen.

Commissioner Kamara -  Am I right to say that you support the establishment of a Human Right Commission in Sierra Leone?

UNAMSIL – No, I said that this vacancy exists.  I said that in the Lome Accord there is a provision for a Human Right Commission. I said that this Human Rights Commission can also play a role in following up on the recommendations made by the TRC.

Commissioner Torto – I have no question for you. But there are some clarifications I want you to make.   When we met the amputees, they complained that they have been neglected by society. Can UNAMSIL’s Human Rights Section provide facilities for these amputees?   

UNAMSIL – The office in Geneva has small funds for victims.  These funds go to many countries including Sierra Leone.  We can’t help people as individuals.  If it’s necessary to help individuals it should be a policy of the institution.  

Commissioner  Torto – Thank you.

UNAMSIL -  We are glad about the TRC operations.  UNAMSIL’s Human Right s Sections supports the TRC.  I’ll submit the document in which “TRC” appears over ten times.

Leader of evidence  -  No question

Commissioner Schabas –   Thanks to all of you.  We appreciate your participation.

WITNESS NAME:  Dr Prince Harding representing the SLPP
Commissioner Humper  - We want to thank you very much for representing the SLPP; I have a question for you on what you’ve spoken about.  Can you please share with us what you perceive to have been the problems of the SLPP?

Harding:  In analyzing the problems, I will not talk on behalf of the party. I will give my opinion.  One of the problems that SLPP has is that it wants to practice democracy more than people practice in Africa.  We are trying to convince other political parties in the country to that democracy is the only way forward.  I would also point that the young and old generation in the party are not complimenting each other’s efforts in the development of the party.  

We bring in organizations to help the country. However, many times we fail to give these organizations political direction. Take the Anti-Corruption Commission, for instance. Anti-Corruption Commissions are established in many parts of the world.  In Sierra Leone it seems that the ACC is dying.  In addition, people do not know how the legal system works.  People do not know that when someone has not been found guilty, he or she is a suspect.  I am referring to the Momoh Pujeh case. He has been arrested and the matter is still in court. Yet people talk about it as if the man is a convict. The legal system does not allow a person to be tried by the people and the Government. It will be against somebody’s right.  

I am not annoyed that the people are confused about issues like this and cast aspersions on the SLPP. People need to be educated. Every Government that has been in power sensitizes people about what it does. SLPP does not want to spend money to do that.  If we are able to do that, people will understand what the Government is doing.

Commissioner Humper:  One of our political party representatives brought out an issue it is a major area of investigation.  It has been said that the SLPP party practiced cannibalism. I would like you to comment on that.

Harding  - Opinion is free.  In African politics rituals are normal.  I am not in possession of any legal document that the SLPP was engaged in that. On the contrary an APC Minister was convicted of sacrificial mutilation.  He had to go to jail.  No SLPP minister has ever been accused and brought before court for cannibalism.

Commissioner Humper – Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones  - What can you say of criticism that the party sometimes offer positions because of party affiliations and not on merit.

Harding  - As I said, opinions are free. It is natural that in political appointments tendency consideration is given first to people who have gone through the rough and terrible times of elections campaign. The SLPP has always resisted tendency.  In giving positions, especially sensitive positions, you have to look secondly at performance and suitability. I can give you few e.g. of certain appointments that have been given to people that are not supporters of the SLPP In appointing the Inspector General of Police for example, we did not look at Mr. Archa political background.  Many appointments that have been made have not been based on party support. There are people in the cabinet who are not SLPP members. I am not going to name names here

Commissioner Torto – Why is it that a person standing trials and is still in Parliament?  Is it not the law in the country that an accused person should not hold public position?

Harding -  I have already said that it is only when someone is proved guilty that action can be taken against him or her. I do not know whether the 1991 constitution manufactured by the APC says that a person accused of criminal or civil offence should not public positions in the country.  During elections a party sends names to the Electoral Commission to check the backgrounds of candidates.  

Commissioner Kamara – The results of the 1967 elections were APC 32, SLPP 28 and Independent 4.  Can you enlighten us?

Harding - Mr. Commissioner, I will not challenge the veracity of your figures. I said SLPP and APC had 32-32. I still maintain that.  If APC had 32 and SLPP 28, APC would have taken over power.

Commissioner Kamara – It is said that when the results were out the SLPP used the soldiers to overthrow the newly elected Government.
Harding  - We all know what happened. There was clearly a problem in the country. It was then that the military took power. The military however did not hand over power to the SLPP.  In fact at that time the APC had already started training rebels. Bangura overthrew the Government and handed over to the APC.

Commissioner Kamara – I want to make an appeal to you. Can you lead us to any place were we can straighten this record? The APC and SLPP are saying different things.

Harding  - The facts could be found through the research. Mr. Ndolleh, one time history lecturer at Fourah Bay College would give you details of that.

Leader of Evidence  - No question.

Commissioner Humper  - Do you have any question to ask the commission?

Harding  -   I have a question to ask the Commission.

Somebody mentioned the “regionalization’ of politics. I think SLPP fought it out and promised to bring an end to that politics. The last election was free from fair. The SLPP made significant gains. Out of 112 seats, SLPP get 86, APC 27 and PLP 2. In the Northern province APC had 18, SLPP had 22  and PLP had no seat.

This tells us something. SLPP was the only party that got seats all over the country each district in the country. It was because our policies are not based on tribalism.  We hope to improve on that result by handling our duties well.

Mr. Chairman, Commissioners of TRC, I know you are going to suffer torture by what people talk here.  I would ask that you find some counseling.

Commissioner Kamara – We are happy for the concern you have for us.

Commissioner Kamara  -  I thank you.


5TH MAY 2003

Commissioner J.C. Humper  -  Presiding Commissioner
Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus Jones
Commissioner Madam Satang Jow
Commissioner Mr. Sylvanus Torto
Commissioner John Kamara

Leaders of Evidence
Mr Ozzonia Ojielo
Mr Abdulai Charm

WITNESS NAME:  Olayinka Creighton Randall - Campaign For Good Governance  


The institution has submitted a comprehensive report to the commission.  I am a representative of Campaign for Good Governance, which is an unpleasant task placed on me.

Sierra Leone’s attempt at commissioning the past should be understood in the light of the country’s elusive search for peace and justice over the years.  The case of Sierra Leone is not only a sad story of a lost paradise but an example of a state that had collapsed under the weight of bad governance and conflict over the years.  At independence in 1961, Sierra Leone was one of the brightest states in the galaxy of new African states.  After nearly two decades of bad governance and a decade of a devastating civil war, the country’s future as a stable let alone democratic state had become increasingly doubtful.  The political and military crisis in Sierra Leone can be traced to the highly centralized president-dominated political order and its accompanying institutionalized corruption during the All People’s Congress (APC) regime.

Over the past two years a number of measures have been put in place, in an attempt to improve the governance of the State of Sierra Leone.   These include:

  • Security Sector Reform
  • Legal Reform
  • The Anti-Corruption Commission
  • The Ombudsman’s Office
  • Transitional Justice Institutions i.e. the Special Court and the Truth and
  • Reconciliation Commission
  • Independent Media Commission

However, time will tell just how effect all these measures have been, and if there were maybe ways of tackling the problems of Sierra Leone differently.

Pre and immediate post-conflict Sierra Leone
Since Independence in 1961 until the start of the armed conflict in 1991, Sierra Leone had never experienced a truly democratic, participatory, transparent and accountable government. Independence was preceded by governance structures that were centered on the traditional rulers.  The roles of traditional rulers were upheld even during the colonial era. Abuse of power under chiefdom governance was one of the underlying causes of the war.

In nearly three decades of one-party and military dictatorship, a deliberate policy of systematic dismantling and destruction of all democratic institutions was undertaken personally by President Steven, President Momoh and the military regime. Institutions that constituted a system of checks and balances were crippled.   Parliament became a rubber-stamp institution.     The press was stifled. Student Union politics was banned. Local government was abolished. The Army became a political institution. Institutions like the Judiciary, deprived of funding were first to lose their relevance.  The Civil Service lost its neutrality and professionalism.

By the end of the 1970’s, power became highly centralized in the hands of the President. All decisions were taken in Freetown and state resources distributed from there.  Sierra Leone became two countries- Freetown and the rest of the country.

The over-centralization of political authority had the consequence of stifling local initiatives and alienating state from society.  It left the majority of the citizens marginalized. It also had the further consequence of making the Presidency the target of all struggles for power.  By the time the civil war broke out in 1991 therefore, the Sierra Leonean state had collapsed. Although it was the declared intention of the RUF to unseat the APC the movement degenerated into one of the most barbaric and brutal worldwide. The RUF was responsible for unimaginable atrocities, including brutal slayings, rapes and abductions.

The RUF was unable to oust the APC from power. The APC was however, ousted by a fallout of the RUF’s war.  In 1992 some young soldiers seized power. Although the people of Sierra Leone welcomed them, barely two years in power the military regime was accused of corruption and repression.   However, in 1996 we had our first multi-party general elections. The RUF and elements in the army were against elections before peace. It therefore stepped up its attacks until the Abidjan Peace Accord was signed on November 30, 1996.  In May 1997, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Ruling Council (AFRC) took power from the SLPP government. As we all know the AFRC regime was unpopular. It committed atrocities. Political opponents were killed, or tortured.  Civil disobedience and ECOWAS forcefully removed the junta from power.  We also know that in May 2000 the RUF wanted to take power from the Government.  Finally, after the peace talk in Abuja, Nigeria, a ceasefire was agreed upon, on the 18th January 2001 the rebel war finally declared over in Sierra Leone.

How Campaign for Good Governance was formed
Campaign for Good Governance was established on the 1st of July 1996, by some of the leaders involved in the pro-democracy movement at the time.  Our vision is to facilitate and encourage the full and genuine participation of Sierra Leoneans in the political and social, and economic processes of development in the country. As an advocacy organization, the main aims and objectives are:

  • To promote democratic participation of civil society
  • To promote gender empowerment for gender equality
  • To promote human right and the rule of law

The Campaign for Good Governance is divided in to three departments: The human rights department, the gender empowerment department, and the governance department. I will not be able to explain the duties of these departments in greater details.

As stated earlier, bad governance for over decades was primarily the cause of the conflict in Sierra Leone.  There is need for Good Governance to prevail. The following factors should be taken into consideration:  The power of the state should derive from the constitution, the Executive, judiciary and the Legislature, should all act as checks and balances to each other. Security, protection of life and property, good leadership, transparency and accountability should also be given premium.  We should have regular free and fair election.  As stated in the introduction a number of measures and reforms should be adopted. I will highlight some of these and the possible challenges to face them.

It is a well-known fact that the military contributed significantly to the tragedy in Sierra Leone.  However, when the new army was reconstituted there was no screening done of extreme human violators.  In addition elements from both the RUF and CDF were absorbed into the Army. These are factions that had committed human rights abuses against the citizens of Sierra Leone.  The Special Court has been established to try those who bear the greatest responsibilities.   If you go now to the villages and ask a woman about who was responsible for her rape and the burning of her house, she will invariably point to a newly trained member of the Republic of Sierra Military Forces. Thus, there is no accountability mechanism that has been put in place to tackle this problem. The military still has a high rate of illiteracy. The problem of indiscipline and corruption must also not be overlooked.

The reform within the police force has most significantly been seen in the supply of new equipment, logistics, etc. The bulk of the force is still, like in the Military, highly illiterate. The attitude of the majority of Police officers has still not changed.  

Legal Reform
Much of the support to the judiciary so far has focused on rebuilding courts. In general, not much had been done towards reforming the people who work in the legal system.  Although some work had been done in the area of customary law, the whole arena of existing laws has not yet been looked at.  There is also the issue of the three types of laws recognized under the constitution:  Statutory, customary and Islamic law.

The most significant problems with these bodies are that its lacks powers to prosecute.  After investigations of a matter all findings must be passed on to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for a decision to be made on whether there should be prosecution or not. We also think that more attention should be placed on instituting mechanisms to control and prevent corruption from source.

Our governmental system is still closed. The Anti-Corruption Commission should put measures in place to open up the system and make it more accountable and transparent.  For example a Right to Information bill should be passed in parliament, giving the average Sierra Leonean the right and authority to have access to public information.

It must be realized that the young ones are not politically represented, it should be noted that the majority of the youth that took part in the war do not necessarily have any allegiance, and they switched between being a CDF, and RUF or a member/supporter of this army. A huge number of these armed youths were not eligible to go through the disarmament process; they still remain largely untrained, unemployed and idle.  The option of youth’s organizations all over the country is therefore not surprising if the energies of these youths are not appropriately harnessed then we have a potentially dangerous situation.

Women and the Law
In this country we are all constitutionally equal before the law. We find out that in practical terms women found themselves disadvantaged in many areas. In divorce and inheritance matters, they were treated differently on the basis of ethnic or religious backgrounds. Among the Temnes for example when a husband dies, the woman is regarded as part of his property. This is not so among Mendes.  Similarly, if a husband of a Muslim woman dies, she is entitled to only one-eight of her husband’s property. This is not so for a Christian woman.  

I would now go on to recommendations, reforms and solutions to the problems.
For us to have good governance in Sierra Leone we have to look at the three main role players in the Sierra Leone: the state, private sector, and civil society.  Power and influence can be separated between these three parties.

  1. State – in order for good governance to prevail, the state must have segregation of powers.  It means that the Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary play out their institutional roles without fear or favor of the other.
  2. Securities agency – Professionalism should be instilled in all security institutions. And all security institutions must be accountable to the civilian populace.   
  3. Civil Society – In order for Good Governance to prevail, civil society must be independent, strong, diverse, and well resourced. On a more practical level, the following recommendation should be put forward.  The youth issue must also be looked into.  

As a nation we have been given a unique opportunity to move forward not just to the position we were in when the war started, but to moved forward and join the globalization trend.  Finally, I am proud to reveal to this Commission that the Campaign for Good Governance is engaging with these issues in a number of different ways. Campaign for Good Governance for example, is currently working with Parliament by offering its research papers and providing materials to enhance members’ debate.  We are also doing work with the security agencies.  

Commissioner Humper: Thanks to the representative. If we allow her to say all that she wants to say there would be no other witness here this afternoon.

She has painted a picture of Sierra Leone, as a country was about to die. But there is still hope. I will ask other Commissioners for comments.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – Thank you for a very good presentation. We thank you for delivering your submission within the stipulated time.  The TRC has interest in women and children. I just want to know what progress Campaign for Good Governance has made in protecting women and children.

Creighton-Randall – I was unable to elaborate on that. We have what we call the Gender Empowerment Department. Women are empowered politically and economically.  Economically, we have micro credit loans for market women in 48 markets in the Western Area, Mattru Jong in Bonthe District, and in Moyamba District.  Politically, we have done a number of training sessions for women, especially during the last elections.  We did voter and campaign education for them. We  also trained women in Gender Orbit and Gender System. This Gender Orbit had 20 women in the 12 districts in Sierra Leone.  Under our Human Rights Department we organized workshops for women and children across the country.  We also provide legal and medical help to women and children who suffered domestic and sexual violence in the war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – What is our hope for the future?

Creighton-Randall - As mentioned in my statement, Sierra Leone is in a unique situation to advocate for legal reforms for women and children.  It does not matter how many rapists the police arrest. If the laws are not strong the work of the Police will become fruitless.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – I thank you.

Commissioner Jow – Thank you for your presentation.   We know the roles civil society is playing to bring about democracy and good governance.  What are you doing in the area of raising the awareness of the majority of people? What are some of the challenges you face as an organization?

Creighton-Randall – We have undertaken a huge number of human rights workshops primarily in the Western Area. We have brought men and women from every chiefdom to educate them about their rights and responsibilities. A lot however, still needs to be done in this area. I believe the average Sierra Leonean knows his or right and responsibilities at the basic levels.  At CGG, our current challenge is to formulate public policies that the average Sierra Leonean would benefit.  We have carried research into public issues. Without assuming that we know it all, we are calling other civil societies and other organizations to let us know what they want us to pass on  to the government that will benefit everybody.  

Commissioner Kamara  - I want to join my colleagues to thank you. I think you have done a good work, especially when you spoke of the reasons for the war in Sierra Leone. We know that there are other factors responsible for the war.  We understand that the university became a revolving door to recruit corrupt ministers, what is your opinion and what do you expect from the University of Sierra Leone.

Creighton-Randall – The University, like other institutions at the time was not getting enough money to be able to perform well. Students had no hope for the future. They were therefore easily corrupted.  If the University receives adequate funding and support they can be able to get good lecturers. The students will therefore benefit from good education. There should be a conducive atmosphere for learning. The students should have confidence that they will be employed in future.

Commissioner Kamara – You did say that the interference of politicians in  the work of Paramount Chief. I just want to ask whether the powers of the Paramount Chiefs were greater than those of the Members of Parliament?

Creighton-Randall  - I believe so. Paramount Chiefs deals directly with the people in the province whilst members of parliament reside in the Western area. Parliamentarians only go to their constituencies when they want something from the people.  The Paramount Chiefs are closer to the people.

Commissioner Kamara – On the military you said they contributed positively or negatively on the war based on information we had received. Do you have hope that on-going reforms in the military would make the institution serve the country better than before?

Creighton-Randall –The military was doing well at the start of the war. But it began to perform negatively as the war prolonged.  The reforms that are now taking place should be done looking towards the future and not short-term solutions.   It would have been a good thing to find out who in the army were involved human rights violations. Soldiers who committed human rights violations should have been removed from the army. It will also be necessary to have institutional reconciliation. There would be, for example, a sort of TRC amongst military officers. It would be an opportunity for them to tell us what they did and what they had suffered. Such a process will help the army to reconcile with the public generally. We must also put emphasis on the military being accountable to civilians.

Commissioner Kamara –I want to ask a final question to help us on what should have been done in the 1960s and 1970s; and what should have been done to prevent the emergence the RUF.

Creighton-Randall – First of all we must realize that civil societies in the country in the 1960s and 1970s was not in any way structured.  I think the challenge now is to keep civil society as intact as possible especially when dealing with specific issues.  It is easy for civil society to mobilize against the nation.  The challenge now is to look inwards and to critically analyze the past, which will guide in the right path.

Commissioner Torto  - I thank you for the concise statement you have made.  I am interested in social justice. I would like you to enlighten me on - first the police, their attitude, equipment and logistics. You also talked about tribal lines in the SSD. Is it a problem in the higher cadre?

Creighton-Randall  - There are ethnic problems in that force.

Commissioner Torto – Let’s talk about legal practitioners- the behaviors of lawyers in Court.  They hold a lot of blame. Is something being done in towards lawyers behavior?

Creighton-Randall – No. Our legal practitioners definitely had a lot of blame.  It is my humble opinion, (and Mrs. Marcus Jones can correct me) which the judges are in charge of their court. And if a lawyer for no reason decides to delay a case, the judge has the power to take corrective action.

Commissioner Torto – Are customary laws inforce?

Creighton-Randall – They are in force. I made reference to that earlier. Government must try to put certain mechanism in place so that all laws in the country have the same effect.

Commissioner Humper - Thank you for answering the Commissioners. Your organization did a survey on the Special Court and the TRC. When was that?

Creighton-Randall  – November and December 2002.

Commissioner Humper – Do you have any intention of conducting another survey now that the TRC has started its operations or are your findings going to remain the same?

Creighton-Randall – We would have loved to but there are no funds.

Commissioner Humper – According to your submission we have a powerful Executive and Legislative but the Judiciary is weak. Can you comment on that?

Creighton-Randall - That is what we believe as an organization.

Commissioner Humper – Yesterday over the BBC, President Obasanjo said that too many political parties were not good for Nigeria. He said the number of parties should be cut down to three. I am asking whether CGG will make a recommendation to the Commission as to how to help our country reduce its political parties.

Creighton-Randall – If the Commission wants us to submit that recommendation, we will think about it.  In Sierra Leone we have a number of political parties. These parties are based on people. When parties start operating along the lines of ideology they will be reduced because we do not have many ideologies to entertain.

Commissioner Humper – Thank you.

Leader of Evidence – I refer to page 8 of the submission on the war victims funds. I want to ask you to make recommendations as to that are war victims, and what measures to put in place for their welfare?

Creighton-Randall - As we all know most Sierra Leoneans had suffered. We however, have to streamline the victims for the purposes of the war victim’s funds. When we talk about war victims for the purpose of the funds we may have in mind people who suffered physical violence, those who were raped and the amputees. There are other means to help war victims outside the war victims funds.

Leader of Evidence – What recommendation do you want to make to the Commission?

Creighton-Randall - Money was in the minds of most victims as means of compensation. I however suggest that the perpetrators help to build communities that they destroyed.  

Leader of Evidence – Thank you very much.
Commissioner Humper  - Do you have any comments, issues or point to raise in relation to the mandate of the Commission for us to discuss?

Creighton-Randall – For now I have no questions or issues to raise. I promised that before the end of the Commission I would have my recommendations made.

Commissioner Humper –We will appreciate your recommendations.  I thank you for coming.

WITNESS NAME – Sheku B .S Lahai – National Forum for Human Rights


Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen, the National Forum for Human Rights (NFHR) is a federation of local human rights organizations. NFHR coordinates collaboration and networking among local human rights groups.  It was represented at the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement and has since being involved in activities around the TRC. NFHR has played a leading role in educating the populace on the role and activities of the TRC. NFHR closely monitored and documented gruesome human rights violation/abuses during the armed conflict.  Our experience has revealed to us accusations and counter accusations by individuals and groups as to who was responsible for the enormous damages caused to the people of Sierra Leone.  Who is saying the truth?  The TRC hopes to answer this question. The National Forum attaches great importance to the work of the Commission.   

Roots causes about the war in Sierra Leone
One of the reasons for was the emergence of undemocratic rule in Sierra Leone.  The SLPP was the party that formed the government just after independence and The APC was the opposition.  Elections in 1967, six years after independence, proved very controversial with each party claiming 32 seats.  Six seats however went to the independent candidates.  There was serious political upheaval, which provided leeway for the armed forces to seizure power. A counter coup took place hours the initial attempt to seize power. The soldiers established the National Reformation Council (NRC) with Juxon Smith as its leader. 

After thirteen months in power the NRC was toppled by non-commissioned officers.  A regime called the Anti-Corruption Reformation Movement (ACRM) was formed. The ACRM reinstated Siaka Stevens and his APC party.  The APC feeling threatened started working towards a one-party state. The APC had previously opposed the idea when the then ruling party, SLPP tried to introduce it.  This was an indicator that the country will be plunged into violent and complex conflict.

Electoral fraud or rigging is another cause of the ten-year war.  From 1967, elections in the political history of Sierra Leone have always been about controversies, violence, and such other negative tendencies.  The perpetration of electoral fraud and election rigging by politicians in power even after the expiration of their mandate, engendered distrust and dissatisfaction among the Sierra Leonean populace.

The stage-management of coups to get rid of political opponents was a corollary to the above.  Political opponents who were roped in these alleged coups were executed.  This bred disgruntlement and revenge in some sections of Sierra Leonean society.

Over centralization of state machinery led to isolation of rural communities. This resulted in severe inequalities in the distribution of state structures and functions to the dissatisfaction of greater majority of the population. Its contribution to the war cannot be overemphasized. In the period of one-party and military dictatorships the rights of people were grossly violated with impunity.  The rights to freedom of association and assembly, freedom of the press and expression, political participation were egregiously violated by the state administration.  This environment serves as a fertile ground for breeding the malcontents who started the war.

Political Intrusions into the State Security Agencies
Immediately after independence, Sierra Leone acquired a taste for military coups, and open military intervention in political life. The military presence in politics had such attendance consequences as dissolution of political parties and heavy restrictions on democratic activity. The involvement of senior military and police officers into the day-to-day political activities during the one party era (1978-1992) also added to the factors leading to the military to become unprofessional.  Head of the police and military were members of parliament.  

There were serious lapses in the security institutions due to political interference.  Since independent, there were deliberate and calculated move to politicize the law enforcement institutions by politicians.  The recruitment into the police, army and the Special Security Division (SSD) was purely on the basis of nepotism and not on qualification. A system was introduced whereby only persons in possession of a card from a politician or party stalwart could be recruited into the security forces.  The recruitment into the forces therefore gradually became skewed in favour of a particular set of people the majority of whom were close relatives of the politicians. Attempts by pressure groups to force the APC to introduce multi-party democracy was therefore met with the stiffest resistance from the law enforcement agencies not based on principles but on personal interest.

Weakening of the Judiciary
The judiciary has not been independent for the past two decades. The executive arm of government was directly involved in judicial processes. This invariably inhibited people’s access to justice.  Backlog of cases became the order of the day as the courts became overcrowded with cases.  “Justice delayed is justice denied”.  People were held in custody for long periods without trial.  Most Magistrates and judges were accused of taking bribes taking to adjudicated matters.

The instruments and structures used by the judiciary were obsolete.  Most of the laws were not in consonance with international standards. Many laws only protected the political aspiration of the ruling party. The customary judicial system levied fines that were not commensurate with the crimes committed.  This led to migration of disaffected youths to big towns where opportunities for them were almost none-existence.  During the war there were instances were some youths returned to their rural communities as rebels to wrecked mayhem and destruction in return for the ill treatment meted out to them in the past.

Breakdown in the Socio-Economic Structures
Widespread and endemic corruption and mismanagement in both the private and the public sectors incapacitated the state machinery. It was a general belief that officials of government had to be bribed to undertake jobs for which they were fully employed and paid.  There was no care for government property as people used them as personal properties.  In short, corruption was institutionalized.  

Education was seen as a privilege and not a right.  Many children were left without access to education.  School calendar was erratic due to Government’s inability to pay salaries. People had to queue to buy essential items like rice, and petrol. Jobs were not given on merit. People who appointed not on the basis of merit were not only inefficient but also corrupt. The short cut to economic emancipation for the youth in particular was to flood the mines where illicit mining and smuggling was the way of life. It was in these circumstances that the war was conceived and executed as the only means to effect change.

Roles of Actors during the war
The actors in the conflict included the RUF, AFRC, Government forces, ECOMOG, UNAMSIL and the Civil Militia.

The RUF and AFRC
These two organizations were responsible for the following:
* Amputations
* Arson
* Killings
* Rape
* Torture
* Ambushing commercial transportation
* Recruitment of child soldiers
* Widespread looting
* Child labour and enslavement
* Extermination
* Abduction of civilians and UNAMSIL peacekeepers
* Revenge killing

Civil Militia
* Killings
* Torture
* Looting
* Recruitment of child soldiers
* Ambushes
* Extermination
* Revenge killing

Government Forces
* Revenge killings
* Rape
* Torture
* Looting
* Use of child soldiers
* Collaboration with RUF (Sobel)

ECOMOG – 1997 to 2000
* Extra-judicial killings

* Minor instances of misdemeanors like rape


* Liberia
* Involved in diamond trade in exchange for arms
* Provided mercenaries for the RUFand AFRC
* Fuelled the war
* Exploited the country during the war years
* Harbored the rebels
* Served as arms transit point

* Ivory Coast
* Sale of arms to the RUF
* Conducted academic training for the RUF fighters
* Serve as the political base for the RUF especially in 1996.

* Burkina Faso
* Provided military training facilities for the RUF
* Provided mercenary fighters
* Provided arms and ammunition

* Nigeria
* Contributed greatly to the attainment of peace in Sierra Leone
* Contributed the highest number of troops to the ECOMOG forces which interventionist capacity helped to keep the rebels at bay.

* Britain
* Provided logistical and technical support to the democratic government
* Conducted training and actually became engaged in combat
* Engaged in rebuilding of the Sierra Leone Army
* The training Head of IMATT acted as adviser to the Government of Sierra Leone
* Eliminated the Westside boys and made it a spent force
* Initially serve as the coordinating point of the RUF

* Guinea
* Contributed the second highest number troops to the ECOMOG forces
* Guinea served as corridor for both the democratic government and the opposing forces.


  • Early warning signs of conflict should be responded to.
  • Some provisions of the 1991 constitution and other undemocratic laws/policies should be reviewed.  In the light of this the constitutional. review committee should be reinstated and made accessible by the public.
  • Security must be tightened and trained to promptly respond to situations.
  • The borders must be properly manned.
  • Conditions of service must be improved upon.
  • Job facilities need to be created to engage youths.
  • Fundamental human rights should be respected.
  • There should be a yearly review of the human right situation in the country that can highlight the extent to which the government has gone in implementing international human rights instruments that it has signed and ratified. In facilitating this, the government should work towards establishing a National Human Right Commission that is autonomous and independent.
  • A war museum should be erected that can have important information about the war including its causes and effects.


  • Non-formal reconciliation and counseling processes should be undertaken at community level.  Traditional leaders, the government and civil society organizations should facilitate such processes.
  • The ‘Victims fund’ as spelt out in the Lome Peace Agreement should be established. A certain percentage (as will be determine by the government) of proceeds from the sale of minerals should be deposited into this account.  Reparation of both individual victims and communities should be undertaken from this fund.
  • Resettlement facilities

Reintegration of perpetrators

  • Skills training
  • Public acceptance and remorseful at community level
  • Job opportunities for ex-combatants
  • Communities need sensitization to effect the reintegration of ex-combatants
  • Training cleansing ceremony should be undertaken.

Commissioner Humper – We are happy that you have come here at this particular time. I want to ask my colleagues if there are questions they want to ask or issues to raise.

Commissioner Marcus Jones – Thank you for your presentation – I would like to know which name to attach to the submission. Is it your name?

Lahai – Yes, my name.

Commissioner Marcus Jones – I want to know whether the National Forum for Human Rights had undertaken any study to attest the period that the highest number of human rights violations took place in the country.

Lahai – It was between 1998 – 2000; after the Abidjan Peace Accord, and after the removal of the AFRC.

Commissioner Jow – Can you tell us if any attempts were made under the SLPP regime to secure human rights violation after independence in 1961?

Lahai – Certainly not. When Sir Albert Margai became Prime Minister on the death of first Prime Minister he made laws to stifle the opposition  or the political parties that were not in agreement with him.  He had wanted to make Sierra Leone a one-party.  

Commissioner Jow  - In your presentation you mentioned that students were involved in the war in Sierra Leone. You did not mention the 1977 students riot in Sierra Leone.

Lahai – I was unable to include all that in my submission because it would have been bulky. In 1977 students demonstrated against Government. The government banned Student union activities. Some students were expelled. Some went out of the country, but stayed in touch with people who were in touch with the rebels.  It was during the time that Mohamed Gadaffi’s Green Book was introduced.  I believe that certain people who were students will throw light on this. The Commission has invited some of them.

Commissioner Kamara – You said that during this period the Police and Army officers were politicians. Did you also say that a card system for recruitment into the Army was introduced in 1977?  

Lahai – It was during the APC era that they introduced this card system.

Commissioner Kamara – Were all recruits therefore from APC politicians? Where these early warning signs?

Lahai – Yes, they were early warning signs.

Commissioner Kamara - Thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto – Thank you very much for this presentation.  I want you to verify two things. Can you identify one or two people who were sent in exile?
As mentioned in the very first part of your submission?

Lahai – I don’t want to do it  here.

Commissioner Torto – You said Britain served as a coordinating point for the RUF.

Lahai  -  Omrie Golley was in Britain.

Commissioner Torto – Was he speaking on behalf of the British?

Lahai – No. He is a Sierra Leonean but I am made to understand that he was born in Britain.

Commissioner Torto – Was there any agreement between Sierra Leone and Britain?

Lahai  - Not to my knowledge

Commissioner Humper – Thank you very much. Did you say that the CDF had the blessing of the Government

Lahai – Yes, in a way.

Commissioner Humper –In Bo one witness asked this question: If my area is being attacked and I opt to defend it, is that a crime?

Lahai – No, it is not a crime.

Commissioner Humper – When did the burning of houses and killing of people for political reasons start?  Was it before March 23, 1991?

Lahai  - It was from the onset of the war.

Commissioner Humper – My colleague mentioned the year 1997.

Lahai – From 1997 -1998 when the AFRC were in power. The AFRC was responsible for a lot of human rights violations because they had wanted to stay in power.

Commissioner Humper – Can we say that what happened in 1977 had human rights implications?

Lahai – Of course, because a lot of students were expelled.

Commissioner Humper - There was no mention of the SSD in 1977.

Lahai – I did not mention the SSD specifically.

Commissioner Humper – You have made recommendations that some provisions of the Constitution of 1991 be reviewed. Can you state one such provision?

Lahai – The provision dealing with the appointment of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, for instance.

Leader of Evidence – As you say Freetown is not Sierra Leone, are NGOs effective in the rural areas?

Lahai – We have limitations. We are however in constant touch with the rural areas.

Commissioner Humper – It is now your turn to ask us question or raise issues  regarding the work of the Commission.

Lahai – Are you satisfied with the cooperation you are receiving from the Government?

Commissioner Humper – The immediate answer is yes. We are however asking for more.

Lahai - Are you convinced that the statement takers succeeded?

Commissioner Humper – Yes, it was a huge success.

Lahai - Do you envisage extending the stipulated time for the end of the Commission?

Commissioner Humper - The Commission is not envisaging that. We want to present our recommendations by the end of October. We are not thinking of an extension at this time. We want to thank you very much.

WITNESS NAME: Mr Sundia Cleo Hanciles


The challenge of all human societies is to create and institute a system of governance that promotes, supports and sustains human development-especially for the poorest and most marginal.  Governance refers to the process by which ‘diverse elements in a society wield power and authority and, thereby, influence and enact polices and decisions concerning public life and economic and social development”

Among it’s attributes are: the rights of citizens and groups to articulate their interests, exercise their rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. Good governance is a government based on consensus between the government and the governed. It also includes participation, transparency, and accountability.

The concept and ideal of good governance is relatively new in Sierra Leone, as in the rest of Africa.  The increasing recognition and emphasis on governance as the necessary prerequisite for lasting peace and sustainable development in Africa is born out of our recent tragic post-independence experience with bad governance.  The history of pre-war Sierra Leone from the 1970s to early 1990s can be aptly described as the imposition and perpetuation of bad governance par excellence.  Conversely, the recent history of post-conflict Sierra Leone is the relentless search and struggles to rid the country and society of the vicious cycle of bad governance and replace it with the virtuous cycle of good governance.  It is a unique and exciting experience that has seen the emergence of civil society as a potentially potent force for change.


This presentation, with certain limitations, is made within the TRC methodological framework and will focus on the following:

  1. The genesis of the struggle for good governance in pre-war Sierra Leone 1970s-80s.
  2. Shortcomings of and roadblocks to the institutionalization of good governance in post-conflict Sierra Leone.
  3. The dilemma of social change.
  4. The manifestation of the divergence syndrome in pre and post-conflict Sierra Leone.
  5. Recommendations and Conclusion.

2.1 Genesis    
Bad governance, characterized by extreme centralization and personalization of power, flagrant violation of human rights, social and political exclusion, social injustice, economic mismanagement and rampant corruption, was the root cause of the ten years of civil war in Sierra Leone.  However, this trampling of democratic rights and values did not go unchallenged.  The mid 1970s to mid 1980s witnessed the emergence of a nascent anti-one-party dictatorship resistance and pro-democratic movement.

Undeniably, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone was the hotbed of resistance to bad governance in Sierra Leone.  It was spear-headed by students, young intellectuals and progressive minded youths under the guise of students social and political groups such as, the Gardeners Club, Movement for Progress in Africa (MOPA), Pan African Union (PANAFU), Friendship Societies (Juche Club) or Study Groups (Green Book Study Club).  Their visions, stance and programs were articulated and propagated nation wide through the medium of newspapers such as the Tablet and Awareness Magazine founded by ex students.

Student resistance against and confrontation with state and university authorities was in direct response and reaction to the ramifications of bad governance felt throughout the country.  “In the contracting political space, students became the leading opposition to APC dictatorship and the main advocate for social and political change.  The confrontation between students and the university administration continued throughout the 1980s and it had the effect of both radicalizing campus politics and linking radical college and urban youth together (Rashid 1997, Abdallah 1997).  Between 1970s and 1980s, the cultural, sociological and political nexus between radical college and urban youth had produced both a culture of confrontation and a language of revolutionary change of the ‘system’.  The termination of three lecturers, expulsion of sixteen students and suspension of twenty-six others produced a chain of events that spawned the Revolutionary United Front, National Provisional Revolutionary Council (1992), the Pro-Democracy Movements, the Resistance against the AFRC and the restoration of the democratically elected Government of President Kabba.

From the foregone, one can plausibly argue, that despite its unintended and disastrous outcome in some cases, the generation of students and youths of the 70s and 80s, despite merciless suppression and oppression, created the conditions for the overthrow of bad governance and the restitution of democratic governments in the 1990s.

What I want to emphasize here is that, the affected lecturers and students in particular and the nation in general still want to know from the College authorities why they were summarily dismissed, expelled and suspended.  We demand a public hearing.  This must and should be an integral aspect of the reconciliation process.

2.2  Shortcomings
Perhaps one of the didactic lessons most enlightened Sierra Leoneans learnt from the horrendous civil war was that our pre-war system of governance was fundamentally flawed.  Therefore, in post-conflict Sierra Leone, the emergent national resolve is that, never again must the vast majority sit passively and allow few people, motivated by nothing other than insatiable greed and naked lust for power to misrule and abuse us, and in the process drag the nation down the abyss of destruction.  Sierra Leone belongs to all of us.  Therefore, we have the natural right to actively participate in making and taking all the major political, economic and social decisions affecting our lives. The most practical manifestation of this new social awakening is the emphasis on the institutionalization of good governance.  But even so, this vision is not nationally shared.  There are glaring contradictions.

One hand, the country is today awashed with laboratory concepts, ideas and movements such as: good governance, democracy, accountability, transparency, civil society, poverty alleviation, anti-corruption, reform of the judiciary, civil service, police, military, food security, reintegration, reconciliation, respect for human right, military, and gender equality, to name a few.  For the well informed, even before the formal end of the war, Government in partnership with international donors and civil society organizations, are doing everything within their powers to institutionalize these laudable ideals throughout the length and breadth of the country.

On the other hand, there are the old legacies of bad governance namely: corruption, endemic poverty, mismanagement, weak institutions, and social injustice, excruciating poverty, economic hardship, mass unemployment and poor social service.  In other words, the nation is still faced with the dilemma of how to replace the vicious cycle of bad governance with the virtuous circle of good governance.

Meanwhile, the interplay of these contradictory-organizing principles of society augurs ill for our national quest for rapid post-war recovery efforts, peace building and consolidation, and sustainable development.  It has given rise to two contrasting images of the present and future direction of the country.  One pessimistic, and the other optimistic.

2.3    Dilemma of change
The pervasive hold of the bad governance culture in post-conflict Sierra Leone confronts us with the chicken and egg dilemma of social change i.e. ‘Change is eternal’, and ‘Nothing ever changes’.  For the majority of Sierra Leoneans the war had brought no changes in its wake.  The old pre-war attitude and mentality are still intact.  With the end of the war, it’s back to business as usual.  The privileged few continue to prey on the under-privileged majority.  Anti-people institutions are still in place.

But for far seeing and thinking Sierra Leoneans, the war has brought in its wake far-reaching changes, some positive, some negative.  Among these are the changes in the governance environment.  We have moved from dictatorship to democracy. The rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution is gradually being enforced.  The culture of impunity is being tackled and confronted.  New societal values or organizing principles as highlighted above are not only being aggressively propagated but are gradually applied by government in partnership with civil society organizations and the international donor community at all levels.  The ultimate goal is to uproot, stock and branch the obsolete structures, institutions and mentality implanted in the body politic by decades of bad governance, and replace them with new values based on good governance, transparency and accountability.

* But much of what is changing before our eyes is not discernible to the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans.  The pertinent question here is why is this so?  There are many reasons for this.  The main reason is the way we look at, think about, and interpret society.  In the face of earth shaking changes that are suffocating and engulfing us, we doggedly cling to outmoded tools of analysis to understand a qualitatively different social environment.  Consequently, lacking a systematic framework for understanding the clash of forces and societal values in post-conflict Sierra Leone, we are like a ship’s crew trapped in a storm.  To find our way, let us try to understand the concept and dynamics of the manifestation of the social divergence syndrome in our social system.

2.4    The divergence syndrome
“The divergence syndrome in social systems manifests itself in the social complexity of human life not only as an extreme sensitivity to any change or fluctuation in political, economic conditions, but also as an acceleration of social change beyond the ability of society to control their direction and intensity.”  Applied within our context the challenge facing post-conflict societies like ours is; how instead of serving as a cause for social crisis can the divergence syndrome is the “bearer” of positive transitions in society.

* Firstly, we witnessed the sensitivity of society to major fluctuations.
There are many who would have preferred to maintain the obsolete one-party system because of the stability it offered to the series of military and civilian implosions called revolutions that destabilized and destroyed their lives and properties.

* Secondly, we all witnessed and experienced our inability to stop change.
The divergence syndrome demonstrated through acceleration of change and growth can be understood as serving both as a cause and requirement of transformation.  For example, despite our understandable revulsion and vexation with the rebel uprising, after this nightmarish experience we all agree that we must address its root causes and transform society accordingly.

* Thirdly, there is the existence of a punctuated social equilibrium, particularly in a post-conflict society like ours.  This means the occurrence of countervailing tendencies or forces that get easily amplified by social, economic and political conditions into a crisis.   For example, because of their roles in the rebel uprising, the importance of finding tangible solutions to our youth problem has been realized; poverty alleviation is now an obsession with government because we realized the danger its existence posed to national stability and security; and Sierra Leoneans still feel insecure because of the ongoing revel war in Liberia.

The inescapable conclusions we can infer from all this is that the inevitability of the divergence syndrome in the social complexity of human life requires the use of new methods of thought capable of dealing with its vibrant vitality.  We seek to answer the pertinent question:  what do we need to do as a nation to ensure that the divergence syndrome currently prevailing in our country becomes the bearer of positive transformation?  Within the context of the discourse, how can we institutionalize the ideals and praxis of good governance as outlined above in post-conflict Sierra Leone?

2.5 Recommendations
Being aware of its unavoidable occurrence in the dynamics of social processes, what we need to do is to be guided by two key principles in our search for solid and practical recommendations to achieve good governance in post-conflict Sierra Leone.

Firstly, the process of social transformation from a dictatorship to democracy is one of the most difficult of human undertakings.  Those of us espousing new societal values of good governance, participatory democracy, human rights, gender equality, decentralization of power, social justice in harmony with the yearnings and aspirations of the vast majority of our people are actually planting the seeds, the vision of a new system of governance in Sierra Leone. We need to muster patience and perseverance to sustain the process until it becomes the new social values.

Secondly, we must accept that the old societal values rooted in bad governance are still entrenched.  It will not give way to the new easily.  There are entrenched social classes, ‘powerful faceless actors’ (political, economic, social), the product and beneficiaries of yesterday’s dictatorship who are hostile to these new social values, because their realization threatens their wealth, privileges and status.  Therefore they will pay lip service to these ideals and practically ensure that nothing changes.

The challenge is how to cross this barrier of resistance to change that is so prevalent in every quarter in post-conflict Sierra Leone?

2.6    New political culture
Commitment to the ideals of good governance (as defined above) demand the seedling of a new political culture based on active popular participation of the populace in the process of decision making at all levels.  Currently, what prevails in Sierra Leone is the old political culture based on passive participation of the people in decision-making, which in most cases is limited to voting once every five years for political representatives and after which the voting machine is switched off.  This is a far cry from participatory democracy.

2.7    Participatory democracy
Participatory democracy in essence means empowerment of the people to effectively involve themselves in creating the structures and in designing policies and programs that serve the interest of all. To achieve this ideal requires considerable input by all stakeholders namely; the awakened people themselves, but more importantly the actions and policies of the State and international community to create the enabling environment.

The good signs are these ideal of people empowerment is being gradually applied in Sierra Leone by the Government, civil society and international community by way of participatory consultative meetings, workshops and sensitization campaigns.  But this process is still in its nascent phase and is often limited to few participants.  There is still the dire need for mass public civic education to teach our people new democratic values in order to win them away from the decadent social values of bad governance.  Experts have forcefully argued on Governance that in moving from authoritarian rule to democracy, there is a risk that societies could become too divided and partisan.  The building of capacity for different groups as a collaborative exercise can help build consensus about the new national values and provide a basis for equitable social and economic development.  We need to heed and apply this in post-conflict Sierra Leone.

2.8    Development of civil society and non-governmental organisations
There is increasing recognition of the importance of civil society and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in good governance.  Civil society NGOs are important in propagating and implementing the new societal values of good governance.  They hold government accountable and make sure the people get the government they deserve.  In their daily operations, civil society organizations provide experience of governance and democratic practices on a small scale with widespread participation.  This is providing a cultural environment that fosters and protects good governance at the local and national levels.  Civil society is important as the main initiator and engine of development.  
Strengthening civil society thus, is not only a means to development but also a goal of development.

Over the last couple of years we have witnessed an exponential growth of civil society. The pertinent question here is how effective are these organizations?  Do they meet the criteria outlined above?  What must Government and international NGOs do to develop their capacities?

Civil Society in Sierra Leone requires capacity building to develop skills and attributes that will promote a healthy society.  Simple skills such as book- keeping and literacy are important for governance.  Many of them lack the capacity to participate effectively in the policy formulation process.  They lacked the capacity for policy analysis, and access to up-to-date information.  Government and international NGOs must help to develop capacity building for such organizations without destroying their autonomy. For this to happen at the governmental level there is the need for a new relationship between the state and officials on the one hand and members of the civil society on the other.  Until the 1990s, the relationship between the two was adversarial.  The challenge in the present time is to transform this adversarial relationship into an advisory one.

A new vision of society, it is argued calls for new forms of organizations and methods of operations.  Civil Society in Sierra Leone as elsewhere is the gadflies of good governance.  They have to practice what they preach.  However, this is not the case.  Many NGOs exhibit the same characteristics for which they rightly criticize the government.  They lack transparency and accountability.  Some of them are the personal properties of one or few people who practice extreme centralization of power.

In Sierra Leone, we have too many NGOs championing the same causes such as human rights, youth problems, or gender equality.  They all seek financial and material support from the same international NGOs.  The resulting competition ensuing from this is that we are beginning to notice that rather than working together NGO are working against each other.  However, of central importance in the search and quest for good governance in Sierra Leone is what needs to be done to build effective pro-people organizations on the ground.  How can civil society organizations become the effective link between the people, the government and international community to lay the solid foundation of good governance in Sierra Leone?

2.9 Campaign against national indiscipline
There are a number of disturbing facets in the life of post-conflict Sierra Leone, which any keen social observer cannot help but notice.  Many of this touch on our very existence as a nation, and the path its development will take and follow.  Therefore, it is proper that this malaise with far reaching implications for our social existence be identified, diagnosed and cured. One such malaise that is eating deep into the body politic of our nation is indiscipline.

The current mentality, attitudes and values of most Sierra Leoneans are antithetical to the realization of good governance or the rapid transformation of the country.  If we are serious about moving forward, we perforce have to find a way to address this attitudinal.  

In the era of participatory democracy the way to eradicate national indiscipline is not just by passing harsher legislation in Parliament nor putting more police in the streets or building more prisons.  We have to explore new ways and means. This may include things like self-organization of the people at the micro and macro level to identify and solve the problem.  The thrust of the public policy against national indiscipline must and should be to use participatory methods to encourage active involvement in identifying, diagnosing, and implementing solutions to the problem.

2.10    Institutional reform
In post-conflict Sierra Leone good governance and maintenance of international standards are the operational principles of government.  Good governance program is enshrined in the national recovery plan, which is itself a product of a participatory consultative process involving over two thousand Sierra Leoneans.  It has seven key elements amongst which are: institutional restructuring, combating corruption, and strengthening the judiciary and legal system to safeguard human rights.  In all these areas reforms are on going and with time they will positively impact on all aspects of our national life.

However, from the public perception nothing is going on.  The so-called revolution of heightened expectation makes government an arduous and challenging task.  According to public perception only the faces in the seat of power have changed but the system remains.  High-sounding words like good governance, participatory democracy, transparency and accountability are derisively dismissed as political sloganeering. In daily encounters with the state or public institutions people come into contact with public servants who still operate on the old dictatorial ethos of masters rather than servants of the people.

Also still remain critical about the age-old disjuncture between public policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.  In their candid view laws are made today, only to be forgotten tomorrow.  This atmosphere of cynicism and suspicion is certainly inimical to the growth and development of a new democratic culture in post-conflict Sierra Leone.  Great nations are not built by crybabies; but by bold and creative people who having learnt and discovered the pitfalls in their society take decisive steps and actions to correct it and move ahead.

What all this points to is that there seems to be breakdown of communication between the government and the governed in post-conflict Sierra Leone.  Good governance among other things is consensus building between the government and the governed, to agree or disagree as to what new direction the country should take, and the sacrifice all and sundry need to make in the national interest.  What is really essential is education.

Commissioner Humper: On behalf of the Commission and staff of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and on my personal behalf, I want to welcome you. We believe it is our responsibility to invite people like you to the Commission.  I want you to realize that you constitute an important part in the community. After ten years of civil conflict we are about to turn to a new page in the country. It is in this spirit that we have invited you to share your experience with us.  

Hanciles:     Thank you Mr. Commissioner, I did my best inside the time allocated to me to set light on some aspects of the upheaval in Sierra Leone, my personal role in it and also what I will do to make the country go ahead.  I had done an interview during my submission.  Last week, I was presented with another brochure from the TRC and I spent the whole week working with it. I have not finished it, but I think I have enough material to give you.  

Commissioner Humper: I thank you. This is considered to be a very good afternoon.

Commissioner Kamara – We welcome you are here to share your thoughts with us. If I got you rightly, I am sad that you ended your story in this way. We have worked together, and I know what you are capable of doing. I want you to elaborate on some of the issues you made. You were talking about change, and how people are not experiencing it. Changes are slow. I want you to tell us why these changes are slow?

Hanciles – First and foremost Mr. Commissioner, I don’t think I ended my submission on a pessimistic note.  I ended on an optimistic point.  The Sierra Leonean believes that the government should do everything.  I have traveled all over the country. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.  The majority of the people are not aware of what is going on in the country. What is needed today is partnership between the Government and the people.

Commissioner Kamara – You spoke of passive participation instead of active participation. You talked about the development of political structures. How are these things going to have effect on the people?

Hanciles  - Mr. Commissioner, the principles of Governance are universal.

Commissioner  Kamara – Is it true or false democracy that we have here?

Hanciles – No. Democracy cannot be limited. We must realize that poverty alleviation has to be addressed. Poverty is one of the key reasons why democracy has not been maximized.

Commissioner Kamara – Let’s talk about civil society. A number of NGOs are not performing their duties. What advice would you give as to regulating them?

Hanciles - Some people have hijacked the concept of civil society. They are not deeply committed to their duties.

Commissioner Kamara –You spoke about institutionalized reform. We want to know more about these reforms?

Hanciles – For example, we have a good governance program but there is no public participation.  Good Governance is about consensus building. We have to find ways and means to communicate for effective change.

Commissoner Kamara – The old police are a stumbling block. They do not want any change to be done.

Hanciles – We are talking about a management of change. We cannot allow the same mentality of yesterday to continue to drag us down the drain.  It is not right.

Commissioner Torto – I found out that you were training RUF in Libya.

Hanciles – when I left here I went to teach in Ghana in 1988-89. Libya was opened to everybody.

Commissioner Torto – I see again that Charles Taylor invited you to head the RUF.

Hanciles – We did not have time to do what we wanted to do. In Ghana we formed a democratic party. Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh wanted me.  Charles Taylor and myself were not in agreement as he likes power.
Commssioner Torto – The way you presented your paper this afternoon was very good. You should have used other means to stop the problems in the country. Were you organizing political parties?

Hanciles – After the student struggles and demonstrations in 1977 we established a newspaper called Tablet. Everyday the paper came out we were arrested. We were not sleeping in our houses. We eventually had to go into exile in 1986. Power was not our motivation.  I was against the idea of taking up arms.  I did not participate in any of those plans; that was why my name was not called.

Commissioner Torto – In the verbal presentation you talked about senior academic staff protecting students those days. During the RUF invasion however, a lot of intellectuals were attacked. Can you comment?

Hanciles – I was talking about 1977 – 1980. Lecturers like C.P Foray and Professor Dumbuya protected students.  Anytime Government targeted us we would into hiding at the college.  

Commissioner Humper – You have a comprehensive documents that you will finish and present to us. It contains a lot of description, and suggestions of solutions to some problems in this country.  We want you to elaborate on the book “Bush path to Democracy”.  And how this rebel war came about?

Hanciles – When I returned to Sierra Leone in 2001, I had an interview with Sorious Samura. He asked me a very pertinent question- “you were there in the beginning, do you regret how it all came about”.  I said yes, because we made a lot of sacrifice. I even lost my job. Somehow the process was hijacked. Was it due to my own fault? We still have to answer that question.  I will take this question as a challenge. I promised that I would have an answer to it.  

Commissioner Humper – I think people will be interested to have that question answered.

Hanciles – It came as a surprise, when Prof Foray’s car was burnt down and at the end they terminated my service at the college. I will not be happy with them until they come face to face with me at this commission to say what crimes I committed.

Commissioner Humper – This is very crucial. We are happy that you are prepared to furnish us with some more information.  We will try as best as possible to bring to this Commission the people you have mind.

Leader of Evidence – You said that the drivers had changed but the car remains the same. Would you like to suggest to the Commission solutions to the problems we have in the country?

Hanciles – There is what is called magic. People believe that after the election change will suddenly come.  I don’t want to counteract that. But I think it is very dangerous.
Leader of Evidence: – Some old players, who are occupying seat of government, think the country belongs to them. To effect change how do we deal with such people and mentality?  What recommendations do you have for the Commission?

Hanciles – People expect that government will solve all the problems overnight. It will lead to a crisis. We have to organize. Government does not even have the resources.  We should be also thinking of what kind of sacrifices to make.    

Leader of Evidence - Have you seen any effort on the part of government to develop the economic? If not, what would be your recommendation?

Hanciles – A lot of things are going on at the moment but they had not yet impacted on the people. What I would recommend to the Commission is that in our case government has to do everything for the people; other countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and people are not dependant on government.  Sierra Leoneans should all come onboard to develop our country. We should learn to think big, we should be creative, and we should take risk.

Leader of Evidence – What do you see as the challenges between them?

Hanciles – With the support of our international partners, there are serious plans going on, the problems is that they made policies and when it comes to implementation nothing is done.   

Leader of Evidence – Some of the testimony we heard today were about dictatorship, what would you suggest to the commission as possible recommendation as regards to these issues?

Hanciles - We are now in democracy, in democracy it is new thinking.  Powers must be separated, when we talk about democracy we do not talk about the different parties, we should leave tribalism behind.  Government is to work on them through parliament.

Leader of Evidence – When you talk about democracy, you must not forget about the economic trend.  What would you recommend to the commission how business would be a solution to organize these resources so that democracy can prevail?

Hanciles – It is a very difficult question, but I will try.  Foreign people controlled our economy.  The commission has to recommend to government ways and means as to how they can generate our sale of mineral.   We want to create a situation where we have our own indigenous businessmen so that at the end of the day the money you make will be invested in our country, rather than the foreigner who will take his proceeds back to his country.

Leader of Evidence  – What do you see as the structural issues that even some Sierra Leoneans took their money out of the country for safekeeping. What will you think should be done to address these issues?

Hanciles - Most of us do not love our country, we do not have any answer because this is psychological, and it is a serious problem that should be investigated.  In a country like Nigeria, an individual owns a jet, a big plantation, but it doesn’t happen here in Sierra Leone.  They deposit their money outside instead of the developing their country.

Leader of Evidence – We are just from election process, can you tell us what you saw from nomination to election, what are the signs you got out of this election process to develop our political institutions?

Hanciles – I think I saw some good signs here, I saw democracy within the period.  Most of the selections in various constituencies are within the party level.  It was gone through consultative process; they organize mini convention and have their candidate selected.  I am happy with this system that operate in the SLPP, the young generation stand up against the old ones, in the APC the young generation stood up and elected Ernest Koroma to be their leader, this is the first time to see women going to parliament.

Leader of Evidence - How should we connect the violence in the war and the indiscipline within the society?

Hanciles – With the restoration of democracy we find a state that nobody respects authority, Sierra Leone used to be the most disciplined country within the region. Before the war the problem of indiscipline was in the society, when NPRC came they tried to solve it but they were unable.  We want to look at it in the point of view that the collapse of the country is related to indiscipline. It is a serious problem to restore discipline in our country and it should be addressed.

Leader of Evidence  – What did you see as the strength and weaknesses of central plan to develop this country looking at your submission?

Hanciles – Two months from now we have vision 2025.  It is a question of what we do to move to a sustainable development.  This is a very good document; this deals with what we should and what we ought not to do. These are some of the plans that government wants to put in place.

Leader of Evidence –  Thank you

Commissioner Humper – Thank you Mr Hanciles it is now your turn to ask question or to raise issues as they relate to the commission.

Hanciles – I do understand and appreciate your work. I am happy. I really do not have any question to ask. I know what TRC stands for. We all have collective responsibility to say the truth for the development of the country.  The most important thing I want to know is: Why were we terminated from Fourah Bay College.

Commissioner Humper – Thank you very much Mr. Hanciles. Your very pertinent issues are taken into consideration.  The Commission will do its best to address these issues. The hearing this afternoon has taught us many things. We are happy that people of your caliber are here to testify; I think you have more stories to tell.  “Never give up” is a saying that we have in this country. We are craving your indulgence to come onboard to build a better Sierra Leone.  On behalf of my commissioners, I want to thank you.   

A.D.C.:    I am Allieu Deen Conteh, Assistant Secretary of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union

Male Inter.:    …..Let us hear your testimony

A.D.C.:    I Allieu Dean Conteh is here to talk on behalf of the teachers.
This presentation, highlights the SLTU perspective of the role of Civil Society, and immigrant communities in the drive towards quality education for all the challenges and prospects posed by this; especially after the decade old rebel war of unprecedented carnage and mayhem in our country – Sierra Leone.
Mr. Chairman, commissioners’ ladies and gentlemen.  My focus here is having been advised by the Commissioners, I will move a little way from presenting, issues already presented by other colleague NGOs because we work as partners even in the preparation of our presentations.  That area we want to have as our focus has to do with our belief that one of the main causes  of the rebel in our country, was the lack of education, or the high level of illiteracy in our population.  And its our conviction that governments over the years have not been able to address this issue of the importance of education; as an instrument of peace and progress, very adequately.  We will avoid condemning people because what is either negative or positive could be regarded as relative.  It depends on your interpretation but we will like, on behalf of all the teachers, to take this opportunity to apologise.  Using this forum, for any wrong that was done, by any teacher, during the course the war, either as an individual or collectively as a union, we want to use this opportunity to apologise and to ask for forgiveness, and in the same manner, we would also want to offer unreservedly our forgiveness to all those who during this war, may have wronged us either as individual teacher or collectively as a union.  We would forgive, but we shall never forget; because if we forget, there is the likelihood that these things will happen again.

We are happy that this opportunity has been provided, particularly so when the SLTU was very instrumental during the series of peace talks in having an instrument like the TRC after the war.  The civil war in our country seriously devastated the union both materially and in human terms.  The union has always emphasised on its clarion call.  That education is the key to development because we believe for example, that if our children receive the right kind of education, they will not be engaged in such destruction that this country experienced.  So, we would expect that after all the experience we have been through, government will continue to focus attention, on emphasizing the importance of education, and to turn their attention so that we would benefit from education for all; and we must not only look up to government, we should also concentrate on the need for us to work collectively as civil society organisation.  We would remember in this country, that was a saying and I quote ‘den se Bailor Barrie, u se Davidson Nicol’.  Statements of these kind brothers and sisters are all part of what may have led to the war were we have been through.  So we should all see it as our responsibility to collectively, engage ourselves in perhaps the new war, after the rebel war.   There is a new war.  The new war will constitute a war against poverty, a war against ignorance, a war against disease.  And as we talk about this new war, as a union, we want to just briefly mention some of the current problems that do not make for peace among our membership.  Inadequate teaching and learning materials in the school system. We do not have enough trained and qualified teachers in the system that is dangerous.  Inadequate salaries and so many other problems affection teachers.  The late payment, the non-payment, teachers working for twelve months without salaries and all such thing.  These continue to happen, even as I speak now.  And we want to let the TRC know that currently, these problems confront us as a union and we have been in very close touch with government, to discuss them.  We would not want to see a situation where, teachers, because of their deprived situation caused by the lack of salaries would be tempted to go into things.  We will never imagine teachers belonging to such a noble profession would engage themselves in,.

Another problem currently, has to do with discipline in schools and we want the parents to take up their own responsibility to help us the teachers, in helping their children.  Civil society organisations, must see themselves as informed critics and advocates.  This is where we see the civil society movement of Sierra Leone to be more proactive than never before.  Not to wait for a crisis before we respond to it.  According to martin Luther King (Jnr.)  and I quote: “We begin to die, the very moment we decide to stay silent on the things that matter”  We would expect that those who are suppose to talk would talk this time when they see thing happening in the wrong way, so that we can prevent what we have been through in this country.  The religious leaders, the tribal authorities and so many others.  As informed critics and advocates, we must not be only seen as government’s masquerades.  Of course if the government does right, we must commend them.

Civil societies must challenge national issues of the day such as the filth in the city, the mere total absence of basic amenities such as electricity and clean water, mass hunger and deprivation among people and the many other social problems, facing our society.  Now we must say, prevention is better than cure; because the rebel war, we should all hold ourselves responsible for – all of us.  Before the war, and even some period during the war, they would say, if you want to identify a teacher amongst other people, just watch the shoes of the teacher, and we think this is not good enough for such a noble profession as ours.  Landlords and landladies do not give their houses out to teacher; and considering the fact that teachers are regarded as role models and change agents, this is very, very, serious.  Like I was saying a while ago, the new teachers who have left college, for this academic year; a good number of them have not received salaries and they continue to walk around the streets, aimlessly .  We as an organisation would want to use this opportunity to assure the TRC of our support in the rebuilding process at all times. To move Sierra Leone from the last position in the Human Development index, a focus on education is required to ensure resources intend for investment and expenditure in that sector are used efficiently for the target beneficiaries.  Government must ensure, the prompt payment of fees subsidies needed by the school administrators to make the school operational for example, the subsidy for first term – for the first term of this academic year – now we are in the third term.  The subsidy which should replace the school fees that are not being paid, are only being paid now for the first term, this weak.  And we think this is not encouraging enough because the teachers will not teach well and the children will be left just roaming about. This also brings about the need for head teachers and other school administrator to ask for extra charges; and because of extract and illegitimate charges, children are being deprived of education.

The SLTU would want to see for example, the incorporation of peace education into our curricular at school and college levels.  Education personnel especially teachers must be well catered for, with improved conditions of service, befitting their so-called nobility of their profession.  We also suggest, based on the fact, like I started the focus of this paper, is the stressing on education; because we think, with the proper kind of education we will achieve peace, stability, and progress.  For example, the youths – we believe there must be special programmes skills training which will empower the youths, to make them more useful in society.  We also believe that, one attempt that we need to help solve a lot of the problems affecting education service commission.  The education service commission, has succeeded in several developing countries in West Africa.  It brings together all key education stakeholders; employers’ civil society organisations; the government officials; the community involvement; so that they can all sit on an equal platform and discuss issues about education.  It helps to reduce the usual tension between government and the community stakeholders.  We are optimistic because, the seeds for the growth of a new culture, of policy dialogue do exist in Sierra Leone.  Government has introduced some laudable ideas and strategies in education.  But we only hope they will be implemented and be put into reality.

The free basic education policy – starting with the primary schools, the emphasis on the girl child’s education; the payment for National and External public exams.   However, there is much more to be done by the government; and we as civil society organisations, have pledged to work in collaboration with government and all other parties interested; and we expect to see greater collaboration, not only in policy formulation, but in implementation and monitoring so that the workers on the ground like the teachers, will feel very much encouraged, and they will work to push Sierra Leone forward.  As I have already presented the paper before the commission, I would only want to end up in this manner.

I refer to the teacher message; which is a post-war lamentation.  It is a cry.  Remember we suffered because many ignored our message.  And many more had no opportunity to listen to us. We must all support free quality education.  Our contributions in promoting education peace and democracy, makes us proud to declare this millennium, an era of quality education, peace and democracy.  And we believe what has happened in this country over the past ten or more years, would surely not be repeated.  As teachers of this nation, we assure the TRC and the nation at large that we remain committed to our motto:  “Service to the Nation”.  So help us God!.  Long live teachers’ solidarity long live Sierra Leone.

Male Inter.    Thank you very much for this brief presentation.  We know you could have spent more time if you had the time and then were given the opportunity to read.  But as a teacher – I think almost all the Commissioners here have been teachers.  So the appeal and cry you are making here is on behalf of us.  So before I do anything, I think my colleagues would want to ask you a few questions.

Male Inter 2.    Thank you Mr. Chairman and then thank you Mr. Conteh for representing your union, to come and present these document.  I think the plight of teachers is fairly well known in this country; but equally so, there are people or parents in particular, who disapprove of some of the actions of teachers in this country.  I refer particularly to the issue of salaries in relation to the cost of education.  And proceeding from there to the quality of education n the country.  One of the question I would like to ask you is – have you ever produced as a union a comprehensive document that gives government a guide on to the basic or minimum salaries that will be accepted by teachers so that they can be fair to parents and students alike?

ADC:    Yes.  Very much so several times like I mentioned, we have had the opportunity of meeting government – particularly the Ministry of Education officials and we discussed these things; but there is always this cry by government of inadequate funds as a result of the war.  That has been our problem when we negotiate with government.

Male Inte.2.    Alright.  The other issue I’ll like to take up with you is the issue of the honour of the profession – teaching profession it is an honourable profession.  When it comes to honour, we have a saying here that: ‘respect pass belful’.  Now, will the teacher not consider because of their honour, try to do honourable things in the classroom by teaching and giving quality education in the school while pursuing these question of low salaries, delayed and sometimes even non-payment of salaries.  I ask this question because I feel your case will be strengthened, you will have the entire parenthood in this country to support you if they find out that your work is so exemplary that the government has to be forced to listen to your call for improvement of conditions of serve.

ADC.:    Yes.  It is correct like you said Sir.  Respect is better than having your belly full in disgrace.  But I think as a union, on behalf of the teachers, we have a problem accepting this from two perspectives.  Firstly, we would expect that, even the basic thing which the teacher will need to deliver the services have to be there; like they say ‘an empty bag can not stand’ but here we are talking about where even the basic salary – the month would com to an end and that basic salary is not even forthcoming that is the situation we are talking about,  Secondly we have a problem of not accepting this totally because, we would want to see the authorities living by examples.  The authorities from whom the teachers expect these provisions, would only exhibit austerity.  When we see it in themselves then we would also as teachers be ready to tighten our belts but that is not the case.

Male Inte.3:    Well, thank you very much Mr. Conteh.  My only comment to that is that, yes it is a difficult thing.  People say, ‘one must survive before one can serve’. I agree with that one.  That is why I think in the army they say ‘its better to survive to fight for another day’.  Now, but I think the situation in which  you have found yourself is something that have developed over a number of years; and probably you lost the fight to persuade or get the government to do what you need a long time ago.  Perhaps some of the parents now even, instead of backing you or supporting you may be taken on the government’s side.  And I am only suggesting this to let you win over the parents on your side so that you can have a better fire.

ADC:    Yes we shall try to pursue that alternative.

Female:    Thank you for your submission Mr. Conteh and also for your presentation here this afternoon.  I am pleased to note your suggestion of peace education in the school and also of refresher courses for Heads of School and other teachers.  I just wonder whether your union is discussion quality education for all, whether your union has considered zoning of schools and what is the opinion because I would think that where there is zoning of schools, the government and community will see to it that all the schools will be equally well equipped with staff and facilities.  What I mean is that children will go to school in there area and the child will not have to leave a place like kissy to go to a far distance school as the Collegiate school.

ADC:    I think that makes very much sense.  Currently the Ministry has set up a committee where you have the union, and they have as part of their terms of reference this idea of zoning schools, but one problem has to do with the parents having the right to chose, because the parents have their own perception of the categorisation of schools.  The status of school A as against school B while the parent at Waterloo will decide to send the child across to P.O. at Kingtom rather than sending the child P.S.S which is situated there at Waterloo – that is one problem.

Female:    What I am saying is there will have been a condition; and that condition is both community and the government, would have see it that all the schools are of equal standard, equally equipped.

ADC:    And I think again that is very much correct and we will now hope as a nation, we are working towards such an ideal situation and I think that will be fine.  One other strategy the Ministry has implemented I think for the past two years relating to this point, is when results come out – the NPSE results from class six for the children to go into JSS1 and children from JSS III after BECE going into SSS1.  The ministry after the result will do the zoning based on the address of the child.  They will ensure they get the child to the nearest school rather than the child going to the school of his/her choice – an attempt has been made.

Female:    Thank you

Bishop:    Brother Conteh we want to thank you very much for this presentation as my colleague said earlier on, we’ve been teachers before and we know what it means to be a teacher.  There are two schools of thought.  There are those who say, ‘teacher you continue to work sacrifice on our behalf, your reward is in heaven’.  A second school of thought, which belongs to the modern mind, he says that I believe that my reward is in heave but I want the advance here so that when I die I will get the balance in heaven.

Bishop:    Brother Conteh what the Commission needs from you, is a concrete comprehensive recommendations, coming from institution.  One of your statements strikes me very much.  There is an imminent new rebel war.  It will be the war that you cannot use guns at all.  What will this commission do in the light your experiences as a union very vital personalities in the country to help bring positive changes in your institution?  My colleague will be asking you to make recommendations but I think you have got to sit down with our commissioner, your executive to sit down bring calculated international, intensive and comprehensive recommendations to the commission with that I thank you very much.

Male:    Thank you very much Brother Conteh for your presentation.  I am making a few enquiries here for you to explain a few things.  They may not be in a form of direct questioning as such.  You have said that in order to augment the conditions of service for teachers, in schools, in addition to what government is doing that is in accordance with your paper now.  In addition to what the government is doing there should be what they call – taxation.  Whether a taxation ,a legislation must be passed taxing you said private or privileged groups and immigrant communities; and you defined immigrant communities as the Lebanese and the Indian communities would you think in terms of Human Rights that it would be fair to pass any kind of legislation just taxing a section of the community?

ADC:    It will depend on the approach.  Now what we have in mind here, particularly so, not only restricted to the immigrant communities as referred to here.  We have in mind the private sector those engaged in commerce – business.  Now, this is on the basis that government has been complaining about the little budget allocation that made to education.  So what we have in mind here is to impose some tax that would be called otherwise.  For example if you impose a value added tax on any commodity that is bought, government will have the mind that the percentage of the additional tax that people pay on goods they procure, that percentage can help to improve the budget allocation to education.  That is the thing we have in mind.

Male:    I see what you mean.  You mean adding something like an education tax to purchases ….. education tax to purchases of items.

ADC:    Yes, exactly.

Male:    What about the taxing of immigrant communities?  Foreigners.  Would you think that will augur well in human rights practices?

ADC:    We do not see that as something that will be against their human rights; because it’s like we are talking about the services being provided by the education sector.  For example, these people in the private sector, rely on the personnel that are trained through the education at the end of the day, it is these people that the education system produce that will go into the enterprises that will make their business grow; by way of personnel imput.  So we think right from the start,  they must also be seen contributing to human resource development by this way.

Male:    I am also asking two very simple questions and I will encourage you to make the answers very brief.  It says that you are saying on page four (4) of your written presentation that you don’t see any commitment on the part of government towards education.  Can you substantiate this statement that government is not committed to education?

ADC:    The statement does not say – it does not at all say, government is not committed and I will just like to ready shortly: “one of the key problems is the adequate financing of education and the thin rack of commitment.  In some areas, government would seem to show commitment but in other areas like I have said I have mentioned the flaws, and I have also  mentioned the things that government has done that deserve commendation in this same paper.

Male:    Ok.  On page eight (8) of your paper, it says education service commission.  Do you think the establishment of such a Commission will make a better impact in the educational system?  Let me clarify this a little bit before you answer because when you establish a service education commission, issues would have to go from the teachers union or teachers to the commission to government, the Ministry or from the government to the service commission to teachers.  Wouldn’t you be creating an unnecessary bureaucracy in your dealing?

ADC:    We don’t think so.  The first reason for suggesting this, is the fact that, the teachers contribute a very big bulk of employees paid by government.  In fact it is the largest single work force paid by government .  It is the largest single – one sector; so, that is one reason why we are suggesting this and I will go forward to clarify.  There is the Public Service Commission to which the teaching profession does not belong.  And that is why the teachers are not referred to as civil servants.  That s all the more reasons why we must establish this body which would be responsible to coordinate; because currently teachers have over forty or more employers, forty and more different employers.  And we will not have delays we are referring to when we have the commission infact it will reduce the delays because all of these activities before now that were operated by forty and more employing authorities will now be co-ordinated under one body where all these partners will be.

Male:    thank you very much for this answer.  Leader of evidence do you have any question for Mr. Conteh.

LEO:    I have no question for this witness.

Male:    Mr. Conteh we have asked you a lot of questions, you have made your presentations, do you have questions you can make because I see in the written presentation, you have made some recommendations already; those would be taken into good path.  Would you now have questions?

ADC:    Perhaps my question would be like a comment, but the comment will require you providing some information which I think I need.  It has to do with the attendance.  It’s an observation I just wish to make.  From your experience you have embarked on this very, very noble task; what would you say is or are responsible from your own experience why would you think you are having this kind of thing.

Male:    This was one question we asked our partners responsible for disseminating information about TRC and its functions we asked this morning and they were not able to give me any satisfactory answer.  All we have done as a commission was to ensure that the message gets to the people.  As you are talking now you are on the air; you are on radio, and you will be on television.  That leads me to the next part of the question – that because people are listen on…….

Male 2:    I will like to add to what the chairperson has just stated.  In my own opinion, there are two things that attract people to any forum.  At this time, I mean in our own circumstances first of all, people want to know whether there is an immediate benefit to them.  If we were providing entertainment and any other – you know – thing that will benefit people, this place would have been filled to capacity or even above capacity.  The second thing is a threat to an individual if for instance, Mr. Conteh sitting down there, his relatives and friend had known that the outcome of his coming here would result in his imprisonment, they would have crowded here to hear what he has to say and what would be said to him.  But we cant offer, we cant apply any of the two so we only appeal to people’s responsibility and discharge of their civic rights and that does not appeal for warrant they are coming to sit down here and live their pursuit.  So if you can help us as teachers, we would appreciate that.  We can only continue to appeal to people to come.  As you have said this is an important exercise and it affects in the end everybody in this country.

ADC:    With your permission sir?

Male:    Yes. In addition to that, you will also agree with me that – especially in the case of like traders and other professionals as long as now that we have the proliferation of radio sets all over, people are listening to these proceedings at their convenience; while they are sitting in markets, doing their work; that is why it doesn’t bother so much if they come or not.  And in the evenings they see it on televisions.  So, that may be another factor…… all the same we are encouraging people to come but we are having sufficient number of witnesses that is making the work successful and that is very very important if we were not having witnesses coming forward, then we would be very much worried.  So, we encourage you to and encourage people to come, but if the witnesses are coming up, I think the work of the commission is going ahead very successfully

Male:    Yes Do you have any questions for us apart from that?

ADC:    No

Male:    Thank you very much.  You may stand down now.




Mr. Sheku:    It is in this regard that the National Forum for Human Right is making this humble submission as requested by the Commission.


1. The Emergence and Perpetration of Undemocratic Governance since Independence in 1961

Sierra Leone Peoples Party was the party that formed the government just after Independence and the APC formed the opposition.  The subsequent election that was conducted in 1967 proved to be very controversial with each party allegedly getting 32 seats. 6 seats however went to the Independent Candidates.  Sierra Leone then started to experience serious political upheavals through the cracks of the aftermath of the 1967 general election s that saw the subsequent seizure of power by the members of the Armed Conflict.

The political scene continued to deteriorate and culminated into a military coup detats led by Brigadier Lansana, and a counter coup which established the National Reformation Council (NRC) with its leader as Juxon Smith.  After about thirteen months in power they were toppled by non commissioned officers who formed the Anti-Corruption Reformation Movement (ACRM), which reinstated Siaka Stevens and his APC party.  The APC feeling threatened started working towards a one party state, which they inter alia boycotted when the then ruling party (Sierra Leone Peoples Party) tried to introduce and establish.  This was an indicator that the country will be plunged into violent and complex conflict.

Electoral fraud or rigging is another causative factor of the ten years war.  From the 1967 election, which introduced stalemate in the general election, the political history of Sierra Leone continued to demonstrate this same tendency in other subsequent elections.  The perpetration of electoral fraud and election rigging by politicians in power even after the expiration of their mandate, engendered distrust and dissatisfaction among the Sierra Leonean populace.

As a corollary to the above, was the stage-management of coups to get rid of political opponents.  Supporters of politicians who were extrapolated in these alleged coups were executed.  This resulted to factionalism as some sections of the Sierra Leonean society became disgruntled and to some extend vindictive.

Further to this, is the over centralization of state machinery to the exclusion or isolation of rural communities.  This is more the reason why it is generally echoed that ‘Freetown is not Sierra Leone’.  This resulted to severe inequalities in the distribution of state structures and functions to the dissatisfaction of greater majority of the population.

During the above stated period especially in the late 1970 to 1991 the rights of people were grossly violated with impunity.  The rights to freedom of association and assembly, freedom of the press and expression, political participation etc. were egregiously violated by the state administration.  Citizens were disenfranchised and party stalwarts made to go unopposed.

This environment serves as a fertile ground for the recruitment of these resented politicians and citizens in to the rebel movement.

2.    Political Intrusions into the State Security Agencies

Few years after independent, the main scene in Sierra Leone was military coups, of open military intervention in political life, the establishment of military governments or installation of military presidents, sometimes accompanied by the dissolution of political parties and heavy restrictions on democratic activity of civilian society, at other times buttressed by a single party political system.  On the other hand where the governments were officially civilians, the army was playing a major role in every decision they took.

There were serious lapses in the security institutions due to political interference.  Since independent, there were deliberate and calculated move to politicize the law enforcement institutions by politicians.  The recruitment into the police, army and the Special Security Division (SSD) was purely on the basis of nepotism and not on qualification.  The card for recruitment was then introduced wherein recruitment into the forces were only based on the possession of a card from a politicians or party stalwart.  The recruitment into the forces therefore gradually became skewed in favor of a particular sect up to the outbreak of the war in 1991, the majority of whom were close relatives of the politicians.

The involvement of senior military and police officers into the day-to-day political activities during the one party era (1978-1992) also added to the factors leading to the military to become unprofessional.  Heads of the police and military were members of parliament resulting to them becoming more of politicians than security agencies.  Attempts by pressure groups to force the APC to introduce multi party democracy was therefore met with the stiffest resistance from the law enforcement agencies not based on principle but on personal interest.

Through this means, a lot of people were sent on exile while others were forcibly alienated from actively participating in the politics of the country.  Most of these people became party of the main vanguard of the rebel movement.

3.    Weakening of the National Judiciary System

The judiciary has not been independent for the past two decades.  The executive arm of government was directly involved in the judicial processes, which invariably inhibited access to justice.  Backlog of cases became the order of the day as the courts became overcrowded with cases.  “Justice delayed is justice denied”.  People were held in custody for long periods without trial.  Most Magistrates and judges were accused to be notorious for bribe taking and were known to have adjudicated matters in favor of their clients.

The instruments and structures used by the judiciary were and are still obsolete.  Most of the laws are not in consonant with international standards and thus therefore only protected the political aspiration of the ruling party.

The customary judicial system levied fines that were not commensurate with the crimes committed.  To some extent, this led to migration of some youths who became dissatisfied with the system.  There are instances where such returnees as rebels have wrecked mayhem and destruction in return for the ill treatment meted out to them in the past.

4.    Breakdown in the Socio-Economic Structures

Widespread and endemic corruption and mismanagement in both the private and the public sectors, incapacitated the state machinery resulting to the notorious ‘vouchergate/Squandergate’ saga of the late 80s.  it was a general belief that officials of government were to be tipped to undertake jobs for which they were paid.  There was no care for government property as people used them to achieve their own purposes.  In short, corruption was institutionalized.  In addition to this massive unemployment coupled with poor conditions of service militated against efficiency.

Education was seen as a privilege and not a right.  The high rate of fees, which the average Sierra Leonean did not afford due to poor conditions of service left many children without access to education.  Government’s inability to pay salaries, which led to the infamous go-slow system further, exacerbated the situation thereby grinding the entire system to a halt.

Lack of essential items like rice, petrol, etc. in the market brought about the ‘queue’ element that created sol much dissatisfaction in the populace to the extent of loosing confidence in the government and looking forward for a Moses to free them from bondage.

On the issue of tribalism, jobs were not given on merit but by ‘connectocracy’ resulting to square pegs in round holes.  These categories of people were not only inefficient but also corrupt.  They embarked on selfish ploys in raping the country of its resources.  At the same time these half-baked square pegs were basking in economic prosperity and affluence, while the mass of the Sierra Leoneans populace were languishing in misery and poverty.  The short cut to economic emancipation for the youth in particular was to flood the mines where illicit mining and smuggling was the way of life supported by state agents who are supposed to guide.

The above stated condition served as a stimulus for the conception and execution of the war as the only means of correcting the unfavorable state of affairs in the country.


The actors in the conflict included the RUF/AFRC, Government forces, ECOMOG/UNAMSIL and the Civil Militia.  We have tried to limit that to just few of them.  I am just giving bullets point of their roles you can agree with me that it carried out a wide spread of amputations:


* Amputation
* Arson resulting to burning of houses, churches, markets, mosques etc.
* Killings
* Rape
* Torture
* Ambushed commercial transportation
* Recruitment of child soldiers
* Widespread looting
* Child labour and enslavement
* Extermination
* Acts of terror
* Abduction of civilians and UNAMSIL peacekeepers
* Revenge killing


* Killings
* Serve as state defacto security
* Torture
* Looting
* Recruitment of child soldiers
* Ambushes
* Extermination
* Revenge killing


* Revenge killings
* Rape
* Torture
* Looting
* Use of child
* Collaboration with RUF (Sobel)

ECOMOG – 1997 - 2000

* Killings – military intervention and repelling the 1999 January 6 invasion of Freetown by rebel forces
* Disarmament
* Provided security for the ruling administration
* Restoration of democracy and government authority in 1998

* Disarmament
* Restoration of government authority.

* Liberia
* Involved in diamond trade in exchange for arms
* Provided mercenaries for the RUF/AFRC
* Fuelled the war
* Exploited the country during the war years
* Harbored the rebels
* Served as arms transit point

* Ivory Coast
* Sale of arms to the RUF
* Conducted academic training for the RUF fighters
* Serve as the political base for the RUF especially in 1996

* Burkina Faso
* Provided military training facilities for the RUF
* Provided mercenary fighter
* Provided arms and ammunition

* Nigeria
* Contributed greatly to the attainment of peace in Sierra Leone
* Contributed the highest number of troops to the ECOMOG forces which interventionist capacity helped to keep the rebels at bay

* Britain
* Provided logistical and technical support to the democratic government
* Conducted training and actually became engaged in combat
* Engaged in rebuilding of the Sierra Leone Army
* The Training Head of IMATT acted as adviser to the Government of Sierra Leone
* Eliminated the Westside boys and made it a spent force
* Initially serve as the coordinating point of the RUF

* Guinea
* Contributed the second highest number of troops to the ECOMOG forces
* Guinea served as corridor for both the democratic government and the opposing forces.


* Early warning signs should be periodically identified and responded to in order to avoid an eruption of the conflict
* Some provision of the 1991 constitution and other undemocratic laws/policies should be reviewed.  In light of this the constitutional review committee should be reinstated and made accessible by the public
* Security must be tightened and trained to promptly respond to situations
* The borders must be properly manned
* Conditions of service must be improved upon
* Job facilities need to be created to engage youths
* Fundamental human rights should be respected.  The government should have a yearly review report of the human right situation in the country that can highlight the extent to which the government has gone in implementing international human rights instruments that it has signed and ratified.  In facilitating this, the government should work towards establishing a National Human Right Commission that is autonomous and independent.
* A war museum should be erected that can have important information about the war including its causes and effects.


* Non-formal reconciliation and counseling processes should be undertaken at community level.  Traditional leaders, the government and civil society organizations should facilitate such processes.
* The victims’ fund as spelt out in the Lome Peace Agreement should established.  A certain percentage (as will be determine by the government) of proceeds from the sale of minerals should be deposited into this account.  Reparation of both individual victims and communities should be undertaken by this fund
* Resettlement facilities

* Skills training
* Public acceptance and remorseful at community level
* Job opportunities for ex-combatants
* Communities need sensitization to effect the reintegration of ex-combatants
* Traditional cleansing ceremony should be undertaken

Thank you.

Comm.:    We want to thank you very much brother Lahai for this coincise and emphasize submission.  We are glad that you can come here at this particular point in time.  I would want to ask my colleagues if there are questions or issues for you to clarify.

Comm.:    We thank you very much Mr. Lahai for your presentation and what I would like to know which name you would like to attach to the submission, there was no name given here, is it your name or any other name as coordinator?

Mr. Sheku:    Myself, I am Sheku B.S. Lahai, Executive Secretary, National Forum for Human Right.

Comm.:    I want to know whether the National Forum for Human Rights has been able to make any study to find out during which period there was the greatest number of the human right violation.

Sheku:    Before or during the war?

Comm.:    During the war?

Sheku:    I would want to believe that is really a second phase of thewar, that is after the collapse of the Abidjan Peace Accord, especially after the removal of the AFRC, when they retreated into the bush.  From 1998 – 2000, I can say that period is the highest report of a gracious human right violations.

Comm.:    Thank you.

Comm.:    You mentioned in your presentation that 1970 was the time when human right violations began to take place under APC.  Do you want to say that under the SLPP government, was there any attempt made to secure peoples right?

Sheku:    Well certainly not especially with the death of the first Prime Minister, Sam Milton Margai.  When Sir Albert Margai took over, he made a lot of efforts to stipple especially opposition parties or those politicians who were not dancing to his tune.  In fact he was about to introduce the one party system which was vehemently opposed.  So that shows that no.

Comm.:    One more question, you mentioned in your presentation the role which the students played in bringing the…………………………………………......

Sheku:    Yes of course, I tried as much……………………………………….....
But what I know especially in 1977 students were…………………………………..
Certain against certain undemocratic…………………..steps which the government took.  It was during that period, the governments band the Students Union government in all the colleges in the country.  Some students were expelled from the University.  And some of them went out of the country but they were in touch with some people who believed that the only way to kick the APC out of power was by through rebel armed movement in Sierra Leone.  It was during this period that the green book written by I think Mohamed Ghadafi become so much famous among students because of some of the principles, some of the ideologies that……………………………………………………………..


Sheku:    I am quite sure that there were certain people like the students who were affected, which I believed that this Commission must have invited them and will be able to throw light better on it.

Comm.:    Thank you Mr. Sheku Lahai, this thing is a rather interesting presentation, we thank you very much.  I would like to ask you about three questions, one of them on matters of fact, the other on an opinion.

On the question of fact I refer you to your first two paragraphs under the caption routes causes of the conflict in Sierra Leone.  In the first paragraph the last sentence which I would like to read is Sierra Leone then started to experience serious political up-heavels through the cracks of the aftermath of 1967 general elections that show the subsequent seizure of power by members of the arm forces that one shows that there was a seizure of power and then I want to know whether it is the same seizure of power or is a different one that you required to in paragraph two; when you said the political scene continue to deteriorate and culminated into a military coup led by Brigadier Lansana, are those two separate incidents?

Sheku:    No they are not exactly separate because as you can see it was a risky statement in my first paragraph and then I tried to become specifically in the second paragraph.

Comm.:    So it is the same?

Sheku:    Yes, it is the same.

Comm.:    Alright what I would like to ask; what was this political deterioration, and what form did you take?

Sheku:    Well the form it took was that, there was this allege stalemates in the results – 32 seats and the issue of who should become the Prime Minister came up, at the end of it all Siaka Stevens was appointed to be the Prime Minister, because later there was certain investigation that revealed that infact some kind of electoral fraud you know which led for the APC to have a majority and so Siaka Stevens was appointed.  But during the period of Sir Albert Margai, what he did was to plant key people within the military and so some of this people became dissatisfied, they thought that the whole thing has been manipulated and so the very best was for them to removed everybody and they come to power and had very kind of acute excuse for them to take over power.

Comm.:    So there was one take over, again I want you to clarify for us how was it done, was there a bickering for who was to be or a Prime Minister was been sworn in at the time when that swearing in was stopped by………………….

Sheku:    But there was already a controversy, because there was a tie and then automatically somebody was appointed and then outside that scene, those who were not within the campus cannot understand exactly what led to the appointment of Siaka Stevens.  And so some of these people were dissatisfied and some of this act can give some kind, for the military to justify their act that in fact this people there is no clarity you know this person has been appointed un democratically,  we know our African military guys, they can always kind of ………………..on some of these excuses and take over power.

Comm.:    Mr. Lahai, I am asking because you see we have to get the facts rights when we are writing our repots.  We also have information that during that time the figures for the parties were 29, 32 and there were three Independent candidates so that it was not 32, 32, it was 29, 32, 3 Independent candidates and 12 Paramount Chiefs were to come in.

Sheku:    If you can maybe cross checked your facts are the first result that was published was a tie, stalemates 32, 32 since Independent, then after the internal investigation you note, they came out with that result that you are talking about that was just what I was saying, and so it was based on that result that Siaka Stevens was appointed to be the Prime Minister, otherwise Siaka Stevens was not to be appointed to be the Prime Minister.

Comm.:    We shall certainly go to the records of the electoral content.  Thank you.  There are other ones I want your opinion, are firstly you said it was during the period that they were recruiting in the police and the army through politicians and you have a card system so that by 1997, would you say that most of the people in the army and the police were people who favoured the government in power?

Sheku:    Well most of the people who were in the military really were those who were favoured by the then one party government which was really the APC, because it was during the APC era that they introduce this cards system.  Wherein you have to get a card from either a politicians or a party stewards for you to be recruited into the army I mean it was famous everybody knows about that.    

Comm.:    so the army and the police were full of people who were nominated by the……………………year, and it was a one party system therefore they were all recruited.  Then you spoke of your early warning I think in one of your recommendations, what are these early warning signs you are talking about?

Sheku:    Now, the government should be in position to ………………the security status from time to time for them to determine you know, crucial stage and may be medium at least favourable and then disfavourable, not favourable those kinds of thing, base on that review of the security situation, they could be in position to give early warning signs that this and this is happening, and that may be of security threat to the country and then everybody would be aware to be of security of the country and we can be in positions to easily respond to it.

Comm.:    Alright thank you.

Comm.:    Thank you very much for this very very appreciable but resourceful presentation, I have only two well not question, I just want you to clarify two issues.  in the very first part in your presentation, there is an allusion made under political intrusions into the state security agencies, so look at the last paragraph, it says, through this means, a lot of people were sent on exile while others were forcible eliminated from actively participating in the politics of the country, most of these people became part of the main vanguard of the rebel movement, can you just by way of reminder identify one or two people who were really sent not going sent on exile.

Sheku:    May, I will advice that I forward to you in confidence.

Comm.:    In confidence?

Sheku:    Yes.

Comm.:    O.K thank you very much.  Another area of clarification I will crave your indulgence to make for me is under the involvement of countries, under Britain, Britain initially serve as the co-coordinating point of the RUF.  Can you enlighten me a little bit as to how this happened?

Sheku:    Yes of course you can agree with me that Omerie Golley was base in Britain and he was facilitating all the activities of the RUF from that point, and most of the other guys who were supporting the RUF were talking from Britain moving from Britain to Ivory Coast and co-coordinating selling out the RUF to the international world initially.

Comm.:    Who is Omerie Golley, is he a British or a Sierra Leonean?

Sheku:    Well he is claiming to be a Sierra Leonean but I understand that he is a citizen of Britain too.

Comm.:    So was he speaking with British government authority?

Sheku:    No.

Comm.:    He was speaking on his own.

Sheku:    Yes.

Comm.:    So how then is the British government involvement?

Sheku:    It is because the British government became……………………a never kind of intervene to stopped that we should not do that from our soil.

Comm.:    To arrest him?

Sheku:    I cannot suggest that.

Comm.:    Bud do you know the existence of any memorandum of understanding that warrant kind of agreement between Sierra Leone and Britain?

Sheku:    No not to my knowledge.

Comm.:    How then could he have been arrested whilst he was speaking on his own as a Sierra Leonean, how dare that…………………………..

Sheku:    Yes, he was speaking on his own but I think from international standard you should not allow somebody to use your country to perpetrate human right violations in another country, if you come to realize that he has the moral responsibility to ensure, that is his thought.

Comm.:    Well thank you very much for this.

Comm.:    Thank you very much brother Lahai, I think my first comment here is to get historical records in perspective in relation to 1967 result, your records shows that according to those results APC had 32, SLPP 28, Independent………and those independents were assuming to be SLPP and therefore you have 32, 32 and the results for the Paramount Chief were pending that is the historical facts we wants to stay, we want to sets those records straight, that is the position as we have it.  We are not going into all of those arguments because those are historical facts and we only sits what history has said.  Coming to this other areas, I take it slowly and gradually because it is very important for the Commission.  Roles of actors, among the others you said, that is civil militias and according to the record you say the factor states the factor security.  What do you understand by that technical word state the factor security?

Sheku:    You can agree with me that all of us were in this country.  The constitutional security agency, especially the military kind of become also another group as a result of that there was a………………………and because the civil militial the CDF was fighting to restore the oath democracy and to protect the government of the people in quote they apparently became the succinctly that the state agency was really using to make sure that government authorities is protected with the area that they occupied.

Comm.:    Are you in effects saying for the records that the CDF, the civil militias receives the blessings of government in defending the nation?

Sheku:    Yes, it was a respond from the people and then along the way it was really accepted by the government and they were receiving supports from the government.

Comm.:    Thank you very much.  In Bo one of the witnesses as incidentally I was chair in there, he said Chairman let me asked you this question, if my land is been attacked, and I go and say I will die for the sake of my life.  It’s depends on my land, is that a crime?

Sheku:    No is not a crime, as long as it is done within the amdict of human right standards.

Comm.:    The final word because we get, we rely so much on these Institutions, National Forum for Human Rights.  The question which poses is that, and is a very important for the Commission, is indirectly coming from this submission.   When did the burning of houses and killing of people for political reasons take place in this country; or was it in 1991 beginning 1991 or before 1991?

Sheku:    Well in some parts of the country like within Kailahun district really started from the onset of the war.  It started with burning of houses until they started to kill people from the on set.    

Comm.:    Lets me repeat myself when did the burning of houses and killing people for political reason take place in this country?  Was it in the beginning of 1991 to the 3rd March 1991 or before that date?

Sheku:    One question I would like to make is that the whole rebel movement was based on political interest because people believed that the political system that was in place was not working in the interest of the people and so they have to removed that political system and so everything that happened within the course of the war was based on political interest.  To come to the point now, I will say for truth that the burning of houses for direct political reason really started after 1998, when the RUF at last were given the privilege to serve in the national government with the ministry and they were removed, and so everything they were doing now because they have known exactly what power is.
Comm.:    Finally we depend on this submission and re………………….ones for our records and from the perspective of it should my colleague Commissioner posed a question to you about the year 1997 and you seemed to have………………or bring it in, is 1997 devoid of 1998, 1999 and 2000?

Sheku:    No 1997 not really, I mean from 1997 to 1998 as I can say when the AFRC and RUF were in power I can rightly say that the perpetrated a lot of human right violations directly based on political reason because they had wanted to maintain themselves in power.

Comm.:    From your research what happened at Fourah Bay College in 1977 we are now coming to 77.  What happened in 1977 to students at Fourah Bay College?  Has it any relevant to the development which took place during this period onwards.

Sheku:    Yes of course it was during that period that a lot of students were expelled and sent on exile, some of them left the country and most of this students went disgruntled, their relatives were disgruntled and they have this belief in the green book and the like and so they directly super …………………….to whatever movement that can come and remove the system that refuse them attaining their academic desire.

Comm.:    From your record, is there anything mentioned about the reaction about the SSD in 1997 after the convocation, were the Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, “Late President Stevens” was humiliated that is two days after there was the SSD pierco in that campus?

Sheku:    No, no I did not mention that, specifically.

Comm.:    Thank you very much brother Lahai, we will now turn out to the leaders of evidence.

Comm.:    Thank you very much Mr. Chairman I have about one or two questions for you.  In your recommendations you said some provisions of the 1991 constitutions need to be look into, will you please because this Commission is task with the responsibility of recommending to government what to be done, will you please tell us the provisions you have in mind which you think are undemocratic and need to be revisited?

Sheku:    Well may be I can just state one; we can have other discussion on that.  One of such is the issue dealing with the position the provision that really kind of appoint the Attorney General Minister of Justice, we may want that to be reviewed, the other one is the one dealing with press the libel case.  The one that is criminalized, we may want that also to be reviewed.  And the other one is the one dealing with the extension of government, in a situation where it is impossible for an election to take place.  It is open and there is no limitation to it, we want that also to be reviewed to be in grade.

Comm.:    Thank you very much.  Yours is an umbrella organization, National Forum for Human Right.  And as you said Freetown is not Sierra Leone, and the people can only defend their right if they know what their right are, what as an umbrella organization are you doing to ensure that this NGO’s are effective in the rural areas, so that when the need arises they will be able to defend their rights.

Sheku:    Well as you have indicated, this……………………..this integration we have also our limitation.  Member organization are independent and autonomous, we can only advice them if the need be, but we are in constant touch, and we have our annual general meeting within which we review our activities and tried to identify our achievement and our weakness and the areas that we need to improve upon.  So it is during that period that we bring on board certain recommendations that can empower member organization to be effective in their work.  But I want to say that with the end of the disarmament processes, a lot of our member organizations have how moved into provincial areas and their presence is quiet felt within these areas that they are operating.

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you very much.

Comm.:    Well I will also continue to thank you for that.  We have been asking you some questions or matters for clarification now is your turn, if you have any question or any issue which is your concern in regards to the Commissions work.  Is your turn to do so?

Sheku:    My first question is that; are you satisfied with the co-operation you are receiving from the government, the civil society, the public and the International Community in relation to your work?

Comm.:    The immediate answer is yes but we need more input from other these bodies you called.

Sheku:    Is yes but you need more inputs?

Comm.:    Yes.

Sheku:    And are you also convinced that the statement taking was really really successful?

Comm.:    You have double really, so I am going to use the word double really really successful.  I will say from the perspective of the Commission and within the given time at the Commission’s disposal statement taken was a huge success.

Sheku:    And do you envisage finishing your work within one year or there is the possibility of you extending your time?

Comm.:    The Commission is not contemplating on extending its work, we have the time line, we envisage completing our work this second phase by the ending of July…………………..or the…………………..August we should be completing.  And by October by the end of October we should be presenting our reports with recommendations.  That is our time frame and that is where we stand.  We are not at this point in time one moment thing of extension of time.

Sheku:    My last question; can you just, a kind of you given me an idea a comparative idea of the participations of victims and perpetrators in your public hearings and even in your statement takings?
Comm.:    So far we can say that we have had more of victims than perpetrators, that’s the first thing that has to be established.

Secondly to the surprise of a good number of people who did not know the culture and mental……………………..of the African especially the Sierra Leoneans.  We have received some perpetrators coming forward and we have received some of those vulnerable coming forward whether in close section in public to give their testimonies that is to our satisfaction and more importantly, why the Commission ultimately looked forward to the presence of reconciliation that’s the Commission had began initiating and putting into practice.

When the…………………..comes out you will see for yourself what I am talking about.  It’s not just something that you will just do today and put on records.  But I think that some positive science are coming out and we hope that if we continue in this trend we will be able to get that positive result and I would here say, especially for those who were in Bo, I am sure it happened in Port Loko.  While we were in session, people were still coming round, perpetrators say that we wants our statements to be taken because we want to speak, other people, if we had the resources we would get 20,000 more statements here.  We did hear that people had thought that we were a conduit, information agent, we are Special Court, they now know that we have different mission for this country.

And so it is now that they are coming forward while we are moving ahead.  And that is our consolation for the fact that people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  That is in fact………….. to your work as Human Right Forum and other related NGO’s.

Sheku:    I am now alright.

Comm.:    Well we want to thank brother Lahai very much and all those who continue to support that Institution were grateful to God, we believed that you come here and have been the second person to set a pace.  We are working through this process you engaged and send a message to our brothers and sisters institutions and bodies and individuals to help the Commission realized its mandate, by coming to the Thematic hearings.  We want to thank you very much and you may step down now.

We have now come to end of our morning session, we will stand adjourn to 3:30 this afternoon when we resume our session.  We want to thank you for your cooperation and we will encourage you to be here by 3:30p.m.  Thank you very much.

DATE:   9TH May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:   Alimamy Philip Koroma, Council of Churches of Sierra Leone




The Commission was called to order by the Presiding Commission. Commissioner Prof John Kamara

Silent Prayers

Council OF Churches in Sierra Leone:
- Founded in 1924
- Current membership of 19 churches denominations and twenty-six para-church organizations as affiliates.

Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone
    -    Founded on 1st April 1997
    -    Current membership includes protestant, Roman Catholic,
Pentecostal and indigenous churches and Muslim faith groups including SL Muslim Congress, Supreme Islamic Council, Council of Imams, Federation of Islamic Organizations, SL Missionary Union, Federation of Muslim Women in Sierra Leone.

-    Drawing their moral authority from God, CCSL and IRCSL are created to:
-    Proclaim the love of God for mankind
-    Denounce all evil in society
-    Forster good relation among faith communities
-    Be peace makers, listen to the hurt of people and work for healing
-    Engage in prophetic advocacy that accompanies and acts in solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized.

For CCSL:    Prior to war
- Education, health, human resource development initiatives, youth
Leadership development, vocational training and evangelism.

During War

- Humanitarian assistance (CCSL was among the first and leading
Organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons nationwide.  Particular reference to 6th January – when all NGO’s fled – CCSL handled the humanitarian crisis in Freetown.)

- Limited development activities

- Established IRCSL

- Elections monitoring constituting civil and voter education and (1996) polling day monitoring.

- Information sharing and advice to political leadership (meeting with HE on Friday 23rd May on national issues and then coup took place on 25th May.  IRCSL presentation founded in Presidents office, meeting again  on weekend prior to January 6th invasion)

- Encounter with AFRC  (Denounced coup, stayed in Sierra Leone throughout – providing moral guarantee to civilian population, threats from AFRC, several meetings at Cockeril, proposed trip to Conakry by helicopter, attempt for religious leaders incarcerated e.g. Arch Bishop Ganda, Bishop J.C. Humper, Religious leaders targeted – Moses B. Khanu from Lunsar, Prayer at Stadium stopped, Alimamy P.Koroma apprehended from church service.

- Advocate for “dialogue for peace”  mobilized religious leadership - imams, pastors, lay leaders etc.  Paramount Chiefs, MPs, Women’s Groups, Student, Press etc. for joint efforts.

- Work with UN through UNAMSIL

- International lobbying including visits to Conakry to met UNOMSIL, British High Commissioner, UNDP to get them not to abandone the country.

- Peace ambassadorial visits to Government of Guinea m- to thank for hosting our Government and people as refugees, to Liberia and met with President Charles Taylor on our course.

- Meeting with His Excellency President Kabbah and then RUF Leader- Foday S. Sankoh then in jail.

- Radio contacts with RUF/AFRC fighters while in the bush

- Negotiated the release of abducted children

- Visited RUF base and met

- Strategic humanitarian assistance (Dismantling potential new rebel faction at Mammy Yoko, Benguema ex-combatants, West side boys etc.)

- Lome Peace Agreement (visit with RUF during their internal preparations, then during dialogue with Government.

- After Lome, distribution of peace agreement to especially RUF and AFRC in the bush.

- Explanation of agreement and establishment of citizens fund for disarmament in partnership with NCDHR.


- Religious for Peace
- Success in mediation requires patience, neutrality on the part of the mediator and sincerity on the part  of the parties
- Peace surpasses  humanitarian assistance.

Thanks for peace; things are picking up, democratically conducted elections.  However, there are short comings that need to be addressed.  These include,
- Political landscape still linked to regions and somehow tribally.  The voting pattern in last elections ratifies this.

- Coming from war to peace a more inclusive government could have set the peace for consolidation  of peace.

- Youth unemployment still high and nothing concrete done to address this.  A potential for uprisings more so when used for odd jobs.

- Certain structures  put in place  with good intentions but so far seem only superficial and seem to target specific persons/groups eg. Anti-Corruption Commission –no concrete or tangible result, commissions instituted but findings thrown eg. Commission on Sierratel, frequent cases of  arson/medical stores, lotto office, NPA Kingtom etc.- yielded no useful results.

- Punishment of said :criminals” not commensurate to fearful charge or allegation of currution.  Eg. Harry Will seed saga, Momoh Pujeh now Sampha Koroma, Governor of Sierra Leone.

- Economy is donor driven, trade and commence  in the  hands of immigrants.
- Poor monitoring of major  projects/contracts eg. KIssy Road rehabilitation, airport rehabilitation.

- Active participation of Paramount Chiefs in partism or party politics.  In the past, MP’s interfered with Chieftaincy now, Paramount Chiefs meddle in national politics.  Either way is dangerous.

- Unclear status of some institution eg. NEC – independent or NOT.  How can it be independent when senior staff of NEC are government Civil Servants? Position of NCDHR – an independent commission or merely a vehicle to convey government’s wishes.

- Decisions taken in parliament merely along party lines may not necessarily be in the interest of integrity and the country.  Dangerous Civil Society to create space as buffer.

- No known clear Government strategy and plan for UNAMSIL’s withdrawal.

- Poor coordination among government ministries, commissions etc. education vs NaCSA, NPA vs Sierratel vs Guma, TRC  vs Special Court.

- Recycling of key politicians undermines accusations against past regimes as being corrupt.

- Unofficial institutionalization of the CDF – especially Kamajors.  Potential conflict with official security forces, other regions etc.  Government has not taken a position.

- No adequate use of potent structures like IRCSL, CCSL by political leadership on national issues.

- Seems Lome agreement is only for RUF.  Certain aspect dealing with civilians shelved eg. War victims funds Council of Elders and Religious leaders.

Lessons Learnt:
- Security matters are paramount
- Maginalisation in all forms can boomerang  someday.
- In times of war, all suffer.  Avoid war by doing the right thing.
- Outside aid can only be temporal.  NGO’s fled during war, therefore build local capacity manpower, institutional and financial resource base.

Comm John Kamara: thank you very much Mr Koroma,  I will like to welcome the Chairman who has gone out for some other assignment. You have made this presentation, it is comprehensive, there are issues, I would like you to clarify.  I will ask my colleagues to lament on....

Comm Satang  - I will like to thank you for a concise presentation on the work of  your council and the inter Religious Council before and after the war, I will just want to ask a few questions for clarification.  We all know that half of the people are youths according to your statement had done a lot of work with young people in the area of education, health, human resource development, youth training and skills training.  I would like to know your experience with the young people before the war, was there any indication that they will become frustrated because of lack of education what did your council do to address these before the war?

Alimamy – The number of idle youths in the street, pretend to sell articles not worth 5,000 going to friends to beg, some resorted to drugs, the number of ghettos in the city, to be misused and abused by politicians.  All of these in terms of frustration.  Anyway we have been playing our part.  CCSL and inter and any other NGO just a group to complement the help of government and not to take the lead.  This question will be answered by the government.  We are helping them on skills, engaging them in non violent activities, God fearing, this is not big enough to address the problems of the youths.  This is just a contribution.

Comm Satang  -  You have told us how you supported the peace process and advocated for the dialogue of peace.  You have explained how you were talking to other groups, the government in the sub region, and international friends. Now the war is over, how to sustain the peace,  I think it is not really the government but all of us.  I would like to know if  these two council are still contributing.

Alimamy  -  We have worked for peace to prevail, we should not sit back and watch that peace perish.  We as council churches will do all our best to sustain it.

The rehabilitation work all go towards in maintaining the peace.  Expect that these talks will continue with govt.  that is why we feel that government should involve the potential of the inter religious,  there is a lot of good advice that the Inter Religious will give to the government,  we are still waiting , we will continue to move and relate the message.

Comm Marcus Jones – I Thank you Mr. Koroma for coming here today and to thank the Council of Churches and Inter Religious Council for the courage shown, I wonder whether you have a forum like this before to tell about your activities during war, because the country would like to know about your activities.  

Alimamy – we have our own way of doings things, we do not make noise of what we do, some talk because they wanted to be rewarded,  some even lie.  What we do is not a secret..  It is known by the international committee and the government actually we do not want to publicize.  Our coming to this commission is to let the people know what we did in the war.  

Comm Marcus Jones  - Now that were have peace, what are you doing to make your voice heard, about the short comings. 

Alimamy  - We have the largest constituency of people in the country.  People must be muslim or Christian.  We use these people to preach to their congregation.  We also meet with the responsible people of this country to let them know.  There are times when it seems to appear that the CCL wanted to take side, but we will not relent we have not come to generally presentation.  We will continue to work with those people that is not part of our strategies.  We shall sensitize our fathers.  We are also in touch with the international communities.

Comm. Marcus-Jones – With our enlightenment, we would like you to tell us about the inclusive Government .

Alimamy – Take a look at cabinet, government institutions, parastatals  we are trying to assess the balance on the regions, gender,  political briefing, that is what we mean by involving in inclusive govt.  Before now  the previous Government were not told of marginalisation.  I suppose we have learnt how that led to the war.  I believe we have learnt our lessons.

Marcus  -  Thank you

Comm Torto – I want to thank you for the paper you presented all seems to be sensible, I want you to make few clarifications, as regards to President Sheku Turay and Charles Taylor, what were they saying?  Were they good?

Alimamy –The Chairman of the commission who is also here is the Chairman, our going to Charles Taylor was very fruitful. Charles Taylor with all evidence have been accused of giving helping to the war , but he always denied.  When we met with Charles Taylor that was the first time he admitted that he was with the RUF even before we left Monrovia, he made contact with RUF.  I will say he was glad when we went there.

Comm Torto – on page 3 under shortcomings, you said that politics in this country is not straight forward.  How  did the results of the last elections went through? Could you just make clarification in tribal and regional areas?

Alimamy –  I did not say that it was not fair, I said that it was a democratic government,  I am not saying it out of my personal behalf,  how parliament is constituted, in western area the votes were shared,  if you look at the north it was so and not so in the South and East.

Comm Torto – Punishment of said criminals, can you tell us why some of these big cases go to court but are not penalized properly.  We want you to tell us.

Alimamy  -  Law is not my domain,  we  only interpret what people outside feel.  There are other sensitive cases but they can be magnified or how the case was presented.  When these things happen people loose faith.  There is no eagerness to see people suffer.   When you say someone is a thief, he should be investigated.   People talk about Pujeh’s case, he was sacked, he is now in Parliament and it is the same Government that sacked him.

Torto  -  You spoke about the sensitive position held by people who are strong people in politics, can you show us some example. But do not name names.

Alimamy -  This is not my paper, but CCSL, the paper did not say that most people if not all in the NEC are people in the Government.  We did not say they did a  bad job.   Inside democracy I think they did a bad job.

Comm Torto  -  Thank you, It is amazing you can answer these questions, we pray that democracy will succeedl in the other regions..

Alimamy -  It was so successful but not so smoothly.

Comm Kamara  - Thank you very much Mr. Koroma, I am sure you will take thanks to the two people you are representing.  I will like you to highlight  some of the issues raised for clarification, some actions taken by the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone in 1997 and 1998, you said you had an audience with the President about pertinent issues.  We know about the coup, where there any action taken as a result of your meeting?

Alimamy -   When we met with the President we told him all was not well, we told him the areas,  there was no way for us to know that the coup was eminent.  When the coup took place  there was total disarray.  We were here when the government and went to Guinea, like I told you we went to Guinea to know how we would salvage the problem.

Comm Kamara  -  You said you met the President late after prayers on Friday? a

Alimamy – Unfortunately, it was on a Friday, after prayers, Saturday was not a working day and the coup took place on Sunday.

Comm Kamara  -  Thank you.

Comm Kamara – As Comm. Jones said,I think there is weakness somewhere, you jhad some problems.  Some members of the clergy and Imams supported the AFRC/RUF and because of this little support were there with the group. Do you have any way to penalize them?

Alimamy  -  That was very true, it is not uncommon that people can backslidde and they also paid the price for it and we regret it.  When they tried to go, we left them to go and they found their way.  The religious people were together, there were traitors and those who tried to stop our efforts.   Thank you for reminding us that bad people were around.      Before we started to talk about peace, we set aside written rules, but if people did what they did we must thank god that we did what we were supposed to do.

Comm Kamara – I just want to remind you that when we started the Chairman was not around,

Comm Humper  - We want to thank the Executive Secretary, for honoring our invitation.  If I ask question from what is down, you will say that we were  all party of what is written.  Although I am Chairman of this Commission, I will make a few comments and perhaps ask one question..  I believe that if your child is trained about Godliness .  we have here present two categories of people, Colonial  and modern people, these are two different groups.  What we are looking now for is peace,.  Well for the years we have achieved independence,, the politics and the bad behaviour are all in the country.  Someone who spoke here was talking about human rights.   CCSL were faced with these problems of reconciliation. There are two schools of tort forgive and forget, forgive and not forget.  The challenge which CCSL  has to go with is one critical issue, what will we do as a body to clearly educate our people about TRC and Special Court that they are different groups.  We know from our religious and Christian perception that sin is sin.  The concept of those who bear the responsibility is that not all sin is sin.  There are degrees of sin.  What challenge does the religious body faced in this all important aspect? Finally with our ten years action is it possible now to say that the religious bodies are not only engaged in churches and mosques but all what is happening in the country?

Alimamy – Chairman, in the first place, I do not agree with the human rights phenomenon.  The holy book says do unto others as you would want them do to you.  If you do not want your hands to be chopped do not chopped other people’s hand.   It is not easy for people to forget.  The mandate of the TRC is to enable it to get a record of all that  happened.  A lot of story had been written from colonial days.  The TRC will make their story and it will always be on the mind of the people, to forgive yes but to forget no.    We have to educate people on the work of TRC and Special Court even before TRC came into being because it was included in the Peace Accord.   The first partners who came to talk about the TRC, we held consultative meetings, from the national level we cannot claim the capacity to do it all

Yes the church, the  mosque it appear that these have been confined to them, I did not believe so.  Particularly the church, the church had been involved in the social and economic activities.  In the advent of the inter religious council, it has also helped our Muslim brothers, we are all engage in that exercise. what we will not do is to contest election, if we do we will win. That is  not our mandate.

Comm Humper - Thank you

Mr Charm -  I have a few questions but because of time, you stated in your paper that politics to a very large extent in Sierra Leone is on tribal base, with respect to the  two religions  especially in the past election if you talk to someone he will say I will vote for my brother who is a muslim or my brother who is a born again.  What will the CCSL do about this  so that one can vote for someone who can do something better?
Alimamy  - it is very true it happened and it will continue to happen, politicians  will always try people to get their way.  The Muslim candidate will talk to his muslim brother and sister and the born again can also do that..  We pray that we will not have religious fanatic in this country.  As a group it has never happened for  the inter-religious to support Muslim or Christian.  We will continue to educate the people to vote for who is fit for the position

Comm Kamara  -  Once again we want to thank you. Have you any question to ask?  

Alimamy  -  What do you think will be the use of your work?

Comm Kamara -  We have a mandate primarily to produce an impartial record of the conflict, and out of that record the Commission is expected to seek the interest of the victims and particularly to pay attention to the needs of the women and children.  We also address and make every effort to discover the causes of the war,  we make recommendation to avoid a recurrence of such situation.  I hope that answers the question

Alimamy – Will you have to wait till you finish writing your report  and will  Sierra Leoneans too  have to wait till November before taking care of the convicts?  

Comm Kamara – That is a good question, we as a commission met with authentic cases which need help.   Unfortunately the commission had to address preparation or making efforts in the area of needs.  We do not have money to do the job but we have to ask other institutions in the country like the CCSL, he Inter Religious Council to come to our aid for counseling and humanitarian needs.  Now that you have asked the question yoursel, I hope you will not be surprised to see us sending people to you.

Comm Kamara - We want to thank you very much



From the information available, the first Indian traders came to Sierra Leone, in 1882.  The numerical growth of Indian business community over the years, has been largely, from the emergence f businessmen, who had previously been employees of the business houses, but later on set up their own business, using their knowledge and experience, of the economy and society of Sierra Leone.  Normally, the Indian community, has been concentrated in Freetown, and only a few ventured in the major towns of up country, starting branch offices of their business.  The business persons, their staff  and families, account for 90% of the Indian community in Sierra Leone, whilst balance 10% consist of, professionals and experts of International organizations.

Prior to political conflict in Sierra Leone, the strength of Indian community, was around 800, but this number has dwindled down to 450 at present.  The principal activity  of the Indian community in Sierra Leone, has always been importation of general merchandise, with subsequent wholesaling and retailing.  Some business houses, have ventured into the manufacturing sector, and this business trend economy, and creation of jobs locally.


Indian Mercantile Association, is the representative body of Indian business community in Sierra Leone  The Association was formed in 1966 with the following objectives:

a.    To assist the Indian mercantile community in Sierra Leone, in trade, industry and other business  matters.
b.    To promote better understanding between members and all departments of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
c.    To promote social relationships, between members and Sierra Leoneans, and other communities resident in Sierra Leone.  The Association  has also been, actively engaged in various charitable activities, by contributing financially to needy institutions in Sierra Leone.  It regularly wards scholarships to deserving students, to promote educational development in the community.  Infact the main focus of the Association, over  the years has been to fulfill the social responsibility  of the business community to the host community.


As  mentioned above, the main objective of the Associations, is to act as a liason body, between the Government of Sierra Leone and Indian business community.  It informs the members, of various business regulations, and new legal enactments made by the Government.  It also organizes meetings and seminars, with officials of various Government departments, to inform the members  of implications of the business laws to facilitate better implementation.  It also represents the views of the business community,  to Government functionaries.


During the political conflict in Sierra Leone, most of the members of Indian business community, suffered major financial losses.  The shops and manufacturing premises, of many members were looted and burnt down.  Four members of the community lost their lives.  Some community members were forced to closed down their business for good, due to financial losses, and relocated elsewhere, whilst others had to scale down their operations, by closing their branch offices in Freetown and up country.

During the conflict, the Association had to arrange evacuation of members and their families, three times to neighboring countries, at a big financial cost, thus causing major monetary hardship in difficult times.  The education of school going children was, completely disrupted.

Due to absence of the majority  of its  members, the working of the Association went into a limbo, and it could not engage into any activities to fulfill its objectives.

With the return of normalcy in Sierra Leone, the economic environment, has greatly improved, and business activities are again gaining ground in Freetown as well as up country.  The membership of the Association, has though reduced significantly, it has again started charitable and social activities, with generous contributions from the members.


The Association mainly works, with the Indian business community, as is enshrined in its objectives.  With the return of political normally in Sierra Leone, the improved business environment, has given sufficient confidence to members, to once again commence commercial activities up country, which definitely  is a very positive development.  Also, many more new trading and manufacturing ventures, are being set up, thus bringing in much needed investment in the economy.


The return of democratic set up, and absence of any political conflict, has been a very positive development, after a decade of conflict, and has boosted the confidence of the business community.  The recent announcement by the Government, that a new investment code will shortly be enacted, will definitely lead to increased foreign and domestic investment, in the business sector.


The Indian business community, has always maintained a very cordial and harmonious relationship, with the host community, and other communities resident in Sierra Leone.  The Association has always encouraged its members, to be law abiding, and contribute positively to the development of the host community, thus fulfilling  its social obligations.


The conflict in Sierra Leone, had a very devastating effect on economic, political and social life of all communities, resident in Sierra Leone.  But with the return of democratic set up, and end of conflict, and the efforts being made by Government of Sierra Leone, and other International agencies, towards economic rehabilitation, positive developments in social and cultural context will definitely follow.


The main consequences of the conflict have been disruption of economic activities in all sectors, like agriculture, mining,  manufacturing and trading, with concomitant social problems.

The improvement, in political and business environment, will definitely provide  much remedies for social problems.


The main lesson  learnt, from the decade long is, that war and confrontation, do not provide solutions, but only increase  the existing problems.  It is always easy to destroy, but very difficult to rebuild it again.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, a great Indian leader.
‘An eye for an eye  will leave the whole world blind.’

In the present era of economic globalization, economic activities are key, word for holistic development of any society.  Hence Government and people  of Sierra Leone, should concentrate  on economic rehabilitation, to become part of a prosperous global community.


WITNESS NAME : IBRAHIM B. KAMARA ( Civil Society Movement  Rep)

My name is Ibrahim B. Kamara, rep Civil Society Movement.  I am a Muslim. The oath was administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Professor John Kamara.

Mr Kamara we welcome you and thank you for coming to represent your organization.



Mr. Chairman, fellow civil society activists, distinguished ladies and gentlement.  The Civil Society Movement-Sierra Leone (CMS-SL) would like to associate itself with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in its endeavor to document events of the ten years rebel war so that the history of this country will be complete.

Civil Society Movement in Sierra Leone and all its  membership share the view that sustainable peace can only be attained in this country when the truth is said and root causes of the conflict are identified and addressed.


Mr. Chairman, historical events in this country will be incomplete if civil society as a movement and as groups fail to add their voice to such a history.  Our story can best be understand if people are informed about where we are coming from as a movements and what we stand for.  Loosely defined, Civil Society Movements are independent and voluntary people’s movements/organizations acting collectively to serve a  common purpose.

Civil Society emerged into the world stage at  the end of the cold war, which allowed people’s movement; popular participation in public events; and discussion on human rights, and so on.  These movements came into the scence as a result of the failure of authoritarian regimes that fostered top-down and centralized models of development.  This newly recognized  power of  people’s  movement sought to bring about major political and socio-economic changes in the world.

Against this background, Civil Society Movement all the world over are committed to the following:

(a) Resisting corrupt and illegitimate regimes and struggling for a leadership elected by democratic means.

(b) Building foundation and strengthening mechanism for a new socio-economic and political order.

(c) Building up and sustaining mechanisms for preventing and dealing with conflict and the protection of the rights of citizens.

(d) Working to bring about a transformed community and to foster a strong and self-sustaining civil society.

With the above goals in mind, Civil Society Movement in Sierra Leone (CSM-SL) has, since its inception  in 1998, made considerable gains  its effort to restore democracy; protect the rights of the citizens of this country, protect the security of the state, and setting up of structures and strengthening them in order to carry out its mandate countrywide.

Mr. Chairman, Civil Society Movement in this country has its membership drawn from commercial Motor Drivers and Transport Owners; petty Traders Association, the Sierra Leone Teachers Union, Youth Groups, Mine Workers Union, Women’s Groups, other labour unions and a number of local Non-Governmental Organizations in the country.  We are a consistent member of the Mano River Civil Society Movements through which the three Mano River Union countries (Sierra Leone, the Republic of Guinea and Liberia) are jointly pursing the restoration  of peace  and economic stability within the three countries.  The first Mano River Union Civil Society Movement Conference was held in Freetown in October 2001 – with CSM-SL as convener and the Second MRUCSM was held in Guinea in May 2002 with CSM-Guinea as the host.  The instability  in Liberia has not allowed the third MRU-CSM Conference.  We are working with other civil society groups within the sub-region in Nigeria, the Gambia and the Republic of Senegal.


Our Vision

The Civil Society Movement-Sierra Leone envisions a Sierra Leone that is free from arms conflict, violence, and a country that is peaceful and that has a culture of human rights, good governance and sustainable growth.

Mission Statement

The Civil Society Movement-Sierra Leone is committed to the promotion and consolidation  of the culture  of peace, good governance and human rights;  designing and facilitating participatory programmes to mobilize the citizenry for positive actions that will transform institutions, communities and individuals for peace, democracy and sustainable development in Sierra Leone.


The Motto of the Movement is “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”  (The voice of the people is the Voice  of God)

Programme Priorities

The programme priorities of the Movement include the following:

* Capacity Building
* Citizen Education
* Sensitization and Information Dissemination
* Advocacy/Lobbying
* Development and Humanitarian Affairs
* Research and Documentation
* International Networking


Mr. Chairman, it has become common knowledge that the major causes of the ten years rebels war are bad governance, mismanagement of public funds, bribery and corruption and the lack of accountability and transparency in public offices, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, regionalism which  is a divid and rule technique that hinders cohesiveness to address issues of national concerns.

The consequences of the war are also too familiar.  Sadly enough, our membership, especially commercial motor drivers, petty traders, women and youth  bore the greatest brunt of the war.

The war came to a point when the Sierra Leone Army and the rebels  pitched camps together and turned their guns against defenseless citizens.  The high ways all over  the country were no longer safe as a result of ambushes.  Motor  drivers and traders who braved the roads in those dark days stood the risk of being ambushed, goods looted, vehicles burnt down, women abducted and rapped and other persons killed in cold blood.  As a result, thousand of civilian lives were lost for no just cause.  When our members particularly the petty traders decided to use the waterways and boats, just to earn their daily bread, the high seas and water routes soon became  dangerous.  There are a lot of  instances in which the boats either ran into fatal accidents or were again attack  on the high seas; looted and made to drawn.

Mr. Chairman, the Civil Society Movement of Sierra Leone, in its present form, consolidated itself initially as a defense force in December, 1998  when the rebels (RUF,SLA) were closing in on Freetown-they had by then  been around Waterloo.  The weeks after a mass rally held at the cotton tree in Freetown, the rebels invaded the city on January 6, 1999.  Prior  to the invasion, the Citizen’s Security Movement was formed with the initiative coming from  the leadership  of some civil society groups such as  the Civic Development Unit (CDU) the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, the Sierra Leone  Teachers Union, and the National Union of Students.

It was in the January 6, 1999 invasion and upon the expulsion of the RUF/AFRC fro Freetown by ECOMOG that the leaders  of these civic groups reflected on the role of civil society in ensuring sustainable  peace, security and the promotion  of social justice; human rights and national development.  In the light of these considerations the name was changed to Civil Society Movement  of Sierra Leone and soon had its structures set up in order to take a national dimension.

Since then, Civil Society in Sierra Leone has continued to impact upon the unfolding social and political developments of the country to the extent that it has earned a name for itself as one of the most vibrant civil society movements in the region.

Following the arrest, disarmed and detention of the UN Peace keepers and other security threats, CSM-SL and Parliament jointly organized a peaceful demonstration  match to the residence of Cpl. Foday Sankoh RUF leader in May 8th 2000 to know his position on the issue and demand the release  of the UN Peace keepers.  The reaction of the RUF leader to the intention of the demonstrators was negative which led to the death of 22 civilians.  These includes:

1. Harding Kallon
2. Kabba Bangura
3. Foday Brima
4. Abu Bakarr Conteh
5. Alhaji Sesay
6. Peter A. Kargbo
7. Musa Kamara
8. Mariama Gassama
9. Saioma Maarrah
10. Ballah Turay
11. David Jusu
12. Kumba Brima
13. Soaman Conteh
14. E.T. Kamara
15. Kemoh Jusu
16. Lamin Massaquoi
17. Lucy Cole
18. Josephus Conteh
19. Manso Sesay
20. Foday Bangura
21. Suliaman Bah
22. Alie Koroma

Ladies and gentlemen let us stand up and observe a minute silence our brothers and sisters who lost there lives  in  there cause to liberate the nation and the UN Peace Keepers.

The ugly led to the subsequent arrest of Foday Sankoh and put behind bars.   This urged international attention to involve in the crisis, notably in the crisis, notably, the role of the British forces to help stabilize the situation.  The Civil Society Movement, despite the gains made  has considerable challenges to grappled with.  We shall examine these challenges in detail.


We have been requested to discuss the role  of immigrant groups resident in Sierra Leone.  This is justifiable because these groups are part of civil society.  The role some of them play in national development, peace and security is enormous.  The major immigrant communities that  have made significant contributions include the Lebanese; the Indian community; the Nigeria, Ghanaian, Gambian, Guinean, Senegalese and Liberia communities resident all over the country, particularly in urban and Diamond Mining concentrations.

Immigrant communities who are mainly involved in commercial activities have had their own share in the atrocities  of the ten  years rebel war.  The story is too familiar to us all.  Supermarkets, shops stores and goods belonging to immigrants were looted, vandalized or burnt down and thousands of human lives perished.

In peace time, key immigrant groups such as the Lebanese, the Indians have provided grants to support  the education of Sierra Leone Leoneans up to University level; they have supported National and grassroot development schemes such as school construction, promotion of games and sports, construction  of roads and public infrastructures.  It is worth nothing that some of these immigrants played negative role resulting to the wanton destruction of lives and properties.


What then is the role-played by civil society groups and  immigrant communities in the consolidation of peace and national recovery? Immigrant communities on their part, can only undertake economic activities in sustainable basis if there  is peace and stability.  Certainly, security can be ensured if immigrant communities comply with immigration regulations of the state;  immigrant communities, particularly those involved in commercial can enhance economic recovery if they comply with tax regular as well as curb smuggling.  Immigrant communities can help to maintain state security if they assist security and state intelligence personnel by providing vital tip offs on any security threats considering the fact that immigrant groups are part of civil society, it is suggested that they be involved by the Civil Society Movement of Sierra Leone in future projects that are of national interest.

The greatest challenge facing CSM-SL is to more proactive rather than reactive.  For  example a good number of rallies were organized by civil society movement in the early years of its formation shown to be reactive.  Civil Society leaders should reflect upon and analyze political, developmental and state security with the view of forestalling any undesirable consequences.

Furthermore, CSM-SL should intensify its present programme of educating  the people on issues relating  to active citizenship of their rights and responsibilities and in preparing them to exercise such rights and responsibility

CSM-SL is on the right track by its ongoing sensitization project of the population at chiefdom level on the activities of the TRC, the Justice system, Anti-Corruption Commission and the Special Court.  This will enable communities to participate more effectively in the activities of these vital institutions.


- Civil Society now plays a critical role in matters dealing with security, state stability and socio-economic welfare  of Sierra Leone and its people.  CSM-SL will continue to play significant roles in this direction.

- The present government, in particular the presidency has made it clear  that its doors are always open to enter into dialogue  with civil society.

- Civil Society  has a pool of human resources, committed and dedicated to rendered invaluable services  to the movement and the nation.


In conclusion, I wish to make it clear that the success of Civil Society Movement in Sierra Leone depends on the collective efforts of all.  When civil society speaks, it should speak with one voice, when civil society acts, it should act with one accord.  And if civil society should speak w    th one voice and act with one accord for its voice to be heard and its action to make impact, then civil society must function as a unified force.

Comm Kamara -  Mr. Kamara, we welcome you and thank you for coming.  I want you to sit down and compose yourself.

Comm Humper – I join the Chairman to thank you, I have just captured one key sentence,  in short you said that Civil Society should work as one people, and can you tell me what the civil society is trying to achieve in this country?  If the key member in the CSM later leave the movement and concentrate on politics what will you say?

Civil Society – At times people call Civil Society Organisation but we say movement, however, Sierra Leoneans have the right to join any political party, I am glad to say that we have held our first national assembly meeting were  we wrote our constitution.  In  a paragraph  of that constitution it is fairly stated that if any member wants to go into politics, he should inform us three months before the time and resign and should not use the name of the CSM.  He or she can go alone.  This is in our constitution.

Bishop Humper – Thank you very much.

Comm Satang  - I say thank you for what you have said and for making it short so that we can ask questions.  You told us that bad governance caused the war, you spoke about bribery and corruption. I would like you to know that in a society there are people you rule and others who rule and this makes good governance.  Most people who talk here put the problems on the Government.  As you are a member of the CSM what do you think the CSM should do to have good Government.

Civil Society  - As I mentioned in the paper, in the past what we do, we ask people to talk about something that is going on, we also ask them to give us their opinion when the war was on.  Some people had wanted to be tribalistic, we were against that. When they went to Lome we heard that they had wanted to blame the interim government, and to hand over power to those who did not deserve it,  because of that  we had a sit down strike.   We have just returned from the provinces to sensitize our people for them to receive what they deserve. They did not ask us were we came from because, they knew we were talking on behalf of the country.

Comm Marcus-Jones – Thank you for coming to us.  My question is relating to your group because the CSM has so many groups that formed it.  Do you not think it will be duplicated and that people in the group will divide their loyalty?
Civil Society -The CSM is here to see that the work you people are doing should go forward that is why people say our office is a place were people work and move forward.  Our work is to help people that is why we announced that people should observe May 8 with prayers in Mosques and Churches on the following  Friday and Sunday.  The civil society movement is coordinating the activities of the other groups.   We educate groups, organizations and individuals that they should always put Sierra Leone forward.   We have been getting representations from all trade groups in our meetings.

Comm. Marcus Jones -  Thank you Mr. Kamara.

Comm. Torto -  I have interest in the section which you mentioned about foreigners, you have called some of the foreign groups that help Sierra Leoneans.  You named Lebanese, Nigerians etc.  Can you show us were the Liberian Community  helped in Sierra Leone?

Civil Society – Before, Sierra Leoneans were going to Liberia to do petty trading. I can tell of one  Lebanese in Malamah Thomas Street who carry Sierra Leonean passport and has established here.

Comm Kamara  - As one of the Commissioners has rightly said, when you were talking about the root causes of the war, you did not speak about diamond, what is your opinion about diamond in the war.

Civil Society – Diamond played its own role in the war, I believe that it was bribery and corruption, if we the people are able to  know the solution, we should not talk about diamond.  If we are able to address the issue of bribery and corruption the diamond who contributed in bringing the war to our country would  not have been a key role, e.g in Botswana, because of the way they handled their diamonds they are now contributing to UN

Comm Kamara -  I  know that  the diamond in Sierra Leone does not benefit us.

Civil Society –  Diamonds helped to prolong the war, I remember during the period of the crisis, we went to Francis Okello, we read in the newspaper that the RUF were selling our diamonds  to get arms, and he accepted, that is why all of us came together. As I am speaking here we are also in the process of holding consultation that the diamond that is coming from Kono does not mean that it is for Kono people but for the country as a whole. 

Comm Kamara – Thank you very much

Mr. Charm – I have two questions, I am sure there are  civil societies all over Africa, what is the relationship between the civil society and the government and two during the war and after the formation of CSM, human right violations were committed, they were pointed out, what would you say about these atrocities committed by these members of the movement ?

Civil Society – As regards to those people who were killed, we want them to know that all what we want is peace.  We as civilians all what we did was to point out fingers, it helped us in bringing peace, because most of them ran away into bushes.  For those who were killed during Dec 26 demonstrations we showed our anger  and also  to those that wanted to rule SL by all means.  

We have our rules and regulations, for the government, they always tell us that their doors were open,  because they were listening we were hoping to see that things go on the right way because they have THE MANIFESTO which they presented to us.  This government has over 70% of vote casted. Our role is to make sure that we improve our country.  The civil society is not partisan, not   political, we are a pressure group agitating the rest of the people of Sierra Leone.

Comm Kamara – Now you have answered all these questions,  I want to ask you  if you have any question.

Civil Society – It is not a not  a question really,  but an  assurance.   Sierra Leoneans are attending workshops, seminars, people are calling them talk.  

What would you do so that this report and recommendation will be accepted by every Sierra Leonean, whatever comes up; we will know that it is for the people of Sierra Leone.   Civil Society will challenge, in other words you should not be biased.

Comm Kamara – The mandate of TRC makes room for our report.  Initially the report will be sent to the President, from the President the Secretary General of the Security Council, then the President will take the report to Parliament, after Parliament had deliberated on it , it  will be made available to the public, at that time every Sierra Leonean will benefit from it.
We thank you very much.

WITNESS NAME:  Indian Community

My name is CXOPRE.  I am an Indu.  



From the information available, the first Indian traders came to Sierra Leone, in 1882.  The numerical growth of Indian business community over the years, has been largely, from the emergence f businessmen, who had previously been employees of the business houses, but later on set up their own business, using their knowledge and experience, of the economy and society of Sierra Leone.  Normally, the Indian community, has been concentrated in Freetown, and only a few ventured in the major towns of up country, starting branch offices of their business.  The business persons, their staff  and families, account for 90% of the Indian community in Sierra Leone, whilst balance 10% consist of, professionals and experts of International organizations.

Prior to political conflict in Sierra Leone, the strength of Indian community, was around 800, but this number has dwindled down to 450 at present.  The principal activity  of the Indian community in Sierra Leone, has always been importation of general merchandise, with subsequent wholesaling and retailing.  Some business houses, have ventured into the manufacturing sector, and this business trend economy, and creation of jobs locally.


Indian Mercantile Association, is the representative body of Indian business community in Sierra Leone  The Association was formed in 1966 with the following objectives:

a.    To assist the Indian mercantile community in Sierra Leone, in trade, industry and other business  matters.
b.    To promote better understanding between members and all departments of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
c.    To promote social relationships, between members and Sierra Leoneans, and other communities resident in Sierra Leone.  The Association  has also been, actively engaged in various charitable activities, by contributing financially to needy institutions in Sierra Leone.  It regularly wards scholarships to deserving students, to promote educational development in the community.  Infact the main focus of the Association, over  the years has been to fulfill the social responsibility  of the business community to the host community.


As  mentioned above, the main objective of the Associations, is to act as a liason body, between the Government of Sierra Leone and Indian business community.  It informs the members, of various business regulations, and new legal enactments made by the Government.  It also organizes meetings and seminars, with officials of various Government departments, to inform the members  of implications of the business laws to facilitate better implementation.  It also represents the views of the business community,  to Government functionaries.


During the political conflict in Sierra Leone, most of the members of Indian business community, suffered major financial losses.  The shops and manufacturing premises, of many members were looted and burnt down.  Four members of the community lost their lives.  Some community members were forced to closed down their business for good, due to financial losses, and relocated elsewhere, whilst others had to scale down their operations, by closing their branch offices in Freetown and up country.

During the conflict, the Association had to arrange evacuation of members and their families, three times to neighboring countries, at a big financial cost, thus causing major monetary hardship in difficult times.  The education of school going children was, completely disrupted.

Due to absence of the majority  of its  members, the working of the Association went into a limbo, and it could not engage into any activities to fulfill its objectives.

With the return of normalcy in Sierra Leone, the economic environment, has greatly improved, and business activities are again gaining ground in Freetown as well as up country.  The membership of the Association, has though reduced significantly, it has again started charitable and social activities, with generous contributions from the members.


The Association mainly works, with the Indian business community, as is enshrined in its objectives.  With the return of political normally in Sierra Leone, the improved business environment, has given sufficient confidence to members, to once again commence commercial activities up country, which definitely  is a very positive development.  Also, many more new trading and manufacturing ventures, are being set up, thus bringing in much needed investment in the economy.


The return of democratic set up, and absence of any political conflict, has been a very positive development, after a decade of conflict, and has boosted the confidence of the business community.  The recent announcement by the Government, that a new investment code will shortly be enacted, will definitely lead to increased foreign and domestic investment, in the business sector.


The Indian business community, has always maintained a very cordial and harmonious relationship, with the host community, and other communities resident in Sierra Leone.  The Association has always encouraged its members, to be law abiding, and contribute positively to the development of the host community, thus fulfilling  its social obligations.


The conflict in Sierra Leone, had a very devastating effect on economic, political and social life of all communities, resident in Sierra Leone.  But with the return of democratic set up, and end of conflict, and the efforts being made by Government of Sierra Leone, and other International agencies, towards economic rehabilitation, positive developments in social and cultural context will definitely follow.


The main consequences of the conflict have been disruption of economic activities in all sectors, like agriculture, mining,  manufacturing and trading, with concomitant social problems.

The improvement, in political and business environment, will definitely provide  much remedies for social problems.


The main lesson  learnt, from the decade long is, that war and confrontation, do not provide solutions, but only increase  the existing problems.  It is always easy to destroy, but very difficult to rebuild it again.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, a great Indian leader.
‘An eye for an eye  will leave the whole world blind.’

In the present era of economic globalization, economic activities are key, word for holistic development of any society.  Hence Government and people  of Sierra Leone, should concentrate  on economic rehabilitation, to become part of a prosperous global community.

Comm Kamara – We thank you for coming and for what you have done,  you have made a submission, but some of my colleagues, would like to ask you some questions.

Comm Humper – I want to join my colleagues, in thanking you, you’ve been here since 1982, I have two questions for you.  What impact did the civil conflict had on your association?

Indian  -  As an association, we lost one of our members, the association had definitely lost its strength, some went out of the country.  Before the conflict we had 50 now we just have 28.

Comm Humper  -  What has been your experience or encounter with government officials, ministers in your business?

Indian  -  After the war the association appealed to government to reduce the tax, so that we will be able to cover our loss,  some of our demands were met and others rejected, we were able to understand the position of the government.  As an association we would have been happy if they had answered us, that should have helped our members for the loss.

Comm. Humper  - Thank  you.

Comm Satang  -  Since you have been engaged in business in the community.  we all know that Sierra Leone, is a rich country if we want to compare it with other countries in the sub region.  Despite this, majority of Sierra Leoneans did encounter poverty.  In your view what did you think is responsible for this?

Indian  -  This is my personal opinion,  we all can say that Sierra Leone is rich with mineral resources.  What really affected our economy is because we do not have instrument to shape them.  The same thing happened in the fisheries area.  What happened is the fall had moved from Manufacturing to service economy.  Sierra Leone should make way to make things so that we could go to service economy.  I will make reference to India, we have no money but we can export diamonds.  They send it for polishing and shaping.  The second is that the money they should put for raw material is still the same.  Ivory Coast has the same problem, they did not have facility to manufacture, they send the raw materials.  What we should do is to pay attention to the manufacturing sector which can add money to the things we can sell.

Comm Marcus-Jones – We thank you for coming, I  shall wrap all my questions into one.   Do you think that the Indian community during the war was targeted apart from looting?  If this is true, is it for looting or targeted for some other reasons.

Indian:   I believe that the Indians were not looking for this .  They were interested to steal.  They were just asking for money and items sold by the Indians.  

Comm Marcus Jones – How did they kill the four Indians?

Indian -  This was an unfortunate thing, the evidence we got was they were captured and some were killed in cross fire.

Comm Marcus Jones  - We thank you and we are sorry.

Comm Torto  - I have two questions and I hope the answers will be brief.  From your paper, it seems that the Indians are specialized in trade, why cannot they teach be engineer and so on.

Indian  -  There are two reasons responsible for that, the Laws of Sierra Leone does not allow Indian lawyers and doctors to practice.  The second reason is  the money in Sierra Leone, because of the salary of the teachers, the Indians will not come and teach here.

Comm Torto – It is a saying that most of the items in the Indian shops are Indian products, most people would prefer most durable assets,  why is this so?

Indian  -   I disagree with you that the what the Indians are selling is mainly Indian products,  people are very sensitive to prices.  Chinese goods are relatively cheaper to others.  Business people will know the concept of demand, if people who buy prefer cheap goods, then we will  import cheaper goods.

Comm Torto  -  Traders go to Guinea and Banjul, I am not saying that other products were not good,   thank you its just an observation.

Comm Kamara. – In the 50s and 60s Indians were here to teach, I have worked with some of them in the university.  I want you to tell us that on all the foreigners in Sierra Leone,  the Indians do not mix.  

Indian  - I will like to make the difference between coming together.  From what we have known, the Indians culture is different from what we see in Sierra Leone.  because we have been in Sierra Leone for a long period and we are still  practicising our own culture.  This makes people think that we do not want to ne together with  Sierra Leoneans.

Ozonnia  -  It is a question that rose from the Chairman of the Commission and I will make it a comments.  Do you like to make a recommendation on the different people in Sierra Leone to be together and form business in this country.

Indian  -  First of all, I want to let people know that a business man do not draw line on business but pay attention on how the business will go forward.

Ozonnia  - What rise are you making in operation, the issue of standards, what gaps do you see on the issue of people in Sierra Leone.  People from India do not like to mix and build confidence.  Do you think that your business will not go forward?  The second is the area that deals with the quality of our product in Sierra Leone.

Indian  -  Personally I believe that the Indians in Sierra Leone have no problem and we feel that  we are all one and that the people are not angry with us.  For different communities to come together is a process and it will take time, even the tribes in Sierra Leone, it will take time for them to be together and will not talk about those who are from abroad, we need patience.

The second question – when you talk about the law of import it is left with the Government.

Comm Kamara – Do you have any question to ask the commission?

Indian  - I don’t think I have question but a recommendation to make to the commission.  In your recommendations, I would like you to ask government to help those who had suffered in the war in terms of business to help them recover from their loss.



My name is Lamin Hassamyeh.  I am a Christian.  The oath was administered by the Presiding Commission, Prof  Kamara

Mr chairman

First of all and before proceeding to make my presentation.  I would like on behalf of the Lebanese Community in its entirety to thank you for inviting me to this Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  It is my humble opinion that in order that real peace can be achieved that we have to be truthful to one another.  To reconcile with someone who has done you harm he must be Truthful to you.  It is in this light that I welcome the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Lebanese Community has been in Sierra Leone for about one hundred and thirty years, when I believe the first Lebanese set foot on Sierra Leonean soil.  They came to this country to earn a living as that time their motherland was passing through a very difficult period

They persevered through hard work, and they were scattered all over Sierra Leone, even in some of the remotest villages.  They were involved in the Produce Trade and when they were engaged in supporting “Rice Planting”.  Sierra Leone used to export rice to neighboring countries.  They became successful, and with their acquired prosperity, they built houses, acquired properties and employed a lot of people in their various trades, which grew from produce to General Merchandise to the Diamond Industry,  Tourism, Construction, and Medical Fields and some of the became Lawyer and Doctors.  Sierra Leone has been very kind and hospital to us the Lebanese, and it is the fervent wish of every Lebanese Born in this country to be fully integrated into the Sierra Leonean Society./  After one Hundred and thirty years of existence in this country.  The Lebanese who are now Fifth Generation are still regarded as foreigners.  It is my humble opinion that those of the Lebanese Community who were born in this country, could contribute a lot amore than they are now doing if they are accepted as citizens of the country.

The committee of the Lebanese Community in Sierra Leone was set up in the early fifties.  This Committee is usually elected by members of the community every Two years.  This Committee is involved in the awards of scholarships to students of various educations institutions in Sierra Leone, Charitable work, and is to ensure the peaceful co-existence of members of the Lebanese Community with their brother and Sister Sierra Leoneans and other minority groups resident in Sierra Leone.  Prior to the conflict.  The community consisted of around Twenty Thousand Lebanese, scattered all over the country, carrying on with their trade peacefully.  This number started to dwindle because of certain legislations enacted in the late sixties and early seventies banning them from certain trade, as well as prohibiting them from becoming citizen by birth, and that they were no longer allowed to purchase properties.  By the time the NPRC came to power there were about Eight Thousand Lebanese in Sierra Leone.  With the coming of NPRC the rebel war intensified with the occupation of rebels and then Government forces of Koidu Town, where vast damage to property and lives were committed.  Members of my community had to flee for therir lives, and their properties were looted.  The majority of them became poor and penniless.  Not a single person managed to escape with any of his property.  I remember that we had to charter helicopters to go and look for them in the bushes.  The rebels occupied Makeni and so did Government troops, and the residents continued to suffer loss of life and property.  Members of my community had to flee for their lives and all their shops and houses were looted.  In 1996 H. E. Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabba was elected president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, only to be overthrown on May the 25th 1997.  the AFRC came to power and the vast majority of the Lebanese Community closed their businesses and left the country.  During the reign of the AFRC there were less than Four Hundred Lebanese in the whole of the country.  Shops were looted and so were houses.

In February 1998 Ecomog Forces entered Sierra Leone and liberated Freetown and other parts of Sierra Leone from the AFRC regime.  H.E  the President was Re-Instated as president of the republic of Sierra Leone.

Having restored law and order, members of my community started returning.  Shops wee renovated and re-stocked with goods and life seemed to be returning to normal.  On the 6th of January 1991 the rebels invaded and occupied the commercial sectors of Freetown.  Lives and property were then lost and it was only when they were attacked by ECOMOG Troops that they withdrew from Freetown.  Thousands of lives were lost.  Bodies were laid outside the Connaught Hospital mortuary and the streets of Freetown.  I remover seeing a corpse at the Mobil Petrol Station Congo Cross being eaten by vultures.  The Lebanese Community suffered the following losses:-


1. Yacoub Koussa        -    Zimmi             1991
2. Mrs Abdallah        -    Kailahun        1991
3. Domingo Yazbeck    -    Sumbuya         1992
4. Roda Khalil        -    Port Loko        1995
5. Mrs Roda Khalil        -    Port Loko        1995

6. Yasubhan Watfa & Family consisting of eight children          -    Port Loko        1995
7.         Walid Roumieh        -    Freetown         1997
8.         Hassan Jamil Sahid    -    Freetown        1997
9.         Hassan Harriri        -    Freetown        1999

1. Toufic Abdallah  - from Kailahun (now presently in Freetown)
2. Laya Nohme, Abraham Nohme, George Nohme, Mariam Nohme, Salam Nohme, Babies Abraham Nohme and George Nohme were all kidnap;ed from Manowa ‘ – Kailahun District in 1991.  Their houses and all properties they had were looted.  

They were kidnapped for three years and were later freed by Government Forces under the command of Lt Yoki.  They had to be admitted for nearly two years at the Bo Government Hospital for Treatment some, of them suffering from broken legs due to the vehicle they were traveling with falling into a land mine.

At present and with the assistance of the International Community the country is hopefully at peace, and life has returned to normalcy.  The majority of my community has returned and now the count should stand at around Six Thousand Five Hundred members.  It is the general idea that all Lebanese nationals are prosperous, with much regret I have to say that it is not so.  There are many that are poor and penniless and are afforded assistance by members of the community.  The conflict has inflicted misery on all of us without consideration as to whether you are a citizen or a foreigner.  Besides all that I have already mentioned there are some of our women who were tortured and raped.  The conflict that we all went through devastated everyone to the advantage of none.  With regards to some members of my community having links with the R.U.F, one only has to look at the statistics of the Lebanese Community to realize the proper situation.  During the A.F.R.C regime there remained in Sierra Leone less than Four Hundred Lebanese.  The most absurd statement was recently made at this Commission about a member of my community being a founder of the R.U.F.  Surely if you have founded something you will support it.

The member of my community in question fled in Sierra Leone and only returned after the re-instatement of His Excellency the President and his Democratic Government Articles have been printed with no substantive evidence with regards to Blood Diamonds and names published have no connection with our community, as evidence could not be found of them ever lived or registered business in Sierra Leone.  I want to assure this Commission that the vast majority of my community members are law abiding decent members of society, at the same time we cannot deny that like any other community we do have our rotten apples.  Fortunately for us they are in the minority, and the Community’s reputation cannot therefore be smeared because of those rotten few.

The conflict has left a lot of children homeless.  Priority should be given to these children in order that they may grow up to be decent members of society.   Wherever you go in Freetown you will see them in the street.  If care and attention are not given to them the tendency is that they will resort to crime.  Presently it seems that no one cares for these children  -  therefore it should be one of the considerations of this Commission that the International Community as well as the authorities do something to come to the aid of these poor and innocent children.  I remember when I returned from the United Kingdom in 1961 to join my later father’s business that shops used to close if someone ran with a pen knife.  Now people are so used to the sound of gunshot and the sight of spilt blood and they hardly close their business or vacate the streets.  Therefore people, especially the younger generation should be taught about the devastation of war, and the misery it causes.  Consideration of this Commission is to be given to matters of loyalty to Sierra Leone, because if loyalty to our country is taught to us then we shall tend to be good citizen.  These days self comes before country when it should be vise versa.  The consideration of this Commission should be given to the low salaries paid, as this also tends to lead to crime.  The ordinary man on his salary cannot afford a decent life for members of his family.  The lesson learnt from this conflict is that if you live by the sword you shall die by the sword.  You cannot achieve results by peaceful means and without destruction of life and property by persuasion and dialogue we can achieve the impossible.  For those of us who have eyes and ears we have seen and heard and we hope not to see or hear of the horrible atrocities that had taken place in our beloved in Sierra Leone.
Comm Kamara – I thank you very much on behalf of the Commission for coming, on behalf of the communities, I want to say sorry for the loss of your property and the death of 19 Lebanese who were killed in the war. I will like us to observe a minute silence for the decease

Comm Humper – We want you to share with us in your presentation, some of the reasons of this ten year war in Sierra Leone.

Lebanese – There are many reasons, some might be poverty, some politics.

Comm Humper – What secret do you have when a Lebanese start business, you will see the brother joining him then another come and later he will open his shop, unlike Sierra Leoneans.

Lebanese –It is not a secret, it is business, if I am doing business and I see you are improving I will help you.  I want to assure the commission that we are not doing business with only Lebanese.

Comm Humper  - Did you retrieve some of the bodies of your people and give them fitting funeral?

Lebanese -  Some of them were retrieved, some were chopped so we did not have them,  the ones in Port Loko were burnt in a house.

Comm Satang  - I want to join my colleagues to say thank you,  your presentation is concise but it is usual to ask questions.  I want you to look at page 2 towards the end of the last paragraph.  You talked about the 50s and  early 70s. I noticed that there is a gap and you did not talk about  the APC regime.  What was the composition of the Lebanese during the era of the APC

Lebanese – According to letter I got, I was not asked to talk about APC but if you want me to talk, I can.,

Comm Humper – Forget that you were not asked, we would like you to tell us what the business was between late 60s and late 80s.

Lebanese – I came to Sierra Leone from the United Kingdom after studying, then we got independence and the SLPP was in power. I remember during the election people were coming to my father’s premises, they were telling us that when they took over they will know what to do.  I presume they were APC supporters.  When APC took over nobody disturbed us, but certain Lebanese ran away from this country.  They told us that we had no right to interfere in the politics of this country. Anyone who ventures is risking his life.  Any influence of Lebanese in the affairs of politics in the APC was personal but not on behalf of the Lebanese community

Marcus Jones – I am going to refer to page 2, you have expressed very good sentiments, that those that were born in Sierra Leone could contribute a lot more than they are now doing.  I do not think they are accepted as citizens of this country.  In page 2 you said that the  Lebanese Community will help Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters to stay together and I do not know whether you are aware that Lebanese people are not treating their servants well.

Lebanese -  I will answer  the second question, I have three servant who has worked with me for the past 20 years, also in my office I opened it in 1972, I still retain the same staff,  I have no doubt that some of our brothers are harsh to their servants, but for now I have not received any complaint of that.  in the newspaper we read that some Sierra Leoneans were taken to Lebanon and treated harshly.  There were evidence that there parents went to Lebanon, to collect their children.  They stayed in Lebanon for two years with the children, they started causing noise that their daughters were treated as slaves.  Some of them are not bad.  I am sure that there is some truth in some.  People should not believe all complaints.

Marcus – Jones – Anyway, it appears you are aware of the allegations.

Comm Torto  - Thank you for talking to us today.  There are one or two things to talk about.  Since the start of the war in 1991 Lebanese suffered, I have not heard from the Lebanese Government either to condemn or support what happened in Sierra Leone.  There are so many Lebanese here.  Why did not the Government make any comment?  Do you know why?

Lebanese -  What I wanted to say as President of the Lebanese Community and not on behalf of the Lebanese Government.  Anything we are doing here is on behalf of the Lebanese Community.  I agreed with you that the government had done nothing, I believe that they should have sent a delegation to Sierra Leone long before. A delegation came here six months ago to see the amputees

Comm Torto  -  In the late 60s, they made laws to stop foreigners being first class citizens?

Lebanese  - I was born in Sierra Leone, I was asked to naturalize, I refused to be a second class citizen.  I do not have anywhere to go, I will die here.  If they want us to be part of the society they should allow.  

Comm Torto - If you want to buy a house will they allow you?

Lebanese – The law does not allow that.

Comm Torto  -  The area when  you said your Lebanese friends want to do the laws of Sierra Leone, do you know the statistics?

Lebanese –Few had 8,000 and reduced to 400.

Comm Kamara – Thank you very much. I will take you back  to the question of the facilities of making money.  As you have agreed that Sierra Leone is a poor country, people find it very difficult to make sales out of business.  Many people believe that those successful business men are doing business with government.  I know that some Lebanese did business with government but majority are not .   

Lebanese -  Most businessmen do not do business with Government.

Comm Kamara  - Most of these businesses were a channel of transaction to you it is business, but the country is loosing money, do you in your opinion think that the Lebanese community are responsible for the corruption in this country?

Lebanese – I believe that you have heard about the commission of enquiry and that no Lebanese had been found guilty. I disagree with you. In ay society there are bad breed, there must be one or two Lebanese who are involved, but I totally disagreed with you, for corruption to be wide spread two people must involved. I am not going to sit by and allow people giviehe whole community stains. There are laws in Sierra Leone to govern that.

Comm Kamara – will you support any law that will fid any person guilty?

Lebanese – Any body who is found guilty should be jailed.

Comm. Kamara -  Thank you.

Ozonnia – One of the things I want you to do is to talk to your legal adviser on how the law is discriminating the Lebanese in Sierra Leone.  You should write it and compare it with the Constitution of Sierra Leone and must be submitted to the commission to make recommendations.  On the 19th of May, the  commission will be talking about corruption and handling of our mineral, one of the invitees is the business community, inclusive the Lebanese community, we believe that the Lebanese are very hardworking, many people were licensed as miners and diamond dealers. The commission will learn from these people.  The commission will appreciate if the Lebanese community send its representative especially the major players.  You argued that one of the member who was alleged to be a member of the RUF, we have sent a letter to him we have scheduled him to come before the commission on 20 May, we encourage you to use your good office to let him send his submission to the commission before honouring his invitation.  I thank you very much.

Lebanese -  I assure that the man will come, he was annoyed because of thaty.  When he saw the agenda, he asked me to talk to the Commission for him to come and I was so glad that the commission has called him.  If he is not here hold me responsible.  Iwhen I was contacted, I told them I was not doing diamond business.  I went there and gave them the paper.  Mr. Basma was there.   I did a paper and if the Commission needs it I will bring it.

Ozonnia – How soon will we get it?

Lebanese  -  I will talk to my Legal Adviser tomorrow.

Comm Kamara – Do you have any question to ask

Lebanese – I will like the commission to deal with the streets children, most of them had no advice, what is the duty of the commission to make provision for the street children

Comm Kamara – I say thanks, we have note some concern about those children.  The leader of evidence will look at it before  the end of our hearings

Comm Kamara – It is now past 6, and we want to thank all the important personalities who have come to testify.

Thank you all for coming.




Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Gentlemen the commission has been out in the provinces for a week and we are back for our thematic hearing.  I am sure that by the middle of the morning session we will have more of our people coming around.  We are entering into another important phase of our thematic hearings.  This week we will be dealing with very important issues and I will hope we will receive the cooperation of the public in terms of attendance and in terms of representation.  

To start up, even as we try to get our sitting places as usual we would want to commit this day to the Lord our maker.  I would therefore invite us this morning to pray in silence as we do in our individual and respective ways.
It would be interesting for Sierra Leoneans, those who are hearing us today, to be present this week and subsequently at these sessions. This week’s thematic hearings will be focusing of management of mineral resources and issues of corruption.  This means that Sierra Leoneans, as many as can make it, will do well to be here and listen to the hearings  It is important that we announce this so that the community will know and follow up on what we are doing.

The groups which we hope are here for this thematic hearing are the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the business community, Partnership Africa Canada, Network Movement for Justice and Development, the Anti Corru0ption Commission, the Ombudsman, the Government Gold and Diamond office, the Nigeria Business Community.  We do hope that all of these groups or representative would be here today. I want to welcome all of you and do hope that we are clearly familiar with the proceedings and procedures, rules and regulations governing our deliberations.  Without much ado, I would like to call on the leader of evidence for the first witness

Leader Of Evidence:    Mr. Chairman for this morning we have one witness, and it is hope that in the afternoon, the other witnesses might turn up.  With my permission Sir, may I call the first witness for the day.  He is the representative from the Anti-Corruption Commission, Shollay Davis.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    The name of the representative from the Anti Corruption Commission, Name?

Witness:    Shollay Davis

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Thank you.  We want to welcome you brother Davis, we have a procedure, we would want you to take an oath before the commission, your religious affiliation?

Mr. Davis:    Christian

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Please take the bible and say after me.  

The oath was taken.
Thank you.  We do hope that you will be of immense help to the commission in carrying out its mandate.  We would now invite you to make your presentation.

Mr. Davis:    Thank you.  Mr. Chairman, commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, may I on  behalf of the Anti Corruption Commission ACC, extend our appreciation to the TRC for inviting us to their thematic presentation.  

We at the Anti Corruption Commission share the view that if the causes that led to the decade long war in this country are not shared and addressed, there is the possibility that society may slide back to where it was in the past.  These thematic institutional hearings are therefore very important so that we could all learn from our mistakes and work actively towards concerted solutions.

Further to this, I would like to add that section 54 of the Anti Corruption Act makes provisions for the commission to present to his Excellency the president, a report of our activities.  In addition section 4 sub section 1, states that subsequent to section 54 the commission shall account to the people of this country on its activities.  Before I proceed, may I say that this presentation is limited in terms of our work to the period after the war, as the commission only started operations in the year 2000 when the act was promulgated.  My presentation will also be limited to the issues of corruption, with minimum reference to the management of mineral resources as the Anti – Corruption Commission Act 2000 does not make provision for economic crimes, except where they relate to bribery, tax evasion and other corruption related matters.  The act is very clear about what constitute corrupt practices in part 4 of the Anti – corruption Act 2000.  These corrupt practices include:

  • Corrupt acquisition of wealth
  • Soliciting or accepting advantage
  • Using influence for contracts
  • Corrupting public officers
  • Soliciting or accepting advantage for public officer
  • Misappropriation of public funds or property
  • Misappropriation of donor funds or property
  • Impeding foreign investment and
  • Corrupt transaction with agents.

I will now proceed to the nature of the problems in this country.  Sierra Leone in the recent past has suffered many cruelties, from armed conflict, injustices human right abuses and deprivation due to bad governance.  Perhaps a major reason for the decade long war in this country is corruption, perpetrated by politicians and entrenched by a week judiciary. Corruption has given rise to a very low standard of living for our people and we are the poorest nation in the world according to the United Nations Development index for the year 2002.  Corruption either grand, i.e. the looting of state funds by those in public trust or illegal trading in diamonds or petty charge demanded by a low ranking officer for service that should be free remains endemic in Sierra Leone.  Society has come to accept and even expect corruption.  As always, the poorest suffers most, and the poorest of the poor, most of all.  This same view was shared by the former Secretary of State for International Development, the Right Honourable Claire Short in her speech on corruption and governance at the British Council Auditorium in Freetown on the 27th  February 2002.

Poor people are denied access to education, health care and medicines because they cannot afford to make the extra payment demanded by corrupt officers.  They are denied justice when bribery and nepotism twisted the legal system.  And they suffer when corruption diverts scares resources away from development or retards essential domestic and international development.  Also the system for prosecuting those found out to be corrupt itself been corrupted by the failure to punish those responsible.  Too many people entering politics and the public service in Sierra Leone do so in order to line their pocket.  Personal gains and loyalty to family, party is put before national interest.  The consequence of these is that the society was sprung into a civil conflict that is considered one of the most brutal in human history.

For the first time Sierra Leoneans, with the help of some aliens, took up arms against their own brothers.  Some as a means of seeking redress for their pains of resentment, against the system, while others was for their own selfish business.  Our natural resources which could have been of been of use to the development of this country were transformed into fuel for destruction.  Our diamonds and other resources were taken to rogue states in exchange for arms and ammunition.  As a result what was supposed to be a blessing became a curse.  By the end of the war, and the reinstatement of the government of Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba that was ousted by the AFRC in 1997, the government of Sierra Leone with the help of the British government saw that it was necessary for the establishment of the anti-corruption commission.  The aim was to address the impunity perpetrated by corrupt individuals or groups so as not to allow our society to slide back to where it was, and also to foster speedy economic recovery and development.  It is important to note Mr. Chairman that several attempts have been made in the past to deal with corruption and other economic crimes, through various commissions of enquiry, but the problem still persists and is escalating.  From voucher gates when the money involved was in the thousands to squandergate when it was in the hundreds of thousands and then to the milliongate involving millions of the leones. Now we are talking about billion gates.  We can see that corruption is pervasive and is not restricted to positions or individuals.  The failure in the past has been greatly due to the lack of an effective punishment mechanism and the absence of a well structured public service that is corruption resistance.  If a corrupt individual is removed from a position of authority but the system that allows him to be corrupt is not removed, then someone else might come to that same position and be corrupted, more than the predecessors.

Also in the past, those found out to be corrupt were fined a minimal amount and set free.  The next thing you will here of them is that they are driving luxurious cars and building mansions at the expense of State funds.  Some went back to their former jobs while others were given new appointment, as if to compensate them for the wrongs they have committed.  With time Sierra Leoneans became proud, of stealing large sums of money from state funds and they went unpunished.  Those who have their children in the public service incited them to grab their own share of loot.

Hence to address this problem of corruption, which has become so endemic in our society, the Anti-Corruption Commission was established by an act of parliament on 3rd February 2000 with the specific mandate to provide for the prevention of corrupt practices.  Three ways by which this act makes provision for are:

  1. taking necessary measures for the prevention of corruption in government ministries or departments and other public bodies including instructing, advising and assisting any person or authorities on ways in which corrupt practices can be reduced or eliminated
  2. educating the public about how to get away from involvement in corrupt practices and by soliciting public support in the fight against corruption.
  3. investigating instances of alleged or suspected corrupt practices referred to it by any person or authority or which come its attention by way of complaints or otherwise.  

The commission hopes to achieve this through quality service delivery, personal and professional conduct, constitutional and legal principles and coalition building.  

I will now go on to the organisational structure of the commission itself:

  1. the commission comprises the office of the commissioner, and the office of the deputy commissioner.
  2. the directorates comprising the corruption prevention department, community relations department, investigations department and the research and development department.
  3. support services, mainly administration and account.  

The commission uses a three prong approach in the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone.  These approaches are:

  1. Community Education
  2. Corruption prevention
  3. Corruption investigation

1. Community Education:  the Anti-Corruption Act makes provision under section 5 -sub section 2 C and D to educate the public against the evils of corruption and to enlist and foster public support in combating corruption.  In other words we educate and enlist the support of the public.  I.e. get them to change their perception and attitude in the interest of combating corruption.

Since its reception, the commission has undertaken many sensitisation meetings, community theatre, workshops and seminars towards this drive.  Radio and television discussion as well as soap opera have also been undertaken to sensitise the public about the evils of corruption, and the benefits of a corrupt free society.  The print media was also not left out in this campaign.  In addition, we also published our quarterly newsletter called the “Eye” to further educate and inform the public about issues of corruption and also to entertain our readers.

Also I have mentioned earlier, at the end of every year, an annual report is presented to His Excellency the president on our Activities for the year under review.  Further to this, the commission has also to some extend succeeded in enlisting the support of the public in combating corruption through establishment of a coalition with civic society groups, non-governmental organisations and other governmental institutions.  

I want to proceed unto corruption prevention.  The commission has a corruption prevention department whose strategic objective is to promote and enhance best practices and service delivery across all public sector institutions.  This is done to enhance best practices and service delivery across all public sector institution.  This is done through the examination of the systems and procedures of clients in order to eradicate or minimise corruption opportunities.  The ACC also has the mandate to instruct and advice where necessary.  This is contained in section 5 sub section 2A and B of the Anti Corruption Act 2000.  In the area of corruption prevention, a number of government institutions have been targeted, based on a public perception survey that was conducted by Dr. Joe Lappia on the most corrupt institutions in the country.

In that report the ministry of education Science and Technology was once the most corrupt, followed by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture.  Since then we have focussed on these ministries and we have worked intensively with them in reviewing their service delivery and revenue collection mechanisms.  I am sure if another survey is conducted today, the trend would have changed in terms of magnitude of corruption.  The prevention department has also been looking at the activities of the NGO’s in other to ascertain whether the activities are consistent with their mission statements if any.  Other departments we have worked with are, the customs and excise department, Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Births and Deaths.  The prevention department has also provided support to various institutions needing our assistance.

In additions to these functions the prevention department also receives complaints from the reports sent to it by the public on corruption related matters for intervention.  These cases are examined by officers and a report of findings and recommendations presented for the attention of senior management of the commission.  When approved, the final report is sent to the complainant and the accused.  Where it becomes apparent that a corrupt practice is perpetrated, the matter is then sent to the investigations department for further investigations and possibly prosecution.  I will now go on to the corruption investigations department.

The Anti – Corruption Act makes provision for the investigation of corrupt practices under section 5 sub-sections 1 which states that the object for which the commission is established is to investigate instances of alleged or suspected corruption referred to it by any person or authority or which has come to its attention whether by complaints or otherwise and to take such steps as may be necessary for the eradication or suppression of corrupt practices.  Many attempts have been made by this department to investigate instances of alleged corrupt practices.  Some of the reports received however, do not fall within the purview of the commission.  Those that fall within our purview are investigated and sent to the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justices for prosecution. The Anti-Corruption Commission Act, is forward making and does not seek to criminalize anybody for offences committed before the February 3, 2000, when the act was promulgated.  

I will now proceed to Research and Development Department.  This department does the information gathering processing and storage for the commission.  It also provides useful data to other department when required about individuals and institutions in general.  The department maintains a report centre that receives report in the forms of complaints form the public and with advice from senior management makes referrals to the various agencies concerned.

For the year ending 2002, about 1,062 reports were received by the commission and distributed to the following agencies in and out to the commission.  One was Investigation where we sent 144 of these complaints.  Prevention had 33, Research and Development had 217, other agencies for example the police, and the public service etc. has 668.  Reports sent to other agencies are those, which in the opinion of the commissioner, do not constitute a corrupt practice and are sent to the respective institution for their action.  Most of our cases are now in court while others are awaiting prosecution.  Many, however, have been put on hold for lack of evidential material.  

I will now go on to the institutional problems.  In spite of the many efforts made by the commission to stamp out corruption there are many problems, which  need to be settled.

  1. Remuneration for public sector worker appears to be motivation for corruption in this country.
  2. The lack of prosecutor to advice and prosecute our cases in court and where possible a special court for anti-corruption cases.
  3. The slow judicial system that causes delay in our matters
  4. The apathy to change and the lack of compliance sanctions on preventive recommendation.
  5. The absence of our physical presence in the provinces.

The commission has been widely criticize for its inability to produce tangible results in the exercise of its duties mainly as a result of the above-mentioned problems.  In addition, the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 only makes provision for corrupt practices and not economic crimes.  In effect, the commission has not been able to successfully intervene in the diamond industry.  Except however, in cases where taxes on the sale of such diamonds are evaded.  A case against a new member of parliament Honourable Momoh Pujeh is still lingering in the court.  In countries like Botswana, Hong Kong and Australia etc. where similar commissions have been successful, economic crimes is also part of their commission’s activity.  This is not the case for us in Sierra Leone.  Our scope is narrow; I would like to conclude with the words of the commissioner in the Anti Corruption Commission newsletter of December 2002  I quote,

Much continues to be written and spoken about the activity of the ACC with expressions of a wider range of views and opinions.  I see this as an increasing positive trend.  The ACC will continue to lend an attentive ear taking into good parts all that is been said and written by our partners in the fight against corruption.  This trend will contribute greatly in helping this young organisation map out future strategies that will enhance the commissions work and its relentless drive to live up to the expectations of you the public. …We at the ACC have made it a collective resolve to do all that is humanly possible to carry out with the sacred mission to fight corruption in all its manifestations and help make Sierra Leone a better place in the interest of the common good.’

And with that quote I will like to end my presentation.  I thank you.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    We want to thank you Mr. Davis, Representative of Anti Corruption Commission, this concise and apt presentation indeed shows that you belong to the prevention department.  The commission will be asking you questions for clarifications, and some other points for our education.  I will be the last, but I want to ask one question and ask the commissioners to engage you.  Mr. Davis you are a Sierra Leonean I believe, how old is corruption in Sierra Leone?

Davies:    Thank you Mr. Commissioner for that wonderful question.  In my opinion, corruption has been in existence since the colonial era.  But the level of corruption was not as serious as it is today.  As I have mentioned earlier in my report, there was a trend in the growth of corruption, it started mildly, and then it became very very serious.  So far I would say that the scale of corruption in this country has risen to the highest level ever.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    I now ask the commissioners to begin their questioning.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    Thank you for that most interesting presentation.  My first question follows up really on your last comment.  How can you, on what basis can you compare the level of corruption, why did you say that it is at the highest level now, therefore presumably higher that it was 20yrs ago or 40 years ago?

Mr. Davis:    Yes I would use two yard sticks, one as I mentioned earlier, I did say that, formerly in this country, we used to talk about voucher gates, and then it developed into million gate.  Now people are stealing in the billions, that is one area I would talk about.  Another area is the public perception survey that was conducted.  And the people expressed that the scale of corruption has risen.  These are the two areas by which I can justify to support the statement.

Commissioner Mrs Jow: Mr. Davis whilst you were talking you mentioned that corruption is engaged in mostly by those working in the government and you even stated that the reason the war in Sierra Leone was due, why would that be?

Mr. Davis:    In any country where corruption prevention has been successful, the political will has to be very strong.  This political will must be expressed in terms of the institutional support they give to the commission, by making it as independent as possible.  That is my answer to that question.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    I must say I am not very satisfied with that answer because it doesn’t seem to respond to the question, which was why was corruption a cause of the conflict?

Davis:    With regards to the effects of corruption and our war in Sierra Leone, its causes were rooted in the untold sufferings wrought on our people by corruption which deprived them of what should get to them.  What was supposed to go to the health care was diverted into personal pockets and bank accounts.  What was supposed to go towards the education of children was also diverted into private accounts and pockets.  With time, this resulted in the collapse of most institutions of government.  These and many other reasons resulted in a morbid state of affair.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    Thank you.  But your answer leads to a very troubling conclusion when combined with your statement that corruption is at a higher now in this country than previously.  Would you agree with that?

Mr. Davies:    Frankly as I have said, it is at an all time high.  There is a great risk of the ministries and departments where we have made some improvements and recommendations going back to where they were before our intervention.    This is primarily as a result of the fact that the commission does not have what we call compliance sanctions.  In the presence of compliance sanctions, it will be possible for the commission to punish individuals who repeats acts they have been advised against.  But as it were, we do not have anything called a compliance sanction in our act.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:     You focused on some of the short comings of the commission because of its legislation, can you tell us about the commission’s annual budget?
Mr. Davis:    As far as I know, the budget of the commission was at half a billion leones for this fiscal year

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    500 million

Mr. Davis:    About 500 million

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    About 2 million dollars.  Is that right?

Mr. Davis:    I don’t know the exchange rate…

Commissioner Mrs Jow:     How many employees does the commission have?
Mr. Davis:    I cannot categorically give that now because I am not with the information at the moment.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    Can you give us an idea of an order of magnitude, I am not a Sierra Leonean, I don’t know whether this institution has 2000 people or 20 people who worked for, what scale is it all roughly?

Mr. Davis:    Probably 50 or more?

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    80 people?

Mr. Davis:    About that , I cannot give definite figure

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    How many of those people will be carrying out investigations into corrupt practices.

Mr. Davis:    About 20 or more

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    Are these professionally trained investigators?

Mr. Davis:    Yes

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    You said they were assessing the different ministries, that the Ministry of Education had been judged as the most corrupt.  Is the Ministry of Education corrupt?

Mr. Davis:    It is not for me to say whether the Ministry of Education is corrupt.  A man is presumed innocent until he is found guilty.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    How high does the corruption goes within the Ministries?

Mr. Davis:    Corruption is a very serious problem in the Ministry of Education.  Because this is one of the largest Ministries in this country, it has the largest budgets.  It has the largest share of the national budget and is involved in large scale service delivery, from the teaching profession down to the level where services are rendered to students in the institutions, payment of grant in aid, payment of allowances, to students in colleges, etc.

Commissioner Mrs Jow:    But it is a very pessimistic picture that you present especially with the information, your assessment that corruption is rising at its highest level.  And I accept your assessment that corruption was one the principal if not the principal cause of the conflict. But we are interested in both understanding the causes of the conflict and preventing future conflict.  So if corruption was the cause of the conflict, and it is worse now than it was 12 years ago, then this is a very badly news for Sierra Leone. I suspect that in Sierra Leone corruption is still widely accepted, it has been something people do.
Commissioner Justice Marcus-Jones:    Mr. Davis I will like to thank you for your presentation.  I only have a few questions and you’ve told us that the system is corrupt by inertia and also that there is an apathy to change but, then, as your commissioner said, much is been written about the Anti Corruption Commission. Would you say that there is less inertia now and that apathy to change is less, is on the decrease?

Davis:    To some extent, it was helped to change the perception of most people on corruption like I stated it earlier. The trend will change with time but certain institutional support is needed.  In terms of the revision of the act, to include compliance sanctions, because apathy to change will only be dealt with when there are strong laws and these laws are effected without which this apathy to change will continue.

Commissioner Justice Marcus-Jones:    Thank you.  You told us that you have an information department, and then you have information on individual and institutions; I just wanted to know whether you, is it possible for you, is it part of your mandate, to investigate individuals without any complaints at all?  I am thinking of a corrupt acquisition of wealth.

Davis:    Yes we have the right in the act to investigate individuals who in the opinion of the commissioner may have acquired wealth by corrupt means.

Commissioner Justice Marcus-Jones:    You told us of a number of setbacks and you have given us low remuneration and lack of prosecutor, and slow judiciary system, if you were asked to categorise them which do you think you would put first.

Davis:    I think the legal aspect has to be settled first before we think about increasing the remuneration of public sector workers because if you do not correct the system, and you increase the salaries, you will double your problem.  So an individual who may have squandered million of leones through a corrupt voucher would now be getting more than a million, say probably two million when the salaries are increased.

Commissioner Justice Marcus-Jones:    Now you also told us that you examine some of the NGO’s and some departments as well, and one department you named was Births and Deaths.  I wonder if you can tell us if you have any recommendation for Births and Deaths. Because if documents are not well kept, if the documents are missing, then there is an easy way for corruption.
Davis:    Part of our mandate is to review systems and practices, and to examine these systems to see whether they could lead to corrupt practices and find ways by which such practices could be minimise or eliminated.  I worked at births and deaths and helped the department in restructuring and putting certain aspects of its operation into proper footing.  Record keeping is now properly taken care of, most of their data bases now are now on computer.  This has been a result of our intervention.

Commissioner Justice Marcus Jones:    Thank you Mr. Davis.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much Mr. Davis for coming, I have very few questions for you because my colleague commissioners have asked you some of them, more professional ones. I am talking to you like a layman from the street who actually hears about corruption and reads about corruption. You cited some of the limitations and problems that are forestalling the fight against corruption.  You stated low salary scale of public officers; you cited your absences in the provinces, slowness of the legal process, and above all apathy towards change.  Would you then agree with me that the commission has been useless since its setting up in 2000?.

Mr. Davis:    Mr. Commissioner, with all sincerity I will say no, the commission has not been useless.  There are certain successes we have scored.  In the aspect of prosecution, a number of cases have been successful in court, on prevention a number of improvement recommendations have been put in place in most ministries.  We are monitoring those improvement recommendations, and above all, the people of Sierra Leone now know that there is an institution, a specialised institution to tackle corruption. That level of awareness alone has helped to a greater extent to serve as a deterrent for most individuals who would want to become corrupt.  In the past, they could do it with impunity, but today these excesses are been checked.  At least some progress has been made in the public as well the private sector.  It is hoped that in the near future, when we have more support, in terms of our mandate, the commission will be able to do exceedingly more than what it is doing presently.

Commissioner Torto:    I do not actually want to refer you to several issues but there was a man before this commission sometime ago, he almost wept at the range of corruption that was going on. He cited Ministry of Education, State Lottery, here and there, and above all and he cited the amount of houses been broken because the owners didn’t have the proper documentation, what has the Anti Corruption commission done to actually investigate the issuance of housing permit that allow the building to those houses that are now been pulled down?

Mr. Davis:    Well the Commission receives complaints from the public and conducted investigations on those complaints.  It is possible that this person who testified here did not make his complaint known to the commission for investigation.  All complaints that are received by the commission are followed.  If it boiled down on corruption, we will follow the matter to the letter, but if it does not, we will refer those matters to the land ministry for action.  So my reaction in to that, is that the individual may not have contacted the commission on this particular issue.

Commissioner Torto:    And nobody, none of the affected people have ever contacted the Anti-Corruption Commission?

Mr. Davis:    I cannot say so categorically, because I am au fait   with every report that comes to the commission.

Commissioner Torto:    Then you will agree with me that there is a lapse in the reporting system, in investigation system, because you are not getting the issues.  That there is a lapse in the reporting system, investigational reporting system, because as a very senior officer, otherwise you will not been here, you do not know some of the things we are asking about your Commission. For instance, you do not know the number of staff you have, now I am hearing that he is not aware that reports are coming but he is not receiving.  All I am saying is that would you agree to me if I say that there is a lapse in the reporting system and the investigating system of Anti Corruption commission?

Mr. Davis:    Frankly I will say it does not necessarily mean a lapse in our reporting and investigation, it could be that the reports that we receive are so many and that every Senior Officer would know every detail of a report.  Some information are classified.  They are meant for Senior Management, probably the commissioner and the directors, so there is not, necessarily, a lapse in the communication.

Commissioner Torto:    in your original presentation you cited three Ministries that are leading corruption. Education, Health and Agriculture.  Are you here satisfied with the performance of the Ministry of Works and Finance?

Mr. Davis:    I must reiterate that those ministries I categorised were not categorised by the commission; it was based on the public perception survey.  I am sure if another survey is conducted today, the trend may be different.

Commissioner Torto:    I don’t know if I am getting you clearly, you don’t seem to take that report, Dr. Lappia’s report, seriously. So are you telling me that since Dr. Lappia did not mention finance and works you don’t take it seriously?

Mr. Davis:    No, not necessarily, the point is the perception survey that was done was to rank institutions according to the level of corruption that is being perpetrated in those ministries.  And like all public perceptions survey, they vary with time. If there is an improvement in the trend then the perception of the public will differ.  So if the Ministry of Education was classified some one or two years ago as being most corrupt, and if two years after that, the Ministry takes active steps to correct itself, and the people see it visibly, then their perception about corruption in that  ministry will change.  So the Dr. Lappia’s survey is important for the time we are talking about.

Commissioner Torto:    How many cases have you been able to prosecute in court successfully, prosecute and convict?  And I want to know the percentages, prosecutions, pending hearings, those that you were not able to prosecute, cases convinced successfully prosecuted and convicted, and those that were considered as not consequential and not important and were referred to the agencies for redress, If you can just give me rough percentages.

Mr. Davis:    I will not like to mislead this commission for I do not have the statistics with me.

Commissioner Torto:    But would you agree with me, you have successfully prosecuted far less number of cases than you were able to prosecute? That is, the number of cases, percentage of cases you were not actually able to prosecute, that stopped either at the hearing stage and died naturally because of lack of evidence, and those you could not take forward, compared to the number that were successfully prosecuted?  Would I be right to conclude thus?

Mr. Davis:    Again I will not be able to give you the correct answer because I do not have the statistics of the cases we have prosecuted, so I can categorically tell you that we have not  been that successful.

Commissioner Torto:    You don’t or you don’t know about it; what is it?

Mr. Davis:    I don’t have

Commissioner Torto:    There is one available?

Mr. Davis:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:    Would you please let the commissioner have that in due course, not right now?

Mr. Davis:    I will endeavour

Commissioner Torto:     Say, by Wednesday?

Mr. Davis:    Alright

Commissioner Torto:    Now what happens to your report once they have been sent to the president? How many of those have you sent?  And what happens to the ones you sent?

Mr. Davis:    We have successfully presented about 2 reports, the third one is pending.  And usually, after the presentation of our report, His Excellency the President will then give his reactions to our reports.

Commissioner Torto:    Definitely, whatever, opinion expressed by his Excellency are taken into part, are implemented by senior management.

Mr. Davis:    Senior management

Commissioner Torto:    And none has been implemented so far?

Mr. Davis:    Well all of these recommendations as far as I know had been put into practice.

Commissioner Torto:    They are taken into good parts? And nothing done about it

Mr. Davis:    they are implemented.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Thank you very much Mr. Davis, I joined the other commissioners in thanking you for coming here to make a presentation.  I have a few questions, but I will like to start with the answers that you have already given.  You did not indicate or tell us that one of the causes of the conflict, rebel war and perhaps also one of the factors that make people practice corruption, is the low salaries or wages in the country. But when you were asked whether salaries will be increased before measures are taken to reduce or prevent corruption you denied that approach, you said that if people are paid, if people’s salaries are increased, they will get a greater temptation to be corrupt.  Am I correct in my understanding of that answer?  You even went so far as to quote figures, if a man is receiving one million and you give him 2 million he may be tempted to take more money.

Mr. Davis:    I think I have been misunderstood on my opinion on corruption as far as it relates to salaries. I have said clearly that the low remuneration appears to be a motivation and when questioned about what should be done first, improve te legal system or salary? I said the legal system, the aspect that covers legal issues must be dealt with first because where an individual is handling monies or say a voucher, and that individual is used to embezzling, say for a million leones, if you increase the salaries, definitely the problem will also increase by the same token.  That is to say the individual can now if he has five people that are ghost workers, and those five people are giving him a million leones every months, if you increase the salaries you are increasing his take.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:     And you don’t think that if somebody’s salaries is increased, that person will be less likely to be corrupt, because it means that as people used to say there is bread for him.  So but it is the absence of bread i.e. the inability of whatever people receive now to support them and their families for the month that makes them practise corruption. But if that money is enough to support him then he or she will be less likely to practise corruption and risk dismissal in his office.  But I just want to know whether you believe in your theory?

Mr. Davis:    I believe in my theory; there are exception to that.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Alright, let us move forward.  Now you also spoke about the question of the level of corruption in the country and at institutional level, and you said if a new survey is to be carried out, there would be a difference from what Dr. Lappia arrived at, I don’t know was it 2001?  Do you think this difference will be a new distribution or will it be a reduction in the practice?

Mr. Davis:    It could be either ways.  It could be that corruption would be minimised in certain ministries whereas in some other ministries that were considered low in the ranking could rise.  So the perception could vary.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    The next question is having been given the lead on this opinion poll, because that was what it was, have you tried to make investigations to bring out the real level of corruption in terms of economic loss to the country?

Mr. Davis:    Our commission have always been proactive, another survey is on the way which definitely will give us an impression of what the status quo is. But as of now no one can predict what is the status of corruption as far as its magnitude in the various institutions are concerned until we conduct that survey.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Well it is good to hear that the survey is on.  Am I correct?

Mr. Davis:    The survey will be on soon.  It is not yet on.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    The other question is what is your relationship with audits? Is that how they call it, or do they call it a department?

Mr. Davis:    Audit department.  Our relationship has been that of interdepartmental cooperation.  They have been giving in us useful information as a guide for our corruption prevention drives.  Usually the audits department would produce a report of its audited account of various government ministries.  And we have been using those information to do proactive preventive interventions in those ministries. And we have also been subjected to audits by the audit department.  So it is that of inter dependency.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    So therefore you have to be careful how you handle them.  They are auditing you, not so, are you satisfied with their performance?  The performance of the audit department?

Mr. Davis:    We are satisfied with their performance

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    We want to get, are you satisfied with the staffing of the audit department?

Mr. Davis:    I can say we are satisfied with the work of the audit department and since we are satisfied with their work invariably it means that we are satisfied with their staff because it is the product of the staff that has given us that satisfaction.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Are they not to going to be transformed into independent institutions?

Mr. Davis:    It is difficult for me to say whether the audit department should be independent or not.  I think they can better answer that question.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    I would have thought that was a fairly open secret.  Anyway let’s drop that. Now you have told us that you need the political will for you to perform better than you are doing now, what about the public will, are you satisfied with the will of the public, civil society?

Mr. Davis:    We are satisfied with the cooperation of the public in terms of the support of civil society; we have been able to develop coalition between those societies, those organisations.  As at now we have about 20 coalition members including some NGOs.  So as far as I know, the cooperation of  civil society has been very good.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Have you every tried to go beyond the organised or institutionalised so called civil society?  To get down to what also is referred to as the grassroots?

Mr. Davis:    Our commission is a young organisation and we started operation in the year 2000, which means we have been operating now for about 3 years.  We are yet a young institution, and we do hope that in the future we will consider other groups, but as of now we have been dealing with organised institutions in the civil society.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    I am asking you because I want to ask you the next question.  What do you think is the opinion or attitude of people towards people who are corrupt and yet display the product of their corruption?  Did they regard them as you know wealthy people to be honoured or do they condemn them?

Mr. Davis:    Civil society has always condemned those individuals who are said to be corrupt in the society.  But on the contrary, some people admire individuals who acquire wealth by corrupt means.  Either because they look at them as victors in the system, or they look at them as individuals who are untouchable

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    And so they feel that, I think you mentioned it in your presentation, that they take corruption for granted as part of the culture.

Mr. Davis:    Yes I did mention that in my presentation, I said people have come to accept and even expect corruption.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    So in that kind of situation what do you think should be the approach of your commission?

Mr. Davis:    Well I think that all the plausible solution as of now is to embark on massive sensitisation campaign and also to ensure that the individuals that are found wanting are punished.  This will send a signal to others.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Which of the two is more important?

Mr. Davis:    As I have said earlier, the commission does not seek to criminalize.  So we prefer as a first step to do massive sensitisation.  And we will follow that with preventive actions.  And where it is pervasive, we institute investigation and punish.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Thank you. Is centralized financial management by the government, where everything is centralised in the Ministry of Finance in Freetown, better than decentralization? Which of this approach do you think is better?

Mr. Davies:    It will be better if finances are decentralised.  As I had mentioned earlier, the commission has been in partnership with other institutions, quite recently, the Ministry of Finance undertook a survey on public expenditure called PETS survey and we took part in that exercise. One of our recommendations was that the Finances of the government should be decentralised because some institutions in the region were complaining that, though they knew about the budget, they had not been able to access these forms from Freetown. It will be better if our financial transactions in the central government are decentralised.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Now that you had mentioned this, how do you find the PETS working?

Mr. Davis:    Yes, I think it is working because the outcome of the survey was put together and implementation is already underway.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Those ministries that were asked to account for certain sums, have accounted for them?

Mr. Davis:    The process is underway, it has not yet been concluded.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Okay thank you.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    We want to continue to thank you Mr. Davis for representing Anti-Corruption Commission, you are addressing one of the most important issues of our day.  Would you agree with me that most of us in this country are either accomplices or perpetrators or party to this endemic disease, corruption, in this country?

Mr. Davis:    Mr. Chairman, I will agree with you entirely. In fact in my presentation I did say corruption has become a way of life; nearly everybody is involved in one-way or the other.  So I agree with you.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Did I also hear you say in your presentation that your mandate does not include dealing with economic crimes, fraud etc?

Mr. Davis:    Yes

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    If you take economic crimes out of the basket of Sierra Leone’s issue, what are you left with, in terms of hunting for corruption in this country?

Mr. Davis:    As I started earlier, economic crimes is not part of our mandate.  Our area of coverage are purely on corrupt practices. That is why it is our desire that the laws be reviewed to include economic crimes in corruption issues.

Commissinoer Bishop Humper:    We will be coming to you perhaps, you will be helping the commission here, because some of us are a little concerned about the scope of your mandate.  Let me ask this question and this only one of the few questions I want to ask and then we go on.  What do you see wrong in this country, either by government or government agencies or institutions giving contract to people who do not even know how to nail a board, and then they say they are contractors and suddenly even before the completion of the project or immediately there after, you see this person building mansions?

Mr. Davis:    I say, the problem borders on integrity.  The people of this country have for a long time now lost their moral fabric simply because they want to fill their pockets.  I have seen situation where somebody is a poor man but because he has some integrity, he will say no to a bad system.  But because there is decadence in our moral standards, the problem of corruption is very pervasive.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    You mentioned politics, people running to enter parliament and civil service to fill their pockets; we hope that when we come to ask you questions and suggestions and recommendations you will mention something about that. Did you imply that probably the time has come when before you enter parliament we will want to know your money’s worth or financial means?  Something like that, and not every Jean and Jack will now run to enter into parliament because to fill their pockets?

Mr. Davis:    I say that is a welcome recommendation Mr. Chairman.  Asset declaration is an important aspect that should be considered.  And not only considered, but investigated. I think we should step in the right direction

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Finally did I hear you say that you are not established in the provinces?

Mr. Davis:    Yes, the ACC does not have physical presence in the provinces.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Do you have suggestion boxes either in Freetown or in the provinces?  Or are you contemplating on having suggestion boxes in those various areas where you don’t have physical presence but there are people who could help you?

Mr. Davis:    It is our hope that very soon the commission will be able to have its physical presence in the provinces

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Thank you very much Mr. Davis.  Now  we want to invite the Leader of Evidence.

Commissioner Mrs. Jow:    Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and thank you very much Mr. Davis.  Mr. Davis, in your presentation you have outlined a number of constraints your commission is facing.  Some are statutory and some are also operational.  For purposes of recommendation, we will like to know from you, whether or not in your act you have special investigation powers?  And if you do, what are they?

Mr. Davis:    Like I mentioned in my earlier presentation, the commission has powers under section 5. sub-section 1 to investigate instances of alleged corruption.  In fact part 5 (five) of the Anti-corruption act, spells out all the powers of the commission to investigate.

Commissioner Mrs. Jow:    Thank you, what I have really wanted to clarify is, do you for example have the power of search? To enter into premises to conduct search? Or to issue a subpoena to solicit to enforce a receipt of information, for example?

Mr. Davis:    Yes we do have powers to arrest and we have powers to search.  Powers to search is under section 32 of the Anti-Corruption Acts.  And we also have powers to subpoena somebody to the commission.

Commissioner Mrs. Sooka:    Thank you, another clarification we like to have is do you have a policy or a position on the issue of gifts because as far as your mandate is concerned, you are to deal with corrupt practices and you have been given various parameters.  You may agree with me that almost everything can be covered under the guiss of gifts.  Have you really looked at it carefully and developed a position as how to handle issues of gifts within an official set-up.

Mr. Davis:    The commission is very clear about what is an acceptable gift and what is not an acceptable gift.  Apart from gifts, which are customary in nature, all others need to have the permission of his Excellency the President.  If the individual is having dealings with an officer, that individual must not accept gift from that officer or vice-versa.

Commissioner Mrs Sooka:    Thank you very much. I was thinking of, at the level of the civil servant, for example, when someone has to have a file processed and the person, let’s say, after processing the file gives something.  And you all know very much that is also in anticipation and if it is also not given, next time when you go, you are not really going to be entertained and I really had that kind of practise in mind and I think at such circumstances the individual may not go and meet the president or write an approval from the president before accepting such a thing.  So I think that maybe if you happen to look at it from this angle, probably this is an area you need to consider because those are the most important issues probably eating into the system.  Thank you very much.  Please another issue I wanted to find out is about what happens after your report.  In the cause of the proceedings you mentioned that it was submitted to the President.  Do you consider this as the effective means, how about a situation where we have the report presented before parliament. Which one do you prefer as a better option, and why?

Mr. Davis:    I think I will answer the first one, where there was a difficulty in understanding whether my statement about gifts was meant for those in the highest echelons, it was meant for everybody, the law is not discriminatory.  That was why that clause was included in the Act.  And it is a crime to solicit or accept an advantage under part 4, section 8 (eight).  On the second part of your question, you are absolutely correct when you suggested that, it would have been better if we present our reports to parliament instead of to His Excellency the President.  But we have been acting under the provision of the act second 54.  And I think, there is an oversight committee in parliament that is responsible for Anti-Corruption issues, if there is any need for the commission to answer to parliament, we will do so in consonance with section 4 sub-section 2, which shows that the commission must be ready to tell the people of this country about its activities.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Thank you very much, brother Davis, it is now your turn to ask us questions relating to our process or to make recommendations to this commission.

Davies:    I do not have questions.  I only have recommendations, and my recommendations are based to the problems that had been highlighted before. On page six (6) of my report, I talked about the numeration of public sector workers, government must look into it.  I also spoke about the lack of special prosecutor or a special court for anti-corruption cases.  This also must be looked into so as to enable the commission to act independently.  I also mentioned this single factor, attitudes of most government workers must change.  It is my recommendation that the act be reviewed to include compliance sanctions.  These are my recommendations

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Thank you very much brother Davies, you may step down.


Commissioner Professor Kamara:    For our records would you please give us your full name

Mr. Myers:        My name is Mr. Ndoleh Myers

Commissioner Professor Kamara:     Alright Mr. Myers we would like you to take an oath and so we want to know what your religion is

Mr. Myers:    I am a Christian

Commissioner Professor. Kamara:    So you hold the Bible and repeat after me.

    The oath was taken.

Alright thank you Mr. Myers.  We are not a court but the truth commission and all we are interested in giving us what information you have to help us proceed with our work.  We will now ask you to just relax and tell us what you have.

Mr. Myers:    Thank you Mr. Chairman, first of all my office is part of the Ministry of Mineral Resources and I believe my minister had appeared before this commission and had mentioned the Government Gold and Diamond Office (GGDO) as a component of Ministry of Mineral Resource.  I will present to the chairman copies of exports done under the GGDO and also exporters involved during and after the interregnum.  I will give the background information of the GGDO.  The GGDO came into being in 1985 in pursuance of government’s policy to remedy the acute shortage of foreign exchange.  The functions really are:

- To compare diamonds bought in Sierra Leone as against the amount of money brought into the country
- At the same time we should check whether this is blood money, whether it is drug money or whether it is legal money from a bank. Therefore you should bring in a photo copy of the cheque when you cash that money.  You should declare the money at the air  and in one of the local banks before you start buying. When you do start buying, we send all these photocopies brought in to your local bank, they in turn do a tested telex message to verify your money.  The functions of the government Gold and Diamond Office as set out in Gazette 100, Tuesday 17th December 1985 are as follows:

  • To examine, assort, value, parcel, market and export gold and diamond.
  • To export proceeds of goods shipped by GGDO, which shall accrue as income to the whole nation
  • To put the marketing of gold and diamond on an organised and sound basis thereby increasing the free flow of foreign exchange through the local banking system.
  • Institute more effective measures in the marketing of gold and diamond of diamonds by ensuring the valuation is done with the highest standard of efficiency.
  • To provide a strong credible basis for government to raise external loans even its stock of gold and diamond if necessary.

From the inception of the GGDO the following functions were carried out: purchase and sale of diamonds,  valuation of the gold and diamond, and collection of taxes on behalf of government.  The GGDO did not succeed in stockpiling diamonds to be used as collateral necessary for government to raise external loans.  The GGDO never bought or sold gold and only started in 1993.  The buying and selling of diamonds ceased because of lack of finance.  In the diamond business you need to have huge capital.

A particular point I should mentioned is that the GGDO does not know where it belongs because we have a board comprising members from the public sector, but still we are being run by the ministry of Mineral resources.  The GGDO itself comprises 23 workers, three executives, five management, two senior staff, 2 junior staff, and 11 supporting staff. It initially derived its revenue by withholding 1.5% of all exports.  In 1990, the government brought in DCI company, in conjunction with the GGDO to see that effective and correct prices are placed on the diamonds.  The proceeds that the GGDO earned was 1%.  The money that was stockpiled during the operations of the GGDO through re-buying was depleted because the 1.5% which went to management was reduced to 1% on May 26th .

When our friends came to Freetown, the GGDO office was a significant target.  They went in, destroyed every sector of the office, including working material, burnt the entire office.  So, in other words, the GGDO effectively ceased operations from that point onwards.  After the war, between 1998 and 1999, the Commonwealth in conjunction with the British Government, and the UN that helped create a certification system to avoid blood diamonds. In anticipation, the GGDO had to buy valuation equipment and furniture to meet the requirements.  But because of the reduction of revenue 1.5 to 0.75% and the rebels had occupied all diamondferrous areas in the country, very little diamond came through the official channel.  And the proceeds that came to GGDO were so meagre that we were unable to buy all these equipment for us to get ready for the certification system.  In addition, there was a ban on all diamonds from Sierra Leone because of the blood diamonds issue.  The Ministry in conjunction with the GGDO visited many countries for assistance.  The Diamond High Council of Belgium and the World Diamond Office produced lots and lots of equipment we are now using as valuation equipment.  As I talk to you now exports in the year 2000 with the certification system was 6.5 million and 2001 26.1 million and 2002 41.1 million. That clearly indicates that the certification system is working.  At one point in time the whole world decided to frown on all diamonds because of the Sierra Leone issue, so the certification system was taken to the UN and that in fact created the global certification system, which we now enjoy.  There was a resolution 1306 which said that all diamonds that don’t use certification system should be impounded.  So the success of Sierra Leone created an atmosphere for the UN to be able to implement a new revolution globalising the certification system which we now enjoy here in Sierra Leone.  

With the certification system, we are very optimistic about 2003. In the first quarter, we exported 16.5 million as against 14 million for the same period in 2002. This gives an average monthly export figure of 36 thousand carats valued at 5.5 million.  The driving force behind the rapid growth in exports seemed to be the certification system.  In October 2000 till the end, the average export was 0.4 million per month.  And in 2003 the average now is well over 5.6 million.  The first time in the history of the GGDO or the diamond in history as a whole, yearly export figures rose above 41 million per year.  The bloody nature of African civil wars, especially that which occurred in Sierra Leone and Angola, indeed perpetrated blood diamonds.  Since the implementation of the Kimberley process which I have just explained, exports have soared to a unprecedented level. As of 19th May 2003 a total 180 thousand carats valued 27 million.  The chart provided there gives you an indication of all what I am saying.  Countries that have been involved in the certification system are listed as shown: Angola, America, Botswana, Brazil and countries in the EU all members of the certification system.  Because of the big exports we do now it is the desire of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, the board and management to properly house the GGDO and other related offices. We will set up offices in Kenema area where there are diamonds.  And also conduct training for many other related individuals who might want to get into the diamond business and who are indigenous Sierra Leoneans.   Mr. Chairman in short this is an overview of what the GGDO stands for and what we do.

Commissioner Professor Kamara: Thank you very much Mr. Myers.  We appreciate your coming to give us this statement.  Now that you have completed we would have to ask you some questions..  So my colleagues starting with the Chairman will ask you questions.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Mr. Myers I want to join my colleagues in thanking you so much again for enlightening us.  As you may be aware if there is any one thing that captured the attention of the international community in relation to the civil conflict in this country, it is a diamond issue. By the fact that there has been some progress in the diamond industry as we see from the graph or statistics available here, I just want to ask two questions, I do not know whether you may be in position to respond to the first one but I hope you do.  Just right now you said you intend, that is, your government intends to open offices in the major centres or cities in the country,  I personally have been so much concerned about the fact that every corner you turn in Bo, Kenema, some parts of Freetown somewhere you have diamond buying offices. I do not know whether that is part of government policy or whether it is in the interest of GGDO?
Mr. Myers:    Yes, before now, government has brought in place mines monitoring officers, so before you get involved in any diamond business, you must either be an agent of an exporter or an agent of a dealer or a miner. Therefore, most of the offices that do exist in Bo, Kenema and even in Freetown are offices recognised.  If you go to Kenema, almost every shop deals in diamond The shops are monitored by the monitoring officers. Therefore most of the offices you find in Kenema and Bo are registered and you must either be a dealer, a registered dealer or an agent of a dealer or an exporter. When we set up offices in Kenema, Bo and Freetown, we would advise ordinary people who don’t understand the value of diamonds before they take their diamonds to exporters.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    The second question which should be of real concern to the commission is something I got out of your presentation if I understood or heard you well.  It seems to me that GGDO has two bodies either you called it one the board of directors or GGDO or another body under the Ministry of  Mineral Resources. Is that the case?

Mr. Myers:    Yes

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Why is that so, do you have any idea? It seems to me that if you have these two bodies, then one is ceremonial body and the other one is the real body and that in our view creates some problems as to where the accountability lies.  What is the function of this first one, the board of directors, whatever name you have for it. I know the Ministry of Mineral Resources is under the Minister in charge.  But why this system and how is it operating, and in whose interest was this system established?

Mr. Myers:    The board comprises of representatives from the diamondferrous areas, and they in turn give information to the administration that passes it over to the Ministry.  But just as I talk to you, I receive a telex from the Diamond High Council that the GGDO must give its functions before it could become fully accepted in the global certification system.  So in other words your question is so confusing - I am a board member reporting to the Ministry and we are neither a parastatal nor governmental, so we find ourselves in limbo, between being parastatal and being government.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    I will leave the rest to my colleagues commissioners.

Torto:    Thank you very much, Mr. Myers.  I want to continue with Chairman Humper’s question. The membership of the board, how are the members selected, based on what criteria and who appoints them and for how long?

Mr. Myers:    Before the interregnum, when the Khaki boys took over, the chairman of the board was the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone because the formation of GGDO was primarily to look for foreign exchange for the country.  Then we have the Minister of Finance, Financial Secretary, the Director of Mines, a public service commission officer and three members from the diamondferrous areas.  That was changed when the khaki boys took and members are now directly appointed by the ministry.

Commissioner Torto:    And how does the Minster select the board, members based on what criteria?

Mr. Myers:    It is difficult for me to say…

Commissioner Torto:    Well

Mr. Myers:    Chairman

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  So you don’t really know how they…

Mr. Myers:    The names are submitted to us when the board is selected.

Commissioner Torto:    Anyway that has changed now.  I was going to ask you about the involvement of the bank governor the and financial secretary. Were not those people players and referees at the same time? But I think that question is irrelevant. I have gone through this statistics, I have seen certain names who were supposed to have obtained licenses and other things, I see a grace period, grace period for so long ending up with  and amount of money and percentage of exports what does that mean?

Mr. Myers:    The names that don’t satisfy the criteria don’t receive licenses and they are banned from dealing with diamond.  Only those that are really up to date that satisfy requirements are allowed.  At the end of every year, you have a block amount you have to export to sustain and hold onto you licenses.  If you don’t, the following year,  your request for a license would be refused.  So in other words as you see there, the ones that don’t satisfy the requirement will not receive licenses this year.

Commissioner Torto:    Mr. Myers I don’t think we are on the same page.  I am seeing here, I don’t want to call names, because we are on air, I see here licenses numbered, but under licenses number you have grace period.  Date issue grace period.  Caratage 197. 663 carat.  Export value 54, 614 dollars I believe. 0.1, so you see there are figures against these columns, but there are no names. All you have there is grace period.  How do we come by this grace period?  And who is considered, and who in fact grants that period?

Mr. Myers:    I don’t really

Commissioner Torto:    Second page

Comm. Kamara:    Yes this, the indigenous; are you talking about the indigenous nationals and foreign nationals?

Commissioner Torto:    Yes under summary of diamond exporters performance mid year 2003, I don’t know whether you numbered them, enter page 1 or page 2.  The pages are not numbered but it is the second page of their paper.

Mr. Myers:    Yes, but this clearly shows you know the date, if you look at dates, is Makie

Commissioner Torto:    You don’t need to name names

Mr. Myers:    No is DL03

Commissioner Torto:    Yes

Mr. Myers:    Date issue 14/1/03 caratage exported, this is mid month, 118,070 , amount exported 15.8 million.

Commissioner Torto:    We are not again on the same page, I am sorry, under indigenous. ….

Ndoeh:    That’s what I am saying, that’s what I am reading.

Commissioner Torto:    You have there, I don’t want to call these names, well let me go to the first. It says under grace period,

Mr. Myers:    Grace period

Commissioner Torto:    Okay read, this is DM, on that name you should see DM, that is the name Okay grace period, grace period, then you have 78 carat on the caratage, on 99, then you have 50,074 dollars 64 cents then 0. Why do we have this grace period under date issue? But those people do not have licenses to operate and if they don’t, why are they mining and then ending up those with figures?

Mr. Myers:    No, there, what you see here is that they have a grace period at the end of the year we assess them.  This is a mid year report, and that means that they need 78.99 carats and 50,000 dollars to satisfy the requirements.

Commissioner Torto:    Anyway

Mr. Myers:    I know what you are trying to say, you are trying to ask why do they have the grace period when their names should have been deleted.  They have taken an export licenses for year, but half yearly we access every individual’s performance and we have written letters to all these people that have grace period.  As I said before now, if you don’t satisfy the requirements placed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, your for license in the following year will be refused.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay then, you have, I think, was it January 6 or May 26, vandalism of the office, when was it, was it January 6th or May 26?

Mr. Myers:    It is a mistake it is May 26th

Commissioner Torto:    May 26 and you said the office and its equipment were all destroyed. Where any diamonds stolen during the process?

Mr. Myers:    Yes, Sir there was a parcel that was in the volt, and they requested it. The Kaki boys took me from my house and obtained the diamond and gold.

Commissioner Torto:    Who are kaki boys?

Mr. Myers:    The AFRC

Commissioner Torto:    Well call them by names, we need that on records. kaki boys could be high way robbers, it could be anybody

Mr. Myers:    The AFRC boys took me down to the Bank of Sierra Leone and took the diamonds and gold from the safe.

Commissioner Torto:    How much was that?

Mr. Myers:    It was about 178 thousand dollars worth of diamonds.

Commissioner Torto:    Who exactly took the diamonds from you?  And time?

Mr. Myers:    Massaquoi and three other soldiers who I cannot now…

Commissioner Torto:    What Massaquoi?

Mr. Myers:    Who is commonly known as Maskita

Commissioner Torto:    Is that his name?  Maskita, Sam Maskita Bockarie

       And who else?

Mr. Myers:    And two other soldiers

Commissioner Torto:    Okay they were not soldiers they were RUF

Mr. Myers:    RUF yes

Commissioner Torto:    But it happened during the AFRC time

Mr. Myers:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, they never got back in touch with you on that as to what happened to the diamonds.

Mr. Myers:    I made the statement to the police when we came back and the case was on and I think the Attorney General is pursuing that

Commissioner Torto:    Is pursuing that?  Does your office buy diamonds in Leones or dollars? Which one is more profitable to the people of this country?

Mr. Myers:    Well just as I said at the beginning of the presentation, the GGDO buys gold and diamonds and valuate them.  If The GGDO was to buy in Leones and convert the diamonds into dollars for the government.

Commissioner Torto:    Buy from the sellers in dollars

Mr. Myers:    In Leones, with the parallel bench mark

Commissioner Torto:    Equal equivalent

Mr. Myers:    Parallel benchmark

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you, then what mechanisms do you have in place against smuggling of diamonds in this country?

Mr. Myers:    The Ministry of Mineral Resources had put in place for the first time mines monitoring officers and I think they now numbered 204 or 206.  These go round town, they are at the air port, the go around town, they have the right to search and to ask you for a license if you deal in diamonds. That has increased the exports so far because most of the illicit dealings don’t go official.

Commissioner Torto:    There was a testimony given by somebody before this commission that the guest houses in the country generally are often taken by diamond smugglers, diamond buying agents, and those are not targeted by mines monitoring officers. They come, take up accommodation in guest houses, not hotels. But you may have a mechanism for the hotels, but illicit diamond buyers often occupy the guesthouses, does your office know about that?

Mr. Myers:    Yes, when we get information we pass it over to the minister of mineral resources for the attention of the mines monitoring officers and mines warden.  And I think they are taking adequate steps. As I said, this is why all of a sudden from 26 million, we are projecting for this year, about 70 million.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Thank you very much Mr. Myers, I have just a few questions.    These exports you are taking about, do they include kimberlite diamonds or are limited to alluvial diamonds?

Mr. Myers:    No Sir, this is purely alluvial and just as I said the policing and the certification system has increased official participants.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    On the structure of the board and you know the link with the Ministry. Is there a plan to correct that so that the GGDO becomes purely parastatal or even a commercial enterprise because this was the original idea.

Mr. Myers:     I think that is approved but we must work in conjunction with the Ministry of Mineral Resources because the two go together.  It is the composition of the board …
Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Yes but it depends also on its functions. As you also mentioned, one of its original function was to purchase and sell.

Mr. Myers:    Yes.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Now if we establish it as independent body, purchasing and controlling and is going to function as a commercial enterprise then it cannot be a civil service institution, it will have to operate as a commercial enterprise, to make profit, to be as efficient as possible, so it cannot be a civil service body.  But it means that it will have to have its own capital which you emphasized is lacking, which means it might have to borrow money from somewhere and operate itself but if it is going to be a government or civil service enterprise then it will be funded by the Ministry or Government through the Ministry. And it failed because there was no such support from the government. I was myself Chairman of GGDO at one time, yes when in 1987 the Bank Governor Bruce advised that this body should be independent. The governor was not the first chairman, it was either the Minister or the Secretary to the President. Governor Bruce advised against it. He said it would not be efficient so they changed it; they handed it over the Jamiru I’m sure if you read the notes of information in the office. And Jamiru squandered a whole year’s proceeds of diamonds in this country. The Sierra Leone Government or the people of this country did not get a penny from the gold and diamond that Jamiru under P.M.M.C. collected for a whole year.  So what I am trying to say is I mean I see with you, I support your idea that it should be independent, it shouldn’t be under the control of the government. My own board was sacked because we took a position which was not going to favour some people. So Minister Conteh, Birch Conteh, he was Minister of Natural Resources dissolved our board.  Well we preferred to leave.  But I don’t know how it is operating now but it used to be efficient and depending on its functions it will has to be fairly independent and not under the control of the government.

Mr. Myers:    Mr. Chairman, all what you’ve said is true and then I was at the buying office in Kenema. Then we were buying and selling locally and then inviting big diamond dealers from outside to come and value and buy diamonds.  That is why I had given all the scenarios for the council to take a decision as the recommendation towards the Ministry.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    But the alternative is why can’t you look at the possibility? You don’t need to have,  you get the diamond, you value them, you keep the packet and you auction.  The diamonds are bought and paid for in Sierra Leone in dollars but you advertise them overseas in Europe and America and then people used to fly and come and bid for packet here. So you don’t have to have capital, you know liquid money. GGDO did not have the capital when you auction them, the people come and they pay for them, then they take their packets out.

Mr. Myers:    I’m happy that you have an understanding of the whole scenario.  This was how it operated and this is how we expect it to be, generate funds for the government.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:      So the question, another question, are you satisfied with, well perhaps you are not, I mean with the proceeds coming to Government because these figures you are quoting, the figures you are quoting, compared to what you told us the country was getting before the introduction of the certificate seemed a pittance.  I mean people are talking of hundreds of millions of dollars now. I know there is an improvement, already you have for this year or half the year about 35 million.

Mr. Myers:    Yes.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    You may probably end up getting about 70 or 80 million but people are talking of hundreds of millions of dollars, how you account for the gap?

Mr. Myers:      Well we had series of meetings in South Africa and in Belgium and in Israel whereby we are asking them to go by the letter of the global certification system whereby you have to show diamonds with their certificates before you can deal with them.  That would help increase the level of export from us.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    The other thing is the Bank of Sierra Leone and not GGDO, at one time Bank of Sierra Leone was buying gold.

Mr. Myers:     Yes.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Are they still buying gold?

Mr. Myers:    No they have stopped buying gold. Some discrepancies, we are now operating the role arrangement.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    How do we deal with the gold, have we got a system for gold?

Mr. Myers:    Yes all these machines as I said in my preliminary, that all our machinery was destroyed when the soldiers came to town but now we are putting in place these equipments and we have started looking for experts.  And I think if a body in the Bank of Sierra Leone is set up they can still make foreign exchange for the country.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Well how do you get it from the provinces without paying for them? For or you have to pay them, where do you get the capital from?

Mr. Myers:    I think the board has to recommend it, it is the set up of the board that creates an atmosphere for all these things

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Now I’m talking to you. You’ve said you have started collecting

Mr. Myers:     Assessing  for export?

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    How do you get it?

Mr. Myers:    How do you get it ……………

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Yes, the gold.

Mr. Myers:    Exporters, exporters came in with their diamonds but with the gold but ………………

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Do you keep it on behalf of the exporter?

Mr. Myers:    We assess to find out the value and you pay 3% of the value.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    GGDO pays 3% of the value.

Mr. Myers:    No, No the exporter who is exporting the gold pays 3%.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    And don’t have to make any financial input.

Mr. Myers:    No we have nothing to do, we authenticate the value.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Alright thank you ……..

Leader any question?

Leader of Evidence (Ozonnia):    Mr. Myers, I have one or two questions for you, you’ve given the Commission a copy of the diamond exporters aforementioned, do you have one for dealers?  Dealers performance, do you have a copy of the measuring mechanisms for dealers performance?

Mr. Myers:    That is done by the Ministry of Mineral Resources but I think they have a quota, a quarterly quota you have to satisfy to maintain your export license, your dealer’s license.

Leader of Evidence:    So once the dealer satisfies the quota what he or she does with the diamond is not anybody’s business.

Mr. Myers:    Well for the exporters that I know, if you surpass 10 million the Government tax you pay is reduced from 3% to 2.5%.

Leader of Evidence:    Now when a dealer takes possession of the diamonds from a miner, is he/she at liberty to dispose of the diamond internally without coming to the GGDO?  Can he sell to anybody within the country without coming to GGDO?

Mr. Myers:    Yes he can sell to an exporter.

Leader of Evidence:    Only an exporter.

Mr. Myers:    Only an exporter, before now to satisfy the books and the quota given to them by the Ministry, a diamond is sold to another dealer and the dealer sells that, so everybody performs with the one stone; but now a dealer sells directly to an exporter.

Leader of Evidence:    So all the dealer needs to do is to, once the dealer meets the bench marking given to him or her, he or she can sell to anybody else and it’s possible that it can’t be traced to him and the diamond could simply be smuggled out of the country.  That’s a possibility.

Mr. Myers:     That’s a possibility.

Leader of Evidence:    So would you think that one way of dealing with the situation?

Mr. Myers:    Yes, but we also have in place miners monitoring officers who from time to time keep records.

Leader of Evidence:    Yes I actually heard you say that, you said there are about 204 – 206.

Mr. Myers:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    And my question, what is the total area of diamondferous areas in relation to the total sites of land being mined right?

Mr. Myers:    All over the country.

Leader of Evidence:    Yes total sites give me the estimation more than 10,000 acres.

Mr. Myers:    Yes about 15,000 acres.

Leader of Evidence:    15,000 acres for 204, 206 mines monitoring officers, Mr. Meyers, you will see that they are so insufficient that corruption is a possibility and that monitoring is very difficult.

Mr. Myers:    They also have on top of the 210, mines wardens who are employed directly by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, the mines monitoring officers are an additional force brought in during the certification.

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you very much, now these mines wardens and mines monitoring officers are paid at Civil Service grades, is that correct?

Mr. Myers:    Not the mines monitoring officers, the mines monitoring officers are paid through exports, the more exports we made the more your salaries are increased.

Ozonnio:    Thank you very much. My final question, looking at this performance sheet how does one explain the fact that  indigenous participants account for less than 15% of the business.

Mr. Myers:      That’s a very interesting question, the President in his wisdom said that Sierra Leoneans should be involved directly with in the diamond business and as you can see here is about a flood of the total exporters are foreigners and

Leader of Evidence:    Is actually much less than a third you only have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Mr. Myers:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    Accounting for less than 22% of the business.

Mr. Myers:    I say

Leader of Evidence:    That does not

Mr. Myers:    It is the capital involved in this diamond business. You see the foreigners come with their dollars, these are all foreigners and they come in with their raw dollars, these are Sierra Leoneans, this was because of the President’s quest for Sierra Leoneans to get involved in the diamond business that most of them obtained export licenses but until you know I think DFID is trying to finance indigenous Sierra Leoneans to get involved in the diamonds  business and in fact they have motivated the GGDO to open offices in Kenema, Bo Makeni, Kono to sensitize the average Sierra Leonean so that he gets a fair price for his diamonds.

Leader of Evidence:     Thank you Mr. Myers I like to ask you to make a further written submission to the Commission on the conditions for obtaining the miners licenses, the dealers’ licenses and an exporters license in writing.  What is the expected or anticipated yield of the land both for the foreigners and for the Sierra Leoneans.   That’s all commissioners, thank you very much.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Thank you very much Mr. Myers, now that we have asked you so many questions have you got any question to ask us?  You don’t have?

Mr. Myers:    It’s only a statement I would want the Board to be stronger, and for control on the foreign exchange arrangements, the Bank of Sierra Leone should be involved directly with the GGDO, for sustenance of foreign exchange.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Thank you Mr. Myers; we’ve noted your recommendation and I would only like to say that the Leader of Evidence has asked you to give us further information, I hope you will be able to add that recommendation or any other recommendation you may have in the submission you are going to make so that we can have it down.  We thank you very much and you may now step down Mr. Myers.  Thank you.


I believe I should first and foremost thank the commission for giving me this opportunity to make my own submission on the background of some frivolous allegations levied against me in previous submissions not too long ago.

I wish to inform the TRC that I have been dealing in diamonds for the best part of my life; ever since I was in my early thirties to date. and if you take a look at me it is quite easy to discern I'm already living in my bronze age. that, I'm sure gives you an indication of my wealth of experience in the diamond sector.

I first started as a diamond dealer that was sometime back in 1970 and gradually rose to the present status of diamond exporter. I should hurry to pronounce that all transactions effected under these licences were legitimate and in full compliance with the Mines and Minerals policy i.e. receipts were issued for all the diamonds which were bought by me and such transactions were duly recorded in rough and uncut minerals record book supplied to me by the Ministry of Mineral Resources.

Alongside the marketing of diamonds, I ventured into the mining aspect of the product which led me to incorporate my own mining company in the late seventies. the name of the company was K.B. Mining Company with mixed shareholders -partly Lebanese and partly indigenous Sierra Leoneans.

The company, like many other mining companies also became a victim of the civil conflict. All its equipment and machines were vandalized, burnt down or stolen. and we had plenty of mining machinery and equipment ranging from vehicles, earthhmoving machines to treatment plants, jigs, pumps, dredges, and electric generating units.

Coming back to the issue of the conflict, like I previously informed you I am a businessman perched in my diamond office and expecting to do business with the public i.e. people who come up with the product and wish to make a deal with me. Sometime, if you're lucky you know that these person or group of persons in front of you are licensed and offering a diamond stone for sale, which is your focus as a businessman, you are therefore enticed to entertain that person or group. Inhttp://GROUP.IN/ the process you primarily determine the weight of the stone, next you take a close look at the stone with the use of a loop (magnifying glass) to examine for cracks and possible inclusions. After all this you then begin to haggle over the price being offered until, you arrive at an agreeable amount. Documentation of the transaction then follows and which includes preparing a receipt in accordance with the approved format by the Ministry of Mineral Resources. This involves providing very useful information about the name of the seller, the type of licence under which the diamond is sold, the weight of the stone and the amount received as proceeds. Such data are crucial in tracking the product in the event of disputes and also ensure that the product is not eventually smuggled out. Indeed, inspite of the effort of the Ministry of Mineral Resources in combating smuggling through policy review and the enactment of stringent penalties as a deterrent, it is an open secret that smuggling was the order of the day. However, the establishment of the Certificate of Origin scheme for the exportation of diamonds and now Kimberley process has dramatically diminished the smuggling of our precious minerals. This is evident in the current volume of diamonds being legally exported through G.G.D.O. at this juncture, I wish to appeal to the' government not to relent in supporting the Kimberley process and also recommend the continuation of the present policy relating to precious mineral exportation.
I can remember vividly that in 1995 and 1996 consecutively, I was classed the number one diamond exporter in Sierra Leone i.e. in terms of the volume and value of diamonds which were exported through G.G.D.O. also in the year 2001, my business house came first and the following year 2002 was rated second to another successful buying office.
Well, successes often come with opportunities and alongside these opportunities there are threats that accompany such success. My successes in the diamond business often come with more threats than opportunities; particularly during the period of 1997 to the end of 1999.- for example, on the day of the AFRC coup, which I can still remember was a Sunday, soldiers suddenly started raiding my residence. Some came requesting for money others to loot and commandeer vehicles while some groups did both. This harassment continued until I had to hide away my family from my residence. Actually, what finally precipitated my moving out of the house was when I narrowly escaped being shot by a group of soldiers obviously mixed with some RUF rebels. One of them brandished a pistol and threatened to shoot me in the leg; stubbornly repeating his desire to leave a scar on me. I only succeeded in dissuading him by allowing them to take a way the carton of money I had in the house and which was meant for the Kono branch diamond office. Another instance I wish to site was that while I was in hiding I got a telephone call reliably informing me that some RUF personnel in Kono were planning to kidnap my son Jihad together with my daughter and son-inlaw. They were the ones responsible for the running of my diamond office in Kono. On hearing this I immediately linked up with Jihad who confirmed that infact the RUF made a futile attempt the previous day to capture them, but thanks to the assistance they got from some good neighbours who risked their lives to hide them. Jihad further informed me that he had already sent a runner to the Executive Outcomes at the D.O. barracks to request for assistance in moving them out of the town. I later learnt that one Major Yan did heed to their request and got them out of their hiding place in a military convoy and took them over to their camp. They passed the night peacefully with the South Africans and the following day were airlifted to Freetown to join the rest of the family.
In Freetown, we suffered embarrassment and because of the social unease coupled with the unpredictable nature of the happenings of the time, I finally decided to send my family over to Lebanon in June 1997 then one week later I followed suite. I had to slightly delay my departure in order to officially close down my establishment before leaving.
    In respect of interaction, I think I enjoy quite a warm and cordial relationship with every sector of the communities where I have an establishment.
    As a diamond businessman, having a healthy public relations is always a priority. and because of that I am always ready to contribute when called upon to community development programmes. also of importance is the fact that I coincidentally held the office of chairman, Lebanese Community and subsequently provided liaison between the Lebanese community and others with a view to creating social, economic and cultural harmony for the wider community.
    May I at this stage thank you all for your indulgence in listening to my submission. and wish to emphasize that this is my true story and all that which has been previously reported is totally false and was maliciously designed to smear my reputation and defame me.
Thanks so much

Alh. M.S. Deen
Minister of Mineral Resources

Formal mining started in Sierra Leone in the early 1930s with iron ore mining by the Sierra Leone Development Company Ltd. (DELCO) in the Marampa Chiefdom, Port Loko District, chromite mining by the Sierra Leone Chrome Mines Ltd. (SLCM) in the Nongowa chiefdom, Kenema District, and diamond mining by the Sierra Leone Selection Trust Ltd. (SLST).

The chrome mines closed down in the early 1960s after independence when the subsidy on the transportation by rail was lifted, and the depleted ore reserves could not support higher transportation costs.

The mining policy of 1969/70 which mandated that government could take majority shares in any mining company forced DELCO to close down prematurely in 1975 to escape the perceived problems of operating a mine with majority government shareholding.

Government actually acquired 51% shares in SLST to form NDMC (National Diamond Mining company) Ltd. In 1970, which turned out to be a disastrous decision for this company and the mining industry in general. SLST was already paying 70% corporate tax to government, and with 51% of the remaining 30% profit (about 16%) as dividend the government total take was about 86% of profit. Because government could not pay for its shares up front it was allowed to pay from dividends, which meant that the company was forced to pay dividend every year until 1980 when the accounts showed a loss for the first time since 1933. Because dividends were paid every year, there were no reserves to purchase essential spares and to replace worn out equipment. The demise and collapse of the company was therefore imminent even before the rebels attacked the mine in October 1992.

Exploration and mine development came to virtual halt because of the 1970 mining policy. Rutile and bauxite mining started in the 1970s and eventually compensated for the loss in revenue from iron ore and formal diamond mining activities. Before the rebel war intensified in 1994/95 the mining industry contributed 20% to GDP, 70% foreign exchange earnings and 15% government revenue. The bauxite and rutile mines were operating 16 miles apart and both mines were attacked by the RUF rebels in the same week in January 1995, and up till now there has been no formal mining operations (large scale operations), only the artisanal diamond mining has been providing foreign exchange earnings from diamond exports.

It is the function of my Ministry to adopt appropriate policies to attract investment capital and promote the mining industry to take a lead in kick-starting the economy of Sierra Leone which has been battered by the rebel war.

In this regard, government is lending $25 million Euro obtained from the EU as a grant to the rutile mine for resumption of operations. In addition to the repayment of the principal, an interest of 8% will be charged. The company is due to restart operations in the second half of 2004 with about 1000 jobs for Sierra Leoneans and over $15 million revenue to government per annum.

The bauxite mine is expected to start operations next door in July 2004 with over 300 jobs for Sierra Leoneans and over $5 million per annum in revenue to government.

In Kono the Kimberlite diamond mining is expected to start production in August/September this year with over 200 jobs for Sierra Leoneans and about $5 million per annum in revenue to government.

The global capital investment in exploration and mining is dwindling every year with only 5% coming to Africa; 3% of this 5% goes to Southern Africa and the remaining 2% goes to the rest of Africa. The competition is rather keen, therefore, with every country fighting to have a slice of this tiny cake.

With Sierra Leone coming out of a devastating war my Ministry is engage in a promotion campaign, and our first effort is a supplement of the leading mining magazine - the MINING JOURNAL in February 2003. I attach a copy to this presentation.

Because of our experience with the 1970 disastrous mining policy - the majority shareholding policy, in our 1995 and 1998 policies the emphasis shifted towards a private sector enterprise where the government would not take any shares in any mining company; rather, government's role is to adopt a policy of facilitation and providing the appropriate business climate for investors in the mining sector.

The management of the artisanal and small scale diamond mining has presented considerable difficulties to succeeding governments since the colonial times. Sir Morris Dorman had cause to expel a certain group of foreign africans in 1950s for persistent illicit diamond mining (IDM) and diamond smuggling. This government is facing the same problems today. But three recent events have combined to ease the problem somehow.

The first is that government has introduced a scheme whereby a certain amount from the export fees collected from diamond exports is disbursed to the diamond mining chiefdoms to finance a project which will benefit the entire chiefdom - a court barri, a clinic, school, bridge, any infrastructural project that will benefit the chiefdom people, and not an individual. This is called the Diamond Mining Area Community Development Fund (DMACDF). The amount is distributed in proportion to the number of diamond mining licences operating in the Chiefdom. This creates some amount of competition among the chiefdoms with each aiming to maximise its share from the Fund. The scheme is very popular with the chiefdom authorities, this is the first time that any government has considered the interest of the diamond areas with all the damage that diamond mining operation causes to good farming land, the authorities therefore pledge to help in the fight against IDM in their chiefdoms.

The second event is the appointment of chiefdom mining committees to allocate land for diamond mining with the Paramount Chief as Chairman, and four (4) others; two elders and two youths, male and female each. This is mainly in Kono, Tongo and Kailahun where the rebels occupied and controlled mining for extended periods when the local people had no access to their land for mining and farming. This scheme has returned the rights and ownership of the land to the chiefs and local authorities and is very welcome. They therefore help to arrest IDM in areas that are not allocated by the committee.

The third event is certification scheme introduced by the United Nations Security Council resolution 1306 (2002) of July 2000 with prohibits the import of diamonds from Sierra Leone without a certificate issued by the government of Sierra Leone to show that the diamond were exported under the authority of the Sierra Leone Government. The object of this resolution was to deny the RUF rebels the access to world market with illicit diamonds which they sold and purchased weapons to prolong the conflict, hence the term conflict diamonds.

In addition to this UNSC resolution Sierra Leone is also a founder member of the global certification scheme known as the KIMBERLY PROCESS CERTIFICATION SCHEME. This scheme, because of its global application, covers an even wider area.

Diamond exports have increased considerably since the UNSC resolution was introduced in October 2000. I attach the export records from October 200 to April 2003.

The issue of corruption in the diamond mining and marketing sector derives from the very nature of a diamond; easy to conceal, high value and in great demand worldwide. From the foregoing it can be seen that government has adopted a number of schemes and policies to minimise corruption in the artisanal diamond sector and laws have been introduced to provide deterrent to corrupt practices, but the law enforcement officers, mines officers, the police, the army, foreign and national court officials, have all fallen short of expectation and yielded to the attraction of the perceived wealth created by the DIAMOND. The Government and everybody, citizens and foreigners owe it to this country to fight corruption in any and every circumstance.
I thank you for your attention.






Commissioner Bishop Humper:    We welcome you to this session Mr. Gabbidon.  Your name is a household name in Sierra Leone and in many ways you have contributed to bringing us where we are at this particular point in time.  It is but natural that you continue the process.  We are at the River Jordan and we want to cross that river together, and so we put or hearts and minds together and carve out a destiny for our nation.  We are here as you might have received from the office for issues pertaining to the judiciary.  Your presence or absence in that office and what your experiences had been vis-à-vis the ten-year civil conflict will be our present focus.  How you see the judiciary functioning in the past, now and in the future and everything that has to do with this process that will bring a new Sierra Leone.  This is essentially why you have come and we’ve enjoyed your cooperation – your help in getting the TRC not to get materials from outside but people who themselves are architects as it were, for the carving out of their condition.  You know the process I may not tell you; you helped to carve the instrument and we know that whatever you say here could be said in good faith and we accept it in good faith, and digested in good faith.  We thank you for coming.  I will now give you the opportunity to make your presentation.    

Mr. Gabbidon:    Thank you very much Bishop Humper – let me first of all say how pleased and privileged I am to be here.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    I’m sorry Mr. Gabbidon, we left a little bit of process that you needed to go through and that is the taking of the oath.


Mr. Gabbidon:    Distinguish Chairman, and fellow Commissioners, let me firstly say how humble and privileged I am to appear before you this morning, to testify at this all important Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  I honestly don’t think a better group of people could have been appointed than you here to sit on a panel like this where the integrity, probity and reputation of the Commissioner is so important and I can assure you that, those of us who are in the position to help, cooperate and assist this Commission will do so and I personally will do so to help you succeed; because your success is our success, not just for now but for posterity.  You see Chairman, you are right to say that, in my own humble way I played some part in seeing this TRC established, because, after the Lome Peace Accord the National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights decided to do some sensitisation on the Lome Peace Accord and to explain to the people of this country – our brothers and sisters, what this accord is all about.  Why it was signed, why it was necessary for us to see it work.  If we recall, at that time, we were all bitter, we were all angry, because of what had taken place in our country over years.  Many lives were lost; thousands of people injured; maimed; houses destroyed and professor Pemagbi, who is now the Ambassador of UN approached me to help, to explain to the people of this country in simple language the Lome Peace Accord, and in my own humble way for over a year, I tried to explain to people, the terms and conditions of the Lome Peace Accord, the meaning of these terms and why the government had to sign that accord because some people think it was a bad agreement.  It could be, but at that time the government had no choice but to sign that agreement.  Even up to yesterday, I was reading a book called “Deliver us from Evil” which is written by an American; and he said he quite sympathises with the government of Sierra Leone to have signed that agreement; because, there is no doubt that the ex-combatants would never have left the bush or would have signed the Peace Accord if some of those terms were not inserted in that agreement.  As somebody said its probably difficult to make peace than to wage war; but I believe that the government was right in signing that agreement and we can now see the benefits of that; because we’ve done a wonderful job despite what we say amongst ourselves – there’s been disarmament, demobilisation and integration and if we can consolidate and build on this, I’m sure we have a future,.  Mr. Commissioner, I’ll like to talk on a few things concerning judicial governance and my office; but do permit me to digress a few minutes because there are one or two things I’ll like to talk about, to fit into this picture.

Firstly, I think one of the biggest mistakes we ever made in this country was when the one-party system was introduced.  It was a disaster for Sierra Leone.  Sierra Leone should never have established a one-party state, because we had inherited a system from the British in which we had the Judiciary, the legislature and the executive, and that system with all its faults worked.  It worked well.  Sierra Leone was peaceful; had a good level of education, business economy that was picking up and I believe, we made a big mistake when I say we, I say all of us.  It’s not time now to point fingers because we accepted it as it then was but it was a disaster when we look back.  The reason for saying so is that the one-party state did not benefit the people of this country.  It only benefited one man and a few of his coat-tails and as such most the institutions collapsed – the judiciary collapsed, the executive collapsed and the legislature was virtually a rubber stamp; and because these institutions collapsed because there was virtually no opposition, no accountability – it means that the consequences of the collapse of these institutions was that the people of this country had nowhere to complain to; nowhere to air the grievances and nowhere for people to know how we felt.  Even a few of the newspapers that tried to challenge or to criticise were dealt with harshly.  So that’s the first point I’ll like to emphasise that never again should this country go back to that type of system – never – it should never go back to that type of system.  All they did was to create a lot of disaster for this country.  We did not benefit anything even though some people felt that, it helped to unify us and bring stability. Even if it did, it was a stability that was short-lived because eventually what we refer to as sitting down was a powder keg that exploded.  So that stability that some people argue was as a result of the one-party, was a fragile stability.  Because what in fact it was holding was a powder keg and the powder keg exploded which we saw in rebel war and all the disturbances that we had.  So that was a big mistake.

I think the second mistake we made in my insight was the holding of the OAU Conference.  Sierra Leone was a small country and even though the African countries were rotating the hosting of the OAU there was nothing wrong with us telling our brother African countries that we were not in the position to host it.  If we recall Addis Ababa was fixed.  Ethiopia was the permanent site for hosting OAU countries just as we have New York for UN conferences and only those countries that are rich and can afford it could do so outside of New York or Addis Ababa, but we decided to host the OAU in 1980 and that again was for the benefit of the vanity of one person and it meant that we squandered all the resources and reserves of this country.  A hundred million dollars in 1980 which was the total reserves Sierra Leone had were used to host the OAU.  It might have helped our image and to some extent the infrastructure but the long-term consequences were economic and social disaster for which we are still paying the price.  The OAU of 1980 was an economic disaster just as the one-party establishment was a political disaster.  So these were two events, that shaped the destiny of this country adversely; because of these institutions – the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.  It meant as I said, more or less us creating a situation where the state did not function or even if it functioned, it did not function well and efficiently.  There was no accountability to the people of Sierra Leone.  People did what they wanted in these institutions.  The Army in particular was self-accounting – they were not accountable to the people of this country.  Armies all over the world are accountable to the civilian government.  In our case the Army was accountable to itself.  The amount of resources and money spent on the Sierra Leone army during that period was unbelievable; and most of it went into the private pockets of senior army officers who used it to build houses, purchase cars and other amenities that suited them, rather than develop and strengthen the army that we had, that was so famous many years ago when it was part of the contingent that went to the Congo during the peace keeping operations; it went to Burma and distinguished itself in the first world war and in the second world war in Cameroon.  So also, apart from state institutions, the beginning of the disintegration of the army started during that period; during that one-party period when the army was not accountable to the people of Sierra Leone.  They were accountable to themselves, nobody however knew the state of the army; they did what they liked and we are paying the price and thank God for the British and other countries that have come today to help us to restructure and develop our army.  So these were fundamental mistakes that were made, but let me say, immediately that much as I’m criticising the government then, we also, that is we the people of the country must accept some of the blame; because we did not challenge the government then, as have been done in Ghana and Nigeria.  The middle class – we the middle class, the professionals and intellectuals - failed the people of this country because in Ghana and Nigeria when similar circumstances arose, we saw that the Ghanaian middle class or Nigerian middle class and intellectual and professionals looked to the streets, went to the courts, were prepared to go to prison, and were prepared to die.  But regrettably, we, and as I say we I include MYSELF, WE ALL Sierra Leoneans we were cowards because people felt that the existence of the SSD then, was (the SSD now is a different SSD) was used to intimidate and tyrannise the people of this country.  The SSD have played a role over the last few years but then it was the instrument of tyranny in this country.  It was used to cow opposition leaders; it was used to cow the press, the citizens, students and people who try to protest.  Never again should we have an arm of the police that is an instrument of tyranny.  The SSD as is doing now, and I praise them now, has transformed itself to be part of the police for good.  But at that time, it played an infamous role and some of the big disasters were perpetrated by them - the killing of people, maiming and to some extent even armed robbery.  There were instances when in fact in those days some of the SSD personnel then were involved in armed robbery – it is a fact and people know it but everybody kept silent because of the fact that we were scared that, they could seek their revenge.  So the collapse of the army, the collapse of the police forces were as a result of that unlawful marriage.  The police then was heavily politicised.  The introduction of the army and the police into politics was another disaster.  The army and the police and the Civil Service should be neutral and impartial at all times.  They should support the government of the day.  They should be loyal to the government but they should not be politicised.  Inspector Generals of Police then were appointed on tribal grounds rather than merit or experience or ability.  Promotions in both the army and the police were based on tribe, rather than merit, ability and experience.  So were the seeds of disaster sown and we are now paying the price.  I knew, I predicted this, I told my wife many years ago that we were sitting on a powder keg.  Sir, it did not come to me as a surprise when Sierra Leone exploded.  It was bound to explode.  What I was not sure about was the way and manner in which it would explode.  Any true Sierra Leonean would not say that the ways and means this country was governed was not a tinder-box for explosion; but I did not believe that Sierra Leonean will cut each other’s hands.  I did not believe that we would dismember women.  I felt and believed that there would be a protest, that people would revolt to change the country into better society; but talking to some of the RUF; and I talk to quite a few of them up to today; some of them have admitted that, this was not what they envisaged at first.  In the end instead of helping us to change the country, they inflicted harm and murder on the very people they said they were protecting.  So the collapse of the state institutions, the army, the police, the civil service was politicised.  These are things that we should never do again.  The civil service, the police and the army should be based on merit and ability.  We must not allow tribalism to go into these institutions; because the moment you introduce tribalism in these institutions, it is the country that suffers.  Even though those who take the decisions think they’re doing something good, they also end up paying the price.  When you have a bad leader, the country pays the price.  So even those who think they were doing their tribesmen a favour, in trying to put their own men there, did not realise that they were doing all of us a disfavour because after some time, the edifice was going to collapse and we all paid the price.  So that is why one has to commend this government for now going on criteria such as merit, ability, and experience.  When you look at your commission, Mr. Chairman, you could see merit, ability, integrity and experience.  It is quite possible that a couple of years ago, if a similar institution was elected it could not have had the integrity and reputation of people like you.  It could have been based on tribal or other grounds.  That is why I say if we now see institutions work and work well it’s because of the absence of these negative factors.  

Mr. Chairman, the point I’ll also like to bring in which, just digressing when I come to my main point is that, we also have a reputation for being very friendly, hospitable and warm; which is good.  Sierra Leoneans are basically warm, hospitable, and friendly but this is more with outsiders.  We tend to love outsiders more than ourselves.  Why?  We open our hands to outsiders – fine; but why don’t we also concentrate that love and unity for each other.  We need to love and unite more.  This has also been a problem in place.  We are at each other’s throat too many times.  There is nothing wrong with competition.  We should compete amongst each other.  There is nothing wrong with trying to be able to strive for success.  But we see the unity at now the level we want it.  In other words we should try to love ourselves more and to love our country more.  That’s why people like me have come into public life, to play our own part.  Instead of sitting in an office, I could be making millions of Leones.  I used to; but I decided with age and time that we should put back into society what we’ve gained and to help our society build itself again or we could have gone out of this country and taken any international jobs but that is not the answer, we have to build our country.  The Sierra Leoneans who run out of this country build somebody else’s country.  They do not build Sierra Leone and foreigners are not going to build this country for us.  We have to build this country.  Now the point I want to make here is that, not only us driving the lack of unity which we are trying to now cultivate and the patriotism which we are also trying to cultivate.  We have opened this country too much to foreigners and we are suffering for it as well today.  The way this country is opening up to outsiders is too much.  We won’t see this in other countries; and this is why we also have a problem; because we do not necessarily attract good people into this country.  We have a lot of people in this country that have no business here, in the economy, in business, living in the best houses, driving the best cars, and to that extent, a lot of Sierra Leoneans feel alienated; because they are not enjoying the best of their country.  You do not see this in any other West African country.  Whether you go to Guinea, even Liberia with all its problems, Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, the inhabitants of those countries, enjoy the wealth of their country.  To some extent, apart from a few you have made it, the majority of Sierra Leoneans need to be empowered economically.  That does not mean that Sierra Leoneans don’t have to work hard to achieve that economic success; because to some extent, some people criticise us to say we are lazy.  I do not believe we are lazy, I thing if the Sierra Leonean is well motivated financially and otherwise, he will work hard although we still have some people who don’t want to work; they prefer to go around the streets begging and loafing.  Now Mr. Chairman, the Judiciary and my office which I want to link up are my main theme.
The Judiciary and My Office

The Judiciary and my office have to be strengthened and taken seriously.  If democracy has to succeed, if democracy has to survive in this country, the bed-work is the judiciary.  The bed-work of democracy when you look at the United States of America, Great Britain and other developed democratic countries, the judiciary is seen as a premium asset.  If you do not develop or strengthen your judiciary, all the other institutions will collapse, because at the end of the day, it is the judiciary that has to make the necessary pronouncements on the rule of law, on the constitution of the country, on whether our laws are valid, on what happens to people who flaunt the law.  So the judiciary has to be empowered and I must say that over the years, it’s only now we are seeing a judiciary being empowered.  Although I must give credit to the late Francis Minnah, and I want to say it on record politics aside, he was the only Attorney-General of this country that took the judiciary seriously.  Talk to any senior lawyer, they will tell you that.  In terms of conditions of service, in terms of the way he empowered judges, salaries, pensions, the incentives to work, the late Francis Minnah politics aside, took the judiciary seriously; and for this, I would go on record and a lot of those who don’t have the guts to say it would admit it in private that he did take his judiciary seriously in that judges were happy to work at that time, and some of the benefits we are enjoying today are as a result of the initiative he took?  As I say, I’m here to talk about his tenure as attorney General and some of the things he did are there on record.  So I must give credit to the late Francis Minah; may his soul rest in peace for the fact that, politics aside, he did a job to help the judiciary.

Some Of The Ways The Judiciary Has Gone Wrong Over The Years And Which We Must Try To Put Right

From 1973 up to today, there is no system of law reporting in Sierra Leone.  A judiciary cannot function without a proper system of law reporting.  Unlike the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, we do not have a system of law reporting and I believe this government is now trying to put the mechanism in place.  Without law reports, the judicial is meaningless.  It’s law report that we have to look to, find what the law is and what the law has said; but now all we have is unreported cases and I was briefing the Special Court judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers on Saturday and I told them, they have to make do with the fact that what we have is an unreported system and they just have to accommodate themselves to it until such time that we have law reporting.

    The other problem we have is that the laws of this country have been static.  They’ve not been reformed.  Thank God we now have distinguished juries – Doctor Peter Tucker who has been appointed to help the Law Reform Commission – you must commend this government for that and that Commission has an able secretary Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff and this is a good team.  Because these are solid lawyers and with the help of some of us – I now intend to help them - we should go back on track to revise and review our laws.  Most of our laws as my learned judge here will tell you are outdated.  They do not meet the present conditions of this country.  Laws have to be dynamic, they cannot be static.  They have to move with the times.  Regrettably, since 1960, when we had the major law reform in this country, law reform over the years has been peace mill. Rather than comprehensive, and now I think the government is trying to have a comprehensive system of law reform.  So, law reform and law reporting must also be given serious consideration, and I believe they are now being given that, because there is a Law Reform Committee that now works at state house under Dr. Peter Tucker and Yasmin Jusu Sheriff and the law reporting has not started, but I have the feeling that, I believe DFID wants to help us set it up.  These are the tools of the trade; it’s like a Doctor without a stethoscope.  A Judge without his law report cannot make the necessary diagnosis – a doctor needs his stethoscope in order to examine to find out what is wrong.  The lawyer, the judge, needs his books; needs his law reports also as there have been an absence of law libraries in this country.  It’s basic but it’s a fact.  You cannot have a legal system without good libraries.  We must take these simple things seriously.  You might just see a library and think – this is a place where I go and borrow books.  No.  It goes beyond that.  It is your books you use to write your judgments and your rulings.  Your law library is important.  So we need law libraries we need to have books.  The University law library is virtually non est.  The best law library we now have in this country is the Law School library; which is very good, and I believe the Law Officers Library is now going to be empowered; or is being empowered by DFID.  So these institutions work, when you have the necessary ingredients.  You must have law reporting, you must have law reform, to update your laws, you must have libraries to have your books.  Also, the conditions of service and terms of conditions of service and terms of conditions of the judiciary have not helped; our judges, magistrates and law officers are paid pittance and if you pay them pittance you will have pittance judgments and pittance rulings.  Judges and lawyers all over the world are paid well.  The reason for this is one, when you pay them well, they can take their work seriously and then they will resist corruption so that if you find them corrupt you come down heavily on them.  Judges are paid well, in England the moment you become a judge, they are knighted automatically.  This is to enhance your status, so that probably what you lose in practice, you make up in in-made prestige and a reasonable amount.  We are not saying they should be paid astronomical salaries, no.  But pay them a decent wage so that if you find any evidence of corruption; you can come down on them heavily.  As for any of us for that matter, who work in the public scrutiny; logistics, transport, infrastructure are in short supply. But let me not lay too much emphasis on those, because I think other people have spoken about these areas, and we all now accept that the judiciary has to be transformed, it has to be restructured and we have to have personnel.  This is another problem.  We’ve not been able to recruit some of the best personnel from the BAR into the judiciary bench.  People complain about the judiciary but we the lawyers must take some of the blame; because we have refused to go to the bench.  It is small salary, small conditions so those who have taken the risk of sacrifice like our learned Commissioner here must be commended, because it shows that it was not just money that drove them into office, but there were other attributes.  But at the same time, that should not be an excuse for judges, lawyers or those who work in the government service not paid well vis-à-vis the private sector to undermine their integrity the way we often hear these days.  If you have two colleagues who went to lets say the Prince of Wales School – one becomes a lawyer, one works at the brewery - the one who works at the law officers department would be paid lets say two hundred thousand Leones a month.  The one who works at the brewery probably gets seven eight hundred thousand.  You see that disparity and probably even when they were at school, the one who became the lawyer was more brilliant.  What happens – the one who is in the law officers becomes frustrated – yes he is disillusioned.  The one at the brewery is well looked after.  Probably it’s unfair to compare both of them but that is what you see.  In that probably the one at the Brewery will work there for twenty years because he’s paid well, is well looked after, he takes his job seriously; but then if you pay somebody two hundred thousand Leones after six years in law school he starts to say why the hell did I bother to read law.  I could have been doing something else.  So that is why we say, we’re not demanding or asking that the legal system is paid astronomical amounts but let them be given a living and descent wage which will keep them and their families going.  I think one of the things I’ll like to suggest to this Commission is that we should now stop the system of appointing judges from the magistrate bench.  We’ve been lucky in the past to have the likes of the late Mrs. Justice Awunor Renner and we have Justice Marcus Jones here who are the few whom we can commend.  But let me say here openly that a number of magistrates, who were promoted to the bench, had no business there.  They were promoted because that is the system; but their legal knowledge was not all that commendable.  They did not have any practice at the Bar; and so, much as they were made judges, their contribution to judicial improvement or advancement here was very minimal.  I’m not saying that it is only people who are appointed from the BAR who do well; but that has proved a better system, because we do have judges who are appointed from the Administrator General’s office like the Late Justice Parson Davies and D.M. Williams.  We have those who have been appointed from the Law officers – Justice Adorph, Aladi, and a few others but the bulk of our judges, should be appointed from the BAR.  But of course it’s a vicious circle because, somebody would answer me and say, well, Mr. Gabbidon where are you going to get these people from, because your colleagues refuse to go and take these jobs and that is why we say, make them attractive, make them good, the lawyers will come.  Just as the World Bank has been able to recruit recently, four lawyers from private practice to help the law officers department, and the money they’re paying them is not fantastic in terms of an astronomic earning but it was descent enough to attract four good lawyers from the private BAR now joining the government: the persons of Mr. Barbar, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Sesay and Mr. Thompson.  So, that is the clue.  Give people a nice descent wage which is reasonable, they will work for the government.  I believe that the government can introduce a system where you have what we call part-time recorders;  where people in private practice or some of us who do not practice any longer could do part-time work for the judiciary.  They do it in other countries.  You sit part-time as recorders, to help the government clear backlog, to help with complex cases.  Because of our experience we could develop a system of part-time recorders because we cannot afford full-time recorders.  Some part-time recorders can be made to work in the provinces while others could be made to work in town.  These are ways and means to improve the judicial system in this country; and these part-time recorders would be made up of lawyers in private practice who are prepared to sit at the magisterial or high court or whatever bench to have the system.  The other problem we’ve had is that an important office like the Master and registrar has also not attracted very good people. Now Masters and Registrars all over the world, in the British Common Law system, perform very vital role in the Judiciary.  They are the ones who run the Administrative set ups and to some extent play an important judicial role; but because of poor wages and salaries, we’ve not been able to attract solid people there; but let me pay my credit to the Late William Johnson who became a judge, who was a very good Master and Registrar, Mrs. Showers, now Justice Tola Thomson, but we need to attract people there not just for Freetown; Bo, Kenema, Makeni to have their own registrars.  So what we have is a system where we just have one or two in Freetown, and the provinces have no registrars.  We should have registrars all over the country at the judiciary.  So these are areas where even if it’s outside help – let us go for it. But if you want to have a judiciary functioning, these are the weak areas that have to be strengthened.

Now, the other failure of us; when I say so, I include myself.  I don’t try to point fingers just at people, I point fingers but also we collectively must accept some of the blame, because the judiciary did not challenge the establishment of the one-party system under Siaka Stevens; but we challenged it under Albert Margai; and Albert Margai resisted and abandoned it.  But we failed to challenge it under Siaka Stevens.  Probably because Albert Margai was a lawyer I don’t know or a democrat.  But when Desmond Luke, T.S. Johnson, Jalayakin and others went to court; the late Kutubu Kaisamba; L.E.M Gerald, they said no we don’t want it, the late Sir Albert resisted, but when it came to the one-party of Siaka Stevens, the judiciary did not do anything.  So we have to take the blame for that.  Why didn’t we the lawyers challenge, why didn’t we go to court, even if the court had ruled against us?  So we have to accept that.   Some of the reasons why this country collapsed at that time was what I might call fear; cowardice amongst us professionals people who say well, I’m not going to risk my life, I don’t want to die; but you must have martyrs if a country has to progress.  No country develops or progresses without people dying.  Look at the amount of people dying in Iraqi whether it is Iraqi’s or Americans for different reasons.  So the failure of the Sierra Leoneans has to do with their reluctance to go to jail.  We don’t like to go to prison, nobody wants to go to prison, but Ghanaians, Nigerians, Gambians, do go to prison for a course.  So we’ve had a problem.  Who wants to bell the cat?  Nobody wants to bell the cat.  We have too many armchair critics in this country.  People who don’t even want to come here and speak the minds.  They sit in their houses criticise, go to newspapers, write a lot of balderdash but you ask them to come up and talk and really go on record they will not do it; they say – I don’t want to go to jail, I don’t want to be victimised; but no country will develop in a culture of silence, but if you criticise, it must be constructive, it must be reasonable and you must put forward an alternative solution.  It is not just to criticise, the criticism, must be constructive.  It must be reasonable and you have to come forward if necessary with an alternative solution.  So even when people criticise us now, within a short period of time, people don’t realize the miracle that has happened over the last few years; in that very few countries, who have been through a ten year rebel war, have turned around within the period of two years to this extent.  To the extent that I have an article, which I’ll put at your disposal, written by a Professor of Politics at Florida University.  I’ve never met him.  I got it when I went to England last year.  It’s a twenty page article by a man who came here; and the, article is entitled, “The Country that came back from the dead” that was the heading: the country that came back from the dead. And he argued vigorously that Sierra Leone unlike other countries like Somalia or any other of these failed states has been able to come back from that collapse, from that failed state syndrome and we are back on the road to recovery.  He said the country that came back from the dead.  And this can only be a credit to all of us.  Even though we have to thank UNAMSAL, IMATT, ECOMOG our Nigerian brothers and sisters, but the will to survive the resilience of the Sierra Leonean, the faith in God, or God put us to the situation where we are back again; to the extent that some people come here after so many years abroad and say – “but where is the country that was at war I don’t see anything”.  Some of my friends came over Christmas, they said “but I can’t see what you are talking about” – I said but that is because you were not here a couple of years ago.  So if they can come and see, this green mess of Sierra Leone and not the fire that was engulf in this country, let us congratulate ourselves.  Mr. Chairman, I am of the view that the establishment of the office of Ombudsman has been an important one.  Not because I occupy this position.  This is a position that should have been established a long time ago and I was telling why or how the absence of it contributed to some extent to what we went through in the sixties (60’s) a lot of African countries decided to establish this office.  It came from Scandinavia, down to Europe then to Africa.  The first African country to establish it was Tanzania in 1962 under Julius Nyerere.  The good thing about the office—is that it acts as a safety valve.  The office, of the Ombudsman is a safety valve between the government and the people.  In previous years, people had nowhere to go and complain.  Absolutely nowhere!  If they went to the courts they probably won’t get justice because the stronger man succeeded or the man with the money succeeded.  The poor, the weak, the vulnerable had no chance of redressing their grievance from the courts; if he went to parliament to complain to his MP, his MP had no time for him.  For him, if he went to see one who was a Minister, he was simply told “I’m busy”, and of course he had very little access to the Executive.  People had nowhere to turn to for addressing some of these grievances, some of these disputes and these feelings of misadministration were boiling up and some people; some people I believe turned to arms, resorted to arms when they felt all else had failed.  Whether it was the right thing for them to do is a matter for history to decide.  That is not for me to decide; but when people felt that all sources of democratic channels had failed them with nowhere to complain, and nobody to listen to them, they decided to resort to arms.  What was wrong was the way and manner I believe the arms were used against their own brothers and sisters.  Nobody would deny that Sierra Leone was not tinder–box waiting to explode.  So the Ombudsman’s office acts as a safety valve; because, now, people have somewhere to complain.  They have somebody to go and talk to. We don’t send them away. We try to help them either by linking them to other institutions like the police or the Anti-Corruption Commission or the National Commission for democracy and human rights or ICRC etcetera or we send them to LAWCLA.

We do a lot of aid work at Brookfields.  These young men have been doing a lot of good work. We are ashamed we the senior lawyers because  it was these young lawyers that set up the first legal aid system and today they are flourishing.  If you interviewed those who went to the bush they will tell you “I had a land case for twelve months Mr. Gabbidon I was not having justice.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:  Thank you very much Mr. Gabbidon for coming here; we already have before us what you called the trio yesterday: we heard the Chief Justice whom you already heard and then the president of the Bar Association.
As it is our practice at this Commission we would ask you questions for clarification and after that we’ll ask you for your own input and then the leader of evidence will ask you his own questions.   So I’ll now call on my colleague to ask you questions.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   Mr. Gabbidon I want to join the chairman in thanking you for accepting our invitation to share with us your experience I can say I have been a living witness to most of what you have said in your introduction.  I would want you to clarify a few areas that you have raised in your statement. They are the area of national mistake you mentioned that has cost the country immensely.  Another was the introduction of the following: the army chief of staff did not only become a member of parliament but also a minister of state.

The inspector general of police was both MP and minister of state.  The civil service became a member of the central committee of the ruling party; and chiefs as well as traditional rulers became indoctrinated into politics above all the Attorney General became a minister of state and sat in cabinet. And you as a lawyer would know what that means more than me.

Mr. Gabbidon:        Commissioner Torto, thank you.  Well what you said is correct. Those who should have stood up should have been us lawyers because we have a fundamental duty to challenge government when the freedom of the people was violated, because the establishment of a one party state contravenes the constitution because there should have been freedom of association.




Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Welcome again, the rules remain the same and we shall invite witnesses to come and address us but while they are doing so, nobody should ask question or aught or show any emotions or do anything that could distract the witness.  So haven said that, I will like us to proceed straightaway.  So I will ask the leader of evidence whether the witness is already there.

Leader of Evidence:    Yes Mr. Commissioner, the witness is here.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Could you please invite the witness?

Leader of Evidence:    Mr. Commissioner the witness for this afternoon is Mr. Eric James of James International.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Hello Mr. James, could you tell us what your religion is?

Eric:    I am a Christian.

I Eric James, who solemnly swear that the statements I will give to this commission, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Thank you very much Mr. James, we welcome you for coming here to make this statement or presentation and we want you to realise that this is not a court but still we are after the truth and therefore everything that you say must be carefully considered and given to us.  We also want you to relax, nobody is going to harass you here, nobody is going to charge you of any crime even if in the making of your statement you indicate or tell us that you had committed a crime, the worst that can happen to you, that if you had offended anybody we will try to reconcile you with that individual, you will not be prosecuted for anything that you would have done.  So take your time and give us your statement.  I now invite you to do so.  Thank you.

Eric:    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Chairman, I greet you all in the name of God.  This is a chapter in my life I never wanted to re-enter because the memories are awful and too painful.  However, my family and some good friends had encouraged me to go ahead and recount my experiences. Now thing of which I am supposed to comment is only a tiny part of my economic in business activities.  I am mainly involved in Agricultural development, distribution and retailing at the bottom economic level.  This means that, before the war, my distribution and retailing activities were confined entirely to addressing the needs of the less privileged.  I did not establish expensive on top of the range supermarket.  I was in the position to do so, but I believe that doing so, will run against my fundamental psychological, moral and social values.  Because I was brought up to take care of the poor, I do not know how to take care of the rich.  Unfortunately, government really or never supported or encouraged us for our endeavours.  I want to bring mining on a large scale. The war frustrated this effort.  The war descended on us when just as I had set-up the company to start a Sierra Leone owned and controlled diamond mining operations on a large scale.  Now you ask me about the nature of my work.  I distributed commodities such as; rice, flower, sugar, Magbass sugar made in Sierra Leone, salt, oil milk, onions and so forth and so on.  Until the change of president in 1985, I was the sole nationwide distributor of the sugar produced at the Magbass sugar factory.  Now the Chinese built the sugar factory, they produced both sugar and ethanol.  And the Chinese tried to sell the ethanol to Wellington distillery, a British company which owned and operated ac factory producing rum in Sierra Leone.  Wellington distillery rejected the ethanol, the factory was producing.  Having no immediate market and no storage place for the ethanol, the Chinese then started to dump the molasses which from which the ethanol is produced on their compound.  An ecological problem loomed, so much molasses were been dumped on the floor in their area of operation.  So the Chinese approached me to help them solve the problem.  I bought books and I taught myself how to make rum.  I made a rum called sassman and it became an instant success nationwide and it also solved the problem of the Chinese.  I built a tank that was 3 times bigger than that of the Chinese.  I bought tankers to take the ethanol from their limited storage facility down to Freetown.  This single action of mine made it unnecessary for at the Magbass to dump the molasses that they produced.  I set up a complete factory to produce that. As soon as we had a change of government in 1985 and the new minister of agriculture was appointed, everything was corrupted with the complicity of the Chinese management team at Magbass.  I ended up loosing all my investment on that trading venture.  The Minister took it away from my company, and ran it himself with the Chinese Management at Magbass.  Now, there was nothing I could do for a very long time, the Chinese having been acting in exploiting the stupidity of our so-called politicians.  Sophian Kargbo and the very Chinese management in Magbass also shot down my rum-producing factory by simply depriving me of the raw materials I needed to produce the rum and keep the sassman factory functioning.  The Minister had the political authority to make himself the sole distributor of the sugar and most importantly the ethanol, which was crucial for the production of the rum sass man.  The moribund factory is still standing there in cline town for us to see.  

I established the retail business called Peny Peny super-market, selling basic commodities to the economically weak in Sierra Leone.  My company was the first and last to distribute the American public law 480 food and which ensured that the food aid went directly to the poor.  The then American Ambassador Arthur Lewis, Peter Tucker and the nation called Sierra Leone are my witnesses, they know that I took the American Public Law 480 rice supplied to the Republic of Sierra Leone straight to the desiring public and in particular the poor people of Sierra Leone.

Sadly, this performance was not recognised by the new government under President Joseph Saidu Momoh.  The contract was transferred to Ben Kanu, the Deputy Minister of Trade of the new Momoh government of the 80’s.  Joseph Saidu Momoh was misled by Samsu Mustapha who was the Deputy Minster of Development and Economic Planning of the outgoing Siaka Stevens’s government.  At that time, the Minister of Development and Economic Planning controls the PL480 programme.

Samsu Mustapha destorted the picture of my handling of the PL480 programme; the incoming and inexperienced government of president J.S.Momoh swallowed the bate.  Now the gullible and anxious power and money hungry new government succumbed to Samsu manipulation.  The government swiftly transferred the  programme from James International to  Ben Kanu who was also deputy Minister of trade in the 1986 government and a close relative of the President Joseph Saidu Momoh.  Today, Samsu Mustapha is the World Bank consultant, the transportation consultant attached to the Ministry of Transport in the new SLPP government.  

Prior to that, I had a transport company and those transport companies, transported all the goods and equipment for the Chinese, development project in Sierra Leone in the 70s.  We delivered 80% of all materials required for the construction of the Youyi building, National Stadium, Magbass-farm, Magbass sugar factory, the Mange Bridge and the Dodo Hydro Electric project in the Eastern province.  I introduced a nation wide transportation system to successfully build the difficult transportation problems after the phasing out of the railway in the early 70s.  At the time I used 25 tons juggernaut, 15 tons capacity N.A.L. trucks with accompany trailers of 16 tons plugs.  I initiated this development as far back as 1974 when I had 5 trucks with accompany trailers and two juggernaut which were the first to be held privately by a Sierra Leonean investor.  In countries like America, Germany, Britain etc. the government would have promoted such pioneering spirit and supporting it to grow and get bigger and better.  But in Sierra Leone sadly, mean, naked, greedy people full of envy and stupidity who called themselves politicians do nothing other than to cross the spirit of enterprise of every well meaning country man and woman in their country.  We were rarely encouraged or supported in our endeavours and politicians who continued to use their office and their political power to take any my business the moment I had developed it. The ghost of the politicians has always been chasing us.  I had developed my business with the rural formers and enterprise that was devoid of any or every government involvement, the political class cut up with me again most time around, the political class introduced war.  Now you want to know about my work prior to the conflict as well as my experience during the conflict and what current activities I am still engaging and what are my plans for the future.  My area of focus prior to the conflict was Job creation nationwide.  I wanted to contribute to the development of a strong economic base that is crisis resistant for Sierra Leone.  Because I admired the Americans who believe in spreading rather hoarding money, because when you spread money, it increases production, hoarding it increases the unproductive strength.  I also have great admiration for the people of Singapore.  I went to college with a couple of Singaporeans. I admired their discipline and their sense of purpose.  And then, I wanted to imitate their system for development in Sierra Leone.

Before the war, I was deeply involved in what I thought was right.  I gave secured loans to rural formers, I marketed the harvest of rural farmers, I invested in the development in the rural areas and about to start manufacturing cocoa butter and to produce chocolate drinks in order to create value added to farm product.  I made a part payment to establish the cocoa factory at Wellington to carryout this operation just months after the war started.  I established the largest mining company, only Sierra Rutile was bigger in Sierra Leone in a joint venture with the Russians in 1990.  I did secure jobs in the mining industry to hundreds of Sierra Leones.  The then APC government under President Momoh never gave my company a mining consension.  In April, 1991 at the peak of the cocoa and coffee season I was discharging a cargo of 5000 metric tons of rice which I bought in for food and imported into the country.  It was the time to supply the cocoa and coffee farmer in the Kailahun, Kenema, Pujehun, Bo and Kono district in advance of the raining season.  The shipment has caused my company one million, two hundred and twenty thousand dollars.  Kailahun been the largest cocoa and coffee producing zone and with impossible roads when the rains start, was the first district to be supplied.  Payment for the rice supplied to formers, was expected to effected by the harvest of the farmers after the rains.  As you all know the rebels entered Sierra Leone in April 1991 by the Kailahun district, shooting, killing and terrorising the entire population in the district, causing the helpless people to abandon their villages and towns to flee the neighbouring countries of Guinea and Liberia.  In fact my company was the first ever to take relief items to refugees in Guinea. On the 20th of April 1992 the day when the NPRC ceased power, my house was raided by soldiers and my brand new Mercedes was commandeered and damaged so badly, I had to send it back to Germany for repairs, my main stores at Cline Town were raided by soldiers and civilians; the stores were comprehensively looted over 300000 dollars worth of goods damaged.  My company lost 60 light vans, which I could have provided to farmers to collect produce from villages and to bring to the urban countries.  664 tons of cocoa valued at one million twenty eight thousand dollars was abandoned in Kailahun town and Gbendembu.  Cash credit owned me by farmers total one million, one hundred thousand five hundred and eighty-four dollars went up in flames.  Paramount chief, James Gbonduka also an agent of James International was killed in Mange Chiefdom.   Another agent of mine, Paramount Chief Kabe Sieh in Panguma Chiefdom fled with his family across the river to the Republic of Guinea probably he may be up to now in refugee camps.  Paramount Chief Katugbu abandoned this upper Bambara Chiefdom and left me in Kenema.  I advised him to proceed to Freetown.  He died in Freetown of a broken heart.  Now as the rebels intensified their campaign, many of my loyal and produce agents were slaughtered.  Among them was Alhaji Umaru Koroma, whose wife and children were massacred. In fact Alhaji Umaru Koroma was stabbed in the back of the brand new jeep which I had provided for him as the President of the Eastern Province Farmers Union. His body was dragged with his head down on the road and his feet up behind the jeep to the town centre of Joijoma which is distance of two and half miles.  When I got this information, I felt bereaved, I started behaving in ways my wife considered to be strange.  My wife who is a German, noticed this strange behaviour, she asked to take the family back to Germany, which I did.  I stayed away from Sierra Leone for one year.  My wife and children where here in Freetown after two months because of the children’s school commitment. In 1992 as soon as the NPRC had a grip on power, a grind of lies designed to discredit me, undermined my confidence and dislocate my successful business in a commission of enquiry set up by the NPRC under Arnold Commissioner Bishop Humper Gooding who was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The commission of enquiry and in particular that of Mr Nylander were the latest ghost of cruelty lies and officially sanction injustice.  Arnold Gooding deliberately avoided Judges of improving integrity such as Abel Strong and Mansaray, to name a few.  What they did was this. In 1984, during my expansion pride; I was only James International enterprises.  The national insurance company limited tended some empty space on the building at number 18 to 20 Walpole Street which they the National Insurance company had earlier intended to operate as a restaurant but later changed their mind.  A number of interested parties including James International Enterprises tendered for the space which James International Enterprises won.  A lease agreement was entered into, signed and registered at the Registrar General’s office, on the 5th of June 1984 under the registration number volume 73.  The floor’s listed were the 7th 8th and 9th floors plus the cool room and other apartment including toilets and the swers which were installed in the 10th floor.  The tenth floor was therefore not mentioned in the lease of agreement by virtue of the fact that the cool room and their apartments had already been  mentioned in the agreement.  After we signed the agreement an inventory was drawn up and it was signed by James International Enterprises and NIC.  After signing the agreement, however, the National electricity supply degenerated to almost nil situation making it impossible for James International to follow through with the initial intensions of James international to use the premises as a restaurant. I then approached the NIC and I requested the commission to convert the premises to offices.  The permission was granted and the area of the lease which comprised the 7th 8th and 9th floor, was duly converted to house the main administrative office of James International Enterprises. The NIC did not release the 7th floor to us.  Nevertheless, we carried on with our businesses which grew from strength to strength and it eventually became one of Sierra Leone’s best known indigenous commercial houses until the NPRC took over in 1992.  On the 15th of April, 1993, James International received a secret document SG/NPRC/1999 dated 15th April 1993, demanding immediate payment of the cost of the kitchen utensils and cutlery to the National Insurance  Company.  We duly replied that at no time did we never receive kitchen utensils and cutlery from the NIC.  We forwarded the list of the inventory taken when we took over the premises and we informed the NPRC that we infact had returned every item listed in the inventory.  We wrote several letters to the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice Arnold Commissioner Bishop Humper Gooding,  forwarding a copy of the list mentioning that if anybody owed any body money then it was the NIC who did not give the 7th floor to James Internaitonal,  Now in the letter to the secretary confiscated asset committee we clarified the issues.  But the managing director Mr. Arthur Yasky deliberately refused to provide the letter, that letter never reached the Secretary of the confiscated access committee.  6 months later, on the 25th of November 1993, Mr. Yasky redrafted the whole letter, distorting the fact to confuse the issue.  Now I was a bit naïve, I was unaware of the political class capacity to think and do evil and more so the extent to which people in such a small country like Sierra Leone will go to destroy competent individual just by using their political power.  NIC had given the impression passively or otherwise to the commission of enquiry established by the NPRC and headed by and Nylander that I was using NIC cutlery and kitchen utensils worth hundreds and thousands of pounds in my house.  The claim was outrageous; hundreds of thousands of pounds starling kitchen utensils can not have enough space in my house or in any other house in Sierra Leone for that matter.  In fact, it will require over twenty containers to contain all of them.  But in the fit of hate, envy, and cruelty they just believe the nonsense and wrote it in his findings. Such is justice in Sierra Leone.  While obviously, I did not know that the authority will not give up at that point, so I was sitting in my office when one day, the personnel of the NIC and the CID suddenly materialise with a search warrant in my home.  I was naturally dumbfounded, but I took them into my home where they made a thorough search.  It was at the end of this search that both the CID personnel and the NIC who went to identify the items I have realised the ridiculous nature of the whole exercise. Naturally become nothing other than my personal belongings in my room.  On the 6th of May 1993, the managing director of National Insurance Company, ordered their legal counsel to write to us and demand payment for forty-seven thousand, three hundred and eighty-six thousand pounds sterling for cutlery and kitchen utensils.  On the 4th of June, 1993, all our current accounts in the country were ordered to be frozen by the government and the remained frozen until 30th July 1995 when the freeze was lifted on just one account number 1255874 Barclays bank.  On the receipt of the order to freeze all our account on the 8th June 1993, we were force to close the company  James International Enterprise limited and laid off 183 persons with out notice.  On the 21st of May 1993, we were forced out of our tenancy in which we have two and ten years left on our lease.  The premises were leased out again by the managing director of the National Insurance Company, and all our pictures were confiscated by the NIC.  Our new private commercial bank building which we had just been completed could not be open.  Two super-market projects that were being planned had to be abandoned, no bank could credit us and we find ourselves penniless.  The NPRC government tried to seize my land at Lumley, Lumley beach, and when I proved to them that it was my bona fide property, they then went on to incite the public to destroy the fence around my property at Lumley Beach.  Again the then Attorney General Arnold Commissioner Bishop Humper Gooding was requested to throw light on the status of the property.  He flatly refused to do so,  My farm at Ogoo farm was confiscated by the NPRC secretary of State for agriculture. My bungalow in Kenema was commandeered by the military despite the fact that I had donated four new vans to the government to assist with the war effort and I also transported several types of food to the soldiers in the war front free of charge. The NPRC government and the war comprehensively destroyed everything  my mother and I had spent over 60 years building.    In December 1992, the RUF struck Kono where my mining company was started operating.  The Russians I had there fled to save their lives leaving behind five (5) bull dozers, one fully equipped machine shop, five electric generators, two mobile phones, 4 tanker trucks, 8 aipers, 30 tons dumpers and 8 containers of spare parts, all value for 3 million, 5 hundred thousand dollars.  Two of my  juggernauts were burnt at the Kono/Makeni highway and on the Masiaka/Mile 91 highway.  I had ordered these juggernauts brand new, one from Germany and one from Russia.  My Kono produce section, the Kono produce section of my company lost one hundred eighty-four tons of cocoa value at 248 thousand dollars.  Several bags and items too numerous to mention.  We hardly had time to recover from the Kono shoch when we had another devastating blow, this time in Buajebu. Buajebu is a mining town in the Simbaru Chiefdom in the Kenema district.  It was attacked in 1993. At Buajebu, I had 5 bull dozers and extremely well built and equipped mining complex. 750 thousand dollars worth of machines were burnt and complete engines and transmission systems as well as 50 sealed containers and spare parts and equipments.  Two water pumps, driving processing appliance and accommodation for 150 workers.  In Buajebu, the losses were of 6 million dollars.  My plans for the future can only be the resurrection of my business.  I am presently sadden with a monumental hips of destruction, I have no clue how to go about rebuilding the business, about 60 years established out of nothing.  I do not have reconstruction capital; I do not have the resources to restart such a vast operation that has been demolished by power-hungry Sierra Leoneans of every political complexion and agenda.  In financial terms, I am finished, I am not a European nor am I an American like Sierra Rutile an American company that has currently secured a reconstruction and a rehabilitation loan to the tune of 30 million and more dollars to resume their operations.  I have zero access to development, rehabilitation or reconstruction credit.  I have no access to long-term credit of any sort.  I cannot get a loan to buy tyres for my car, let alone a loan to restructure my destroyed business.  Government has not yet found a way to help me get out of the misery in which I found myself.  Only President Kabba has looked up to my role in the society and acknowledge it.  He acknowledged my contribution to his society long before he was elected president in 1996.  Although the saying cannot be said for some ministers that continued in the SLPP government.  President Tejan Kabba has never done anything to help any of my business aspirations  since he came to power. He has been trying to find ways and means to help me restart my business, but he had had no success so far, because of the overwhelming nature of my losses and the fact that there is no statutory provision in this country for war compensation. Our laws make no provision for war damage reparation or compensation.  And finally I think you wanted me to give a detailed discussion on the nature of the problems and its impact on the society.  Now I have seen sixty years of very, very hard work, starting from the days when my mother started doing business in 1943, destroyed by so called politicians.  Well I have been asked to round-up now and I cannot conclude anything, I thank you.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Well thank you Mr. Eric James for coming to share all these information with us, we would have preferred that you concluded, at least summarise what you had just told us which is a lot. And then give us the opportunity to ask you a few questions for clarification.  We still want to maintain that you don’t want to rap-up and we want you to end properly rather than just stop abruptly.

Eric:    Well it is a question of what do you leave out and what do you say, I can finish it, I just want to finish this one page. I can let you have some copies of the manuscript.

Commissioner Professor Kamara:    Alright, we thank you very much.  Anyway, having given us all these information, I am sure that there are gaps which will require filling up and the commissioners will like to ask you some questions to fill up those gaps or to get clarification to some of the issues that you have raised.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much Mr. James for coming to the commission.  I had read your submission and now I had just listen to your verbal explanation though you have pieces of information in there that are not included in the written submission.  All the same, they are well understood.  I must first of all start by congratulating you though belated for the initiative to start a business of that nature.  As a Sierra Leonean, I am highly impressed at the venture, the risk you took bring up the economy of your own country.  It is unfortunate and very much so for what has happened to you at the end.  But I just want you to make a few clarifications from your submission.  I will start from somewhere; you said you had established a business that was the first and the largest Sierra Leone mining business that was only second to Sierra Rutile.  This is in accordance with the written submission.  Was it bigger than the National Diamond Company in terms of capital, resources and the number of people employed?

Eric James:    When we started the West African Mining company, the NDMC had folded – up, it was not in existence.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, then going through the second page of your presentation you actually started by saying, which you emphasised throughout the written submission and the verbal presentation, that you were actually pushed around or treated absurdly, and you used that word, by series of government.  What do you think could be responsible for that?

Eric James:    That is disciplinary, a mentality question really.  The type of governance we have, you see, whatever you are, governing for development or you are governing for self.  And I think, more or less, what happen was that, these people, when they actually had power, they used itto benefit themselves and not the nation.

Commissioner Torto:    So there were no ramification or no reasons which could be political, tribal, regional, any kind of vice in the society that led the kind of treatment meted out to you.

Eric James:    The funny thing here is, I am not a politician and we in Sierra Leone do not have political parties like your political parties in South Africa.  We do not have political parties like the ANC, we just have groupings and titles and names because most of the APC politicians are now in the SLPP and tomorrow morning if there is another change of administration, you have the APC, everybody will move to the APC.  If you have military government, everybody will move to the military government.

Commissioner Torto:    So whic the party do you belong to, sorry if I may ask.

Eric James:    I mean up to 1992, we only have a one party state.  Anyway and everybody who was interest in politics was in the APC, and there after, you had these military interregnum, this NPRC time and during that time, you know, politics were virtually banned in this country and when the elections came in 1996, I actually supported President Kabba for the Presidency.

Commissioner Torto:    But your problems actually started form the days of the APC according to this submission

Eric James:    Yes, that is correct, during the APC regime, it was not so much despotic as a party, the individual occupying the office, would take this decision to destroy your business if he so desires and there was very little you can do about it.

Commissioner Torto:    From your submission, three cabinet ministers actually seized your property, if I remember rightly, one was the sugar complex that was appropriated by the minister of Agriculture himself, the other was the PL 480 rice system that you were operating that was again taken over by another Minister, the Deputy Minister and then a farm at Ogoo farm or land at Ogoo farm.  That was also seized by a Minister.  Did you actually seek the law in any of those cases to find out why those people were just taking these things away from you?

Eric James:    Until very very recently, nobody could sue the government of this country, anyway it was impossible. You would have to go back to the Attorney General for permission to sue the government and that would have got me no where.  So there was nothing that I could do.  I mean I could have continued my business.  I could have other ways of doing things.  If it wasn’t for the war, but the war put a total stop to everything.

Commissioner Torto:    On the 20th of April 1992, your property at Cline town was looted by soldiers.  Do you know them?  Could you remember them now?

Eric James:    As individuals, no. But you know  I was at home and I was called on the phone and told that they broke into the complex and there were hundred of people in there just looting.  I cannot identify the individuals but they were soldiers and civilians.

Commissioner Torto:    On the 4th of June 1993  your accounts were frozen, only one was released thereafter.  What is the position of these account now and if I may ask, how much do you think are actually in those account?

Eric James: I am sure if you are familiar with business, you can still know that kind of
transaction and w were very very credit worthy, so we don’t have problem in terms of getting fund for our business.  Until they froze the accounts and  there was nothing we could do.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you, and my last question is one of consolation to you and encouragement.  And I started by saying that, by congratulating you for actually establishing a venture of that type.  If you have a way and have some means would you start all over again?

Eric James:    Yes, exactly because you know it is a family business that has been going on for years, and years and years and years and if we do go back into business, a large scale profile, it would have to be more modern, and it has to cope with the present day and not the past. But because of the perception and the old way of doing things, we will still be the same.

Commissioner Torto:    I thank you very much, so please remember to send us some of the pieces of information that are not in the manuscript,  Thank you.

Eric James:    Thank you too.

Commissioner Bishop Humper:    Mr. Eric James we want to thank you very much for giving us a very comprehensive document.



Bishop Joseph C. Humper  - Presiding Commissioner
Justice Laura Marcus Jones
Madam Satang  Ajaratou Jow
Mr. Sylvanus Torto
Prof. John Kamara

Leaders of Evidence
Mr Ozonnia Ojielo
Mr Abdulai Charm

WITNESS NAME:      Mrs.  Olayinka Creighton Randall -  Campaign For Good Governance(CGG)  

A silent prayer was observed by all.

Alhassan Kargbo took the oath of confidentiality as interpreter .This was administered by Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C.  Humper.

1st Witness: Olayinka Creighton Randall.

A Christian. Bishop Humper administered the oath.


Mrs. Randall:     The Campaign for Good Governance has already made  a full and comprehensive  submission to the Commission  and I  am  simply here to represent the highlights concerning its submission.


Bishop  Humper:     Thanks to the representative. If we should  allow her to say all that she had wanted to say, she would  be  the only witness here this afternoon. The way she spoke about Sierra Leone and what had happened; the nation, according to what I heard here is about to die. But there is still hope: What we are about to do now is to join hands and try to ensure that we have Sierra Leone. Against this background I now ask other Commissioners for comments as well as questions .

Justice Marcus Jones –     Thank you for a very good presentation and thanks that you have worked  within the stipulated time.  As regards the TRC we have interest in women and children, I just want to know how you would describe the progress which Campaign for Good Governance has achieved since existence in women and gender equality.

Mrs. Randall –    On that, we have what we call the Gender Empowerment Department whereby women are empowered politically and economically.  Economically, we have micro credit loans for market women in 48 markets in the Western Area, and also Markets in Matru Jong, Bonthe District, and in Moyamba District.  Politically, we have done a number of training sessions for women, especially on the last elections.  We taught them about voter’s education and in the physical process between women campaigners.   We also trained in Gender Orbit and Gender System. This Gender Orbit had 20 women in the 12 districts in Sierra Leone.  Under our Human Rights Department we organized workshops for women and children across the country.  We also provide legal and medical help to women and children who had suffered domestic and sexual violence in the war.

Justice Marcus Jones –     My question is in line with what the chairman said;   what is our  hope for the future?

Mrs. Randall -      As mentioned in my statement, Sierra Leone is in a unique situation to advocate for legal reforms for women and children. As I have said, our submission deals with such.  I honestly believe that, it does not matter how effective the police works for the arrest of rape cases, if the laws are not strong their work will become futile.

Justice  Marcus Jones – I thank you.

Mrs.Satang Jow –     Thank you for your presentation.   I would like to join my colleagues, in thanking you for your presentation. We know the roles of civil society  in bringing about democracy and good governance.  What are you doing in the area of raising awareness to the majority of people ? What are some of the challenges, as an organization how and what have you done to face these?

Mrs. Randall –     The first thing is that illiteracy means lack of appropriate  intelligence. We have carried out a huge number of workshops primarily out of the Western Area, inviting men and women from every chiefdom to educate them about their rights and responsibilities. Although a lot  more needs to be done in that area, I believe the average Sierra Leonean on the basic level, knows their rights and responsibilities.  As an organization, the CGG, our current challenge, is to formulate public policy that the average Sierra Leonean will benefit from.  Therefore, we carried research into public issues. Without assuming that we know it all, we are calling on other civil societies and other organizations to let us know what they want us to pass on  to the government that will benefit everybody.  

Prof  Kamara  -     I want to join my colleagues to thank you. I think you have done a good work, especially when you spoke of the reasons for the war in Sierra Leone, we know that there are other factors responsible for the war.  Please be patient with me as I ask you for the research you have made here, the reasons that you said were responsible for the war in sierra Leone , the university became a revolving door to recruit corrupt ministers, what is your opinion and what do you expect from the University of Sierra Leone.

Mrs. Randall –     Like other institutions, during the time we are talking about, the University was not having enough money to be able to perform well and the students did not get hope for the future; therefore, they were easily corrupted.  As an institution if the University receives adequate funding and support, they can  get good lecturers; the students will, therefore, benefit from good education.  They need to get a conducive atmosphere so that students know that they will be employed in future, that their chances are high. And if they think that the chances are hard, whilst in University they will be trying to make a future by any means necessary.  This is not only for the University but our society as a whole.

Prof.  Kamara –     You did say that the interference  the intervention does not give Paramount Chiefs the leverage to act independently. I just want to ask whether the powers of the Paramount Chiefs were greater than those of the Member of Parliament?

Mrs. Randall  -     I believe so, the Paramount Chiefs deal directly with the people in the province whilst members of Parliament reside in Western Area, and they only go to the Constituency when they want something from them.  The Paramount Chiefs are closer to the people.

Prof. Kamara –    On the military you said they contributed positively or negatively on the war based on information we had received, Do you have hope that the reformation would serve the country better than before.

Mrs. Randall –     First of all to clarify my submission; the military contributed positively at the start but became negative; as the war prolonged the situation turned around .To answer your question, the reforms that are taken place now should be done looking towards the future and not a short-term solution.  Like I have said, something which should be done inside the army; for instance,there  should have been human rights violations checks. And  those involved should have been removed from the army.  Having said that, I believe it will be necessary to have institutionalized reconciliation, e.g;  inside the army sort of TRC amongst the military officers. So that they can  tell us what they did and what they had suffered and in that process to reconcile with the public generally.  We also have to make sure that the democratization is done properly, in order to ensure that the military should be accountable to the civilians.

Prof.  Kamara –    I want to ask a final question to help us on; what should have been done in the 1960s and 1970s and what should have been done to prevent the dictatorship of the RUF ?

Mrs. Randall –     First of all we must realize the concept of civil societies in the country 1960s and 1970s; I do not think it was in any war structure.  I think the challenge now is to keep it as intact as possible especially when dealing with specific issues, which will take us back to were we were.  It is easy for civil society to mobilize against the nation.  The challenge now is to look in wards and to critically analyze so that we would be able to guide them in the right path so that we would not turn back to conflict.

Commissioner  Torto  -     I thank you for the concise statement you have made.  I am interested in Social Justice, and I would like you to enlighten me on - first the police, their attitude not being encouraging, equipment and logistics. You also mentioned about SSD’s  being along tribal lines, is it between the higher cadre?

Mrs. Randall  -     Impartially it is so, as there is one ethnic group against the other.

Commissioner Torto –     And your comments on legal practitioners, the behaviors of Lawyers in Court.  They held a lot of blame, Does it mean that nothing is done in those areas?

Mrs. Randall –    No, I have to make the statement comprehensive, definitely our legal practisioners had a lot of blame. It is my humble opinion that Mrs. Marcus Jones can correct me that the judges are in charge of their court, and if a lawyer for no reason decides to delay a case, the judge has the power to take correct action.

Commissioner   Torto –     Are the customary laws  in force?

Mrs. Randall –     They are already in force at the moment. I made reference to that earlier, and they must try to put certain mechanism in place; so that all the laws should have the same effect.

Bishop Humper -      Thank you for your  answers;now,  as  the Chairman of the TRC,how did you come about  the observations and comments in regard to the TRC and Special Court.

Mrs. Randall –     November and December 2002 survey.

Bishop Humper –     Do you have any intention of conducting another survey now that the TRC has started its operations or will the figures remain the same?

Mrs. Randall –     We would have loved to but there are no funds for us to undertake such functions.

Bishop Humper –    According to your submission we have a powerful Executive and Legislative but  the Judiciary is weak, can you comment on that?

Mrs. Randall -     That is what we believe.

Bishop Humper –     Yesterday over the BBC, President Obasanjo in a statement , said that too many political parties are not good for Nigeria and that it should be cut down to three. I am asking whether CGG will make a recommendation to the Commission as to how to help our country reduce the number of its political parties..

Mrs.Randall –     If the Commission wants us to submit that recommendations on the number of political parties;thought it should be something  well thought out .As present in Sierra Leone, we have a number of political parties. These parties are based on people. But if and when parties start looking at the operations on basis of the ideology they stand for; they will be reduced. Because we do not have many ideological alternatives  to entertain.

Leader of Evidence -  Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo

Mr. Ojielo –     I refer to page 8 of the submission, on the war victims fund. I would ask you to make a recommendation as to who are the victims, and which measures to be put in place for them to benefit?

Mrs. Randall  -     As we all know most Sierra Leoneans have suffered. So,we have to streamline the victims for the purposes of these funds. We look at people who suffered physical violence: Those who were raped and the amputees. There are other means outside the war victims funds that can help other victims.

Mr. Ojielo –     What kind of recommendation should be made to the Commission?

Mrs. Randall -     Although money  is  in the minds of most victims as means of compensation, the perpetrators should help to build communities that they  destroyed.  

Mr. Ojielo –         Thank you very much.
Bishop  Humper  -     Do you have any comments, issues or point to raise for us to discuss in relation to the mandate of the commission ?

Mrs. Randall –     For now I have no questions or issues to raise. I promise that before the end of the commission I will have my recommendations made.

Bishop  Humper –     I think we would appreciate your recommendations, to help us in our report.  I thank you for coming; for people that are listening. I think you have now opened a chapter. According to our mandate we need recommendations and questions to complete our work. We hope that peace loving Sierra Leoneans that are listening would come forward and present their submissions.Thank you very much.


The commission is now ready to receive submissions from the various NGOs who have been working very closely with women and girls before conflict, during the conflict and out of the conflict.  They are partners in TRC and we thank them for accepting our invitation here to make presentations and submissions this afternoon.  Our first witness from the NGO is from FAWE, Forum  for African Women Educationalists, Ms. Christiana Thorpe.


Ms. Thorpe:    Thank you Madam Presiding Chair.  I would like to thank the commissioners for inviting FAWE to share its experiences with you and the nation.   FAWE Sierra Leone is one of the 33 Chapters in Africa.  It is a  Non-Governmental Organisation that is duly    registered with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Development.  I started the organisation on the 23rd March 1995.  And today we continue to focus on the mandate of supporting girls and women to acquire education and development.  As to date we have so many women in all works of life in  the seventy branches through out the country.  We work  very closely with three ministerial departments,namely, Education, Social Welfare and Development.  Madam Chair person what I have to say, I am an ordinary voice.  In the audience you find the people who are the hands, the feet and faces. The full text of our submission from where my presentation this afternoon  comes has already been submitted to the commission.Accordingly , I make the following presentation.



Commissioner Jow:    Christiana, thank you very much for your presentation which you have made on behalf of FAWE. Really you have not given all  due  explanation but you have said that all the things that you have read are in the paper.  We also thank you for sharing with the TRC  surveys conducted by your organisation and for your recommendations.This time I will ask commissioners to ask questions for clarifications.

Bishop Humper:    Sister Thorpe I want on behalf of the commission to express our profound gratitude to you for this great day.  I have one main question but it is to be drawn within a context.  I do not know  whether you clearly and deliberately thought out  the date of the founding of this vision FAWE or was it a coincidence ? But you may recall by now that on the 23rd March 1991 according to the record, the decade long conflict that assumed monstrous dimensions began in this country.  Precisely four years after the 23rd March 1995 this institution was founded. If  you have never thought about the significance of that day for Sierra Leone;then better do note its significance .  But I want to commend you on behalf of the commission for this presentation in particular the recommendations.  Here we have a total of twenty recommendations. Your own presentation enforces our conviction that the commission work of healing and reconciliation, had already begun even before the commission was established.  Many people move on to the wrong motion that the implementation of TRC work is a future endeavour awaiting its eventual realization.  But your  various programmes focusing on education, scholarship and training in skills and education indeed embrace the commission’s  understanding of  real reconciliation and hope for our country.  Furthermore your collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Development and Economic Planning and social Welfare Gender and children affairs has further served to increase our conviction that TRC will succeed in this country ; because there are many NGOs who will carry out the commission  the recommendation of our report sequel to the expiry of our temporal mandate.My one question against this background is:How can your organization help to have establish NGOs support network in your areas of operation or community supportive network so as to carry out the process of healing and reconciliation  ?

Ms. Thorpe:    Thank you Mr. Chairman.  The  issue of networking is an integral aspect of civil society practice today. As a normal process we work in collaboration with NGOs on the ground.  Each branch of our organization is inextricably linked  not just to other branches, but as well to other civil society organisations within the immediate area of operation.  And this is the reason I think for our success in working with IRC in Kenema and other grassroots initiatives with other organizations in Kissy.  So, I want to assure you that network is there,the outreach is there. What we lack is the means of funds.

Prof. Kamara:    Thank you very much . May I join our chairman to thank you for coming to us this afternoon and giving us a very good paper and also to commend you for the work you have already accomplished.  There is no doubt that the focus of your organization is very important.  Of course , the education of women  is are going to be the hope this country especially when the women succeed in acquiring fifty percent and not fifty two percent, which they represent in the population.  I have many questions to ask, but I want to make an observation.  First of all, you are very interested in the education of the girl child whether it is a girl mother or otherwise. You aware of the existence of street children in this country.  And I am sure those children are not all boys. So,  what are you doing, to address that problem; that is, how much are you seeking the partnership of other institutions to carry out survey in order to establish to true position of the problem with  regard to street children or girls in the street ?

Ms. Thorpe:    Thank you Mr. Commissioner;three of the  surveys we gave you in our submission are in collaboration with UNICEF, on street children in Freetown. And one of the mandate of each of our branches for our regular programme is that we work on girls of  primary school age and get them go to school.We go through the streets and market places to locate them and get them go to school. During the course of the year, our members go out locating them and talking to their parents.  And these children are recruited in September into our schools.  So our primary schools are mainly seventy to eight percent for children that we go after and bring in.

Bishop Humper:    Are you saying that most of the street children have parents and  are not orphans  ?

Ms. Thorpe:    Yes,a bit may be orphans. But those ones they have like in Kroobay, they have parents that are still very much around. Some of the parents cannot afford to take care of the needs of their children andthey allow them to roam the streets.  In Dowarzack ,on the other hand they go to the market places to sell.  These are the  children who  sale chewing gun and what ever along the roads.  Some of them do not have anybody ;but some of them are simply abandoned to the  street.

Bishop Humper:    Yes, I am also interested in your perspective or theory or idea concerning  youth  violence .  And I am thinking here in terms of our normal situation.The worst and the most dangerous  situation which you have identified has been the increasing violence among the youth.  Is  this a situation we think will continue ?Is it not come and gone ? And what is to be done to control the violence or prevent youth from developing a violent attitude ?

Ms. Thorpe:    Mr. Commissioner allow me to disagree with you that violence is gone.  I will say that the war type of violence is gone but violence is very much here and real.  The war lasted for ten years.  So, it means that any child that is ten years old, today does not know anything about peace.  It also means that most of our teenagers up to twenty   would have been about ten when the war started;with all the manner of violence that attended it.  So, we would be talking about people who are twenty to twenty five not knowing  any thing about peace .Therefore  I would say that the war violence is gone ;but there is still a whole lot of violence on the ground. The young people are hungry.  There are  several sources of violence that are very much around.  And if strategies are not putting in place to control or prevent explosion; the violence will erupt in different ways as we see in the schools, at home  and so forth.

Bishop  Humper:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner  Torto: Thank you very much Madam Chair for coming to the commission this afternoon. I must congratulate you and your staff for coming up with FAWE. There are several grey areas; but I really do not have any question based on what I have read or heard.  I just want a clarification on of the item you have mentioned on page 15 under legal reform.  And if I may read: That UNAMSIL personnel stop encouraging school girls in the commercial sex trade especially in Freetown, Lungi, Port Loko and Kenema. It shocks me  as I read it.  Now, my area of clarification; is this just from the fact that UNAMSIL staff has diplomatic immunity ? What is the result  and impact of this reality in most of the towns where it happens ?  Because for you to actually recommend what you have clearly underscores the seriousness of the situation.  And now in respect of the temporary stay of UNAMSIL staff in the country,what are the  legal  routes and weaknesses concerning the situation.  If you can remember, what I actually happened in some of the cases; did the  cases go to court and if they did what happened ?

Ms. Thorpe:    Yes Sir, Mr. Commissioner I will take this case or  two. We have a particular case in our provincial town, where the UNAMSIL personnel was repatriated as the case was going on.  So, that was the end of it.  I mean they would have not done anything like that . But what prompted this, is the growing number of young girls in this town that are getting involved with UNAMSIL personnel.  Parents send out these  girls for dollars. I am speaking specifically of let me not name the places; but in Freetown and across the water here  , we have these girls who are really  ready to be used and abused. Be that as it may, there are branches of our organization that  are working on them. And we are considering when to begin to call names of those involved as well as take very strong action.This is   because at the end of the day, we are left to take up the broking pieces.  You know that these UNAMSIL staff relationships with our girls apart from other consequences, sometimes result in unwanted pregnancies .  Six months and we are left with the children here.   And there they come Sierra Leonean girls and women and children and  disturbing the development of our nation.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you Founder Chair for your presentation. I just want to know  whether for the benefit of listeners here you would tell us a bit about your Training for Peace.

Ms. Thorpe:    The humble beginning of the programme  goes back to the refugee  days in Guinea, when  there was much discussion on the way forward for Sierra Leone. Accordingly,when we came back in June or  July  of 1998 mechanisms began to be set in motion.  By August  of the same year, we did the survey in the four regions. FAWE focuses on women for peace; because we know that women are peace makers.  And we went to see how the women would bring about peace.  What came out of that was that there was a mediation network and the rest is now history. Now ,for the cultivation of  a culture of peace, our focus is on education and therefore on our schools system. And together with Plan International we are piloting in the Moyamba chiefdom.  And most of our branches are involved in the daily work  in the communities as well as in the schools .While we appreciate the significance of the involvement of the Ministry of Education  through appropriate development and teaching of the curriculum for peace ; we however , appreciate that only about forty-five to fifty percent of our children are within the  schools .  It means we have another forty five or fifty percent out of school. Therefore, we are working at school-based as well as community-based Peace Training initiatives. So that peace will come to everybody whether you are  in and out of the schools system.

Commissioner Sooka: Thank you Ms. Thorpe  for your very the very insightful submission of the FAWE as well as for the many initiatives of the FAWE the policy implications and recommendations of which I hope would be given serious attention.Of much significance is the fact of the predicament of rape victims. The question of the reintegration of rape victims into their families is very important. The way things are now, there is it appears an imposition of guilt upon the girls. And guilt feelings are dangerous. But things are now being made to look as if the girls were responsible for the rape and therefore whatever be their fate serves them right. On the contrary, these girl were raped and even sometimes gang-raped , sometimes forced into pregnancy and therefore, made to bear children totally unprepared. Therefore, everybody, particularly their families should understand that these victims need reintegration and acceptance and not rejection. The families need to get active about their basic needs: They also need love as well as want to pursue education or learn a skill as well as get medical attention. So , that area is very clear  my question however, concerns numbers because while you talk  2000 cases,the minister talks about 64,000 cases. So how do we reconcile this for the avoidance of doubts?Then there is this issue about how to carry out  campaign concerning the reintegration of these rape victims.

Ms. Thorpe:    Thank you Madam Commissioner.  I can speak with accuracy for the numbers that FAWE provided and in this respect, the two thousand is for the Western Area.  The seven thousand that we actually worked with is in the provinces. However, we understand clearly, that we are only one NGO among others that are  involved in these initiatives using various approaches. Therefore, if you can multiply seven thousand times number of NGOs; that will give you a little close to what the Minister is saying. So, that is what I know about the numbers.  And to address your second issue about  how I think that more publicity work is to be done. There is a video cassette that we have that is called “Witness To Me”. I think if that video is made available through out the country so many people who are in darkness will see the light.  The video which brings to light what happened will go along way to making the victims free from the bondage in which they have found themselves and guilt would no longer be their lot but that of the perpetrators as well as the families that have failed in the reintegration duty .
Leader of Evidence: Ms. Martien Scottsman

Ms. Scottsman:    Thank you Chairperson . I have one question and I do not know if you have the answer to this question.  A number of victims in their testimony  before this commission said that sexual violence was random; that they took place on large scale and that only few women or girls were spared.  On  the other hand, the commission has some perpetrators who though they accept  that sexual violence took place systematically; but they however said that this sexual violence was not  based on order, therefore, it was not policy. So, there  is an acceptance that it took place, the issue now is whether it was sequel to a command by the higher level of command; but then they say it was not order. So, I want to know  your opinion: Was this sexual violence just path of the gender violence during the conflict, was it some like looting property ?  You also loot, the women and the girls you use them? Or on the other hand was it something deliberate to destroy the future of the country through the women and the girls or to contaminate the women fabric in order to destroy traditional value or to destroy the social fabric?

Ms. Thorpe:    I think is a big mistake for anybody to say after the magnitude and regularity of the crime that Sexual violence or rape during the period under review was not order. Every  violence that was committed must have been learnt or spoken up at some stage.  They must have had meetings where they  carried out assessment of activities and they had camps  and all that. Though I cannot even answer directly but it will be very difficult to see how it was not path of the  campaign of systematic destruction.  I mean just like the others like amputation and burning down of towns and villages. In addition, within the Sierra Leone culture I mean every boy and every man knows that sleeping with a woman that is not your woman is not acceptable  and ,therefore to do this by violence  is something worse than anathema.  So, I find it hard to understand them when they say it was not according to a plan . And if there was no plan as they want us to  accept how come they looked the other way when the crime happened on a continuous basis. There may have been some elements that somehow popped up. But there was certainly some form of order.

Ms. Scottsman:    We say thank you very much for your presentation and for the way and manner, in which you have answered that question. I am not going to ask you for any recommendations ;you have already done that in your submission and in the testimony here. But is there anything you want to tell us, is there anything you want to say to TRC?

Ms. Thorpe:    Yes Madam Chairperson; thank you very much. I want through the TRC to say something to the nation.  The temporal mandate of the   TRC will be gone shortly.  I think that for peace to come in Sierra Leone another commission needs to come that will be called YMC,which means You and Me Commission.  The You and Me Commission I am talking about concerns every  Sierra Leonean man, woman and child .We were here from 1960 to 1990, before the war came we were and we know  about what led to what happened that you are looking at now.  Soon  your  mandate will expire  and we are going to be the ones to carry on the implementation or whatever.  And my message to Sierra Leoneans if the You and Me Commission comes after the TRC will not just be that rape is bad;but also what caused the rape ?  What made the people to go into the bush?  Then we have much address and that is the corruption.  Why do I say You and Me?  We the Sierra Leoneans, were and still are the ones who caused and still cause all the problems.To convey correctly what I mean there no English word for it.  In krio they say: Yekisi, dakujako rataruhu-You use what you have to get what you want. The correction that is needed is some how in each and everyone of us.  And if this peace is going to come; if we are going to make it happen. Then, you and I –Sierra Leoneans  are the ones who are going to make this peace to come and then sustain it. So, to begin let me ask myself what is the corrupt element in me.  Let me start by addressing and pointing finger at you.  If each and everyone of us addresses the corrupt element in each other.I first of all and then in the other.  Then we shall have peace.So,my message is that, the You and Me Commission for Sierra Leone after the TRC is what we are going to have in order to bring peace to this country.  Let us put corruption aside and start rebuilding our country.  Thank you

Ms.Scottsman:    Madam Thorpe, thank you very much for this very strong message which you have sent to all Sierra Leoneans.  The commissioners are very much aware of what you are saying.  And the chairman and all of us have said it over and over again especially during our tour to the districts: That the TRC is here to facilitate the process of reconciliation, healing, peace etc. And once the commission’s mandate expires, it is for the YMC to ensure the basic Reconciliation is sustained.  

2ND WITNESS – Mrs. Jennifer Nowrage

Mrs. Nowrage:    My name is Mrs. Jennifer Nowrage. I represent coalition for women’s human rights in conflict situation.  We work with lawyers and women rights activists who come together from different non-governmental organisation to ensure that crime against women and conflict are not ignored.  I work for an organisation for women rights watch and we are responsible for releasing a report in terms of those who do crime in sexual violence in Sierra Leone; and then, we help witnesses.  

Commissioner Torto: We say once again that we thank you for coming. We have your very detailed submission; but I want you to summarise this for us as briefly as you can.

Mrs. Nowrage:    It is obvious that time is too late for the presentation of our submission and I will want to be very brief because I know that the day is already very far spent ;yet I have to underscore a few key points to you commissioners.
I thank you for allowing me to testify and especially this late time in the evening.  I know every one is tired, I appreciate that.

Commissioner  Torto: Jennifer, we thank you for your presentation made on behalf of the Coalition on Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situation.  The position of your group is very clear.  And we appreciate the tremendous work you have done to produce this document.  And we also acknowledge for our public hearings that Jennifer is a member of a team sent by UNICEF to provide training for the commissioners and the senior staff of TRC.The commission is really delighted to know that we are not alone.  We have the support of national and international NGOs and other institutions. And all of them are helping to make our mandate work.  I would like my fellow commissioners to ask you a few questions perhaps to clarify  certain issues raised.

Ms.Scottsman:    We want to thank you for coming here to present this kind of paper and; by the way you have helped to make this particular gathering here today possible.The two things which I will like to discuss about is the question of systematic nature of these crimes.Your comment is relevant in terms of the research access that you have and secondly, the peace keepers and this is related to the comment that was made by the last presenter for FAWE. So, while it is a fact that certain people are contributing to peace  keeping and to ensure the return of normalcy; there is now the conflicting reality in view of what is happening between peace keeping operation and accountability. In the first instance, we  have to talk about the way bad things were done to women and whether it was deliberate or fortuitous vis-à-vis the current state. This whole question of the abduction of women as well as the rape and abuse of women needs to be critically examined iand in line with the dictates and interpretations and nuances of international law. For example, you are a commander of a group of fighting  men and  may be  ,let us say for the purposes of argument that you did not send your men to do sexual violence to any one; but you were the one who instructed the soldiers that were under your supervision to  go and capture women. And then you see them doing bad things to thing to these women and you do  nothing and you have the power to punish them. Following the law, you are worse than any accomplice because you did not say or do   anything to put a stop to the cruelty while it was going on .Worse still when you had the power  and/ or gave the command in the very first instance for the abduction of women. And coming to the second issue of Peace Keepers one has to agree with Christiana Thorpe that the international intervention  is  very useful; it does not mean that we should turn our eye to abuses that are  committed by them.  And we should be fair to hold them up to standard. We, women and girls, can be safe from rape and sexual exploitation from them.  We are not undermining the peace process by doing it.  We are in fact helping the peace process by doing that.

Commissioner Jow: Any more questions or comments from commissioners? I do not have a question; but I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your organization for the work you are doing with regard to the status and rights of Women and Girls. Thank you.

Mrs. Nowrage:    Thank you too.

Thematic and Institutional  Hearings

Name of WITNESS –Mrs. Nenneh Binta Barrie,

Commissioner  Jow:    Madam chair person, our 2nd to last witness for today
is Mrs. Nenneh Binta Barrie, the Centre for Victims of Torture.  So for  our records,  can you tell us your name and the institution you are representing?

Mrs. Barrie:    I am Nenneh Bointa Barrie, from the Centre for Victims of Torture (CVT).

Commissioner Jow:    Nenneh, we would like to take the Oath.  We ask your religious affiliation?

Mrs. Barrie:    Muslim.

Commissioner Jow:    Can you take the Holy Koran and repeat after me?
The Oath is taken.

Nenneh: thank you very much for coming to represent your organization the CVT.And it is a pity that  you were not  able to establish a working  relationship with us in the early days of the TRC. I  still remember  with gratitude in this respect that a group organized a workshop for Trauma Counseling for the Commissioners and the staff.  So, we are very happy to have you here with us and I would like without taking  much of your time to allow you to make your presentation  to us.

Mrs. Barrie:    DONE.
    I am really sorry I did not come with the very comprehensive copy of our submission but I promise to do that later.
    Thank you.

Commissioner Jow:    Thank you very much Binta for that brief but very valuable presentation on the services you are providing to victims whom most people are not really aware of. You know that these are the victims who are not  obvious.  Because they do not have any chopped-off limbs. But deep down, they have the psychological problems.  And we are happy that the Centre like yours, is really attending to their needs.  The second thing I would like to say, we would like to have a written document and  perhaps files for our records.  Because we cannot go back on that.

Mrs. Barrie:    You will get that, I have already made a  promise in that respect.

Commissioner Jow:    And you also made mention of a Mental Health Survey which you have conducted. I do not know, since the results are not out yet, when do you expect them?

Mrs. Barrie:    Next week.

Commissioner Jow:    Is it a nation wide survey?

Mrs. Barrie:    We are presently in Kono.

Commissioner Jow:    Anyway, we should be interested in the result of the Survey.Fellow Commissioners, we now invite your questions to  the witness.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you Chairperson, I have no questions.

Commissioner Jow:    Chairman, Bishop Humper?

Bishop Humper:    Nenneh, did you say you have five internationals who are helping the nationals in training them to handle the programme?

Mrs. Barrie:    Yes.

Bishop Humper:    How many Centres do you have in the country?

Mrs. Barrie:    Now we have one Centre, one Permanent Centre and three mobile  centres.  The PSA is going round the villages and doing some assessment as well as the community sensitization on the effect of the psychological defectors of the conflict.  So far now we just have one permanent centre and three mobile centres.

Bishop Humper:    How do you categorize victims of torture?

Mrs. Barrie:    Okay, according to the mandate of CVT, when we started first in Guinea, we only worked with victims, but not perpetrators, for example, like ex-combatants of course,though we were working with child ex-soldiers because we found out that they themselves are victims because the reason for that. Sometimes, it is very difficult, eg a rape victim to come to you for psychological assistance at the same time,while seeing the perpetrators also coming to the same person for assistance.  Because of this we assure them of strict confidentiality which is the strongest principle of what we were doing.  In Sierra Leone here, we work with both perpetrators and also the victims because here we are in the  process of rebuilding and reintegrating.  So,now we cannot distinguish  this people.  First of all the ex-combatants as I have said are also victims.They too need some psychological assistance.  And by  helping them to talk about what they have done and  giving assistance, we found out that the burden of guilt.And this guilt feeling as  a destructive force equally needs to go away.Now, in view of this, we are helping both perpetrators and also the victims.

Bishop Humper:    Thank you.

Commissioner Jow:    Commissioner Prof. Kamara?

Prof. Kamara:    Thank you Madam, Mrs Barrie, I think, I myself have not got substantive question; but you said, this your organization CVT was established only in 1999 in Western Area, and you came to Sierra Leone when, the same year or ?

Mrs. Barrie:    I came to sierra Leone this year.  I was sent to South Africa for training; so, after the training I came last month anyway.

Prof. Kamara:    So, you have not done more than a few months?

Mrs. Barrie:    We are new but we have PSA’s who have been here, I think since the year 2001

Prof. Kamara:    They had been here since 2001. Now I am asking this question because I want to know what relationship exist between CVT and our Commission. Because certainly we could  refer some our witnesses and people that we meet to the CVT. So, this is really the reason why I have been asking this question. But I am sure, I mean our Leader of Evidence, will be interested in the same thinking apart from that, I have no question to ask you.  We thank you for coming and letting us know of your existence and what you are doing and we hope that we can hitch up better and more permanent relationship now that we know you exist, thank you.

Mrs. Barrie:    Thank you.

Commissioner Jow:    Commissioner Justice Marcus Jones any questions?

Justice Marcus Jones:    Thank you very much Mrs. Barrie, I was not here when you started, is this the CVT of  Tengbeh Town?

Mrs. Barrie:    Yes Ma.

Justice Marcus Jones:    We did have a session at the very beginning with CVT; we went there for a Court, before we actually started. So, I we appreciated that very much, I have no question. I just want to thank you very much for coming.  And may be we will happen to go there later.

Mrs. Barrie:    Ok; you are welcome.

Commissioner Jow:    After Commissioner Yasmin Sooka may have made a few comments I would want to pass on to the Leader of Evidence if are  there questions.

Commissioner Sooka:    Madam Chairperson, indeed we have already established a context within the TRC for the Centre for victims of torture and we have already  a considerable number of witnesses in the Districts where you work with your organization; we thank you very much for that help.  Indeed in the beginning of our Hearings, we were hoping that some of you International Psychologists will give us some more indepth analytical systems. But I now understand that they were all very, very much involved in the work in the field and were not available to give a more than occasional assistance to the TRC. Thank you very much. But I think your organization has experience on Trauma Counselling.This is important, especially in regard to experiences in Sierra Leone since 1999. So, I hope that when you send this  your submission that it will also explain to us how many people have you provided counselling to and which different categories: children, adults, how many ex-combatants, how many victims, what kind of victims and in the submission you will explain to us the consequences, that is, the psychological consequences of the different kinds of crimes on the different categories of victims.  And I also hope that in your Submission you will make some recommendations that the TRC could or that you would make some suggestions or recommendations that the TRC could make to the government on Psycho Social Counselling for victims and ex-combatants in Sierra Leone.  Perhaps one question that is also intriguing me is: Do  you think that the fact of a victim  being traumatized prevents the person from really appreciating any aid, that you see that the person is  receiving and instead creates a feeling of permanent dissatisfaction. Put differently, it doesn’t allow the person to see  and to use the help that the person receives to build up a better future.  Do you have any opinion on this?

Mrs. Barrie:    Yes, we have the stages of treatments.  At first, we try to build relationship with this person.  The second stage is that which we call the Storming stage.Here, we help this person  to really be aware of what has happen to him/her and  how it can be handled by trying to normalize the situation and their feelings.  And the final stage is the Recovery stage by rebuilding their future.  This is focused on the psychological because the CVT does not give direct material benefit after the treatment. What happens is that if the victims come again to the realisation  that, yes they have their own personal strength,then that is the arrival.This is  because generally at the beginning of the  process, what is  found  are mostly persons  that are  hopeless and helpless. They feel so powerless. But the work is done if  after the treatment, they say “Yes, I think I have my own personal strength, I think I can use this to make farmwork, I can use this to take care of my children and so forth”.  But the problem is at the beginning and the needy, while in the field completely powerless, they feel they are nothing, they feel there is nothing they can do about themselves. But after the treatment, they really see. Sometimes they come to us and say:’Look we want to involve in that Income Generating Programmes’. So, that is the time we will refer them to other partners for material assistance, because at CVT we do not provide material assistance, that is not in our mandate. So, actually after the treatment, they themselves will come and say look, we really need some money to do some ,you know activities. I do not know if this answers your question anyway?

Commissioner Sooka:    My major worry is that your Centres  provide Trauma Counselling to a number of people, but the number of victims in Sierra Leone is much higher; so I was wondering if the fact that the several other victims do not receive trauma counseling does not constitute a very considerable obstacle to even exploiting the opportunities that abound for the victims  from other aids programmes?

Mrs. Barrie:    Yes, it is  an extremely difficult situation because for now  I do not know if there are other Trauma Counselling Groups, but for now CVT is considered to be the expert. And like for Kailahum, we have four sites, we have a site each at Pendembu, Boidu, Koidu and Kailahum Town itself.  But sometimes, you know after sensitization,people welcome this assistance. But here we do not have enough man power for that especially the trained PSA’s.  So, we find out that it is a big problem.  And at the same time, the Head Offices asking us for, I think ,each PSA to treat 40 client or see 40 clients and more.  And sometimes, we plan our treatment for 12 units. So, if we receive, one (1) patient for twelve (12)units;where each unit comes with its own specific time calculations,then what time will you have to treat the other people.  That issue of number and counseling is  the most difficult thing, but we hope to continue as CVT is training the nationals and perhaps professionals and I believe that even after the experts shall have gone, we will continue to help our people.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Jow:    Thank you.

Commissioner Jow:     Madam Barrie, once again, we thank you for coming.  We thank you for your Presentation, and for all the answers, you have provided to our questions. Like we do with all other witnesses, before you step down, do you have anything else that you want to tell the Commission?

Mrs. Barrie:    Yes, the only thing I am thinking of is to on behalf of my Programme to extend our gratitude to the TRC because you have helped us a lot. We found out that most who are coming to us for assistance have already wiped off that guilt because in dealing with this Trauma, the most difficult aspect is the guilt, how can you handle the guilt.And a lot of this positive development is due to the work of the TRC.People now find the situation easier to handle. And also the referrals in Kenema and other areas. There are even people from the TRC who are also getting support from the CVT.  It is very interesting and we hope this relationship will continue.  Thank you.

Commissioner Jow:    Binta, thank you very much; but we are still looking forward in receiving your written Submission and any other further material you may have on the CVT and we will really continue as partners with you in your area of expertise.  Thank you very much.

Mrs. Barrie:    Thank you.

Commissioner Jow:    You may now step down Binta.  Can we have I hope the final witness for today

Commissioner Jow:    Thank you very much, can we sit down now?  Is there any programme for you now?

Bishop Humper:    For now

Commissioner Jow:    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission welcomes you all to this special event, the Thematic Hearings on Women.  But before we go into the programme, I would like to introduce the Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation commission who since their inauguration in July 2002 have been working very very hard in collaboration with their partners, national and international to achieve the mandate of the TRC. For this particular session, I am the Presiding Commissioner, Commissioner Satang Jow, from the Gambia and I am one of the  three international Commissioners of the Commission. On my  far left, we have Commissioner Yasmin Sooka, from south Africa, a one time Commissioner of the TRC in South Africa.  Next to me, on my left we have the renowned Sierra Leonean woman by the name of Justice Laura Marcus Jones, a Sierra Leonean. On my right, we have the chair person of the Commission, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Joseph C. Humper. Next to Bishop Humper we have Commissioner  Professor John Kamara, also a renowned Sierra Leonean and last but not the least; we have Commissioner Sylvanus Torto.   So these are your Commissioners and we are delighted to know that out of seven Commissioners, three of us are female.  It is not quite fifty-fifty but it’s very close to fifty-fifty.  The TRC is delighted that various women groups and organizations have turned out in full force to express their solidarity and support not only to the TRC but to the cause of our women folk.  We also acknowledge the support given to the TRC by regional and international organizations that deal with women’s issues.  Some of them have travelled from very far to join us on this very special occasion and the TRC would like to acknowledge your presence.  We cannot name all of you but all of them are here with us today.  I think by now we are aware what the mandate of the TRC is, the TRC has to compile an accurate report of what happened not only to Sierra Leoneans during the conflict but to women and girls during the conflict.  In addition, the Commission’s mandate requires that it make recommendations.  We all know that for too long women and girls in Sierra Leone and other developing countries have suffered in silence, they have suffered gross violations quietly, the TRC in Sierra Leone now provides some opportunity to have the voices of these women and girls heard in print, on radio or television, on the internet, on all forms of communications available in the modern world.  It may please you to note that the TRC had collected written testimonies from women and girls all over the country, in all the districts, in the chiefdoms, in the villages and, the commission therefore has had the opportunity to get first hand information or first hand data about violations.  The hearings we are having today, the thematic hearing on women which will run up to Saturday will provide another platform for selected girls, selected women witnesses to share their experiences with the public.  The girls I am talking about who are going to testify after the introduction and the opening ceremony are special witnesses whose identity we need to protect and so you will only hear their voices from behind the screen but you will not see them in person and I think what is important is that their voices be heard and at the same time we take the necessary measures to protect their identity.  In order to obtain the comprehensive information then we need for our reports the Commission will also received submissions from NGO’s from groups, from institutions both national and international.  And as I have said these are NGO’s and groups who have worked with women around gender based violence and other violations before, during or after the conflict.  We have rules governing our hearings but some of you are coming here for the first time, and I would like to remind you what some of these rules are.  As I have said our witnesses are VIPs. They are very special to us; they have given us very vital information not only for the report but for the good of this country, for the sustainable peace we are all talking about. Therefore, I urge the audience here to treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve.  We will be listening to their testimonies but according to the rules governing our hearings, we are not expected to participate verbally, you can listen attentively but we cannot participate verbally, we cannot clap, we should not boo them and as I have said we listen and give them all the attention they deserve.  So, on this short introductory note, once again I would welcome the Honourable Minister who is a very busy lady but because of her particular portfolio and her solidarity with the women folk, she has given some of her precious time to be here with us today.  So, on that note I would like to invite the honourable minister to declare the thematic hearings for women and girls open at this YWCA hall this morning.  Thank you very much.

Honourable Gbujama: I believe it is necessary for me to speak in Krio.  I do not know, but let me say part of it in English, I thank the Commissioners first of all for inviting me here to speak on Women: Pre conflict, Conflict and Post conflict. Before I declare the session open, I will say a few words on that and say in krio when it is necessary to say it.  Let me please read this I think in English as stated.


Commissioner Jow:    Honourable Minister, the Commission would like to say thank you very much for that comprehensive and well-presented submission.  You have explained very clearly the condition of women and girls during the conflict, before and after the war.  We have also taken note of the laudable recommendations you have made to improve the condition of women and the girl child.  The Commission would be further grateful to you if you give us more of your time so that we can ask questions based on submission or on other issues, which may fall within the mandate of your ministry.  The Commissioners will pose questions, the leader of evidence facing me will also pose a few questions and then before you step down we will have you give us your final word concerning our mandate.  Fellow Commissioners, the floor is now yours for questions or issues of clarification.   May we have the chairperson of the Commission, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Humper.

Bishop Humper:    Honourable minister, we want to thank you for this wonderful presentation and for starting the day for us on a very good footing.  I am going to quote a few sentences from your presentation, precisely on page four (4) and then talk in general before my colleagues come to take some look at the document you have presented to us here.  On page four (4) you said and rightly so, that the issue of good manners, discipline, self respect, respect for elders and fear of God, etiquette and good education and vocational training was once the order of the day and norm in society.  And the following paragraph and succeeding ones tried to amplify why that happened  in the society at that particular point in time.  I want in my own little way to put this historical context.  As soon as I read that portion of your presentation I went back to my history book to talk about 1787 to 1991, precisely April 27th 1961 that is 1787 to 1961.  I will ask a question for clarification based on this other historical contact 1960 to 1966.  And you have another block of history called 1967 to 1992.  Then 1992 to 1996.  1997 to the present.  And the present in my understanding, the question you are posing and which the Commission is trying to grapple with is simply this, what does the future hold for our young girls and women in this country and our mothers.

Honourable minister, from politics – historical perspective  would you agree with me that the foundation for the socio-economic demise of our women and girls was laid between the period 1960 and 1966?  An amplification of  that is simply that prior to independence, in 1960, in October of 1960 an opposition emerged which continued to have a powerful pulse in this nation. That is the context in which I am asking this question and I have placed that historical block for you to see whether or not the foundation for  the demise of our girls did not emanate from that period?

Honourable Gbujama: The way I see it is that obviously for problems to have sprung up in 1967 to 1973; there must have been some germination in the period that you are talking about previous to that.

Bishop:    Thank you very much honourable minister, some of us love history and nothing in this country has happened by chance. It has come as a result of something else.  My last question and the Commissioners will take over is, what was the role of our parents during the period 1967 to the 80s and 90s, the role of parents, our elders after you have mentioned those ‘Tangains days’, the good old days, what was their role during this period which militated against the development of our girls and women today?

Honourable Gbujama: Post independence, is that what you are saying Sir?

Bishop:    Yes correct.

Honourable Gbujama:    The post independence period I would say like I have said in my paper, the parents definitely had a role, there was no doubt about it except that as would I say as children started to be enlightened by the situation around them, the new experiences they were having in the post independent period, things changed and our parents did not seem to have that much control as they had, you know, when we were younger so to speak. Especially when it comes to the situation, the fact that some of them were much involved in the political fabric of the country and they were not may be paying much attention anymore to the children. But definitely this is mainly because most of what was happening was now left to mothers more or less.  And without the economic strengthening of the women at that time because as things got bad it was the women who suffered, she did not have jobs, she could not go to an office and start having a job or anything to be able to bring up the child in the home.  She had to depend on the father and as things got worse and more difficult, it was easier for the children to go astray more than during  the time when these things had not happened.

Bishop Humper:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much minister for coming to the Commission and giving us your submission in person.  I just want us to look at a few issues raised in your submission and others that I will come up with later.  We will look at them collectively.  One,is on the page four (4) of your presentation that is talking about ownership of land by women in certain society; would it not be infringing on traditional practices of those societies that actually opposed this kind of trend concerning what is there for women, do you not you think that this kind of act in a cultural society is tantamount to stepping on their cultural rights?

Honourable Gbujama: I believe that if we want really to ensure that we have the statutory reality that is desired in the development of this nation, there are some traditions that we must break.  I am not saying that they should be done overnight. In fact, they could go gradually, but there is a need for them to go and this is why we are making that kind of suggestion.  I must tell you that sometime ago, I went to the parliament and in a sub-committee spoke to them about these matters. This was, when we were pushing the policy of gender, men’s training and women in development. I remember that some parliamentarians at that time felt very strongly the same way and,asked this kind of question you are now posing.  But in the end we all agreed that these laws or that these traditions and customs must change if we should have a better participation of our women in the fabric of our development in this country.  And it will not happen overnight but it should happen.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you. Let us come to more mundane issues in society. You eloquently stated the issues of sexual abuse of children and women in general, as a ministry are there definitive policies against issues that could provoke those kind of vices like x-rated movies, pornographic materials that influence the growth of children?

Honourable Gbujama: We do not have those laws yet but let me say that we should also take a look at what is happening now . For example you must have heard about the Rainbow Centre at the hospital at Fourah Bay Road that has just been opened. In two months between March and April, there were ninety-one (91) cases of rape in that Rainbow centre, ninety-one cases, I do not believe that the rape of those ninety-one women happened because they were watching any films. It was not initiated by them in a number of cases, infact all the cases.  So, I do not think that has to do with it, but I do agree with you that there is a need for a censor of a kind of the films that our children are watching. And definitely it has come up and we are paying attention to it; although nothing specific has yet been done but definitely it is receiving attention.

Commissioner Torto: Another part of your question is the way our young girl dressed, are moves being made  to actually address the kinds of provocative dresses put on by our young girls ?

Honourable Gbujama: This is a very good question.And in that regard  I have received two delegations in my office on that same matter one from no less a group that the Children’s Forum and another from a group of Muslims and I agree that there may be a need to look into it.  We have looked at the situation and thought about it in connection with the rights of people;that we would we be tampering with their rights if we started to control what they wear. We are thinking about it still. It is something definitely, since it keeps coming up; we must pay some attention to it.

Commissioner Jow:    Thank you very much for these questions; I will now turn to my left to invite the female Commissioner to also ask questions, then I will come back to Professor Kamara.

Justice Marcus Jones: Madam Minister, I would like to thank you very much for your presentation this morning and I noticed that the very first of your recommendations is that the government should take concrete steps to build and strengthened the capacity of your Ministry. Possibly one area in which the government could strengthen your capacity is in the connection with the adoption of children.  Now, during the conflict, we lost a number of our children. They were adopted and taken overseas and in some cases there appeared to be a racket.  And this was being done as they said,’ for the welfare of the children’.  Now, that it is post conflict period, I hope the Ministry, your Ministry will look or will be empowered to examine more carefully the question of adoption; because your ministry and the courts are partners in adoption.  I wonder Madam minister whether you were at any time yourself worried about this dynamics in the adoption of our children?

Honourable Gbujama: First, let me say that I did not realise that you had already the copies of the address that I had presented;but then  you would note that were amendments. For example, I did everything I could  in order to avoid asking the government to do something because this is something that I believe is the joint responsibility of all of us. So, it is not necessarily that the government must strengthen the ministry and, infact that was my last submission.Where I said in a selfish way: I am going to end up with the fact that we want the ministry strengthened to be able to do these things that must be done in strengthening the gender base in post conflict situation.  But having said that let me say that the question of adoption during the conflict period was not necessarily such that it came to our notice or we could do anything about it at that time. But now I am in a position to formally seek the cooperation of the chief immigration officer in the question of girls going out or not necessarily girls, children generally but particularly girls going out of the country without, I mean with people who are not their parents.It is crucial that we should be advised and informed; so that we can clarify and ensure that we know who these people are going with and that they are infact going out properly with these young persons.  We could not do that during the conflict situation. And I agree with you, we heard about adoptions. But we could not confirm some of these adoptions but simply  believed that they were true. And at that time there was not much we could do about it; but definitely it was worrisome, and it was all part of the atrocities that women and girls experienced.

Commissioner Jow:    Thank you Madam commissioner, Commissioner Sooka.

Commissioner Sooka: Thank you Chair, Madam Minister thank you for your submission and clearly you are going to be quite an important partner for us in the question of our recommendations.  Rape has been the Silence crime of the conflict and women of course do not rape themselves.They are usually raped by men and in this particular conflict they have been raped by both men and boys.  Many of them who have come before us infact have said that even though the guilt and the shame should not be theirs, they cannot go back home because their families are embarrassed and often the immediate communities feel shamed by their presence and humiliate them.  The recommendations that you proposed making in terms of changes in law and policy are really commendable. But the reality is that we need an attitudinal change and the attitudinal change need to happen both at the level of men, boys and of course our own societies.  My question and you pointed to the fact that already with the establishment of the Rainbow Centre the number of reported rapes are increasing and usually in post conflict societies, what is a rape in terms of war becomes part almost of an accepted social fabric in our societies and so one really has to step up the effort to deal with attitudes which allow rape and such violations to take place.  I wonder if you have any suggestions on how we and NGOs working in this area can begin to tackle this particular problem because women do not ask to be raped, they are the victims of rape?

Honourable Gbujama: The only way I see that you can participate as far as NGO’s and so on who are concerned is by sensitization. You know, making people know how harmful it is to society for us to have those kinds of people in our midst ;and ensuring that they are shown when caught. I mean in addition to punishment of course, stressing for them to receive the severest punishment and making sure the homes into which the girls must return are prepared to accept them by way of counselling. You know, talking to them and making them aware that is not the fault of the girls or the fault of the women but that they should stand by them.  But I believe the greatest thing we should do is to ensure punishment: Really, really, the worst punishment that we see possible for people who perpetrate rape of women and girls.  I know that there are, I think there is, there are one or two countries in which there have been suggestions of, you know, I think it is life sentence in some cases for that kind of thing. So, I don’t know, may be we can together, I mean with the civil society - NGO’s and so on can help to push this kind of thing and make sure that we are able to give out the severest punishment. But above all to make sure that the people, the women feel and the girls feel comfortable to talk about it, to come forward to give the evidence, to ensure that they can, you know, receive the support from family to be able to give out the evidence that is needed for them for us to identify those who are actually carrying out that kind of thing.

Commissioner  Jow: Thank you. Professor kamara.

Prof. Kamara:    Thank you Madam Chairman. I join my colleagues in thanking you Madam for coming to make this presentation to us.  I am particularly interested in the part that relate to pre-conflict Sierra Leone.  In that part of the paper or presentation, you gave us a summary or a bird’s eye view of the historical perspective of the development or the adoption and development of all those things that affected or caused us to deteriorate and affected the youths including girls in this country.  You referred to the initiation and development of thuggery in country just after independence; then the development or encouragement and development of corruption and the acquisition of wealth and also how politics tend to focus on the retention of power and all these factors help to bring about indiscipline and help mislead the youths in the country and create the kind of situation in which we found ourselves even before 1991 when the war started.  One factor, one important aspect of our mandate is to carry out this diagnosis, to be able to make recommendations that will protect us after this conflict, in the post conflict era, how we can get this country back to normalcy and get our own people again to behave normally.  So, because of this I would like to ask you a few question. Firstly, on the question of thuggery, what do you think should be done, should this country try to use constitutional means, legal means or what kinds of means do you think the country should adopt to stamp out or at least minimise thuggery in the future?

Honourable Gbujama: It has to be through all angles. Definitely there has to be provision in the constitution. There has to be provision for a legal action when it becomes necessary; I mean where somebody violates it and for the courts to be able to take the most, you know, the most needed actions as provided in the laws when those kinds of things happen.  All methods must be employed, we cannot just concentrate as one aspect of it.

Prof. Kamara:    On the question of corruption, I want to ask your own opinion. What do you think should be the treatment of corrupt people, I want particularly your opinion on whether properties seized by the Commission’s of enquiry should be returned to their owners at any time?

Honourable Gbujama: That is a very interesting question.Usually when we talk about corruption, I say to myself it depends on who is looking at it, that is at the particular thing, at the particular time.  But let me say on the question of seizing of property.If the property is returned, what benefit would it bring back to the coffers of the nation at the time or the government at the time.It is not just to return property for the sake, and then you know, it is used by somebody else. That will not answer the question of corruption for me. Rather than returning the property, I should think, may be, property must be allowed to be sold by whoever owns it and that money returned to the coffers of government than just having the property confiscated.    That would be my personal thought on it because strictly speaking it is not the property that is desired, it is infact, the amount of money that has gone into that property which could have been used for the benefit of the nation. It is not necessarily the property; but we should have some kind of redeeming value when we talk about returning of property.  That  is my way of looking at it.

Prof. Kamara:    Okay, the subsidiary question is, it is enough to just seize somebody’s property; somebody who has been proved to be corrupt to seized the property and allow the person to go free?

Honourable Gbujama: I am assuming Sir, that this question is asked of me in my individual capacity.

Prof. Kamara:    I am asking you not in your individual capacity, now you have told us that because this corruption, the culture of sugar-daddy, you know, corrupting the youths of this country came up and it is these people, corrupt people that are going to continue this practice. Something has to be done to stop people from being corrupt and therefore as a Minister of Social Welfare, you should have interest and try to get answers to these problems.

Honourable Gbujama: That would be an enormous task for the ministry. I will tell you why.  Let us assume you have in every ministry or in I mean in society, you have one thousand people who have been corrupt or who have made money in a way, they should not make it and spending that money on young girls, how is the ministry going to be able to stop you know, the way in which that money has been accumulated, except that you are in a position to find out how each one accumulated their money.  That is not an easy task for the ministry to make a straight statement about,. It will have to be done on an individual basis when the person has been discovered to be corrupt.  There are of course broad things that one can do to stop corruption. We have said may be increase of salary will curb corruption;but people will be corrupt if they want to be corrupt.  There are first a thousand ways of stopping corruption for a thousand people.

Prof. Kamara:    Alright, I will not continue asking further questions.

Commissioner Jow:    Honourable minister, we thank you very much for those pertinent answers.We know that you are a very busy woman and your time is very valuable to you. But this  is the TRC process through which all witnesses have to go through.We thank Madam Minister for her patience and her willingness to answer all these questions today. DO you have any questions or recommendations ?

Honourable Gbuiama: Government and its partners should adopt responsive policies that recognise gender equality as a crucial factor in addressing poverty and economic decline.
Women’s greater participation in decision-making     processes     and bodies can allow them to take a powerful stand against the feminisation of poverty.  Possible areas of action include:

The engendering of National budget to gender sensitive resource mobilisation and allocation mechanisms.  This will allow women to receive a fair share of National resources.

The government and it partners should establish a national women’s development fund to be administered by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s affairs. The fund will support advocacy with financial institutions, business skills development, market identification and development, and direct them to women entrepreneurs.

Finally, there is compelling evidence that gender inequality is a contributing factor to HIV/AIDS vulnerability. Inequality precludes access to information, ability to negotiate say for sex, an initiative to protect women’s sexual and reproductive health.  The large number of unaccompanied Peace Keepers and humanitarian workers with money to spend has increased the demand for casual sex and consequently the communisation  of girls and women. The government of Sierra and Humanitarian medical agencies, therefore, to provide reproductive health services for displaced persons and returning refugee populations

Commissioner Jow: Thank you very much Honourable Commissioner. Your recommendations have been noted. You may now step down.




Justice Marcus Jones: Welcome Mrs. Forster.  I think I must thank you publicly, for all the help youhave been giving to the TRC.  Now will you give your name in full?

Mrs. Forster:    I am Jebbeh Forster, Programme Specialist, UNIFEM Sierra Leone

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you.You are here in familiar surroundings; so, please carry on with your presentation.

Mrs. Forster:    Mr. Chairman…

Justice Marcus Jones: And I would ask you if you could do a summary because we have your presentation here.

Mrs. Forster:    Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen, I make this presentation on behalf of UNIFEM; especially the UNIFEM Anglophone West African Regional Office in Lagos, Nigeria.  As you already have a copy of my presentation, I would only give a brief background information on UNIFEM.  UNIFEM and post-conflict Sierra Leone and recommendations.


I thank you for the attention and the opportunity to make this presentation.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you Mrs. Forster, for your very interesting summary of your submission to this commission.  The  Commission will study in detail the different suggestions, recommendations and analysis that you have made in your submission.  We are now going to ask you questions.  The commission will ask questions and then the leader of evidence if he has any.  Commissioner Sooka.

Commissioner Sooka: Thank you Mrs. Forster.  I do not really have a question because I think its very comprehensive and we need to pick up some of the issues with you; but I think the three that are really intriguing are the issues you raised around the presence of peacekeepers and the issue of certain social malaise; also the question of trafficking which is almost related to that; and of course the issue that is being raised in your paper that we need to redefine what we understand by global security and rather not focus it on military options but on issues of human dimensions.  The other area that we certainly would want to pick up with you is this question of women ex-combatants and the fact that you saying in your paper there are treated with hostility and suspicion for breaking both gender and sex roles; I think that is almost fundamental to some of the problems we have to deal with.  So, I am not going to ask you a question but simply to say – I will follow up those issues with you on another occasion.

Prof. Kamara:    Thank you again Mrs. Forster.  I have only one – well, I call it a question but more of an opinion I would like to get from you.  That is in connection with this your effort and all the other organisations that are interested in women in this country; to reduce the poverty of women in this country.  I know that or, if I am, right although you are established in Sierra Leone but you are an international organisation more or less.  Am I correct? But since you are functioning here, you should have an interest in what goes on even at the local level.  So my question is – are you or have you been following this micro credit programme or project and are you satisfied with it?

Mrs. Forster:    Maybe, just to make a few comments before I answer that question.  UNIFEM works in very strategic areas because of the way the organisation is organised and in Sierra Leone we work very closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.  And we have provided the gender consultant for the Ministry to help them establish a functioning gender department and within that department we hope that some of these issues would be addressed.  We cannot directly go and address those issues but we will assist the Ministry to address these issues, through the programme that we are developing with them.

Prof. Kamara:    Well that is what I thought but if you had an interest in it, then you would have been following up what was happening out there.  I asked this question particularly because I have met a few people who have told me that the poverty alleviation is sometimes regarded as poverty acceleration and some people to feel that when these women are given these tiny sums of money with even the interest or what is exerted from it before they receive it and is not enough for them to carryout and I think you even referred to it or somebody else earlier on…

Mrs. Forster:    Yes we discussed it.

Prof. Kamara:    It does not give them the opportunity to make the impact or help them to move out of this rot of poverty; rather it helps them to sink deeper into it.

Mrs. Forster:    The Regional Director for Anglophone West Africa Mrs. Brutegra discussed the issue of Micro Credit with the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs – Mrs. Shirley Gbujama and why micro credit was very crucial in meeting immediate needs of women.  It has not been enough to bring them out of the poverty domain.  They needed something more than just micro credit to move them on to bigger markets, and that is why we are advocating for systematic plan to expose them to greater credit and that will include training and other things.

Prof. Kamara:    All right. You have also proposed here, a fund being established within the Ministry of Social Welfare and Gender affairs; but somebody else, I think it was yesterday, had proposed an exclusive bank for women affairs.  Which one of these do you think is more appropriate?

Mrs. Forster:    If it is the fund you are talking about, it is not necessarily giving money to women but creating an establishment or an institution that will help women to rise above the level of poverty where they find themselves it will take the form of providing the bank for them which will give them more favourable terms to access credit. It will also involve training; it could also involve linking them with international market or regional markets.  It would also involve providing them with information that they need to carry out their current aid.  If for example, we look at the women who are involved in Regional trade. There are certain provisions within the ECOWAS treaties for example, that women do not enjoy, because they do not have that kind of information.  So, they face a lot of difficulties. But if that institution of funding or whatever name they call it exists, it will help to empower women economically by giving them the relevant information, the relevant contacts and opening to them markets within which they can sell the goods that they produce.

Prof. Kamara:    I thank you.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you. Commissioner Sooka?

Commissioner  Sooka: Mrs Forster, we thank for that very comprehensive submission and also for the support UNIFEM – your organisation has given to this commission particularly during the preparation for our hearings; and we want to acknowledge that maybe publicly here.  Now, in page ten of your submission, you have told us how, as a result of the war, a number of women now suffer from a number health related diseases. But you have touched on an area which a number of people do not talk about and that is, how the war and violence perpetrated has affected the mental health of our women. People normally talk about being traumatized; but I think there is more to it as you have said here in some areas that just being traumatised.  I wonder whether you are aware of any study which has been carried out to determine how the violence, how the war has affected the mental of some of our women and girls – in this country ?

Mrs. Forster:    No studies, per se, that  have gone out deliberately to look at these issues. But if you talk to a lot of medical officers, they will tell you that there is an escalation in the prevalence of this thing hypertension.  A lot of people who never suffered from such ailments and they see other diseases that related to stress and some of these unfortunately, we hear just die suddenly. And it is really because of the kind of trauma that they have experienced. But a study – per se, just looking at that has not really been done.

Bishop Humper:    Mrs. Forster, we want to thank you very much for this important and well thought out document that you have presented to the commission.  We have been partners in this process and you have been of immense help to this commission.  I would ask one question.  Although my colleague – Haleyas Bitubitab, we are not sitting together but she lifted that up but I want to lift it up in a different context to see how the commission can be helped in our process as we go from district to district.  How do or can we devise some mechanisms to help the commission, going into a particular district or zone district to see where these women ex-combatants are and could be helped to be reintegrated and accommodated in the exercise ?This will be very crucial for us.  We just returned from Kailahun. Those of us who went  to Kailahun. And this is just one of those issues that came right before us.  Here is this RUF woman ex-combatant.  She lives   there practically as a taboo. They claim that she has been   accepted. But we were able to discern that from the perspective of the community, that she is yet to be fully integrated into this place.  We need this sort of input in order to be able to begin this process even before the commission completes its work. So, if there is any mature idea, any way we can be helped that could be helpful.

Mrs. Forster:    I think in that aspect of the commission’s work;the commission has to look at certain international standard that has been applied in that respect.  I know the normal thing is reintegration and reconciliation. But I think the way it was brought in at international level; there were some people that  perceived that it will be very difficult for them to come back and be reconciled and be reintegrated into their societies and a lot of them were provided with resettlement opportunities.  Unfortunately some these were the most  brutal. But a lot of our experts went for resettlement. And I think that particular standard could also be applied to certain categories of ex-combatants who have found it difficult to be resettled in their places of origin. And I think, the commission should consider that in its work and in its recommendations.

Bishop Humper:    My second contribution is not a question but is coming out of your conclusion.  Where indeed as you said the TRC, cannot undo the past which means that we have  to get to the root causes of the war.  This is endemic in our perceived notions of what had happened in this country.  It, therefore, means that we envision Sierra Leoneans with microscope or a telescope , standing from different corners of this country.  Looking at the issues and the problems that have caused the problems in this country; and depending on the type of microscope or telescope we have, we must have seen one thing or the other.  It, therefore, means that for us to come together and have an acceptable and an accommodating material for both national and international consumption; I am just thinking aloud ,if it will not be in place, for you and the other women who are here and who have been here,  to use your executive power to come together to begin to collect and collate these  recommendations as a sort of working document. So, that when the workshop is ready, the commission’s workshop with you, will have some material that all of us together we can come and have the comprehensive, reiterative and powerful document for the TRC and for our people in this country and international community.  I am just thinking about this, whether that sort of process could be explored by you and other members who are here.  The Executive alone coming together.

Mrs. Forster:    Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for that question and also comment.  I think women in this country have been working assiduously in the past and up to this time present – make that kind of presentation to the government, I remember myself, as an individual I was a refugee in The Gambia and I know that the Women’s Forum- that was as soon as the women got to Banjul. They reconvened the Women’s Forum in The Gambia to Sierra Leone Women’s Forum and a lot of recommendations were made by that body to the government of Sierra Leone. And I think even when they went to Guinea I think the Women’s Forum, partner organisations of the Women’s Forum including FAWE were the ones who started the peace building blocks in providing schools and education for children.  And when we look at the time when cessations there was a breakdown in communication between the countries in the Mano River Union, you may find out that it was women’s groups that kept mediation efforts and connections alive and they were working in the sub-region and I think some of those recommendations are still around; and I think the TRC possibly is the opportunity to re-submit some of recommendations that were made by some of these women’s organisation.  UNIFEM is committed to the coalition of NGOs that have come together to look at TRC and we will be working with them providing financial and also technical support in implementing some of the recommendations that will come from the TRC that are within our mandate.

Justice Marcus Jones: I do not have a question as such but just to thank the commission for the support that it has given to especially the cause of women.  I think the women of Sierra Leone are particularly pleased that with the start of the thematic hearings of women, I think the commission was out there in full force and we are looking to the commission to at least address some of these endemic issues that have been facing women.  We know that some of them are going to be very revolutionary recommendations but we feel that without these revolutionary recommendations, especially as regards the legal status of women; the rights of women under inheritance, and so on, I do not think there will be any sustainable peace in Sierra Leone.  So, we are really entreating the commission to treat those recommendations with seriousness and determination that had been shown by the women.  I want to thank you very much.

Justice Marcus Jones: It is reciprocated.  We thank you for all your support and we can assure that we will treat everything you have said with the utmost seriousness.




LOCATION:    YWCA, Brookfields, Freetown

Leader of Evidence: Mr Chairman   Our Next Witness for today is Mrs Elizabeth Lavalie.

Commissioner Torto: Can we know your name.

Mrs E Lavalie: I am Honourable Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie.

Chairman Commissioner Torto: Muslim or Christian?

Honourable Lavalie:    Christian

    (Administering of Oath)

Chairman Humper: We have before us here a written presentation by you.

Honourable Lavalie:    Yes.

Chairman Humper:     Can you please present the paper since we now have it in writing?

Honourable Lavalie:    Thank you very Much Mr Chairman. To introduce my self am the daughter of the Late Joseph E Tucker a professional dispenser, former deputy speaker of the S/L parliament under the SLPP government; and Vivate E Tucker nee Cole who was a mid-wife and farmer, Niaimagboru babor Chiefdom Bo District. I am the wife of the late Dr Mohamed Lavalie, a Historian by profession and former Lecturer FBC.I am a banker by profession, now Politician and a Member of Parliament. At the start of the war I was a bank Manager at the National Development Bank Freetown and was transferred to head the Kenema branch in Jan 1992 at the height of the rebel war.
Mr Chairman, Commissioners of the TRC, I am greatly honoured today for the opportunity accorded me to deliver a statement at the historic Hearings of The TRC of Sierra Leone. Permit me Mr Chairman, to say that the current effort is yet another important mile-stone in a drive as a nation towards consolidating the hard work; it is a moment of reflection on the things we got wrong, and a moment of rethinking so that these things be put right.  Indeed it is often said that only God and fools do not change As Sierra Leoneans I know that we are no gods and we are also no fools, hence, this is our moment to change, change that must be for the better and not only for the sake of change. This change is to be predicated on a basic lesson of history and we need to have a retrospective insight into our immediate past, evaluate our current situation and use our experience to fashion a peaceful, just, democratic and civilized nation worthy of emulation in the world over .In this connection the present hearings could not have been more timely. They are necessary for stocktaking, for genuine contrition on the part of those who wronged us and for the aggrieved to forgive perpetrators, if our present and future are to be meaningful than our dreaded past.  Mr Chairman I crave your indulgence to allow me to take a thematic approach to this presentation. Prior to the conflict situation, Sierra Leone was experiencing a history of political misrule for decades under various governments. Bad governance, social and political injustice was the order of the day; mismanagement of resources was predominant, unemployment was at its highest, youth were supplied drugs to exhibit violence during elections; the climate of malcontent and discontent engulfed the country.

Mr Chairman, a direct consequence of this economic, political and social injustice was the advent of the dorbor wusu conflict in southern Sierra Leone in the 1980s. But the lessons of the dorbor wusu did not mean anything to those in whom state authority was entrusted and widespread corruption pervaded the society. The armed Conflict in Sierra Leone in March 1991 saw the advent of the war in Sierra Leone. The RUF rebels supported by mercenaries from Burkina Faso and Liberia entered the south-eastern part of Sierra Leone. Properties were destroyed, civilians killed and youth abducted in larger numbers to be recruited into rebel forces. The then Government was either incapable or reluctant to prosecute the war. Phrases like “dis na mendeman war leh den kil dem sef” permeated the city, Freetown, whilst the war raged on and village after village town after town in the eastern and southern part of the country fell under rebel control. Reasons given for the war by RUF was to oust the repressive regime of the APC.

At a mammoth meeting at the State Avenue about a month after the RUF insurgence, President Momoh confessed his government’s inability to prosecute the war. He therefore advised the chiefs and other traditional leaders to organize the civil population into vigilantes to defend their localities.

These local communities were supplied with cartridges for their local guns .The vigilantes were later integrated into the military to help prosecute the war. The method of recruitment left much to be desired and the consequence may have been the birth of an unprofessional national army. At the early stage of the war, it was discovered that senior military officers were in league with the rebels and Charles Taylor, who was then fighting his own rebel war, ousted the Liberian government of Samuel Doe.

On 29th April 1992, the National Provisional Ruling Council (N.P.R.C.) overthrew the corrupt A.P.C Government. Amongst the excuses given for the coup were the non-payment of soldiers' salaries and the lack of political will to prosecute the war. The junta promised to put a speedy end to the war.

But the war still raged on and civilians were killed and abducted, girls were gang-raped and forced to become wives of rebels; vehicles were ambushed and other valuable properties were either looted or destroyed. The civil population seemed to be at the mercy of the rebels. Town and village chiefs were deposed or killed and replaced by rebel representatives. Families were disintegrated and married homes broken. There was total breakdown of cultural and traditional norms. Rebel ideology governed these towns and villages.

In desperation, the civilians organized civil defence structures to defend their towns and villages, their properties and families, and their wives and children. This received the approval of the military regime – the NPRC Government. These civil defence forces teamed up with soldiers. They were instrumental in guiding soldiers through terrain unfamiliar to them. The period of union between the national army and the C.D.F. has been referred to as Phase One of the war.

The coalition of soldiers and CDF was very successful. We saw progress in the war. The rebels were now on the run, surrendering towns and villages to government forces and retreating to neighbouring Liberia. Amnesty was declared by the then Head of State, Captain Valentine Strasser for one month (30 days) in November 1993, so that the rebels can lay down their arms. This was met with civilian protest because they expected the government to prosecute the war to its logical conclusion; they had the advantage over the rebels.

The C.D.F. comprised the following entities

  1. The Tamaboro from Koinadugu District;
  2. The Kamajors from Kenema, Kailahun, Bo, Moyamba, Bonthe and Pujehun Districts;
  3. The Donsos from Kono District;
  4. The Gbethis from Tonkolili and Port Loko Districts;
  5. The Hunters from the Western Area;
  6. The Kapras from Bombali and Kambia Districts, and
  7. The vigilantes from the Youths nationwide.

The C.D.F. were drawn from professional local hunters and warriors who claimed to have mystical powers. They were recruited through the recommendation of their village chiefs, town chiefs, and headmen, in the case of the Western Area. One criterion for recruitment was that they should be of good character in the community. They were then registered and issued identity cards.

These men had the blessing of their community and government. The community contributed through a tax levied on each household. This ranged between Le500 and Le1, 000 per household. During the farming season, the community volunteered labour for absentee farmers who were on missions of defence.

This was a sort of self-defence mechanism adopted by the people of Sierra Leone. The government provided logistical support in the form of cartridges, medicines feeding and transportation.

On 25th December, 1993, the R.U.F. rebels attacked Segbwema in Kailahun District and Nomo Farma in Kenema District and massacred hundreds of unsuspecting civilians who were celebrating the Christmas season. A new turn to the rebel war evolved. We dubbed this, Phase Two.

In this phase, the civilians were targets of both the rebels and soldiers. Rebels claimed that the civilians were disclosing their whereabouts to soldiers and soldiers accused the civilians of being rebel collaborators. This brutality and savagery mainly directed towards civilians generated an unprecedented level of hatred and mistrust among the people. Soldiers were accused of being in league with the rebels to wreck havoc on the civilian population - killing, maiming looting, raping and burning villages. Soldiers were called Sobels (soldier-rebels). The slogan "watch you Neba", meaning, "watch your neighbour" was used to show how the people had lost faith in the soldiers for security. They pressed on the government to provide logistical support for the C.D.F. so that they can continue to defend their land property families. I want to emphasise here that civilians were forced to organize the C.D.F. as an instrument of self-defence and in defence of their families, when they found out that the military government had lost the will to prosecute the war and were then compounding their agony. As the war intensified and it was increasingly more evident that the soldiers who were supposed to protect the civilians were now hand in glove with the rebels, there was the need for the civilians to strengthen the defence of their localities. More men were needed. They looked up to the karmohs who initiated people to acquire mystical powers that the professional hunters and warriors have. A new-breed of C.D.F. was born.

The situation in the country worsened when a loose coalition of elements of the national army, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (A.F.R.C.) and the Revolutionary United Front rebels seized power on 25t" May, 1997 and again on 6t" January 1999 on a mission to shoot their way to power, causing mayhem nationwide. There was spontaneous opposition to the junta rule and a state of civil disobedience existed.

During the junta's oppressive rule in 1997, indiscriminate killing, summary executions, rampant looting, armed robbery, massive destruction of social amenities and countrywide insecurity led to a state of social chaos and anarchy. This era saw the advent of massive amputations.
Whilst we were in exile in the Republic of Guinea, it was reported that the C.D.F. were siding the government of President Tejan Kabbah and were loyal in defending their country. They were putting up strong resistance against the junta in the provinces and working with the ECOMOG troops.

In February 1998 there was an intervention by the ECOMOG troops. The Junta was ousted and the democratically elected Government was restored. There was then a lack of confidence in the Sierra Leone military. ECOMOG, the few loyal troops and the C.D.F. provided security for the country until a new army could be reconstructed.

During November and December of 1998, there were persistent threats of insurgence and it became evident that ECOMOG troops could no longer defend the capital city, Freetown. As if there was a coalition to see the city fall, rebels of R.U.F. and West Side Boys (a group of renegade soldiers that held out in a hill 39 miles outside Freetown), continued to pose a continuous threat to the stability of the country. In all these situations, the C.D.F. always acted as a stabilizing force.

Like President Momoh before him, the ECOMOG General in charge of defence of Freetown confessed he was unable to defend the city and advised us to retreat to our towns and villages and mobilize the C.D.F. to come and retake Freetown, as it was imminent that the city was soon to fall into the hands of the rebels. Again the people turned to the C.D.F. to defend their homeland against anarchy and wanton destruction of life and property.

The C.D.F. were airlifted from various localities into the city and were based at Lungi, Jui and Brookfields Hotel in Freetown. This was because the roads were constantly prone to ambushes by the West Side Boys - remnants of the A.F.R.C.

It was, however, discovered that ECOMOG and the Chief of Defence Staff of the Sierra Leone Military were reluctant to equip the C.D.F. to defend the city. Rather, youths were haphazardly recruited into the military; an act oblivious of the conditions of recruitment agreed upon. These new recruits were not disciplined and included elements of the R.U.F. and the West Side Boys.

Mr Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is therefore not surprising that when the city was attacked on the 6t" of January, 1999, only a couple of ECOMOG soldiers, the O.S.D., a few loyal troops and the C.D.F. were at hand to defend the city.

At this moment, kindly allow me space and time to proffer some suggestions for consideration in mapping the way forward. My intention is not to put forward an exhaustive profile of what needs to be done to redress the misfits in our society. The intent is to give a humble contribution that may be useful in charting the way forward.

Let me start by mentioning Article 28 of the Lome Peace Agreement which states: "Given that women have been particularly victimized during the war, special attention shall be accorded to their needs and potentials in formulating and implementing national rehabilitation, reconstruction and development programmes to enable them to play a central role in the moral, social and physical reconstruction of Sierra Leone".

Expecting the TRC to be more gender sensitive. I thus recommend the following:

  • To equip women with requisite skills for improved participation in all spheres of life.
  • To revisit women's human rights s situation e.g. aspects of the Sierra Leone constitution which discriminate against women especially as regards inheritance, adoption and marriage laws. CRC and CEDAW should be legislated into Sierra Leone law.
  • Address poverty issues with proper law enforcement for defaulters. Micro-credit schemes, skills training and business management are to be instituted nationwide, as part of government's poverty reduction strategy.
  • Education
  • Given that women constitute about 80% of the illiterate adult population, their lot should be improved through civic education, advocacy and lobbying with the appropriate authorities for their needs to be addressed more coherently.
  • Welfare
  • Vulnerable groups such as victims of sexual abuse,
  • Children
  • Commercial sex workers
  • Girl child mothers
  • Street Children

Address the issue of street children, which has become the bane of our society. Children have been orphaned and abandoned. These are very vulnerable and open to abuse. They could be used as slaves, robbers, drug pushers, etc.

Child-care centres, medium/ long term, (in the pattern of SOS children and villages, should be established to address this issue, particularly for children with no families.

Children at these centres will attend school; learn skills until they could be appropriately placed either in Foster Homes, substitute families or as a last resort, for adoption. There should be adequate budgetary allocation to the ministry of social welfare Gender and Children's Affairs to address the welfare issues of the disabled, the aged and amputees.

Further assistance should be given to strengthen NACWAC to help NGOs build up existing childcare centres to take the children off our streets; to economically strengthen foster families and organizations; to institute outreach programmes for recreational facilities for children, in each chiefdom.

To further address the issues of women and youth for participation reconstruction; short-term effective skills training programmes should be instituted in every chiefdom headquarters, so that even the villages can fully participate in development programmes; encourage their involvement in income generating activities e.g. Backyard gardening, farming, production technologies in handicraft.

Establish youth and women cooperatives in every chiefdom. Not forgetting ones in western area. Soft loans should be provided for women and youth who are now household heads to rebuild their homes. This will address the problems of war widows.

Mechanisms should be put in place to give early warning signals so that these could be addressed. The structure of civil intelligence should be strengthened.

Recruitment in the military: There should be a laid down policy, which must be adhered to. This should incorporate the equitable recruitment by geographical area so that personnel from one geographical area do not dominate the military. Paramount chiefs, headmen/women for western area, and community elders should attest to the suitability of recruits as regards behaviour. The military should be professional; i.e., military personnel should be given the opportunity to be specialized - for e.g., army engineers, etc. The military should be disciplined and well equipped.

Nepotism in recruitment should be avoided and the issue of the proliferation of small arms must be addressed.

The borders of Sierra Leone are porous. There is the need for a territorial force to secure the borders. To maintain law and order, the police force must be well equipped and trained. There is also the need to train National (Local) Administration Police Force particularly in chiefdoms without the presence of the regular Police Force.

One of the factors responsible for the deteriorating situation in Sierra Leone was bad governance. Therefore I recommend that democratic governance must be encouraged. Resources for rebuilding social infrastructure must be equitably distributed, and areas of health, education and social welfare are cases in point. The Anti-Corruption Commission should be more effective.

In all this Civil Society of Sierra Leone should act as guarantors of the peace process. Therefore, it should continue to be actively engaged in reinforcing initiatives to enhance the processes of peace, reconciliation and good governance through advocacy campaign, workshops and seminars; sensitisation through electronic and print media, CBOs, National and International NGO's and Inter-Religious Organizations.

As representatives of the people, parliament should uphold the constitution, amend laws that are discriminatory against women and children and promulgate laws that seek to enhance the powers of women in governance; enact legislation into Sierra Leone laws to give effect to treaties, charters and conventions that have been ratified; for example the convention on the Rights of the child, child trafficking (CRC), convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Laws should be enacted to address the issues of the disabled, the aged and amputees, and advocate for Civil Service reforms; ensure equitable distribution of resources through budgetary control to enhance democratic good governance. They should work in close collaboration with the Executive and Judiciary though at the same time is observers concerning the separation of powers.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) should be instrumental in advocating for implementation of the afore-mentioned recommendations. They will go a long way to consolidate the peace. If we are to attain and heal the wounds in moving towards reconciliation, the needs of the victims and perpetrators alike should be addressed.

Taking a clue from earlier gestures, this exercise of reconciliation and peace building will be more meaningful if the C.D.F. and loyal Republic of Sierra Leone military personnel are decorated. This is an instance of reward for their defending the citizens of this country against the mayhem, carnage and merciless brutalisation of the R.U.F. and A.F.R.C. Junta.

May God in His Mercy bring total peace, reconciliation and development to our beloved nation, Sierra Leone.

I am grateful to all of you for your valuable time.

Chairman Humper: Thank you very much Honourable for that detailed presentation. By logical terms two months after the war was launched at Bumaro you said Momoh made this appeal to the people in the country which means the idea existed at the time and it was only developed later on by people in different parts of the country for the Tamboros and other civil defence that was established in different parts of the country.

Honourable Lavalie:    Yes you are correct it originated from that request from President Momoh in 1991.

Chairman Humper: The other area I was pleased with was the way you presented the situation of January 6 1999; but the other information I have about General Khobe not being able to mobilize the ECOMOG forces - I want you to tell me whether I am wrong or confirm it  -because at that time he had already moved out of ECOMOG and was our CDS (Chief of Defence Staff) and therefore had no control over ECOMOG.  So when Shelpidi left his post and went across, there was nobody to give command to any of the ECOMOG forces.  Is that the correct situation?

Honourable Lavalie:    Mr. Chairman that is the correct situation and like I said earlier General Maxwell Khobe was looked upon as a junior and you know in the Army the juniors do not give instruction to seniors so that was why we were in that quagmire because even before the January 6 when Shelpidi left here, instructions to them through General Khobe was not adhered to because I can remember that there was a time when the highway was ambushed and some people were to supply the ones at Murray Town, the PAE, yes they had fallen into ambush earlier on. General Khobe was concerned and was told that the highway area was secure; he had asked the ECOMOG to safeguard it and reported back that it was safe and they had put their soldiers along the highway to safeguard it so it was on that same day that I heard that there was an attack and that PAE vehicle was ambushed. Incidentally the driver of this vehicle was a relative of mine and that was how I got to know about it .So I went to General Khobe and told him.  He had told me earlier on that day that ECOMOG had secured the highway and it was safe for vehicles to go through and yet there was an ambush.   I insisted to him that there was an ambush and it was a PAE vehicle that was involved then he said that I should give him ten minutes and he will call me back; he did and confirmed that I was right. ‘I don’t know what to say’, he said. ‘Whenever I ask these people to help me out they don’t.’  I even asked him about that attack in which the soldier Major Hassan was killed and he said, ‘I don’t have an army’. I said to him, ‘you recruited people into the army against our advice’ and he said he was desperate because the ECOMOG did not take instructions from him.

Chairman Humper: Finally looking at the recommendations I just want to ask, have you got a parliamentary committee for women and gender issues?

Honourable Lavalie:    Yes, we have a parliamentary committee for Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs. We have a parliamentary committee for that.

Chairman Humper: Yes, thank you. Leader of Evidence do you have questions?

Leader of Evidence:    Mrs. Lavalie you said the initial reason for the establishment of the CDF was because the army was too weak to defend the country and that people were motivated to defend themselves and their country from rebels.  I wonder when SLPP came in power after the elections in 1996 and was in power for about a year and then the rebel (RUF) coup took place and then there was the AFRC coup and then another when President Kabbah came to power after the ECOMOG had rejected the junta.  During this time why did they not decide to reform the army to make it stronger and give more training and equipment etc, why did they not decide to integrate some of the members of the CDF into the army then, robust strong men and give them military training so that on the one hand the army could have been stronger and on the other hand the risk of having ninety six thousand troops who did not have any training at all on which the control was quite weak would have been avoided.

Honourable Lavalie:    Mr. Chairman, it may surprise you to note that most of the these men who formed the CDF were not interested in becoming soldiers they only went into the CDF because they wanted to defend their localities; they wanted to help defend their wives, children and property; they were not interested in becoming soldiers they could not stand the rigours and time it takes to train somebody to become a soldier; that was why General Khobe had to recruit or take back those soldiers who had been disloyal; he had to take them back into the Army because it takes time and money train a soldier.  However, some of these CDF who were interested in becoming soldiers are now in the Army as soldiers.

Chairman Humper:    My other question is about reconciliation, you suggested in your recommendations that the CDF should be decorated; on the other hand we heard this morning that Dr. Joe Demby had agreed that some apologies are appropriate for violations that the CDF committed.  Do you think the CDF needs to acknowledge that violations took place and crimes have been committed? I am not saying by everyone and all the time, but would you agree with that?

Honourable Lavalie:    Mr. Chairman, I believe like you said, that anybody who has committed any atrocity in this war has a duty to apologize to the people.  It is a duty that is very personal to the individuals.  I cannot apologize on behalf of the CDF and like you said earlier we have had nobody coming forward to say I did this particular atrocity or a particular violation, it is all generalized.  So if you say to generalize there are some people who would say ‘I fought hard honestly and I defended people’ and you cannot put them under blanket apologies.  You should impose on our people who have wronged the people of Sierra Leone to apologize.   If I may just digress; incidentally I come from the same chiefdom like Victor Foe he is my relative and I want to recall what Joe Demby said here that people in this Commission should be very cautious with the statements made to them because there is a lot of misinformation. People try to twist things on their own side.  I believe that my own brother who is apologizing on behalf of the APC had a lot of apology to do for his people and I believe he should be made to realize that. I had spoken I had pleaded with the people and they are ready to reconcile.  He only had to apologize so an apology should be personal to people and should not be generalized like the amnesty was generalized.  In fact I was not in favour of the general amnesty because I said the Lome Agreement called for no judicial or official action to be taken against the perpetrators; I would have been comfortable with no official actions, then it would have been that the government cannot take action but then if civilians wanted to take action because of wrongs done to them they should be allowed to take that action. So that is why am saying that these people should be made to confess personally of the specific wrongs they had done whether they raped, looted, killed, maimed.  There is a person down there who was raped.  If you know you have to, go to that person and say I am sorry.   For instance, my aunt was put in the house and the house set on fire and she died; nobody has come out to say I killed and burnt the house at No. 24 Sanders Street.  Like I said earlier, nobody has come out to say we planned the death of Dr. Alpha Lavalie.  I believe that is what the Commission should be emphasizing on.  We are all adults and should take responsibility for our actions personally. Even in war some atrocities are committed that were not on the orders of the commanding officers because when it comes to self defence and you are faced with a gun you will find something of equal force to defend yourself.  So that is why I say atrocities have been generalized.  How do we address these wrongs as stated in the Lome Peace Accord, if people do not claim own up to specific wrong doings? How do we address the issues of the victims if the perpetrators do not come out and say I did this to that person so that the person can find it in her soul to forgive that particular individual?

Commissioner:    Thank you very much.  Let me just make one or two statements.  In Moyamba there were perpetrators coming forward to explain what they actually did.  How they were captured, the towns they burnt, and how many people they killed. A man apologized publicly as you have seen on T.V. The fellow was a teacher and he has gone back to teaching; his fellow teachers actually embraced him and accepted him back.  But what was interesting is he really confessed to the towns, villages and the type of offences he carried out, raping and killings.  

This addresses the area of owning up to specific acts. People have come forward from Balu, Boyama and admitted to wrongdoing. A woman was accused of wrong doing by her town mates; we had to actually get the people involved and she reconciled with them openly in Barrah town in the presence of the Regent Chief Lans Lamin and the CPO and the town elders from there. Libations were poured and we had to reconcile this group of people at Moyamba; it was a really interesting and moving ceremony at that time. In Kambia they had reconciled a few people who had confessed to have done certain things but all we can do is arrange for reconciliation. In fact there was a specific case when we were in Kenema.Somebody testified and named your husband; all of them were serving ERECOM is that the name, I think Eastern Region something Civil Defence Force. Their plan was to get the people involved.  The Commissioner here was leading the team; we have our leaders of evidence working on something wherein those people would be met.  In fact one person who was actually working with your late husband in ERECOM had explained this story, but the people they named are out of this country.   Some of the people they named were Tom Nyuma, Colonel something, Idriss Kamara and then at that time we were under the NPRC and most of the people were out, but we are actually planning to meet those people and bring them together in Kenema if they are within the country.  So it may not be happening as much as you want to but it is happening.

Honourable Lavalie:    Well I want to say…

Chairman Humper: Now that you have been kind enough to answer all our questions with a lot of strain, do you have questions for the Commission?

Honourable Lavalie:    Yes, I have put down my recommendations and I expect that at the end of the deliberations, the TRC will also come with their own recommendations.  What mechanism are you going to put in place to see that these recommendations are carried out?

Chairman Humper: The act that was created gives us the power at the end of it all to set up a committee to see that Government implements our recommendations.  So we rely on that, including the fact that the civil society groups will also be monitoring to see to it that our recommendations are implemented.  In addition to the Civil Society now that we have a parliamentary committee on Gender and Children’s Affairs we also count on that body. Those are a few of the mechanisms that I believe would actually implement our recommendations when we shall have completed the hearings.

Honourable Lavalie: This involves a lot of resources, financial and otherwise.  Would you be well equipped financially is there a budgetary allocations for the TRC to see that these recommendations are implemented?

Chairman Humper: Yes, there would be budget I don’t know maybe that is beyond us but our own responsibility is to make recommendations appropriately and it would be left with them to quantify the cost; a few of those things and implement them.  Budgetary aspects are left with you.  What consoles us further is the fact that our report would be laid before the Security Council; you can never tell what they would do, having heard and read those kinds of stories. We are optimistic that it is possible that some philanthropists would say look we have to do something for some of these victims that have been named here and therefore a mechanism for financing should be set up. Apart from that, all we can do is to actually find out what happened, find out the cause and then put our recommendation on paper and pass them on to you.  You here, meaning Parliament.

Honourable Lavalie:    Can I hand over this copy of my presentation because there are some alterations that are not in the other copy?

Chairman Humper: By all means hand it to our staff. Do you have any other recommendations to add to the ones we have on the paper?

Honourable Lavalie:    I would think of something; there are many recommendations I just thought that I did not want to bore you with so many recommendations so I put them in writing and sent them to the Commission.

Chairman Humper: We need as many as you can give us.

Honourable Lavalie:    Thank you very much.

Chairman Humper: If you don’t have anything to add you may stand down.   I want to apologize to Honourable Victor Reida for our inability to really take him on today. This is because we have been sitting since 10.00 a.m. this morning to now. We have not had time to get up even for a few minutes because they told us that there were only two witnesses available. Then all of a sudden they told us you two were around so we want you to please accept our apologies because we are not able to listen to you today .We are very sorry and thank you for your attendance.

We have come to the end of today’s hearing and I want to adjourn the hearing to tomorrow morning at 9.30. I thank you all for coming and listening.

TAPE 12 – W14 Joe Demby VP REP SL

DAY 4     -     19/6/2003
Leader of Evidence   - Mr Chairman may I present you this first witness for today He is Hon Joe Demby Vice president of Sierra Leone.

Chairman Humper: Please give us your name in full for our records.

DR DEMBY: My name is Dr. Albert Joe Edward Demby, son of the Late Paramount Chief Alfred Cenawa Demby of Gerihun, Baoma Chiefdom, and Bo District, in the Southern Region of Sierra Leone.

(The Oath)


Dr. Demby: The general situation in the country started to decline in terms of governance in the early 70s. There was dissatisfaction everywhere in terms of employment, social amenities and political activities, which culminated to a one party rule and Republican Status. Party politics and party affiliation gave people all the advantages to live a comparatively better life.
In 1989, the Liberian civil war started, which greatly affected this country, especially those of us living near the border with Liberia. Streams of refugees poured into this country and at that time there were no refugee camps, no NGOs and we did not hear of UNHCR. We assisted these people by providing them with shelter, food, medicines etc. By 1990 we were told that Sierra Leoneans were training in Libya to come and overthrow the A.P.C Government. Students spoke of the Green Book, democracy and, news of their friends being recruited to Libya for military training. Within the country also the talk of and yearn for multiparty system of governance began.

Then came the sad news in March 1991 that rebels from Liberia had invaded this country led by one Corporal Foday Sankoh.

We in Kenema also realized that our Army was small and ill equipped as was told by the soldiers themselves. Hence within a short space of time the war had moved very fast into the country. Our first-hand information of the nature and seriousness of the war came from a Foreign Catholic Priest who was stationed in Koindu, Kailahun District. He narrated his ordeal during his face-to-face encounter with the rebels in his mission house, where he was surrounded and captured by the rebels one night.  While in Kenema he was very timid and anxious to leave the country. He said that he was only allowed to leave because he was a foreigner, but he saw the corpses of many of those he had known in Koindu Town. He emphasized that it was a real invasion that intended to stop at nothing to overthrow the A.P.C government. He said that they spoke with a Liberian accent and not a single Sierra Leonean language. They told him that they had come to destroy, while those after them will do the repairs etc. Also that they were hired for three months and within that time they should capture Daru (Moa Barracks) and hand over to Sierra Leonean Rebels.

A few days after his narration we began to see streams of Sierra Leonean displaced people arriving in Kenema from Kailahun and Pujehun Districts, each with awful stories of their ordeal at the hands of these rebels. Those who stayed for few days with the rebels said that they told them that they had come to liberate them from the A.P.C misrule, etc. This they demonstrated by wearing palm leaves on their wrists signifying that they were SLPP supporters. But with time, their true colour of cruelty was revealed; when they started to rape, loot, abduct, murder, slaughter animals, burn houses and appoint their own chiefs etc.

While our rebel war was in progress, the Liberian refugees organized themselves into a fighting or armed group, as most of them were former Liberian Government Soldiers who had escaped into Sierra Leone during the Liberian Civil war. Their group was called ULIMO. We accepted them, as our soldiers were few and had not been exposed to rebel war. The APC Government gave them recognition and supported them. They then fought side by side with our army. But later, we noticed that they were very wicked as they began to kill other Liberians who were from other ethnic groups on the pretence that they were NPFL rebels who had invaded this country. So any one with a tattoo on his body was killed. They introduced the term "washing" i.e. to kill a person by the riverside and throw the body into the river.

The APC Government brought in the Nigerian Army to help fight the war and we heard about their deployment in Pujehun. Later they also invited the Guinean Army that went to defend the Moa barracks. The Guinean Army successfully beat back the advancing rebels into the Moa Bridge and killed their commander, "Rambo". Thus, their timely intervention saved the Barracks from falling into rebel hands.

On the political front, the cry for multi-party election and democracy became louder the more. Finally, the APC Government gave in to multi-party election but with a hidden agenda. They began to register only in the Western and Northern Regions with the excuse that there was war in the South and Eastern parts of the country. Also many prominent APC people were not in favour of the return to multi-party system and not ready for election at that time. It should be noted here that since the 1967 General Elections, all the elections under APC were full of violence and intimidation etc. The situation by then was better imagined than described. I was arrested and detained at the Police station, for my membership in the SLPP and for leading the SLPP election campaign for late Mr. B.S.Massaquoi in Kenema while a government Medical Doctor in 1972 and 1986. I was forced to resign from the civil service in 1975 because I was always in trouble with the APC Government, as they knew that my parents were SLPP founding fathers.

In early 1992, information was rife about the involvement and connivance between the top APC members and the rebels. This was demonstrated by the APC Government's failure to supply adequate logistics to the war front. They continued their election arrangements while the war was spreading deep into the Southern and Eastern parts of the country. They claimed that it was not a serious war, but it was the Mendes fighting one another, and they called it "Mende War". This statement and other happenings in the country angered us the South-Easterners and we became more confused as to the cause or essence of the war.

To our delight a messiah came i.e. the coup of 1992, which stopped the APC plan against the South-Easterners. We danced and danced for the end of the APC misrule and hoped that the war will then end. But still with the fall of the APC Government, the war continued after few months of lull. We were told that the rebels and the New NPRC Government failed to agree on an accord.

By the end of 1992 when the NPRC was now in power, the Rebel war had engulfed the whole of Kailahun and Kono Districts. About the same time, Lieutenant Tom Nyuma, the then Secretary of State, Eastern Region, addressed us the elders in a meeting in Kenema Town. At that time, Kenema Town had hosted most of the chiefs and elders from Kono, Kailahun and other parts of Kenema Districts that were under rebel control. He told us that a decision had been taken in cabinet to request us to mobilize our hunters called Kamajors to help the regular Sierra Leone Army by guiding them in our bushes etc. He said, "America lost the Vietnam war because they did not know the terrain". The SLA encouraged and recruited youths called vigilantes, employed as carriers and informants, most of whom eventually turned out to be child soldiers in both the SLA and CDF. We then formed the "eastern Region Defence Committee" the membership which comprised all Paramount and Regent Chiefs, S.D.O, Chairman Kenema Town Council, Senior State Council and other prominent people from the three Districts - Kenema, Kono and Kailahun. The Late Dr. Alpha Lavalie was appointed Chairman and myself, Dr. Demby as Treasurer. Also a similar message was sent to Koinadugu District. They also mobilized their hunters, called "Tamboros".

The militia stayed in their villages and were only mobilized and brought to Kenema on the request of the Brigade Commander for a particular mission. We funded this militia by providing transportation and shotgun cartridges; they had their shotguns. Occasionally Lieutenant. Tom Nyuma did help with money and cartridges. But once they were with the Army, it was the responsibility of the Army to take care of them until the end of that mission. The initial cooperation between the militia and the Army was very cordial. The Kamajors and the Tamaboros helped the army to liberate Kono and Kailahun and the war almost came to an end in December 1993. We even held a victory meeting at the Kenema Praying Field where plans for a victory parade were arranged.

With that euphoria, the army relaxed, and neglected their forward position especially at Normo Farma i.e. Sierra Leone - Liberia border town. So while the commander, Capt. Gbonkeleke and some of his officials were in Kenema arranging for a Christmas party, the rebels attacked and a large cache of arms and ammunitions was captured. The war then not only progressed, but also escalated.

Before December 1993, some of the Kamajors had learned the use of automatic weapons and were even allowed to use the captured weapons. They joined forces with ULIMO who had now been recognized and were supported by the NPRC Government and the three forces became allies. Later, the once cordial relationship between the soldiers and the Kamajors became sour, due to what they saw as unpleasant happenings while they were in the bush, between the rebels and the soldiers.

These strange relationships resulted in the loss of many of their family members, looting of their properties, arson and even threats to kill them if they revealed what was happening in the bush. Many of the Kamajors later refused to go back with the soldiers and openly told us their plight. Some ULIMO fighters also told us that our war was very complex, with the type of co-operation they saw existing between our soldiers and the rebels, to the extent of supplying them with ammunitions and other logistics. In fact it was difficult for them to identify the real rebels and this made most of them return to Liberia for fear of their lives. The civilians who escaped from the Rebel held territory also narrated similar stories of the co-operation and that the soldiers were more wicked to them than the Rebels.

From 1994 onwards there was no improvement in the war as our fighters were only on the defensive. They only reacted when places were attacked .I think this information was passed to the NPRC, which led to the purging of the army, in which about 14 top senior Military Officers were retired. But this did not help the situation either, as the war still intensified.
By this time, the NPRC recruited a Mercenary group called the Gurkhas. At that time the war was around mile ninety-one in the Tonkolili District. Their stay in the country was for a short time as they left soon after the death of their commander. NPRC then brought another Mercenary group called Executive Outcomes to replace the Gurkhas. They were more experienced, trained and did extremely well. They fought along side the Army and the civil Militias. They remained in the country until after the 1996 General Election. The SLPP Government inherited them and continued to support them until November 1996 when the Abidjan Peace Accord asked that all mercenaries leave the Country. That ended their contract and that of ULIMO.

Also by 1994 when the war had reached Bo District, I informed my Uncle, the late Paramount Chief A.S Demby who was brutally murdered by the rebels in 1997, about the formation and success of the Militia in Kenema. We decided to invite Chief Hinga Norman, then Regent Chief of Jaiama Bongo chiefdom, adjacent to our Chiefdom, and his elders. It was at this meeting in Yamandu that I introduced the idea of Civil Militia to Chief Norman and his Chiefs, and the essence of forming an alliance to defend our two Chiefdoms together with the Army, in the event of a rebel attack on either of the chiefdoms. We decided to train young male volunteers and asked Chief Norman to be in charge. I regret to report that the only group that went to Talu were those killed at Talu, which is known as the "Talu massacre" in which over 200 people were killed including my younger brother Arthur, and Chief Norman narrowly escaped the onslaught. So the idea was abandoned.

Then came the campaign and the General Election of 1995-1996. These rebels went all out to disrupt it, creating lots of atrocities on the civilians. With the victory of SLPP, I was appointed Vice President. At about this time also the idea of the civil populace defending themselves and their towns and villages spread fast like bush fire and with success against the rebels. Other chiefdoms began to mobilize their hunters and using their Tribal names to identify them. The Kamajors mainly from the Mende ethnic group in the Southern and Eastern Regions, the Donsos from Kono also from the East, the Tamaboros from the Korankor ethnic group and the Gbethis and the Kapras from the Temne ethnic group in the northern Region, while the Organized Body of Hunters Societies (OBHS) represented the Western Area The respective Chiefdoms controlled their respective militias using volunteers. They were never recruited or conscripted. They appointed their commanders from among themselves; some asking retired service men to lead them. The Kamajors, it will be recalled, are from the South and East of Sierra Leone bordering Liberia. They were the first to be attacked and suffered the most and longest.

They were the focus of the whole country, some using political or Tribal connotations to describe them or refer to them. At the same time, there emerged from among the civil populace, men and women with mystical powers. They prepared herbs which when used in the war front, rendered them bullet proof. Whether it was true or physiological, many of the fighters joined this society and were initiated. They paid their initiators who also seemed to have control over them. The news of these initiators also spread very fast and every Chiefdom in the Southern, Eastern and part of the Northern Chiefdoms recruited their own men and women initiators. It was also a voluntary initiation and certain prominent people in our society joined or allowed themselves to be initiated, for self-protection. In some cases it was the Chiefdom elders and prominent people from those chiefdoms that contributed for their fighters to be initiated but not recruited. The government was not responsible for either initiation or the recruitment and had no control over who was to be initiated as the people made a private arrangement and paid for them. As stated above, every chiefdom, District, or Region appointed their leaders, Commanders, and Administrators using their native names, which led to confusion. Government then decided to group all of them and called them "Civil Defence Forces" (CDF) with the same alliance to the Sierra Leone Army (SLA).

The Kamajors were the prominent single group in the CDF because of the size of the area that was under Rebel control and the duration of their occupation. It should also be recalled that over 90 percent of the CDF were illiterate without any form of military training and discipline. These were Village men, women and Children who came together voluntarily to defend their towns against looters and invaders using any defensive weapon to beat back the aggressors. Their actions were, in most cases, predicated by the activities of their aggressors and should be seen in that light. It was also very difficult for government officers to adequately control most of their actions because of their large number; the remoteness of their places and it was also risky to go there, as most of the areas were either occupied by Rebels or not under complete government control.

When the different militias were brought under one name, that is the Civil Deference Forces (CDF), their activities and logistical supplies were like other allied forces, under the same control of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). At that time, which was after the return of the Government, following the interregnum, it was the late General Maxwell Khobe. Later I was appointed in my capacity as Vice President, as Chairman of a committee that was responsible to seek the welfare of the CDF. The CDF operations were legalised and supported by Parliament and Government. And lastly, Honourable Lagao was appointed head the affairs of CDF after me.

The committee appointed by His Excellency the President, called the National Co-ordination Committee comprised:

  1. The Minister of Finance
  2. The Minister of Agriculture
  3. The Minister of Presidential Affairs
  4. The Minister of Information (Representative of the West)
  5. The Deputy Minister of Defence
  6. The Chief of Defence Staff
  7. The Resident Minister, Eastern Province
  8. The Resident Minister, Northern Province
  9. The Resident Minister, Southern Province
  10. Chief Brima Kargbo (Representative of the East)
  11. The National Security Adviser
  12. (Deputy Speaker of Parliament, who later became member of the Committee)
  13. (Mr. Okere Adams later replaced the Northern Regional Minister)

A Deputy Secretary, who was the Secretary to the committee, headed the CDF office. The function of the committee was to look into the welfare the CDF. Government provided them with logistics, which was issued to Regions by the Secretariat, on the committee's guidelines.
Another Armed group called ECOMOG came to this country during the interregnum of May 1997 to March 1998. They also fought side by side with CDF and loyal SLA. It was these allied forces that removed the JUNTA (AFRC/ RUF) from power. They remained in the country until the end of their mandate in 2001 and were also replaced by UNAMSIL who finally, together with British Army, Loyal SLA and CDF, ended the war.

Our gratitude at this point should go to late General Sani Abacha, General Abdulsalamii Abubakar, President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late General Maxwell Kobe, and Retired General Victor Mallu, former Foreign Minister Chief Tom Ikimi and former High Commissioner Alhaji Abubakar all of Nigeria, President Lansana Conteh of Guinea, President Eyadema of Togo, Ex President Alpha Konare of Mali, former British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, and former British High Commissioner Peter Penfold. His Excellency SRSG Oluyemi Adeniji and His Excellency Kofi Annan of Untied Nations for their tremendous effort and contributions in bring lasting peace to our country.

With the number of different armed groups that participated in this small country under five different governments, one should not be surprised at the scale of destruction that took place, especially when sophisticated equipment such as Helicopter Gun ships, Warships, Tanks and Armoured Personnel Carriers and Fighter Jets etc. were used.

We Sierra Leoneans have suffered so much that we are now ready to forgive and overlook, but not to forget what happened. How can I forget the destruction of my five houses, three vehicles, my Office, my Lodge, and my clinic and the brutal murder of my brother Arthur, uncle, P. C. Demby and other family members and friends like B.S. Massaquoi and P.P. B. Kebbeh both of Kenema, my Nurse Saffa and my Driver Lansana?

The steps now taken by Government and the International Community to create a conducive atmosphere, wherein resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and reconciliation are taking place; all are steps in the right direction, that will bring lasting peace in this country. Thanks for your attention.

Chairman Humper:    We thank you very much Hon Vice President for honouring our invitation. As is our practice commissioners would ask you questions for clarification and after that we’ll ask you for your own input, questions or clarifications, as well as recommendations, and then we’ll seal the process.

Chairman Humper:    We want to know about this progression in the war.

Dr. Demby:    One of the chiefs from Kailahun who was then in Bo, with all this analysis said to the Commission, “Commissioner I am saying to you that this rebel war in Sierra Leone is ‘N’dokuwi war’”, do you know ‘N’dokuwi?  It’s a chameleon war.

Dr Demby:   Chameleon yes.

Chairman Humper:    Now Dr. Demby did I hear you say that the ULIMO who came to fight with us fortunately discovered that our war was a complex one?

Dr. Demby:    Yes.

Chairman Humper:    Is it possible to infer from all of these especially in the early beginning that the government then in power was not serious about the end of the rebel war and that, that particular opportunity could have been used to “conduct a multi party election even in the midst of the ravages of war”. Could one infer that?

Dr. Demby:    Most people said they were not properly supported with logistics and there were newspaper reports etc that some prominent people in the country, that is, APC people, were in connivance with the rebels.  That was a widespread rumour; true or not true it was stated and it was demonstrated. Soldiers said they were poorly equipped because of certain reasons.

Chairman Humper:    My final question Dr. Demby has to do with the support of the fighting forces out there.  It is now clear not only from your presentation but from other presentations that in fact the arms and ammunition that the government got, some of those same security forces called soldiers, took those ammunitions and sold them to the enemies, but the point at issue finally is that once this has been established, it’s a question of support. How was this organised in terms of support? Here you are sitting in the office here, we have the administrative structure.  Could you tell us how the committee organised the support of these forces that were fighting on behalf of the country?

Dr. Demby:    Yes, Mr. Chairman, we had a structure or an organogram, which we were working on, if you permit me I will go to that.

Chairman Humper:    Please do.

Dr. Demby:    A Committee was not only formed but was given guiding references and one of it was to provide a structure, which we provided. We had the Ministry of Defence, National Coordinating Committee that was our committee, the District Defence Committee in which the District Officer was the Chairman, then the Chiefdom Defence committee, which was the Paramount Chief; so all logistics were sent through these organisations.

Chairman Humper:    Thank you very much Dr. Albert, this is the last but one opportunity we may have before we go on to do havoc; but as some citizens who themselves have experience the ordeals of the rebel war in this country, what would you tell the Commission and the nation that were some of the basic factors that gave rise to these rebel atrocities for the last ten years in this country?

Dr. Demby:    Well as the war started as I said due to bad governance, before some of us left this country for overseas studies, things were fairly all right in terms of employment, social amenities etc.  But as I said from the early 70’s following an undecided election, the 1967 election, which brought coups that were plotted by people with the determination to entrench themselves in power, live forever.  So there was bad governance, that was the whole thing, the fabric, the civil service was involved in politics; the army, the security forces the police men were brought to parliament, made ministers; party loyalty played such an important part that people failed to even make promotions to deserving candidates, unless they had some party affiliation.  So this was one of the major factors- bad governance.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much Commissioner. Dr. Joe Demby, I am going to follow up on my fellow commissioners just for you to clarify issues.  We are not actually subjecting you to intensive questioning.

Dr. Demby:    Yes.

Commissioner Torto:    We just want you to clarify issues for our records and I want to start by asking, as chairman of the committee overseeing the CDF, were the CDF ‘Civil Defence Forces’ a group of ‘societies’ or group of fighters?

Dr. Demby:    They were groups of fighters; the hunters, kamajors are not a ‘society’.  

Commissioner Torto:     As a group of civilians fighting a very formidable rebel group that had support from government outside, how were they armed?

Dr. Demby:    This committee was a welfare committee.  The fighting aspect was purely left in the hands of the Chief of Defence Staff and the fighters; we had nothing to do with it, and this is reflected in one of our minutes to show that. That was delegated to the Chief of Defence Staff and his commanders.

Commissioner Torto:    You said in your statement a while ago that they were being supplied with shotguns and cartridges.

Dr. Demby:    No, not shot guns, they had their shotguns initially. The hunters carried their guns to the bushes.  So they wanted also to have some cartridges for self-defence, so we provided them in Kenema initially, but later on when they became CDF and others, it was the Chief of Defence Staff who made that provision. We never gave them guns.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you sir. As the committee overseeing a fighting group that was national, meeting people who probably may have been trained in warfare, were there rules of engagement for the CDF; against the enemies and for the protection of the civilians?

Dr. Demby:    I have told you that they were not trained and they did not undergo any discipline.  These were a group of villagers who took defensive weapons - sticks, stones, knives, axes and guns to repel their aggressors.  So they had no military training whatsoever, no rules of engagement, because they were not recruited by any organisation. They just spontaneously sprang up from their villages.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you. They didn’t have rules of engagement and testimonies of this have been heard before this Commission. To be precise, in Moyamba, torture chambers were used; why was it that torture chambers like “coolee” were used by the kamajors?

Dr. Demby:    Such as what?

Commissioner Torto:    ‘coolee’, ‘coolee’

Dr. Demby:    Conie axes.

Question:    Not axes, that’s  a torture chamber  made  like a fowl coop or something like that, where people were placed in with thorns and things like that  as a means of torture .

Dr. Demby:    The very fact that I don’t know what it is shows that I have no idea.  They were just with the commanders during their fighting, so this is the first time I’m hearing what you are describing now.

Commissioner Torto:    Leader of Evidence could you get somebody from the crowd who could actually interpret what ‘coolee’ is in the mende language?

Dr. Demby:    Oh! ‘coolee’, well, I know now what’s ‘coolee’ it’s a sort of  fenced area which ... eh… supposing an animal is passing, they set a trap, so when you step on it, it closes, the gate closes, so that is what we refer to as ‘cooliho’’

Commissioner Torto:    Cooliho, Cooliho

Dr. Demby: Yes, this is my first time of knowing that such a thing was employed.

Commissioner Torto: It was widely used by the CDF as a torture chamber

Dr. Demby: Well that’s information for me.

Commissioner Torto: It has been deduced before this Commission.  Now how was the CDF funded?

Dr. Demby:    The government provided the logistics.  We had, as I said, a committee and a secretariat, from there we had regions, districts and others, which sent their requisitions.  We looked at the requisitions and then gave guidelines but government provided the funds.

Commissioner Torto:    Government provided the funds?

Dr. Demby:    Yes,

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you, now coming back to what I’ve just said; ‘coolee’ was an instrument used to actually punish rebel suspects and civilians. In some cases this was in fact abused by the kamajors; they used to punish civilians over civil matters. Was the committee aware that the CDF were also involved in committing atrocities out there in the field?

Dr. Demby:    Yes, some complaints were made to us and we investigated and those that were caught were punished and some of them were even brought to Freetown for punishment etc; their local commanders punished some.  Most of the punishments were meted out by their commanders because they knew what they were doing among themselves; we would hear them say, well this happened in this place and this was the step taken, like removing some of them from their positions etc.

Commissioner Torto:    Yes, it was happening and at times civilians were used also, not just the fighting members according, to testimonies.  Now, knowing that there were such things happening out there, is the committee past and present ready to render any form of apology to the people of this country for use of these kinds of torture chambers and other atrocities committed by the CDF?

Dr. Demby:    That is a question for a committee; the committee has to meet and decide on it not I alone.  I am just a chairman of the committee

Commissioner Torto:    Past and present I said, past committee, present committee, whether it was just the chairmanship that changed, it’s the same members, even if that was the case the committee still remains as a committee

Dr. Demby:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:    Are they in a position to render an apology to the people of this country for the atrocities committed by the CDF whether knowingly or unknowingly?

Dr. Demby:    Well of course that’s the essence of this Truth and Reconciliation, if that will bring forgiveness to all and sundry whosoever has committed in the name of CDF, we are prepared to do that.  

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much

Demby:    Forgive all, don’t forget.

Chairman Humper:  Commissioner Torto:    Thank you, Leader of Evidence, do you have questions for Dr. Demby?

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you Chairperson, I think we have some clarification, I think we already received a lot of clarifications today, which I am happy to hear; but I would like to ask some questions.  At one point in your statement you said and they were asked to join the soldiers when they had to go to the bushes to show them the way etc. then at another point you said that children and women joined them as well and I would like to know the particular role of these children in the Kamajor, in the CDF movement.

Dr. Demby:    I have told you that initially youths were used, recruited by the Army etc. as volunteers, these eventually became child soldiers in the army and CDF.At another time men, women, children, villagers took up defensive weapons to defend their areas.

Leader of Evidence:    How old were these children?

Dr. Demby:    What?

Leader of Evidence:    How old, what was their age?

Dr. Demby:    Children, those normally used, they take it as eighteen downward, not so?  That is the normal standard but I was not in the villages to say the ages of the children.  When they say rebels are coming, everybody in the villages took up arms etc and there are documents in my possession sent by commanders that children drunk with the power and   revenge because their parents were killed in their presence took up arms. If you want that type of document, wherein it was stated that children below the age of eighteen were drunk with  power because of the way their parents were killed before them and so  took up arms to defend there  their area.  I have that document.

Leader of Evidence:    Okay, I understand their motives. You rightly made the distinction between those in the villages who took up arms together with the whole population of the villages to defend themselves and those who eventually became child soldiers; could you tell me how old these child soldiers were?

Dr. Demby:    What did you say? I am not following.

Leader of Evidence:        How old?

Dr. Demby:    How old, below eighteen I have a letter stating to us   that children below eighteen years of age must not join the civil defence force.  I have that document from kono to show that at least.

Leader of Evidence:    Okay, I think the commission would be interested to have a copy of this document.

Dr. Demby:    I will perhaps give it to you before the end of the day.

Leader of Evidence:    I was also happy with the distinction that you made after a question of between fighters and secret societies.   So   does this mean that not all members of Kamajors etc. were initiated, that some people were initiated but were not Kamajors or  were  all the fighters  initiated?

Dr. Demby:    Initiation was voluntary; a herb was administered to render a man bullet proof, so some may have joined others may have not. I am not sure as to what happened in Kono, Kailahun, and Koinadugu so I cannot say all of them joined.

Leader of Evidence:    At one point in your statement you said that those initiators seemed to have control over the people that they initiated, what do you mean by that, what kind of control did they have?

Dr. Demby:    Well it is just like a teacher having some influence over pupils.  You say look I am giving you this thing to prevent you but I have my added law so you tend to cling to that individual initiator so that your immunity continues. That is what I mean; they seemed to have control over their initiates; they say well look when you go to this place this is what you would do and since I am not a member of that society I don’t know the rules but I know there are rules.

Leader of Evidence:    So what would you say was the relationship between on the one hand the initiator who initiated at least part of the Kamajor or the CDF and I think you explained the chain of command on the fighters over the fighters, the local chiefs etc. What would be the relationship regarding the control of the fighter between the initiators and the chiefs.

Dr. Demby:    Yes, because nobody goes to a chiefdom to do anything without the chief knowing.  So some of them had the blessings of the chiefs to do the initiation of the CDF, not Kamajors.  I want us in this place to use the word CDF please.

Leader of Evidence:    I am trying to understand who actually controlled these groups of fighters.  So if I understand you well, you say the power of the chief or the control of the chief was more powerful than the control by the initiator.

Dr. Demby:    I’ve said the fighters have their commanders just as the government may have its own hospital and then a dispenser comes to a town, he wants to open a clinic- a very good dispenser or a very good doctor obviously he informs the authority that he wishes work there.  So the actual thing is that the chiefs are in charge of their chiefdoms, the commanders are in charge of their fighters.  The chief allows the man to stay.  It was a voluntary initiation.  Nobody ask A, B or C go and be initiated.  They paid for it themselves as I said there are people among our community from Freetown all over who went just to get that initiation or that medicine so that they render themselves bullet proof just in case, so they have nothing to do with the chiefdom people or the fighters except those who came to be initiated.

Leader of Evidence:    So everyone who joined these fighters was a volunteer. Were all candidates accepted or who made the selections or what were the criteria or conditions?

Dr. Demby:    Everybody was joining - teachers, lecturers, other workers everybody.   It was the people, the traditional hunters but everybody who wanted to liberate his area joined.  There was no limitation. These are individuals who said, we cannot sit down to allow looters or these bad people to destroy our area.  So they came together, teachers, clerks etc. to repel the aggressors.

Leader of Evidence:    Were there also female fighters?

Dr. Demby:    That was why I said men, women and children, -it’s in my presentation- took up arms to defend their area.  It is in here in my presentation.

Leader of Evidence:    At what point actually did they change from being hunters assisting the army, to a real fighting force; at what point actually did they change?

Dr. Demby:    I cannot tell you exactly but I said men women and children, when they saw that these aggressors, voluntarily took up arms with perhaps people who already had an experience as ex-military officers, these people decided to join and this was how it evolved.  There was no real recruitment, no; it was just a voluntary movement, as they saw that what was happening was unpleasant.

Leader of Evidence:    Okay, and then you explained that it started perhaps small but then slowly the numbers of CDF members increased gradually.  Did you say that even when  the number of CDF members was high  all the actions and activities of the members were still under control?

Dr. Demby:    It was difficult but it was left into the hands of the chiefs, their commanders; they know their people, they were the ones controlling them, they knew the number but by and large with the large number it was difficult, that I admit.

Leader of Evidence:    So don’t you think it was a decision with risk for the government when you say on the one hand that it was difficult for the government to control all the activities and on the other hand the government decided to organise and support them with logistics etc, wasn’t that, wasn’t it risky that on the one hand you don’t have control over them and on the other hand you supported and you called them your allies?

Dr. Demby:    Yes, but as I say we had a structure, which we were working on. Even though there was a command and control problem that doesn’t mean that by and large there was no structure, there was a structure through which these guidelines were sent just as we have areas where in there is problem in payment, but that doesn’t mean that they were not being paid.  But when you have that large number, particularly as, I repeat, this was a bush war, a war that the villagers - men, women and children decided to defend their area and went all out; so their actions were predicated by the actions of their aggressors.  Therefore it was difficult because if you say look you have to stay here and do this, they next moment you hear that they have attacked another place in your chiefdom. Then people wanted to get rid of the army, which was difficult, but that doesn’t mean that they should not be supported.

Leader of Evidence:    Can you explain to us what the logistical support was? What logistical support did the government give?

Dr. Demby:    Government initially gave rice and money.  Out of that we provided transportation. For example, for somebody coming from Kailahun or Pujehun to come for his rice supply, normally we had to use part of this money to get transportation.  We had a group fighting on the Guinea-Sierra Leone border in Kono and Koindu; they came by way of Conakry to Freetown for their supply.  These 500 or 600 bags of rice are given in monetary value.  This money is taken to pay their transportation by air to Conakry or Guinea, buy rice, and pay their transportation. These people also get sick. Besides the government drugs, some of them were admitted, it was out of these logistics that we were paying for them, buying drugs, providing their medical needs.  Secondly some of them used to fall sick or die; this logistics was used to carry the bodies from the war front to their homes and for burial. We were given the mandate to provide for their welfare out of this rice and money only.  Those were the two things government was giving.

Leader of Evidence:    Okay, how many people are we talking about?  How many members of CDF were there?

Dr. Demby:    Well at a particular time when UNAMSIL wanted us to give them the numerical strength and the arms and ammunitions that they had. There were about 96,000 of them.  This is the statistics; I had for each chiefdom, each district and the whole country. At a particular time, the government said it couldn’t support 96,000 but only eight thousand. I have a document here which shows how the rice and money was to be disbursed. The secretary has more details but as chairman of the committee I have a few details in my file.

Leader of Evidence:    Yes, I think the commission would also like to have a copy of these documents. It is said sometimes that the coup of AFRC was inspired by some disgruntled SLA soldiers who felt that they were disadvantaged compared to the CDF, what would you say about that?

Dr. Demby:    Very well! I want you to compare; CDF as I say were provided with rice and condiments for their welfare, they were not given uniforms, they were not given barracks, they were not given any welfare; the only thing government gave was rice and these condiments but nothing else; no uniform, no transportation, nothing. At that particular time in the history of Sierra Leone, politics had already crept in.  We noticed that the party or the country was divided and the army per se because the SLPP was perceived to have its strong holds in the southeast where the Kamajors are from.  Therefore anything that was related to the Kamajors, had to do with   the SLPP.
Leader of Evidence:    I understand that in the beginning, even if they were called the CDF at that time, that people in the villages took up turns to defend themselves etc. The commission also heard testimonies from members of CDF saying that they were also sent to fight in other parts of the country occupied by the rebels. Is that correct?

Dr. Demby:    I would not be able to say that because what was happening in the war front, I don’t know.

Leader of Evidence:    Can you tell us anything about he relationship between the CDF and ECOMOG, particularly around January 6, 1999?

Dr. Demby:    The time ECOMOG jut entered in this country, I was in Lungi; that was during the interregnum, I cant tell much.  We found eh, the Sokor and ECOMOG in Lungi.By and large later when we came down we saw that the loyal SLAs, the few civil defence that were here and ECOMOG were working.  There was a cordial relationship and General Kobe as I have said was in charge of the civil defence and all their logistics etc. before it later came to me, so I think it was very good.

Leader of Evidence:    Were you then, as a member of the committee also as a Vice President then as a person aware, you said you were informed of some violations), of instances when Kamajors handed over civilians to the ECOMOG during January 6, 1999? Did you hear about cannibalism, did you hear about people being burnt in Kenema with tyres over their neck? And I am talking about civilian victims because a number of them gave testimonies in this way to the commission, were you aware of those violations?

Dr. Demby:    At that time there was no committee.  This time you are referring to, there was no committee, it was during the interregnum as I’ve said I was in Lungi, so when the intervention happened, they came down town here; what happened, what did not happen, I cannot tell. I heard that they were burning people but who,  I don’t know.

Leader of Evidence:    The violations referred to in Kenema were actually committed in 1997/1998 as testified by some witnesses before this commission.

Dr. Demby: In Kenema?

Leader of Evidence:    In Kenema

Dr. Demby: Yes, what happened?

Leader of Evidence:    People were burnt and cannibalism occurred as well.

Dr. Demby:    This is news to me.  You know there was war all over the country in that area, whether people were burnt etc.  I don’t have any specifics of that.

Leader of Evidence:    So you said before that the CDF would be ready to apologise for the violations committed by its members, for which kind of violations will they apologise?

Dr. Demby:    Very good.  The Commissioner or the chairman has said that a lot of areas have said that CDF committed crimes, “are you ready to say sorry for it?” I said yes on one condition - if you are able to establish all what they did we or I, am ready, even though I was not chairman throughout the whole period to apologise on behalf of the CDF on condition that all of them are forgiven.  No exception.

Leader of Evidence:    So at this point can you acknowledge or can you not acknowledge any violations committed by the CDF?

Dr. Demby:    Well yes some complaints were made to us. For example, they were carrying money somewhere and they alleged that it was hijacked at a checkpoint, they went there and investigated and some of the money was taken, some people reported.  But you see this commission has to be careful of the evidences being given. It is true that when there is an exodus of people, at the checkpoint, people who are perceived to be civilians, innocent people, were found to be carrying cartridges and ammunition in their luggage.  
There are also people who are complaining. In as much as I do agree that some people as I say they had no knowledge of what they were doing but because an act had been committed in their presence and they pursue the group and do any harm, that may be taken as committed by civil defence.  There are also proofs beyond all doubts that the rebels sewed the civil defence uniforms or people who want to discredit the civil defence. But there are many, many times that we did, I did investigate some of the complaints and we found out that they were just exaggerated but some were true, I don’t want to deny.

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you I have no further questions.

Dr. Demby:    Okay.

Chairman Humper:    Dr. Demby we thank you very much for answering all the questions we have asked you.

Dr. Demby:    Thank you.

Chairman Humper:    Do you have any questions for the commission?

Dr. Demby:    Well no per se but just that as I have said, the commission has to be very careful about the character of some people coming to give some evidences here.  Let them not use this commission to settle old scores.  We do agree that for now some achievement has been made in peace and reconciliation.  Let us continue this lest people use this commission to destroy because certain people who come here will be afraid to go back home because we have not seen A coming to say I was the one who killed Dr. Demby’s younger brother, who burnt his house, they will perhaps come and say I burnt houses, I raped, I this and that.  It is very difficult for some of them, but if we could get those people to come and say I did this to A, B and C and we call the individuals to come and apologise it will be good.  But that blanket thing - some of them still have something underneath their sleeves and therefore we must be careful.  But I want to thank this commission because at the end of the day, one aspect we are going to achieve, is to get the historical background of what really went wrong in this country, what happened during the war and the remedy to it.   I’m sure with the information we are giving will go a long way. But for reconciliation aspect we have to be very careful, as there are some people who think that this is an opportunity to bring down t people. That is all.

Commissioner Kamara:    Thank you very much, we will take your advice into good part and be very watchful and careful as you said and not allow anybody to distract us from the good work you said we’ve started doing.  I don’t know if you gave us recommendations in your written presentation, but do you now have any recommendations you can put to this commission to put forward with regards to the causes of this war and what should be done to forestall a recurrence of the war?

Dr. Demby:    Well yes, as I have said, the primary cause was bad governance.  Let us at least make sure that the governance of this country is based on democracy, accountability and let people really know the essence of belonging; this country belongs to us, that this national cake is for all of us.  Let human rights s for everybody prevail. In those days, in the judiciary particularly, the right of the people were tampered upon. There are some cases that have not been heard for nine to ten years; justice delayed is justice denied.  But with steps now taken to refurbish the law-court and then the different committees that have been set up, I think with time this country will regain its past glories.  Let people benefit from the natural resources gained from their hard work and effort, farmers must be paid well for their produce and be encouraged.   The youths must be employed because during the war these were the people who joined either sides and create this problem on us .If they are satisfied (though you cannot satisfy everybody even in the most advance countries, there is unemployment) but I think if we look at this properly, there will be improvement with time.

Commissioner Kamara:    We thank you very much; we will be very careful and take cognisance of what you have said.  Do you have other suggestions or recommendations to make?

Dr. Demby:    Not now, if I do, I’ll put in writing.

Commissioner Kamara:    Thank you very much you may step down.  Do we have another witness?

Leader of Evidence:    Mr. Commissioner we have another witness but unfortunately the interpreter has gone to the rest room.  But Mr. Commissioner our next witness is Mr. Jonathan Kposowa from the Revolutionary United Front Party.

Commissioner Kamara:    Mr. Kposowa, again identify yourself.

Jonathan Kposowa:    I am Mr. Jonathan Kposowa, the present Secretary General of the Revolutionary United Front Party.

Commissioner Kamara:    Muslim or Christina?

Jonathan Kposowa:    I am a Christian

Commissioner Kamara:    Could you please take the oath and repeat after me.

    (The witness was sworn on the Bible.)

Commissioner Kamara:    on the 19th of June you made a written submission to the TRC, we have copies.  May we now hear you verbally on the submission about militias and armed groups in Sierra Leone?

Jonathan Kposowa:    Mr. Commissioner I think before answering, in about minutes, I can rectify something that the commission wanted.  The question indicating are you responsible for atrocities, opening pregnant women’s stomach, raping, misusing of children by forced labour, mass killing? I want to give an answer to that.

Commissioner Kamara:    Didn’t you answer it?

Jonathan Kposowa:    No, Sir, I mean it could be referred to any other time but I am ready to answer it.

Commissioner Kamara:    Okay all right, briefly go ahead…

Jonathan Kposowa:    The question has placed me in a very critical position, being that I am an individual working for a party, if I have seen somebody involved in the charges that were stipulated by the commission indicating that we have committed atrocities, and if only I had done it myself I would have been here to fervently say it. But anytime I appear here, I do so as a political party member. Some men broke away, they betrayed and left the APC and the RUF, they left the other parties and these are the people going who give evidences without any basic foundation.  Therefore on the question of the guilt of SLPP or RUFP, the RUFP is not guilty at all. Point of clarification, my appearance here is on behalf of the party and I will only talk according to the voice of the party. As an administrator in the Revolutionary United Front, I can conclude that we are not at all guilty.  Not guilty in the sense that all those people responsible for serious crimes levied are represented under detention and they are there because they have been charged.  They are been given priority by the government of Sierra Leone or by the Special Court to give lawyers and the lawyers have already been given so if I do sit down here Mr. Commissioner to tell you that I am guilty when that lawyer knows that I am not guilty, it will cause a problem within the scope of my party. So the RUFP is not guilty of any of your charges I thank you.  Now for today’s topic…

Commissioner Kamara:    Just a minute, yes before we go on this, there is a point you have raised and we need to react to it.

Jonathan Kposowa:    Yes Sir

Commissioner Kamara:    Commissioner Kamara wants to react to this statement

Commissioner Kamara:    All right thank you Mr. Chairman, I was the chairman yesterday when that issue came up. And I’ll start by saying that em… it was not an issue really for the successor of the RUF.  The Successor of the RUF is RUFP but the predecessor. We are considering the actions of the predecessor of the RUFP and when we started the discussion I asked a few questions.  I asked you whether you knew of any atrocities that the RUF caused during the war and you answered positively.  I also asked you whether the RUF was determined or prepared to ask for this country’s forgiveness, forgiveness of the people and you answered positively.  So I said as a commission we will go with you for reconciliation with the people of this country only if you came out to admit what you had done to the people, failing which, we will not. If your answer today is that RUF did not commit any atrocities, then there is no way I think this commission can be involved in getting you reconciled with the people of this country.  So we are not accusing anybody.  We got information that the RUF committed atrocities and we listed them and we asked you to either accept that your group the RUF committed such atrocities during the war or reject the accusations.

Jonathan Kposowa:    It’s a rejection.

Commissioner Kamara: Well we are not a court.

Jonathan Kposowa:    Okay

Commissioner Kamara:    We will not take a party or an individual to court.  We will not even respond to anybody who asked us to give information about anybody who comes here.  Our own responsibility here is to get the truth and help people who have committed atrocities reconcile with those people against whom they have committed atrocities.

Jonathan Kposowa:    Okay

Commissioner Kamara:    and let me also go further by saying that the Lome Peace Agreement gave a blanket amnesty to all the combatants not only the RUF but all the other fighting groups that took part in the war.  But that is different from people who are known to have committed atrocities against individuals and the communities in this country, getting reconciled with those individuals and those communities.  If somebody feels that the Lome Amnesty is adequate for him or a community or group feels that amnesty is adequate, well there is nothing we can do about it.  We can’t force anybody to accept what he or she thinks he or she has not done.

Jonathan Kposowa:    Okay

Commissioner Kamara:    But where somebody comes to acknowledge that he or she had committed an atrocity and we know the person or the community to whom he or she has committed those atrocities, it is our responsibility to see that, that individual or group is reconciled with the other individual or group.

Chairman Humper:    Thank you very much. Commissioner Kamara and in addition to that Mr. Kposowa I don’t think anybody should be edgy about some of these things.  You just heard the Former Vice President of this country wanting to apologise publicly to the nation for what ever may have  happened whilst he was chairman of a committee.  What is wrong if the RUF apologises for those kinds of things?

Jonathan Kposowa:    Okay.

Chairman Humper:     So I want you to feel at ease, we are a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Jonathan Kposowa:    okay

Chairman Humper:    Thank you.

Jonathan Kposowa:    Thank you Mr. Commissioner.

Chairman Humper:    Yes

Jonathan Kposowa:    I thank you very much.  You see what I was trying to clarify was on the side of the party.  But I am convinced that the RUF has committed a crime against the state, but if it is a body that has a head, then they must call on the people… that is the channel they need to use. Just like the amnesty during the Lome Peace Accord, which was, an agreement not only by one person, Foday Sankoh and the other people were convinced and all of them came up with one solution.  But now before I say, I am going to meet the same people and if they agree, I am willing to say that we are sorry. In my paper I indicated that if we are found guilty we’ll tell the nation that we are sorry and regret all atrocities committed but I was  put  in  a critical position yesterday and that is why  I told you that you should give me time.

Commissioner Kamara:    Okay

Jonathan Kposowa:    If possible I’ll come to this same body and tell that to the nation.  I’ll say it either on paper, through the media or by whatever means to say I am sorry.

Commissioner Kamara:    That’s all we want you to know; the commission has been doing this all over the country.

Jonathan Kposowa:    okay, I will do that

Commissioner Kamara:    So may we now hear from you

Jonathan Kposowa:    Thank you very much

Jonathan Kposowa:    I’ll continuously embrace the effort of the TRC.  The topics that are being given by theTRC are due to the fact that an organisation had not been immediately formed for reconciliation. Should I go forward?

Commissioner Kamara:    Yes

Jonathan Kposowa:    the actors during the war the RUF, the CDF and the West Side Boys were all different and carrying different views during the war each and everyone of them was thinking that, it was going to win and rule the nation and therefore cannot say sorry to any of the groups.  Now that the former fighters have not won the battle at all, there is a necessity for all of us to ask for pardon and come together for reconciliation and progress.  For those that fell victim during the war, we are praying to the Almighty God that the government of Sierra Leone as our father will be blessed and be able to help them.  The slogan that it was Mr. X or Mr. Y or Mr. W that brought the war should now be abandoned, there should e forgiveness and all should come together and plan the way forward, instead of gossiping. One major obstacle that we are facing as political parties is that most of the people that fell victims or  were affected in the war were sponsored by people or the RUF, CDF, Westside boys; the commanders are presently in jail. Most of them are in Pademba or in Bonthe and most citizens have still not accepted those amputees despite the fact that the TRC is doing her  best. So let us all embrace the work of the TRC and so find lasting solutions.

Prof Kamara: Thank you Mr Kposowa. You may now step down

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you Chairperson.  Our next witness for this morning is Maj. Gen. T. S. Carew, Chief of Defence Staff.

Chairman Humper:    The full name of the witness and religious affiliation.

Major General Carew:    Major General Tom S. Carew.  I am a Christian.

    (Oath administered)

Chairman Humper:    We want to welcome you here as CDS.  We are delighted to have your consent to come and be part of this nation building process.  We call the TRC.  We believe that your participation in this process goes a long way nationally and internationally to bring  credibility to the institution and to impress on the International Community, how much we yearned for  sustainable peace.  So we welcome you and we encourage you to share with us whatever you wish about the arm of government for which you are responsible and your personal view of our situation in the country.  You are now welcome to give your presentation.

Major General Carew:    Mr. Chairman, members of this Commission, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.  I will try to be brief because my submission is already with you but indeed it gives me the greatest privilege to appear before your Commission for the first time to make this submission at the public hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Furthermore, I will like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you Mr. Chairman, your executive Secretary who is not here and gallant commissioners for organizing such a symbolical even at this auspicious time in the history pf our beloved Sierra Leone.  The topic, which I will be speaking about, is the January 6 1999 rebel attack on Freetown.

As you all know this day is very fundamental to the people of Sierra Leone and that particular day is commonly known as J-6.  It is an unforgettable date in the minds of all Sierra Leoneans especially Freetonians.  The horrible memories of the actual events of the fatal day will linger in the minds of Sierra Leoneans so many years to come.  Mr. Chairman in making this presentation in pure military style.  I will give the aim, then the scope and then I will give a brief conclusion.  Now the aim of my presentation is to recount the sad event of the 6 January 1999 rebel attack on Freetown and its after effects.  In giving the scope, I will use the following:

I will briefly talk on the event before the attack, the attack itself, then and the effects of the attack.  So let me start with the events before the attack.  Two weeks before January 6, intelligent reports were coming in that the AFRC/RUF rebels were planning to invade the city of Freetown.  During that period, the intervention force, ECOMOG, was solely responsible for security of the city, and indeed the entire country.  Mr. Chairman, it was the same ECOMOG that won the single credit of flushing the AFRC junta from Freetown, thereby paving the way for the restoration of the democratically elected government of the day. 

By that time, the national army was dormant and the bulk of the surrendered personnel had been camped at three locations and these are Lungi Garrison, Benguema Barracks and the National Stadium Swimming Pool.  In my presentation or my submission to you, I mentioned certain problems that the heads were having at that particular time which I will not like to mention openly but there was some problem with ECOMOG and their leadership.  Well this strained relationship is attributed to petty jealousy somehow  but we never made or they never made a contingency plan for any attack of such nature. 

For their part, the rebels took advantage of the prevailing situation on the ground coupled with the complex problems ECOMOG was facing. So the rebels took advantage of all this and started launching series of attacks on ECOMOG positions across the country.  Their main plan was to systematically attack the overstretched and thin ECOMOG deployment, taking maximum advantage of the terrain. The attack started by the launching of a separate assault on ECOMOG positions from the Northern axis under the command of late Capt. S.A.J. Musa.  

ECOMOG troops were cut off from the rear. Completely isolated areas like Alikalia, Kono, Magburaka, and Makeni were overrun after all these attacks from the north.    They continued the attacks until they arrived on the outskirt of Freetown - that is, the Waterloo general area.  To be more specific, the armed forces training centre at Waterloo was their first target.  At that time the ECOMOG leadership and indeed the traumatized populace did not fully trust the SLA troops to be very frank. 

So ECOMOG made sure all the encamped SLA personnel arms were securely kept in the barracks angle. So when the rebels eventually launched a surprise attack on the encamped troops at Benguema our own troops withdrew and Benguema fell easily to the rebels.  So Mr. Chairman in the following mopping up operations after their short-lived victory, the rebels proceeded to destroy everything they could lay hands on including the expensive military equipment, stores and ordinances. These rebels broke into the armoury and took out all the light arms they could lay hands on and carried some away and destroyed some of the heavy weapons so that a counter attack will be impossible.  Without thinking of the danger involved. S.A.J. Musa gave  an instant order to his rebels to set fire to the armoury building which at that time was full of high explosives, heavy shells and dangerous bombs.  In the ensuing high explosion, several rebels who were within the danger zone were all torn to pieces.  S.A.J. Musa who gave the orders for the armoury to be burnt down was himself on the spot and also met his tragic and painful end. 

The fragment from the explosion wounded SAJ Musa’s body and his entire skull was scattered.  That was the demise of the men who had caused so much havoc and catastrophe on his fellow citizens and who was aiming to become the President of this country.  Of course that was indeed  divine providence and divine justice.  Hours after the explosion, the few surviving rebels managed to drag his body from the scene along with the other casualties and they ere buried in an unmarked grave without military honour .SAJ Musa’s death was indeed sad news to the rebels but a big blessing to the government forces.  With the death of this feared and notorious commander, the rebels were demoralized and temporarily thrown into a terrain with no credible commander to take over the mantle of leadership.  The junior rebels’ commanders tried strenuously to put the men together to plan the diabolic invasion of the city.  Now let me talk on the attack on the city itself. 

The rebels invaded the city on Wednesday 6 January 1999.  The actual invasion reached the ears of ECOMOG high command from 4 ECOMOG troops at about 4.00a.m.  It was not only a big surprise but also a great shock for the unsuspecting ECOMOG troops who took the rebel invading forces for civilians.  The actual invasion started from the Eastern part of the city in the Calaba Town general area.  The rebels disguised themselves and mingled with the huge exodus of civilians who were entering the city in waves as displaced persons.  The rebels also tactically made maximum use of the prevailing darkness to conceal their identity and true strength.   

Before daybreak they had penetrated the centre of Freetown and started firing from all directions in the East and centre of the city to throw residents into a state of panic, confusion and pandemonium.  In no time the rebels had taken over these areas to the surprise of the entire residency of Freetown and indeed. Even the ECOMOG Generals in the ECOMOG headquarters at Cockeril were all shocked, astonished and dumbfounded when this ugly incident took place.  In their attempt to dominate the entire Freetown, the invading rebels proceeded to extend the attack to the West end of the city but were met by a very strong ECOMOG resistance at Congo Bridge, where they suffered incredible and fatal casualties.
That was the first offensive operation of ECOMOG which I was part of, to halt the invading rebels.  The ECOMOG troops, under the command of one Major Musa made a surprise deadly ambush that totally engulfed the leading elements of the rapidly advancing rebels.  All the leading vehicles and their occupants were blown to pieces in that particular encounter.  And indeed this greatest single victory by ECOMOG against the rebels broke their invisibility and put a final halt to their rapid advance into the East end of Freetown, I mean West end of Freetown.  As I said earlier ladies and gentlemen, during all of this period, the national army was dormant. ECOMOG was solely responsible for the security of the country with the Nigerian born General Timothy Shelpidi as Force Commander, General Abu Amadu as ECOMOG Task Force Commander and then General Khobe as our Chief of Defence Staff by then. 

To drive home this point, I will just give a simple example.  I was Colonel in charge of Administration; I was placed under a Captain to control me.  So this shows exactly how dormant the SLA was.   At that Congo Bridge encounter, after having halted the rebels’ advances towards the west, ECOMOG finally seized the initiative and embarked on decisive attacking, pursuing the retreating rebel elements.  After three days of fierce gun battle and massive bombardments, ECOMOG forces, in a three fold simultaneous attack on the rebel positions, cleared the rebels from Brookfields, Kingtom, New England, Pademba Road area and the whole of the central Freetown up to East End police area. 

Having suffered serious casualties and setbacks, the rebels had no choice but to beat a top retreat in the face of the rapid in the face of the rapid ECOMOG assault.  These fleeing rebels started to vent their anger on defenceless civilians, carrying out wholesale burning of government buildings and civilians’ residences and vehicles.  They did not stop there.  They also started acts of amputating, mutilating and massacring innocent civilians including women and children.  Of course Mr. Chairman, sorry to say, the only casualty on our part on that particular day was the loss of one Major J.B.  Arrow and one junior personnel who was with us.  As a result of these two casualties, government troops temporarily halted the pursuit to evacuate the casualty and wait for fresh reinforcement.  General Khobe and myself coordinated this.  Early the next day, we received the reinforcement and we started the advance. 

As I said we started the advance the next day just to give morale to the troops; that was why we were with these people actually.  At that time to be very frank, there was little command and control on the side of the rebels, because their most feared commander, SAJ Musa, was out of the scene. 

Again when the rebels realized that they had lost the initiative and could no longer halt the momentum and rapid advance of government troops towards the east in our bid to clear the entire city of rebel elements, the rebels decided to intensify their usual acts of atrocity and abduction of beautiful women and children.  Thus after suffering serious defect at the hands of ECOMOG with maximum casualty, the retreating rebels split into two factions.  One faction returned to Makeni to rejoin their colleagues while the other element returned and established a notorious hideout at Okra Hills.  Of course this group called themselves The West Side Boys, it was this same gang that stubbornly held out at the base even after the transition from ECOMOG to UNAMSIL and it was the same group that launched series of attacks on Masiaka and its environs, ambushed the Waterloo-Masiaka High Way on countless times and dug several ditches as death traps across the tarred highway in  the flow of vehicular traffic. 

They were in this type of operation until their abduction of the British who were out there on patrol; they met their waterloo.  They were persuaded to release these people but they refused.  So we finally used force, which was the language they could understand.  So the British organized an operation, demolished their notorious base and routed these bandits; they exterminated the stubborn ones and of course captured the rest and they are still at the Pademba Road Prisons.  Now let me talk a bit on the effects, which we are all witnesses to.  The effects of the AFRC/RUF attack on Freetown on 6th January 1999 were immense.  In the East and Central of the city itself the rebels attacked defenceless civilians and committed many atrocities.  They raped, burnt houses and did so many other bad things.  Of course Sierra Leoneans as well as the international community were witness to the huge scale of destruction of human and material resources that accompanied the January 6 invasion. 

Of course we all know how badly people suffered.  So I need not say much on this issue.  Again, following their crushing defeat and pursuit from the capital, the rebels resorted to the wanton destruction of lives and property before fleeing the city.  Government buildings and other state facilities were not spared.  Seven churches were burnt down.  They went to the extent of even destroying the National Stadium, The Kissy Mental Home, schools, churches, as I said earlier, were all destroyed.  So many people suffered, even transport owners, motorists, whose vehicles were burnt.  So they had no hope of getting an income.  In conclusion Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, for the past few minutes I have been discussing the January 6 rebel attack on the city of Freetown. 

I first started by stating that the lack of unity and cooperation which I would not like to mention was the cause of all this because had there been co-operation we would have made a contingency plan to counter these people but this did not happen.  Mr. Chairman, I also mentioned the way in which SAJ Musa met his death.  To me this time it was not a call of the Special Court but a call made by the divine God Almighty for him to go and face God’s court for all that he has done in this country.  Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all for listening to me.  I will now wait for some questions.

Chairman Humper:    Major General Tom Carew, we want to thank you very much for this time you have taken to give your expertise in unravelling the January 6 1999 invasion of Freetown.  We now as a Commission will endeavour to pose some questions for clarification, after which we ask the Leader of Evidence for  questions or clarification as well and we will come back to you later.  So I would now turn to my colleagues to engage our CDS.

Commissioner Torto:    I thank you very much Maj. Gen. Carew for this presentation.  I must also join the Chairman in thanking you for even honouring our invitation to be here.  I have so many questions for the Maj. Gen. but because of the systematic way of presenting it as required, I will try to limit as much as possible my questions to the issue under discussion and I must tell you that they are not actually personal.  They are from hearings, people’s testimonies and all I want from you is to really clarify the issues as they stand. I am going to start by asking you on the presentation.  You said that as all this was happening, the national army was dormant.  I don’t know why the national army was dormant.  Were there not loyal officers, men and women in the army who could have actually stood to answer to the call of this country when the country needed them most, not a single one?

Major General Carew:    Well actually there were some people.  I was one of those that surrendered to ECOMOG at Lungi then I went to Conakry. I was there until ECOMOG came and drove out the people and I came back, reported myself to General Khobe and there were some other people whom we called the loyal troops.  These were few soldiers and some SSD Personnel who were with us.  The people did not trust us because as I said earlier, the percentage of those with the bad guys was so high that the civilians never trusted us anymore.  It would have taken some time for them to have that confidence and faith in us. so when we came and reported ourselves, what General Khobe did was  to keep us in the barracks, get all the arms and ammunition stored so that none of us will think of doing anything bad anymore.  So we were just there.  For some of us whom they believed to some extent, they attached us to some of their operations.  That was how it went.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you. The next question: our army has been reported to be a very strong force; the Sierra Leone Army had the repetition of being a very strong and brave force in the West Coast of Africa for a long time and it had actually enjoyed that respect in the sub region.  What gave the cause for a foreigner General Khobe to be appointed Chief of Defence Staff when there were so many brave people in the army?

Major General Carew:    Well again Mr. Commissioner, the answer to that question is in all what I have said that we were not trusted anymore because as I said earlier, about 80% of our men at that time, were on the other side - that is on the RUF/AFRC side.  It was very difficult for people to trust us so when General Khobe came and they decided to root out these guys, they were in command of security in the country and whosoever is in command of the security must be the Commander according to our own principle.  So General Khobe was automatically declared as the Chief of Defence Staff of Sierra Leone.  There were honest people but, I mean, you yourself will not trust people at that time.  So to clear that doubt we will just leave it at that.  Mr. Commissioner I will be talking on that in my next presentation on the armed forces and the police.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  Then again there is a general feeling, especially among the Freetonians, so to speak and even throughout the country that the invasion of Freetown was possible by the rebels only with the connivance of SLA, that without the SLA, the rebels could have never penetrated the city.  Can you comment on that?

Major General Carew:    Well actually everybody has his own view.  For my part, I want to agree partly with what you are saying Sir, because by then if 80%  of them  were well trained, with all the tactical knowledge in them, maybe if they had not gone to these people surely they would not have been able to succeed.  SAJ Musa for example, was a well-trained combatant Officer; if he had not gone over, maybe these people could not have been able to penetrate a bye pass over position.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you. Most victims  who have appeared before some of us at this Commission have stated that all what this country is going through today even this commission and the Special Court was all caused by the Sierra Leone Army.  Do you agree?

Major General Carew:    That is your own view Sir, but if I should explain, I mean, in any society you must have few bad elements that will try to spoil the institution but among these people, there must be some good ones I mean like the loyal troops; I would not say myself.  I come from a Christian background, the late Chairman Humper: B.A. Carew brought me up, and I want to believe that power comes from God and that nobody should fight for power.  If you should get it, you will get it. As a military man, you should not aspire to become president but a General.  That is my own belief.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  The very last question for now, because I know you are going to be coming again on the 19 May. The May 25, 1997 coup was staged by very low ranking officers, not officers in fact, other ranks.  Privates in the army according to testimonies before this Commission, people who commanded no dignity, no respect, with no form of education, not to talk of having any intelligence or any idea of running a country.  Why were the Senior Officers in the army so dormant as to allow themselves to be overrun by mere boys of theirs on May 27, where were they?

Major General Carew:    Well actually, this is a very controversial question.  Sir, if you look the ratio of officers they far over stretched us.  So when you look closely it is not that those guys would have been able to overcome us but is that they are in a larger number and they planned this thing when some officers do not know about it, because I want to believe that even though we are small in number, if we were well prepared and had that will power to say no we would have resisted this. But not all of us that could withstand this tension.  I particularly had to leave this country because I said I will not salute any Corporal and I fled to Guinea to seek refuge.  I was placed in Pademba Road.  They said I do not want to co-operate with them.  I was there for two and a half months.  That was why I left this country.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Jones:    Thank you Major General for coming here and for giving us your testimony.  I am curious to know whether the task force commander was ever brought to book for the lapse in contingency plan which brought a disaster to Freetown?

Major General Carew:    Yes Madam Commissioner, actually this is why I said I do not want to say it in public because these are military matters. The task commander was not a Sierra Leonean by then.  We have certain rules that do regulate any action that is to be taken which, in this open hearing will not be proper to discuss.

Commissioner Jones:     I just want to comment that I hope that, Major General, in the training of the army officers they are made to realize how destructive petty jealousies could be among Senior Officers.

Major General Carew:    Well actually this is true.  If I should make my recommendations maybe this is one lesson.  We call them lessons learnt.  From any history, any campaign, you  at least summarize lessons learnt, how best you can develop some of these mistakes that you have made.  So I put them under lessons learnt and then I will make some recommendations.

Commissioner Kamara:    Thank you Major General Tom Carew.  I join the other Commissioners in welcoming you to this Commission  and we hope that even if we do not exhaust all questions on the military to understand a lot of things that happened, we will have other opportunities on aspects that might not have been dealt with.  Coming to your current presentation, you did say that, and you have repeated it a few times that Sierra Leoneans do not trust the army.  As a very senior officer even then, you must have had an idea of what created this mistrust.  Can you tell us why the people of this country did not trust the army?

Major General Carew:    Well actually I need not say much now.  As I said, in the next paper, I will actually give the reasons, in my view, why I think the discipline in the army deteriorated so much.  It all depends on discipline.  If people are disciplined they will do things that the civilian populace who is now pays them to recognise us as servants of the people and then all  this will not arise.

Commissioner Kamara:    Alright, I know that we need to get more information from the army but  I would like to know whether your statement means that the military was no longer serving the people or protecting the people it was meant to protect.

Major General Carew:    Actually that might be your view, but my view particularly was that some were actually working in the interest of the people of this country while others, you know, went on the other side that is, they were thinking that getting power by the barrel of the gun was the best way to serve which is not correct at all.

Commissioner Kamara:    So Major General, on the average were the people of this country receiving  as much as they were expecting from the army, I mean that is an opinion I you can make?

Major General Carew:    Well I don’t know what they may feel but I want to believe that since this is the time for reconciliation I would, like I mentioned in one of my papers ask the whole nation to forgive us because staging coups, this will not allow people to trust you anymore. The people should forgive us, forget about the past and look forward to the new army, which is now well trained, well disciplined and accountable to the people of this country.

Commissioner Kamara:    Yes, Major General Carew, it is true that the main concern of the Commission is to bring about reconciliation in the country but before reconciliation, these has to be something a prerequisite and that is, people should come out and admit any fault atrocities or displeasure they would have caused that made people not to trust them so are you saying by that statement that you accept now as head and on behalf of the army that there was a period, the period we are discussing now, when the military was not serving the people of this country so as to be trusted by the people of the country?

Major General Carew:    Yes exactly.  You know as I said, in any society or any organization, you must have people who are bent on destroying the good image of an institution.  So I will not argue on that point.  Just like you rightly say, I will just beg, you know, I mean members of this Commission to help us to talk to the people of the country and that is why your staff go to my headquarters, I will always welcome them and try to tell my junior officers to make sure we assist them because we know this is the only forum whereby we can come and vent out our views and actually ask for forgiveness which I will now do.

Commissioner Kamara:    All right but we have a duty that goes beyond that.  Apart from bringing about reconciliation, we are also to find out the cause or causes of what happened here so that we can make recommendations that will prevent the reoccurrence of what happened and this is where you and all the other people come in because you are the ones who were the actors in those  places where all these things happened.  You are the ones to come and tell us what went wrong that created the circumstances that led to the problems that this country had.  When we get that information and analyse it along with others, we will then be able to make appropriate recommendations.  Otherwise if we just gloss over it, we will not be able to come out with recommendations that will be worthwhile.  So this is why I am asking for instance, what happened in the army that only 5% of the military created this dissatisfaction within the army for the army to behave the way it did?

Major General Carew:    Okay, these are all in my next paper but I will just summarize them, I would say some of these things; you can put them under training. Training brings in so many things like discipline and you have so many other things that you derive from discipline. We do what we call military history. In these courses you will read about ten Generals and you will actually study them properly then you take three to know actually what the qualities of these men were. Why was liked by his subordinates? Why was he winning victory upon victory?  This is how we do study and I studied Field Marshal Montgomery.  He was a man who was always with his men.  He feared God in the first place.  So whatever it is, he was always thinking that there is somebody behind watching him.


DAY 2 – 15/7/03

Chairman Humper:    I would hold some of my question but I want to say here that a lot of questions that we need answering are going to the army.  So I will withhold some of these questions and ask only one question now.  Would you have us believe that when the army, no the intervention came the rebels were pushed eastwards from the west end of Freetown and they split into two one to Makeni and the other group remained at Okra Hill, the West Side Boys. Well what would you say to another opinion that the west side boys were all Sierra Leone Army and not just rebels .

Major General Carew:    In my presentation Sir, I told you that the other side what I mean is I am talking about the RUF/SLA/AFRC.  So most of these people who went to West Side base were those die heart AFRC elements that did not want to hear anything abut peace and causing all sorts of problems.  In fact they attacked the British people and we really organised operation “BAHRAH” which actually taught them a lesson.

Chairman Humper:    Are you saying that among the West Side Boys you had RUF and SLA? The point I am trying to make here is the split. When they went out the RUF went one way the SLA went another way, the SLA were the ones who formed the group at Okra Hill and all those that went to Makeni were all RUF. But they had a common linkage with their RUF counterparts in Makeni.  That is how they were working.

……    Thank you.  Major General before I came to my question I want us to get one clarification probably that would help us in the last question my colleague asked.  My understanding is that those who stayed here the West Side boys and some of those who went there put together a good number of old allegiance to Johnny Paul Koroma.  That is what is to be kept in mind. Because if you don’t do that then we would lose the trend and track of what was happening.

Major General Carew:    You are correct Sir.

Chairman Humper:    Thank you very much Sir now let me come to your experience before I come to this January 6 invasion. Did I hear you say that with your experience as a Colonel you were put under a junior?

Major General Carew:    Yes Sir.

Chairman Humper:    You had intelligence information about the pending invasion two weeks before the time; that was the information received according to you. What I would like to know is your saying that no mechanism was put in place to follow up on that information received.

Major General Carew:    Well to be very frank chairman the whole operational issue was left in the hands of the ECOMOG.

Chairman Humper: Yes, you have answered my question.  CDS do you have anything just in summary, because you are well guarded and I am also going to be well guarded in asking my question.  Do you have any inclination of there being some sort of conflict between the commanders of ECOMOG and the then CDS of the country who is not a Sierra Leonean?  In other words did you have any inclination of the conflict between Shelpidi and others and General Khobe who was then CDS?

Major General Carew:    That was what I put in the nutshell, that there were some problems.

Chairman Humper:    In other words it is the general assumption that this general commanding over ECOMOG considered the CDS junior why should a junior come to command me a senior but the questions now put here is that would it be maintained that but for the in fighting among ECOMOG commanders, it might have practically impossible for RUF to invade the city?

Major General Carew:    Mr. Commissioner that is why I said I had wanted it to be in a closed hearing. If I should give my own view I would say maybe if there was cooperation from all commands maybe we would have had strong plans to forestall all these issues.

Chairman Humper:    the final one is the one all Sierra Leoneans maybe should answer but you are sitting here you are going to answer on behalf of all Sierra Leoneans.  Freetown was considered the darkest city in the world.  Did I hear you say that one of the reasons why the rebels easily invaded the city was because of the darkness in which we lived in the city?

Major General Carew:    Well you are correct because during the junta days there was complete confusion in the country no good administration no good light all these things people were expecting.

Chairman Humper:    There are a good number of questions I kept for tomorrow because they probably belong to tomorrow we don’t want to bring it up now.  In your next presentation, which you have really done well to analyse, we will be dealing with those but the January 6 invasion as you said left an indelible mark on the minds of people in this country and constitutes another dark chapter in the history of our country.  So when we are dealing with it everybody is listening keenly to know what went wrong on the whole how things went wrong and changed for better and worse at “Benguema” when SAJ Musa was no longer in the city, that is now history.  We would only hope that all of us in our respective positions would learn from history.  I would now ask the Leader of Evidence if he has any question or any input at this point.

Leader of Evidence: Thank you Chairperson my first question is about Brigadier General Khobe I was told that before he became a Chief of Defence Forces he was the one actually in charge of the ECOMOG troops.  Is that correct?

Major General Carew:    Yes

Who took the decision to replace him by Nigerian personnel and why was this decision taken?

Major General Carew:    Well I think a request was made along the line that since this man had done so well and there was no trusted Sierra Leonean at that time that we must have somebody like him, in whom the people of Sierra Leone had trust; so that he would actually control the armed forces of this country until such time when we have settled down then they would appoint a Sierra Leonean.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    Was it a decision taken by ECOMOG or the Sierra Leonean government?

Major General Carew:    I cannot now actually pin point who.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    do you think that, the decision to remove General Khobe from the ECOMOG forces contributed to what you described as petty jealousy for supremacy, or was it also because there was a different treatment of ECOMOG compared to the SLA soldiers. I mean were there more benefits for ECOMOG?

Major General Carew:    I want to believe that no true Sierra Leonean had any doubt about General Khobe’s selection at that time as leader of this army because he was the hope for peace in this country.

Leader of Evidence:    Is it correct that the number of ECOMOG troops had been reduced just before the invasion or sometime before the invasion?

Major General Carew:    Yes it is true that they had started cutting down the numbers because of our logistics, but actually we had a good number of them, even at that time.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    So how many ECOMOG troops were in Freetown at that time and how many SLA were left in Freetown just before the invasion?

Major General Carew:    Actually I cannot give the figures now because in military operations it is only the commander that knows the exact number of troops that are under his command.  At that time I was, because of my loyalty to Brigadier Gove, in care of logistics but even at that I had little to do because the Nigerians were actually you know…

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    So can you find this information for the commission can you communicate this to us?

Major General Carew:    No that one I cannot promise the Commission because most of these documents were with the Nigerians and when they left they took most of them away. And I have nobody I can ask. if anyone should have such information it is only people like me because I was with him.  But when he died suddenly  nobody knew so they took all the documents from the office and  after 2 months or so they called me and they said I should act as CDF till December of that year before, I was made substantive.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    Can you find the information on the SLA?

Major General Carew:    That one I can do because the number was small, not more than a company and that is roughly about one hundred and twenty. Those of us that surrendered to the government were not more than a company really.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    Can you tell us about the relationship and the collaboration between SLA and CDF just before the invasion and during the invasion?

Major General Carew:    All I know is that when I came back from Guinea ECOMOG had driven out the junta elements.  As I said the loyal troops were very few.  They were assisting yes, but to my knowledge they were not taking part in any operation here in Freetown .So   most of them were up in the provinces because ECOMOG was wholly and solely responsible for the security of this city.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    My last question is about the west side boys how come you had to wait for the abduction of some British Soldiers and for the British to come and Free them in order to chase the west side boys or take over the west side boys.  Why didn’t the ECOMOG or later the UNAMSIL and the LA why didn’t they succeed.

Major General Carew:    At that particular point in time the British were here to train the Sierra Leone Armed Forces because the government decided that an army of reconciliation is necessary whereby all fighting factions would be brought together so as to have a national army.  So when the British came they started training the army and during that time they were on patrol in that particular okra Hill base area.  No sooner than they went there these guys surrounded them and they were apprehended they tried to negotiate with them for about a week or two, to no avail.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    But why were the West Side Boys particularly strong, did they have heavy arms, what made them so invincible?

Major:    In my own view, I know the British would have flushed them out but they would have had many casualties.  So they did not want that and wanted to use diplomacy doing it, but they decided to negotiate with them. So since that was not a language they could understand the only language they could was force so the British prepared themselves. We were at BTC and no time was given; the striking hour was only given to people like myself and other important people and they decided to organise operation BARRAS. It was early that morning at four that we actually showed them that they are no force to reckon with any national troop or any government.

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    Thank you very much

Chairman Humper:    Now CDS you now have a chance to ask questions or to make recommendations.

Major General Carew:    Actually with regards to such a topic I don’t think I have questions.  I would just try to maybe put down on paper some of the lessons learned from such operations. Like the commissioner was saying, in such operations we need cooperation, understanding. These are things or lessons I learnt.  I would send it down to you.

Chairman Humper:    Thank you very much CDS we again want to reiterate that you are one of the greatest personalities in this society that we depend on to accomplish our mandate and deal with the question of what went wrong, why we encountered this ten year senseless war. This would require all who had been helping, working in this country to come up with their own ideas so that we will put all of these together and educate ourselves.  We want to thank you for coming ad we see on our schedule your appearance again because we feel that unless we have this hearing we will not be able to arrive at definitive decisions on what happened or on specific events that took place in this country.  Thank you again for the time you took in explaining clarifying and amplifying points..  So we hope we will meet again here in due course to continue the same process. We now ask you to stand down. 

Commissioner Torto:    May we have your names please in full?

Major General Carew:        Major General Tom Sebana Carew.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you Major General.  You have been with us yesterday. You now know the procedure but by way of reminder, it’s the same exercise.  You will be presenting and we would ask you questions, followed by the Leader of Evidence and if you have questions and recommendations at the end, you will have opportunity to offer them to us.  So may we now hear from you?

Major General Carew:    Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.  Today again, I stand before you to respond to the task, assigned to me with reference to the hostage taking of the United Nations peacekeepers in Sierra Leone, in 2000.  Actually I was deployed in Freetown when the hostages were taken.  Many stories have been told to inform the pensive world. What I intend to talk about is how we got to know the hostage taking stage.  How the hostage taking stage impacted on us nationally and internationally. I will however attempt to describe the peculiarity of the war years, and how it played out in West Africa, even beyond.  Then I will conclude by recommending some reforms and practices aimed at protecting UN peacekeepers in the management of cease fire during civil wars.,  Now let me just say a few things prior to the conflict, and during the conflict itself.

Now before the war broke out in 1991, I was deployed as adjutant of Lungi Garrison at Lungi.  At the onset of the war, I got posted to Mano River Bridge.  I was later posted to Potoru in the Pujehun District, and then I was subsequently posted to Koribondo as battalion commander in 1993.  I became third brigade Commander in the Southern Province in 1994; that was just after I returned from Ghana, from my Senior Staff College Course.  By then the brigade headquarters was in Bo, and my rank was colonel and the rebel was a strange animal to many soldiers and to the RSLAF at large.  However in a very short space of time, my troop became used and stood firm to face the enemy, which was by then the Revolutionary United Front.  Then the rebels for fear of long-term identity started to wear the uniforms of fallen regular soldiers and we became labelled as Sobels, like one of the Commissioners was saying.  Also that time, the National Provincial Ruling Council known as NPRC and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) became united.  And in fact got into what we call a marriage.  The created regimes of interregnum and the one time combat focused Armed Forces again became blemished because of the lack of that mark of identity between the RUF and a portion of RSLAF that went into marriage with these people.  In future like I have always done, I will implore our soldiers, sailors, aircraftmen, to do their constitutional duties and only perform all other tasks when our civilian master passes instructions within the provision of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone.  

Now let me come on to the topic itself.


The brief scuffle between the UN forces and the RUF was related to three issues, in my view.  These are:

- The problems relief – in place operating between the UN forces and ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone.

- Another one is the logistic principles of impartiality on the side of the UN and Civil/Military relationship problems in Sierra Leone at that particular time.  At the time the UN decided to deploy its forces in Makeni, which is one hundred and forty (140) kilometres away from their Freetown headquarters, the force size was small, the mandate was not combative, and there was no established relationship between the UN forces and the splinted regular RSLAF forces.

- And also because of lack of mutual trust.  As it were, the International Community mistook the AFRC/RUF alliance for the entire RSLAF forces.  Now for example, before the Kenyans headed for Makeni, a team visited the Armed Forces training centre to inform the RSLAF trainers and Security personnel who joined the Nigerians to liberate Freetown after the RUF invasion on the 6th January 1999.  The SLA did advise that the AFRC had monitored an RUF radio that suggested the arrest of some peacekeepers in order to improve on their stake in the peace process.  However, that situation forced the UN to improve on their mandate, which allowed us to see UN personnel, exercising that natural element of self-defence.  Actually, my disappointment was that the hostages were only released to the President of Liberia – Mr. Charles Taylor, who handed the former hostages to the UN authority in Freetown.  I must say that we thank God our colleagues resurfaced although some died at the initial stage of the hostage taking; that is what it takes to manage uncertainty.  Nevertheless. I personally learnt the following lessons and I wish to share them with the TRC. These are:

- UN peacekeepers must observe the partnership of the local forces in order to gain any entry point into securing a credible peace operation.  And the second lesson is that peacekeepers should be trained and organized to transform into a peace reinforcement role, by developing a force protection party, should a situation demand it.  Indeed I am looking at why reforms in the RSLAF should happen in this regime of restructuring the Ministry of Defence; but such reforms need to be enhanced by the International Community, especially in areas such as peace support operations within West Africa.  And to summarize, I want to say that I saw the beginning and the end of the civil war.  Restructuring with the aim of inducing the military to work within the ambit of the laws – national and international.  As for the hostage taking of the peacekeepers one hundred and fifty kilometres (150km) away from the UN headquarters, there was an amnesty between the ECOMOG exit strategy in 1999 and the UN’s take over tactics in 2000.  Mr. Chairman, this is not going to be a very long topic.  I will leave the rest for questioning.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you, Commissioner Kamara.

Commissioner Kamara:    Yes, thank you very much Chief of Defence Staff, T.S. Carew.  We are happy to receive you again today, for the second time in two days.  This hostage taking of the peacekeepers - I don’t know, maybe I misunderstood you so I want you to confirm my own understanding of your presentation.  Are you saying that the reason for it was only to enhance or increase the negotiating power of the AFRC/RUF?

Major General Carew:    Yes Mr. Commissioner, I want to say that this is my own view that this must have been one of the reasons why they took these people.

Commissioner Kamara:    All right.  Then I refer you to – because I want clarification on a statement you made that’s paragraph six (6) of page two (2) where it’s stated and I quote “before the Kenyans headed for Makeni, a team visited the Armed Forces training centre to inform the RSLAF trainers and security personnel who had joined Nigerians to liberate Freetown. What was it?  Was the team sent to the training centre to tell them or warn them of this attack?  Or were the Kenyans at that time to move in from Freetown to Makeni.  I can’t really understand that.

Major General Carew:     Mr. Commissioner you see, when moving troops, the very first thing you must do as a military commander, is to get enough information on the routes you will be travelling and all that you need before you move your troops.  So what I am saying is that peacekeepers should work hand in glove with the local forces.  So when these people were about to go, from my latest information at that time, they went to AFTC and they were informed that they have monitored some messages which spoke of wanting   to kidnap some of these people.   I will not blame them really because of, as you were saying, people do not trust most of our soldiers at that time as  some of them could manufacture information and just pass them across and to say ‘ah we received this from the  rebels’.  So maybe that was the reason they never gave heed to it.

Chairman Humper: Kamara:    And therefore can one conclude that the blame for what happened rested squarely on the peacekeepers?

Major General Carew:    Not at all.  I will not say that Sir.  What I’m saying is that, they should not be blamed; because that might have been diversionary tactics by the rebels to pass on those messages to their counterparts, because some of these guys were part of those rebels, mind you. For example, when I came back from Guinea, when we went to actually recapture Kono, we went there with so many vehicles so many tanks.  What they did was send a false message to our location, telling us that they needed those vehicles back.  By then we have spent about two weeks.  We had no food; we were just depending on raw mangoes and all those things.  So there was nobody to come back.  Then I decided to go back with the vehicles in Freetown.  On our way we fell in a terrible ambush and that was where I got this mark.  So this was the diversionary tactics that the rebels were using.  So we cannot blame them at all.

Commissioner Kamara:    Yes but Major General is it not true that all is fair in battle?  Of course they have a right also to deceive the enemy.  So if they send false messages and you fall in the trap that they set for you, well, that is to their own benefit; but what you have told us in this case was that, the peacekeepers were warned by the Sierra Leone army about this message. Whether true or false the peacekeepers should have taken some measures to make sure that if the message happened to be true, they would also deal with it, but I don’t think they did; and because they had been warned it shows that they took responsibility for their action and the time.

Major General Carew:    Mr. Commissioner, if the situation was stable, we can say we blame them; but at that particular point in time, there were so many diversionary tactics used by rebels.  So it was very difficult for to say those people were at fault.  So we just leave it as it is.

Commissioner Jones:    Thank you for coming again and thank you for waiting so patiently for us call you up to the podium.  Now, in what proportion was the RSLAF splintered?

Major General Carew:    Actually, I cannot be exact now; but just like I was saying yesterday as at the time of the AFRC days, we had about roughly eighty percent (80%) on the other side, that is AFRC/RUF side.

Commissioner Jones:    Eighty percent on that side?

Major General Carew:    Initially I could not tell the percentage; but up to when the AFRC took over, it was about 80%.  Very few loyal soldiers surrendered to ECOMOG.

Commissioner Jones:    So you will agree that the proportion, which stayed regular, was not high enough for the UN to have established any relationship with?

Major General Carew:    That is why I am saying that we should not blame the UN.  Just like you were saying, the percentage was too high and so the people do not trust us anymore.

Commissioner Jones:    Could you explain to us in what particular areas you disappointment lay about the release of the hostages to the President of Liberia?

Major General Carew:    Actually all information that we have received shows that Charles Taylor was the man supporting the RUF.  So I particularly had something against him.  So for these people to be handed over to him confirmed what I had against him. He was the main man supporting these people to fight against this country.

Commissioner Jones:    Thank you.

Chairman Humper:    CDS, we welcome you again for being so patient.  The other day I asked many questions for clarification. Today, I will ask but the three main questions I have to pose to be perceived from the perspective of the mandate of the Commission.  One part of our mandate is to establish a historical record of the violations and abuses of Human rights s International humanitarian law  from the 23rd of March 1991 to the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement on 7th July, 1999.  CDS, my first question now is this:  Did the arrest and killing of some of the UN peacekeepers take place before the Lome Peace Agreement or after the Lome Peace Agreement?

Major General Carew:    Actually the arrest took place after the Lome Peace Accord.

Chairman Humper:    Alright, the Lome Peace Agreement Article 9 stipulates that those who were involved – the warring factions were granted amnesty and pardon. but  in the pursuit of the objective, up to the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement that’s on 7th July, 1999.  Thereafter the assumption is that that it follows that any crime committed after that was within the purview of that amnesty is that not the case?

Major General Carew:    Mr. Chairman, I want to believe that we should go by what the law says.  Luckily I was part of the delegation that went to sign that peace accord.  We were there for over two months; these people were giving us a lot of problems.  There will come a day when they will go to court. Foday Sankoh will say something today and say a different thing another time. Only people like the honourable Vice President were patient;  had it been left to  us, we would have just left the place.

Chairman Humper:    OK before I ask my third question.  The sub-question that follows immediately therefore CDS, is , would you agree with me that it was within the context of the Lome Peace Agreement that UN sent the Peacekeeping force to Sierra Leone and that they had every right to go to every area of this country, as a result of the Lome peace Agreement?

Major General Carew:    Mr. Commissioner, I want to agree with you (100%) hundred percent.

Chairman Humper:    My final question now CDS is this: What impact, negative or positive did the arrest and killing of some of the United Nations peace keepers by our own people in this country have, on the International Community and particularly, those, whose lives were lost in the pursuit of ensuring a peaceful Sierra Leone?

Major General Carew:    Mr. Chairman, I want to say this was a very shameful act.  Any true Sierra Leonean should be ashamed by the way these people acted.  This shows you the amount of lawlessness that was carrying on during these days.

Chairman Humper:    Thank you sir.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you Major General T.S. Carew.  In paragraph two (2) of your submission, you said that you intend to talk about how we got to the hostage taking stage and how the hostage taking impacted on National and International political scenes.  In paragraph five (5) you said that the arrest of about five hundred Peacekeepers was related to three issues in your view.  The problems of the relief in place operation between UN forces and ECOMOG forces, and then you talked about the second probably being the legalistic principle of impartiality, and thirdly civil/military relation problem in Sierra Leone at that time.  What if you could explain exactly do you mean by those three points?

Major General Carew:    O.K. let me start with the problem of economic communities changing over.  You know at that time when ECOMOG was being replaced, so to speak, there was a lot of confusion on the ground. These particular people coming in did not know the ground, so there was complete chaos in the general area.  So in my view, this is one of the reasons why these people were able to capture those people.  Otherwise, they would not have been able.  That is what I am saying here.  Then coming on to the second one the logistic principle of impartiality.  The UN troops thought that they were going to a friendly place.  So they never went in that combatant role, with more logistics like tanks, in case of any problem. They were not given that mandate so they went unprepared for any scuffle with these people.  So I want to believe that is the reason they could capture those people; if those people were properly armed and in their combat role, ready for battle, they would not have come their way. Coming down to the last one, the civil military relationship problem, I want to believe that that was the first time the UN troop was on ground.  So they would not have had friends on the ground – like talking to civilians, who will actually direct them to say ‘don’t go that way’ and so on and so forth.  So, because, of all these problems. They went there, not knowing anything about the ground and therefore they were surprised by these rebel elements who went around and capture them. But I know if they had had that civil relationship properly in place, people would have advised them not to enter certain areas occupied by rebels. Added to all this, as I said earlier, they were not thinking that they were going for any combat role.  The size of the force itself was very small. Five hundred (500) was less than a battalion and those people were more than a brigade in that particular region.  According to our ratio, we do fight one to three (1:3).  So let us say if we have about a brigade in that place, we should at least carry a division there because we have two brigades in one division.  So that is how we carried out our operational planning.

Commissioner Sooka:    So could one conclude from your testimony that in your sort of expert opinion the capture could probably be attributed to a combination of not doing the proper sort of intelligence survey, not being prepared and also combination of distrust in the information supplied by the army.

Major General Carew:    Well maybe that might be possible but I don’t want to agree with the first one because, UNAMSIL has facilities for better information gathering.  So I don’t want to believe in the first one, but maybe the second one, because of the diversionary tactics, which the rebels used.  They could not believe our men there, so that just felt these people were telling lies and that they could go in that small number, because they were not expecting a fight.

Commissioner Sooka:    But you know from your testimony, you talked about the fact that the group was too small and in a sense you seemed to suggest that they were unprepared for what was going to happen.  That is why I’m asking if in your opinion, you think they were not properly prepared and perhaps were not briefed about what they would encounter?

Major General Carew:    Well actually I want to believe that these people felt that they were not going to meet any resistance; because they were here to help us keep the peace.  So they were not expecting anything like that. To their surprise, the people, of course you know them, they were not disciplined, did not regard any law; they can sign papers today and say afterwards, ‘ah we don’t agree with this agreement’, so they can do anything.  It was just too unfortunate for them.

Commissioner Sooka:    Just two last questions, In point eleven (11) you talked about the fact that the hostage took place a hundred and forty kilometres (140) away from UN quarters.  Then you also said that there was an … between ECOMOG exit strategy and the UN’s take over so, could you sort of explain that?

Major General Carew:    Well, you know, Makeni, which is a town in the Northern Province, is about a hundred and forty (140) kilometres away from Freetown.  So I am just talking of the town itself. I’m just giving you the distance from Freetown to Makeni, just to let you picture the distance from UNAMSIL’s headquarters, which is in Freetown; and the way they captured those people.  

Commissioner Sooka:    Yes but my second question really is about what you mean when you said that there was an … between the exit strategy on the UN’s take over.  That is in the last paragraph of your statement.

Major General Carew:    No, I’m not talking of ECOMOG, its not there.

Commissioner Sooka:    It’s the last sentence actually in you’re…

Major General Carew:    The last sentence, But there is not like that here, it’s eleven you said paragraph eleven?

Commissioner Sooka:    Yes paragraph eleven you said there was, as for the hostage taking of the peacekeepers a hundred and forty kilometres away from UN headquarters and there was an … between the ECOMOG exit strategy in 1999 of the UN’s take over tactics in 2000; and I am asking you to clarify what you mean by that.

Major General Carew: This is what I am saying.  I am just trying to actually give you the distances between Freetown and Makeni and also the tactics of these rebels, compared to that of ECOMOG who were just getting out of the scene, it’s just a sort of summary.  As compared to the tactics that ECOMOG was also using.  In that they were coming in, ECOMOG was planning leave the scene and these other people were trying to take over from then.  Well this is what I was just trying put in position to say that, it was during that period, that this confusion took place, and maybe the sooner these left, they know for sure that these people had no knowledge about the locality.  So they used that opportunity to go and capture them.

Commissioner Sooka:    That you well the last question.  This was even in your recommendations and you said I personally learnt the following lessons.  There seems to be an element of situation perhaps that the UN did not do things properly and you stated that the UN peacekeepers must observe the partnership of winning the local forces, in order to gain any entry point into the secured, credible peace operations.   Now, perhaps, I think what we are all trying to get at is, you seem to be fairly critical about the way in which they managed this particular operations.  Maybe we can even drag from the tender of your submission.

Major General Carew:    You know, this is just like what I was saying yesterday that in the Military you always try to study some lessons from any failure of a command.  So to me, there were problems with this operation while these people were captured.  So to me, there was a bit problem with this operation, which led to the capture. Why were these people were captured, and as a result what lessons can we learn to make sure that other peacekeepers are not just taken hostage like that.  So this is one of the suggestions I am making.  That when we have troops or arrival of new troops, they should actually try to get more information about the terrain, from those people who were occupying the ground to curb difficulties. This is just my personal view.

Commissioner Sooka: So it seems you go back to the question really of being prepared in a sense?

Major General Carew:    You see, when dealing with rebels like those in Sierra who really do not have any aim, it is actually good.  My advice to any peacekeeping troop is to be well prepared because they can do anything.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much Brigadier Carew.  I am sorry to reduce you but, it is my fault, I am not so much aware of your rankings even though I am seeing the buttons and  so you have to forgive me.  I just have very minor areas that I want you to clear for me, based on your written submission.  You are saying that, according to the very first paragraph, last sentence, ‘the rebels for fear of long-term identity, wore the uniforms of our regular soldiers, and we became Sobels”.  Was that the only day that you became Sobels?    Secondly as a part of this question – are you aware that there were connivances among your officers, between the rebels and some officers of the Armed Forces?

Leader of Evidence:    Commissioner, the Chief of Defence Staff will be scheduled for a close Session on the 22nd because we think it is important that a number of issues be interrogated with the CDS, so perhaps for today …

Commissioner Torto:    OK.  So I can hold on to that, thank you.  For now we take this for the reason.  The last part is stated and has something to do with the function or the office of the Major-General of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces if you look at it in paragraph ten (10) ‘To summarize I saw the beginning and the end of the civil war.’  The restructuring with the aim of inducing the military to work within the ambit of the laws; now, who should do this restructuring since it is coming from you? Is it an appeal you are making to us since you are now the CDS?

Major General Carew:    This is just a general introductory paragraph I am giving.  What I am saying is that the restructuring is going to be done by a team - that is the IMATT team, and some of us Sierra Leoneans.  So it is just something that I am putting in passing that we should consider when doing this restructuring.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  Leader of Evidence you have questions for the Major General.

Leader of Evidence:    Honourable Commissioner, I have no questions for the CDS on the kidnap of UN peacekeepers, but I have two requests to make of the Chief of Defence Staff.  The first is to assist the Commission in terms of the testimony that came through about the objective conditions within the country that led to the onset of the civil war. The commission will be very interested to receive further submissions from you Sir, on the ‘Ndobowusu’ rebellion.  What was the role of the military in that rebellion, which were the actors, what was the nature of the disturbance?  I think that will be a critical contribution that the Commission would be expecting from the  military in writing.

Major General Carew:    I will delegate my staff to do it; because, as I am now talking here, I was not the Commander at that time, and I was a very low officer – I mean lower in rank at that time.

Leader of Evidence:    It is not about your person Sir, it is about the Military as an institution and so there certainly must be records.

Major General Carew:    During ‘Ndobowusu’ time?

Leader of Evidence:     1982 certainly.  There must be records of the roles that Army has played over the years; who the Commanding Officers were, the experiences and what they have done in different places.  So certainly, your officers will need to look at your records.

Major General Carew:    No actually. If you talk of records, to be very frank, when the people came in they destroyed everything.  I will only try to do it because I want to assist the Commission.  Maybe I will contact people like General Gortor to help us with some of these things because he was the Commander of that Operation.

Leader of Evidence:    That would be wonderful.  In which case Sir, could you ask him, tell him that we want to see him.  It might be more helpful for us to interview him, than for him to put something in writing.  So I will discuss with you after the session so that  we can write a formal letter requesting for him specifically.

Major General Carew:    OK.

Leader of Evidence:    Second one Sir, is in respect to the hearings two days ago, which dealt with the 1998 trials and executions.  Even though you were not invited as a witness, because we were not having you on our list, the Commission would be very much interested in receiving further documentation from you sir.  You were President if the Court Martial Board.  So I would like to have a transcript of the proceedings of the Court Martial, as well as the interrogations of the officers by the army.

Major General Carew:    Let me clarify that point again.  You have already sent to me, and I have already replied to your letter and I have spoken to your team.  It is very difficult to get those records now, because let us say for example, after the proceedings, what you do is, you go and handover everything to the CDS and by then he was General Khobe.  He in turn will have to take it to a higher level.  So during the intervention, these guys, when they were coming, nobody dared to keep these records, people would just throw them away.  Maybe it is only people like SLBS and these other people that would have these things; because they were attending these trials on a daily basis but to  get it from our own archives now, is impossible.

Leader of Evidence:    Well thank you very much, the Commission will explore all possible means to go to SLBS, the office of the Vice President and the Attorney General to see whether we can have access to those records.  They are very important documents for the work of the Commission.  Thank you very much CDS.  That is all Commissioners.

Commissioner Torto: Thank your Major General you have questions for us, for the Commission?

Major General Carew: Actually again, just like what Brigadier Conteh was saying, I do not know how you people intend to interview some of my officers, because I have been receiving letters but some of them are out of the country.  So I do not know what arrangements you will make for them to either write to you people, or what arrangements you will put in place for these people, I mean to …

Commissioner Torto: You mean serving officers, or members who were with the…

Major General Carew:    No, serving officers.

Leader of Evidence:    Mr. Commissioner we have sent to the CDS a number of letters. Apart from Colonel Mundeh who is in Nigeria, my understanding is that all the other officers would be invited, serving within the country and one of them has actually come forward.

Major General Carew:    Well  he is out of the country he is attending a course.

Leader of Evidence:    Really, when will the course end Sir?

Major General Carew: He has about one more year.

Leader of Evidence:    I think he is a very important witness; he is actually on the list of invitees in the army and the expectation of the Commission is that, since the military has a duty to cooperate with the Commission, then it would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence Sir, to produce those officers, particularly the gentleman you just mentioned.  He is a very critical witness for the Commission.

Major General Carew: Like you sent another signal for Bangura?

Leader of Evidence:    That is right Sir,

Major General Carew: Bangura is also on a course outside of the country.  So this is my concern now.  Whether maybe you will just wait for them; but again you have some time limitation.

Commissioner Torto: How long are they taking in the course?

Major General Carew: Let us say towards the end of the year.  Most of them would have come.   

Leader of Evidence:    Colonel K. Squire is on a course for one year and …

Major General Carew: But he is doing his war college.  He is completing in July, and then he will be doing another year, to complete his Masters.

Leader of Evidence:    Honourable Commissioners, I think it is something that the Commission needs to take up at the level of the Ministry of Defence and if need be the Presidency.  These are very critical witnesses that the Leaders of Evidence have through the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Commission, written to the Military authorities, that they come to the Commission. They are so significant that they need to come and talk to the Commission.

Commissioner Torto:    I see one of them has made a written submission in the person of Komba Mondeh, has Kess Mboya made any?

Leader of Evidence:    No he has not and he is a very critical witness for the Commission.  In the context of Mondeh, we did not request his further appearance because, first is that the Head of State during that era- Captain Valentine Strasser we want to bring him, and so if Valentine Strasser can testify before the Commission, then the Leaders of Evidence would not intend to present Colonel Mondeh as a witness, but for K. Squire and Bangura, these are very significant witnesses,  that the Leaders of Evidence think the Commissioners need to interview either in closed session or possible open sessions as well.

Commissioner Torto:    OK.  Since this is the case we are asking that we will take the matter up as you have said through the Ministry of Defence officially between the Ministry and the Commission, but with regards the submission of a written testimony to us, we want to ask you to remind Kess Mboya to send in his submission.  Already Komba Mondeh has sent in his submission from Nigeria.  We think Kess Mboya can do the same thing.  He has to actually send in a written submission.  The other efforts to get him bodily, before the Commission, would be pursued by the Commission.

Major General Carew:    Yes Mr. Commissioner, in my own little way, since I have actually promised to go all out to make sure that this Commission succeeds, I will try to contact him, and my M.A. will phone him after here.  Then I will request that he spends about a few days.   We may have to get the tickets for him to come and explain and then go back.

Commissioner Torto:    Yes.  Just a few days and then he can take off.

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you very much CDS. The Commission’s intention is to help you sir, to build a very professional Army and so some of those who have some answers to provide for the Commission, are so critical and I am sure that you will be very happy with the report of the Commission in respect of their experiences and the roles that they have played.  So we would appreciate it if you can facilitate their return, so that we can interview them.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  We see you have some suggestions or recommendations in your paper, are those all you have, or do you have any to add?

Major General Carew:    For the peacekeepers.

Commissioner Torto:    On the papers you have presented even this last one – I believe they are your recommendations, right?

Major General Carew:    Yes, I will try to make some additions.

Commissioner Torto:    Please do that in writing and let us have them.

Major General Carew:    The only thing… ok I will talk to you in camera.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you. If you do not have anything more to add, we thank you very much for coming and appreciate your time with us.  You may now step down.




Leader of Evidence:  Mr Chairman, May I call the first witness for the day. He is the Chairman of the NCDDR

Chairman Humper: Can we have your name please

George Collridge Taylor:    My name is George Collridge Taylor:

                  (The Oath)

Chairman Humper:     We welcome you to our important body and we would want to thank you for your important cooperation .We do hope that you will be of immense help to the Commission in carrying out its mandate we would now invite you to make your presentation

George Collridge Taylor: Thank you Mr Chairman, Commissioners of the TRC, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, May I on behalf of the NCDDR extend our thanks to TRC for inviting us to their presentation

NCDHR Report to the TRC - 2nd July 2003.

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Commissioners of the TRC;

Recalling the events, which gave, rise to the TRC has always been a traumatic experience, even for those whose interest may be only academic. For those of us who have dedicated our life, and work to the preservation and advancement of our motherland, watching its rise and fall has been simply devastating. Our only consolation is derived from the realization that the revelations and reflections, which engage the attention of this Commission, are destined to reverse the course of this nation's fortunes and put her back on the path to recovery through reconciliation.

Against the background of the NCDHR's mandate for the protection and advancement of democracy and human rights s, my presentation will be concerned with the ways in which the observance, or disregard of these concepts can help to explain our historical past and prepare the way for a historic future.

The people of Sierra Leone have invariably shown a marked preference for democratic values. Bai Bureh declared war because he was required to pay tax but denied representation. Sengbeh Pieh rebelled because he was denied equality, justice and human dignity.

In more recent times, men like the Hon. H. C. Bankole Bright, who opposed the divide and rule strategy of the pre-independence elections, accepted the results because they expressed the will of the majority.

It is not surprising then, that Sierra Leone was so peaceful throughout our first years of independence, when free association free expression and commodious living made us the envy and admiration of nations far and wide.

Regrettably, it has to be admitted that this was a reflection of the colonial administration and its after-glow. The indigenisation of politics unleashed the interactive cultural stresses between the supremacy of the popular will and welfare on the one hand, and the indigenous ideal of a benevolent autocracy, which turned out to be negligently malevolent.

Political divisions and loyalties were tribally delineated; wealth and power were co-extensive and restricted to the privileged elite; minorities were either marginalized or excluded and avenues for redress or complaints either non-existent or virtually inaccessible.

In this climate of deprivation, discontent was fermented as a national reaction, resulting in alienation of the masses from the ruling class. In their delusion of security, little thought was given by the rulers, to the welfare of the people or the interest of the nation. Poor financial management and disastrous fiscal policies soon led to a catastrophic economic climate in which unemployment flourished among the youth, while over-centralization of power and wealth engendered and condoned corruption, injustice, nepotism, disregard for law and order, which together produced a recipe for bad governance.

Powerless and dispossessed, the people waited impatiently for relief to the point of exasperation. Many were even ready to sacrifice an elected government for an autocratic military dictatorship.

As it turned out, it was the politicians who initiated this retrogressive practice. The coup of 1967, the first of an unfortunate series, actually introduced the practice of manipulation of the military by the politicians, thereby opening Pandora's box and preparing the way for future interventions.

The NRC, NPRC and AFRC were logical outcomes of that first misguided act, transforming the noble institution that won honour and glory at Mayoung to the Sierra Leone version of West Side Story.

Of course, the army had its own gripes, deeply anchored in causes, which are happily becoming 'a thing of the past'. They resented the political manipulation, which encouraged and invited them to intervene when it was convenient for one side or the other. Recruitment was equally politicised, as politicians sought ethnic and constituency quotas to facilitate election thuggery and strengthen their power base.

A major and very important fact ignored by these politicians was that soldiers were recruited from the civilian population and carried their discontent with them into the army. The army thus represented a melting pot of incompatible ingredients. On the one hand, tribal divisions were tearing them apart in competitive rivalries as each sector strove for dominance in influence and numbers. On the other hand , they were united by discontent with the status quo. When this situation was compounded by a deliberate policy of marginalizing them, the recipe for revolt and disloyalty was complete and it persisted into the war.

Marginalization manifested itself in low and delayed salaries, inadequate and uncomfortable accommodation, denial of benefits for the family; withholding the supply of arms and uniforms, which constitute the pride of the soldiers’ profession and subjecting them to the ultimate indignity of creating a rival and better equipped national security force.

This confluence of negative forces was a dynamic stimulus for violent rebellion, and provided a prominent, persuasive platform for the demagoguery of Foday Sankoh, while the lure of easy wealth, accessible through pillage and banditry, attracted many. For others it provided access to the envied acquisition of inordinate wealth, corruptly acquired and displayed with defiant ostentation by corrupt officials.

As with all civil strife, the nation was plundered. The foundations of its economy were destroyed, its institutions scuttled, citizens killed, violated and displaced. The difference in Sierra Leone was the sub-human depth to which it sank and the bestiality of the atrocities visited on innocent, unarmed civilians. Witnesses before this Commission have already revealed these in tearful and gruesome detail.

Through these changing scenes of one party rule, military dictatorship and civil conflict tele-guided from abroad, the underlying craving for a return to democracy persisted among the majority of the citizens.

This explains the unusual fact that a military regime, the NPRC, should have set up the National Commission for Democracy by Decree in 1994 with the primary aim of cultivating a democratic tradition and advancing the democratic process. The Commission's success has been largely demonstrated by the increased civic awareness of the citizenry and the emergence of a strong and vibrant civil society. It is no secret that the Commission played a leading role in the preparations for the 1996 and 2002 elections and in guiding attitudes to post electoral democracy.

Following the addition of a human rights s portfolio to its mandate, the Commission has encouraged and, in some cases, spearheaded, human rights s awareness through interventions at various levels of the community - schools and students, war-affected children, women's groups, youth groups, ex-combatants, internally displaced groups, the business community, security forces and other arms of government. It also initiated the idea and coordinated the participation of civil society groups in the Lome Peace Talks and propagated the Peace Agreement.

Through our involvement with both sides in governance i.e. the government and the governed, we have embraced and promoted the idea that repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and respect for human rights s are necessary pre-requisites for lasting peace and development. Underlying this equation is, of course, the fundamental adherence to good governance (including equitable dispensation of justice) and responsible citizenship on the part of all.

This dispensation of justice is being admirably actualised by the functioning of your esteemed Commission, the TRC, and the Special Court as transitional justice systems. They are transitional because they are not ends in themselves but we hope you will be the means to a desirable ideal, which is Peace with Justice.

To be of lasting success, however, ancillary programmes and systems confronting and addressing the ills, which contributed to the darkest chapter in our history, must buttress your institutions.

Having outlined most of them at the outset, I do not wish to repeat those ills here. It is enough to state that good governance and good citizenship demand attitudinal changes among our people.

Patriotism, above all must be enthroned. Our first duty to our nation is to make it peaceful, prosperous, prominent and proud. Only then can we expect to benefit as citizens.
Unfortunately, our orientation has been totally materialistic and this has been the slippery slope to our downfall. We recognize the need for material prosperity and a comfortable quality of life for all. But if we build our future on a culture without values and positive attitudes, then our material prosperity will only lead us to worse doom and destruction than we have ever witnessed or experienced.

This is the greatest challenge confronting us as individuals and as a nation and this is the greatest preoccupation of the NCDHR because it is the core of our mandate. We are committed to the management of attitudinal change in a nation poised for recovery, but we need the men, materials and funds, which are in very short supply at the moment. We are miserably deprived and this is a national mistake that can lead to a national disaster.
In conclusion, I shall use this public forum to appeal to the authorities and the international community to provide every possible support - staff, equipment, transportation and programme funding, to facilitate that task so that we can continue to make a difference. I thank you
Chairman Humper: Thank you Mr C Taylor.  Would you subscribe to the view which is issued out among so many of our people in the country that the insatiable quest for political power, wealth and fame contributed in no small measure towards the strangulation of democratic principle in this country and subsequently to the civil conflict?

George Collridge Taylor: As I have said the lust for wealth and power diverted us from the straight and narrow path.  So to some extent or to a large extent, it was the leadership that misled us, because they were the ones striving for power, they were the ones misusing the youths, they were the ones misguiding the half educated, they were the beneficiaries of the nation’s wealth and prosperity; the leadership was responsible for our deviation again from the path of democracy.

Chairman Humper: Thank you very much Mr. Collridge Taylor.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much Mr. George Collridge Taylor: for this resourceful paper and the expert presentation.  I must first of all start by thanking your commission very much for instilling the acceptance of defeat at elections in our people, because we all know that we used to have a political science professor who wrote a book on the politics of defeat; it was a sold out, because people tend to forget defeated candidates and don’t even take them seriously.  As it is also, parties right now will tend to forget and not even take defeated candidates seriously.  We keep them at bay.  We considered them as failures in life not only at the polls. Now I come to your presentation.  First I want to start with the very easy ones.  Our population is about 3 or 4 million I don’t know the statistics; if there are people out there listening please correct me on that.  Would your commission think that proliferation of several political parties in this country is a more representative process as supposed to an enforced existence of one or two political parties?

George Collridge Taylor: There are two related questions there, as I see it.  First of all whether the proliferation of parties is desirable and their implications, I think legislation or other imposed measures are necessary to regulate the growth of parties.  I will take the second question first, if we talk about democracy, human rights s and freedom of association, it will be self-contradictory to propose legislating a certain number of parties or banning certain parties.  What one can do is to stipulate criteria that will facilitate the political process. That is to say, In the 1996 election as I recall, registered parties were to have representatives in every district; there was to be no preponderance of one particular tribe in any party so that parties assume a national character. That kind of stipulation is quite legitimate because it set values; it set benchmarks by which politics can be regulated progressively.  But to say we should not have more than two three or four parties I think would be over stepping the bounds of propriety in a legitimate democracy.  So that will be my answer to that second question.

And to the first question, whether the number of parties the first purification of parties is in fact desirable for Sierra Leone being so small we may all have different opinions.  But I would say in the real environment of politics Darwinian law must be made to exist.  The fittest can still survive.  I mean, let them come with their 100 parties.  If 56 of them get no seat and the only three parties find representation there will be a privatisation towards the possibility of success. Those that cannot survive will weed out themselves, so if you ask me personally I will say there are so many parties but there have been two parties yet.  It makes politics perhaps too divisive, it makes it too contentious and you know we have one or two reasons one can give but you cannot legislate against them; allow the system to weed them out and I think you will be practising real democracy.

Commissioner Torto: Okay, there has been a presentation before this commission in a testimony given by one of the youth groups, which pointed out the result of the last election as being on regional basis and so that is why the result came out the way it did, South, the North and so on.  What is the view of NCDHR on this allegation?

George Collridge Taylor: Let me say this that political education does not achieve optional results. The kinds of pattern, which emerge from the last elections, are the outcome of years of political habits.  The politicians again have used their position of advantage in winning support on grounds that they considered favourable.  In many areas they would exploit ethnic links. We are hoping that gradually, these lines of division will overlap, merge and eventually probably disappear.  It is easier for instance, in the capitals, to achieve this sort of result than in conservative rural constituencies even in the more advanced so- called democracy. Voting is usually by old established conservative bonds, and you find this everywhere. So even I would not say that voting was basically on tribal lines, no, that is the implication of the question.  They may have been largely on local loyalties and affinities etc.  Which also correlate with tribal boundaries yes, but not necessarily on the basis of tribalism. Let’s face it, Cyril Rogers Wright won elections in Port Loko against an indigene years ago. That was change coming about and we were not then in existence.  So let us hope that with us in existence, doing our job provided of course with the basics, we would be able to change these patterns in time.  These are not changes that take place only locally in isolation; for example you will find the children in Bo and Kenema having boy friends from Makeni and Lunsar and Freetown, so there is a social mix evolving.  This is what dilutes tribal conservatism and we are experiencing it in this country, especially among our young people.  So what may have happened, perhaps, is explainable even if not justified, but there is hope that changes are taking place.  This is my repudiation.

Commissioner Torto: Second to my last question is a simple one, does the NCDHR have a program for defeated candidates at elections with the aim of tapping their resources and their abilities?

George Collridge Taylor: Well as you noted in your first comment, our preparations for the elections include advice, information and guidance about the acceptance of defeat and the peaceful adjustment to the result of the election.  So to that extent you can say we have a programme for all candidates before the election, which will of course include the defeated candidates.  But we have not set up a post-electoral defeat program and I don’t know   if that would be very necessary, if we have done enough before the elections and we see the results reflected in the post electoral attitudes then I don’t think we really need a separate programme for defeated candidates; but if we notice otherwise, then we shall certainly begin to think of programs that could address that.  But as you know, we have had programs for parliamentarians in which we all participated.

Commissioner Torto:    Parliamentarians?

George Collridge Taylor:    Yes parliamentarians.

Commissioner Torto:    Those are victorious candidates. Only those who win are catered for. My concern here is about those who don’t win.

George Collridge Taylor: Well, we feel gratified that our pre-electoral programs have made it unnecessary to set up post electoral programmes for defeated candidates because they have comported and conducted themselves well subsequently.

Commissioner Torto: Now my last question; I don’t even know now to phrase it because it might sound like micro-economics, but in your presentation you dwelt a little bit on some of the problems in our society with the youths. Do you have or would there be a system or a program to bridge the gap between rich and the poor?  In other words how do we democratise wealth?

George Collridge Taylor: Well attacking the nation’s problem has to be an orchestration.  It has to be an inter-sectoral enterprise.  We concentrate on the mental, the psychological, and the behavioural aspect of the citizen’s development. Different bodies will concentrate on different aspects. Programs which concentrate on the material needs of the individual, are the other side of the coin because as I said, if your provide everything that people need materially and they have the wrong attitude, they will not benefit and the nation will not benefit; they will waste resources and continue to cry that nothing is available. If they have the right attitudes to development, to nationalism ,to personal advancement given whatever little is available, they will optimise it, and they will get the best results, which will encourage input form outside and from others. So we do not have a specific programme targeted towards bridging the gap between the rich and the poor in material terms.  But that confrontation which is engendered by this division of fortunes, we can address that. People need to apply themselves to work harder and more honestly to benefit themselves, their employers and so on. If we do that on our side, both sides will gradually converge to a happy medium where both are happy and the nation is at peace and prosperous.

Commissioner Torto: Alright thank you very much Mr. George Collridge Taylor: you’ve answered all these question.  I don’t have any questions to ask but at least I want to check on the facts or figures or dates that you have given us, because presentations give us opportunities to check on these facts which must be fairly accurate by the time we come to put them down on record.

Now you were talking about the first coup in this country and you said in 1968 well we have other information that the first coup was in 1967 and in fact there were two coups in 1967 before the 1968 coup when the NRC was overthrown.  I hope I am correct.

George Collridge Taylor: Yes.

Commissioner Kamara: All right, we appreciate all the information. We accumulate as many opinions and theories as possible so that in the end we can go through them to see which ones to adopt. I will now turn to the Leader of Evidence, if he has any questions.

Leader of Evidence: Thank you commissioners, I have no questions for Mr. George Collridge Taylor: but I will like to make a request for certain documents from him.  It is my assumption that from the information of the national commission for democracy and human rights s, they have been publishing annual reports on the state of human rights s, I hope I am correct.

George Collridge Taylor: Annual reports of the work of the commission, which is democracy and the human rights, not separate reports on human rights.

Leader of Evidence: But those reports will include evaluation on the state of human rights s in the country for each year?

George Collridge Taylor: Well I will make copies available and you can make your own extrapolation.

Leader of Evidence: Very well, we will then request you to send us those copies but if the report does not include evaluations of the state of human rights s, then the commission is requesting you to make further written submissions to it on the conclusions of the national commission for democracy on human rights on the state of human rights s since its establishment on Dec. 31 2000.  Thank you commissioner, that’s all.

Commissioner Kamara: Thank you, Mr. Collridge Taylor.  You having done so much - given us your statements and answered all our questions, we now want to turn to you if you have any question to ask the commission.

George Collridge Taylor: I have no question except you say that I hope you have accepted our explanations, for our delivering the fact.

Commissioner Kamara: All right if you haven’t any question do you have any specific recommendation you would like the commission to include in its report?

George Collridge Taylor: well sir, given the opportunity now I can only reiterate the concluding paragraph of my presentation that the preservation and support of the NCDHR is vital to the sustenance of democracy, peace and prosperity this country.

One the final observation on the same point, perhaps the recommendation of preserving the NCDHR could also be made in the context of a new a separate Human rights s Commission for Sierra Leone.  I know the idea is being floated and discussed and frankly I think there is legitimate argument for strengthening the human rights sector of the NCDHR rather than investing in a new “independent Human rights s Commission “.  If the independence of the present commission in terms of human rights s is open to question then certainly the same consideration and stipulations that might be put into a new Human rights s Commission would well be introduced with the existing one to make sure that it meets the expected standards and criteria. To start up a new Human rights s Commission when the present one is starved of staff, transportation and resources, even with initial funding from external sources to establish a new one, when the funding ends, as it usually does, Sierra Leone will be left with a problem and human rights s will be sliding down the drain.  That is my observation.

Commissioner Kamara: Well thank you very much for all that, we’ve noted statement in its entirety and including your reference to the idea of establishing a permanent Human rights s Commission.  And I am sure when that idea is developed, you, i.e. NCDHR will certainly be part of it , but for us as commission, we are going to  phase  out in accordance with the act because our successor is going to be a  committee to implement the recommendations that we would be making in our report.  So as I say, if there is any move to establish the commission or something to strengthen or replace NCDHR, you will certainly be involved.

George Collridge Taylor: Thank you sir

Commissioner Kamara: I will ask you now to please step down.


The role of the British Government
The British Government is delighted to see the TRC up and running. We have always believed that the TRC is a vital tool to help in the healing process after a decade of death and destruction.

The British Government has already provided the TRC with a large dossier outlining British policy at every stage of the conflict. These are public documents which are available on the FCO website and Hansards. There is therefore very little to add today.

It would be useful to recall that the sole objective of the British Government's involvement throughout Sierra Leone's long crisis was the restoration of peace and democracy. We fought hard to achieve both of these. The restoration of peace and democracy were the guiding principles that determined our policy. The key post conflict objective of the British Government is to help Sierra Leone rebuild its institutions and infrastructure destroyed in the course of a decade of war. With strong and democratically accountable institutions, Sierra Leone should never again experience such a terrible time. We are conscious of the fact that the very heart of Sierra Leonean society has been damaged and hurt by the long crisis. Our support for the work of the TRC therefore goes without saying.

There are certain key moments in the decade of war which are worth a brief mention. No sooner had the RUF rebellion begun than Junior Officers mounted a coup against the APC government. The British Government worked tirelessly to return Sierra Leone to civilian rule. We even gave scholarships to the Junta leaders to study in the UK as a means of persuading them to step down. We supported the efforts of civil society and others through funding for the Bintumani I and II Conferences, which decided on the sort of democratic system that Sierra Leoneans wanted. We were heavily criticised by outsiders at the time for pressing for elections when the RUF rebellion was still in full swing and some parts of the country were inaccessible. But Sierra Leoneans wanted to get the military out. Our logic was simple. We supported the holding of elections in 1996 as a means of drawing the RUF into the political process, Unfortunately, they refused to take part and began their campaign of chopping off limbs to prevent people voting.

The elections, the first multi-party elections to be held in Sierra Leone since the mid 1960s, brought President Kabbah to power. The British Government supported his decision to open peace talks with the RUF. This eventually resulted in the first peace agreement, The Abidjan Accord, signed in Nov 1996.But it soon became clear that the RUF leadership had no intention of abiding by its terms. Soon afterwards, the military struck again, ousting President Kabbah's government which went into exile in Conakry. The British High Commissioner, Peter Penfold also moved to Conakry. This unusual move was a sign that the UK Government was serious about supporting democracy. The British government worked tirelessly thereafter to have the democratically elected government restored to power. We succeeded in getting the UNSC to impose an arms embargo on the junta and gave material and financial assistance to the EC0M0G force which intervened to enforce peace and provide security. Happily, the democratically elected government was restored in February 1998. But elements of the Army were by then disloyal and worked in collusion with the RUF rebels which continued the pattern of maiming and killing innocent Sierra Leoneans.

The British Government again supported the government when President Kabbah decided to open new peace talks with the RUF. The Lome Agreement of July 1999 was signed. The UK Government was not a signatory, nor one of the moral guarantors. The Lome Agreement's terms were generous, offering the RUF ministerial posts and other privileges in return for an end to the rebellion. These concessions were controversial inside Sierra Leone, as was the blanket amnesty offered to the RUF. But they were seen as the price for peace.
The Lome agreement provided for a UN Peacekeeping Operation to monitor the peace and provide security. The British Government lobbied hard to get the force up to the size required for the job. But in May 2000 the RUF took UN peacekeepers hostage and threatened to overrun Freetown. The British Government's response was swift and robust. British troops were sent to Sierra Leone to secure the airport and other key points while the Royal Navy sent ships as a back up. This action averted the threat to the democratically-elected government and put the RUF on the back foot.

There is one final point we should make. It took us and others in the international community some years to realise that the RUF was not a wholly indigenous movement. It was only in the late 1990s that it was fully realised that Charles Taylor was behind the RUF, was using the RUF, and exchanged Sierra Leone diamonds for guns with the RUF leadership. Once this relationship was fully understood, the British Government worked hard to get the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Liberia in an attempt the break the Taylor/RUF relationship. The RUF rebellion continued far beyond its natural life because of the support it received from Taylor - and his allies.

The British Government wishes the TRC well in its work. We look forward to its Report. We are committed to the peaceful and successful future for Sierra Leone. Thank you for giving us time to say a few words about British policy towards Sierra Leone during the conflict years.

Embassy of the United States of America
Freetown, Sierra Leone


On behalf of my government, permit me to express appreciation for this opportunity to briefly address an institution of great significance to the future of this country and to the possibilities for the entire region to live in peace and provide for the well being of all its citizens. There is a well known saying that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. No one would conceivably want this country or any country to repeat the horrors that have been its history for far too long.

The United States is proud to count itself among the strongest supporters, both morally and materially, of two institutions created to assist Sierra Leoneans in their efforts to address the past and to avoid further tragedy. While the Special Court and this Commission are independent of each other, they are inextricably bound together in a national and international effort to come to grips with the truth, the truth that will end the cycle of impunity that for too long has been permitted to be the standard response to the most reprehensible of actions in many parts of Africa and the truth that will permit those who suffered and those who caused them to suffer, often the same persons, to come to personal terms with their experiences and actions. We have listened with great interest to the testimony to date before this Commission and in many cases have been inspired by the courage and simple honesty of so many who have recounted their experiences despite the obvious pain involved in the retelling. We wish to commend the Commissioners, both national and international, as well as the dedicated professional staff who have combined to effectively develop this forum and have guided it in a manner calculated to "create an impartial historical record . . ., to address impunity, to respond to the needs of the victims, to promote healing and reconciliation and to prevent a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered" as required by the Act of Parliament that established the Commission.

It is to the final point of that quotation, "to prevent a repetition," that I would like to very briefly address myself. At the end of these proceedings, it will be the heavy responsibility of the Commissioners to produce a report that is worthy of the courage demonstrated by so many average citizens who have endured pain and risk to testify, to dare to tell their stories irrespective of consequences in the hope of finding closure, compassion and reconciliation. In so doing, those people demonstrated great faith in the integrity of the Commission and those who have chosen to support it. I hope and trust that the final product will be consistent with that great faith.

Yet the most brilliant and honest of reports will be for naught if it is not used to motivate and assist Sierra Leoneans and their friends in answering one simple but terrible question - why did this happen? It is only by beginning to answer that question that Sierra Leoneans can hope to identify the actions essential to preventing a repetition. I imagine that the final report will faithfully reflect the experiences of those who testified at hearings as well as the research and investigations conducted by the Commission. But it must not be an end in itself. It will only be successful to the extent that it serves to assure that what has happened to Sierra Leone over the past eleven years and for decades before that is never repeated. To achieve that objective it must be a catalyst to a continuous and long-term process of introspection, by Sierra Leoneans and by their friends in the international community. It must also lead to a credible and therefore independent National Human Rights Commission to support this introspection and concrete action to attack any future abuse or forgetfulness with respect to the lessons of the past. It must aid Sierra Leoneans in their thinking about their own values and what role those values played in the horrors that have occurred. Sierra Leoneans must ask questions that no outsider can pose and contemplate answers that no outsiders could conceivably provide. International partners must at the same time also ask themselves hard questions. Did we fail to read properly the signs of impending disaster? Did we fail to do enough to influence the course of events? How can we best continue to contribute to the work of this Commission and whatever successor institution there may be?

Too often in the past the international community, faced with the horrors such as those experienced by Sierra Leone, has said "never again" and yet it has happened again. We fervently hope that the proceedings and results of this Commission will serve as a landmark in our collective efforts to assure that indeed, this will never, ever happen again.

26TH AUGUST, 2003.

W-18- DR. LASEOHO MAKHANDA(south Africa)

Leader of Evidence Hikemqiwe Mkhize who also is former member of the South African TRC.

Com. Sooka: On behalf of the commission I would like to welcome you to our proceedings. Before we begin however could I ask you to state your full names and the position you are occupying at the moment to put that on record please.

Mkhize: My name is Hikemqiwe Mkhize I have been a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and I'm currently simply assisting with finalization processing of the reparations and rehabilitations application forms.

Thank you. Do you have any objective to taking the oath?

Mkhize: No.
Then you should say after me

Mkhize: Says the oath after the commissioner.

Commissioner: Thank you, you may begin.

Mkhize: The chairperson of the commission, Commissioners and members of staff I just want to say thank you for inviting the government of South Africa to give their message of solidarity and support to our special Truth and Reconciliation Commission session. This invitation is critical within the African renaissance revolution. I see invitation as a concrete example towards the realisation among others of the NELISA agreement for instance: this is the agreement between Nigeria, Libya South Africa to join hands with Sierra Leone. This also increased awareness and realisation within the continent that colonization in Africa resulted from well thought father polices and therefore to deal with this legacy or to counter it, we should a common frame work called new partnership for Africa’s development affectionately known as NEPAD should be embraced by all of us. In South Africa we will all remember our current president, President Tabo Mbeki for his consistent emphasis on the fact that we should all remember that we are Africans located across the continent and as such our thinking about the reconstruction and development of the continent should move from that premise - that is the African identity. While on this point I would like to share with you are of president Mbeki's former sayings which captures the sisterhood and brotherhood and neighborliness across the continent. He likes saying “when something goes wrong in Somalia the residence of Death's Main Creek are somewhere in Mississippi, don't say some thing has gone wrong in Somalia, they say something has gone wrong in Africa; and when somebody steals a Presidency in Togo they don’t say somebody has stolen a Presidency in Togo, they say the Africans have done it again.

I also will like to say thank you to Mr. Laseona Makanda who is the counselor in the South Africa Embassy based in Abidjan serving six other countries including Sierra Leone as well. Your Excellency, I would like to stand so that commissioners can see you. Thank you so much.

Had it not been for your insistence that the South Africa government should send somebody to the TRC I would not be making this statement today. This act had further made it vividly clear in my own mind that South Africa should have known issues within the continent so it would be able to realize some of the promises that are made by our government on a daily basis. To the people of Sierra Leone, I would like to express my humble, humble appreciation of your openness to the world or global village to hold your hands were they still exist as you are re-examining your history and repositioning yourselves in such a way that future generations do not have re-experience gross violations of human rights like the war, abductions, killings and many other atrocities that you have undergone. Putting mystery’s in front of the nation is the most difficult part for the nation. In South Africa we used to say “it forced to go through a mourning and grieving period”. Post 1994 the tendency was to celebrate that when the era of the TRC came we all began to feel the pain of what we had gone through as people. The process invokes a mixed bag of emotions: one person can say in certainty what kind of emotions are involved by the process. For some nationals the process of exposing the Truth calling for justice helps families to bring closure to the past. Bringing closure does not imply possibilities of for forgetting, it simply creates opportunities and possibilities of interpreting that part of the memorable of the past and possibly using it as leading light or driving force to ensure that never again the future generations have to go through similar experiences or be exposed to such levels of trauma or shattering experiences. In South Africa some survivors did not have the political and moral courage to come forward and talk about their experiences, images but I imagine that the same can be said of this country as well and my humble opinions that those we choose to be frozen should be respected. The type of gruesome acts against others can some survivors or surviving family members to be bitter and know anger those reactions and feeling should be respected as well.

Courageous resistance to tricks akin is threatening the nation will be mentioned in total consequent struggles. In South Africa there is a common saying that if we overcame apartheid real challenge us bigger than all of us standing together. The major challenge of this process is that those who seek justice through the truth are often let down or further victimized by perpetrators when they ridicule the process by telling half and quarter of truth. During the life of the South Africa TRC I had an experience which for me raised a big question mark about nations of justice through truth telling. As the commissioner and chairperson of Reparations and Rehabilitations Committee, I remember taking families of mainly mothers of children and youths activists who were abducted by one of the spies of the security agents of South Africa and killed the elder brother of South Africa and Botswana. We were also accompanied by the Bishop of the Anglican Church Bishop Patrick Mata……, who was also heading the reparation desk at the South Africa Council of Churches. He performed the rituals and said the prayers. Mothers of the ten children also performed (cultural) rituals, talking to the spirits and told them that families will come together and perform symbolic burials at home. The perpetrator who had applied for amnesty had assured the amnesty panel that he will show families where the children were buried after been cured. That disclosure often to meet the criteria of full disclosure and was granted amnesty on these basis. All arrangements were done by the state, the family members prepare beers slaughtered animals, and went to the exhumation early in the morning. On my arrival five police vans were ready to accompany us to the grave yard. The Municipality tractor was graving all over the place in search of the bones and remains. We all moved very close expecting the machines to move ..... The drama went on for half a morning with no success. The area earmarked for use as graveyard was huge and removed from one spot to the other. I have never inhaled so much dust in my life as I did that day. At about lunch time we negotiated with family members that the process should stop and that the commission would open further discussions with the perpetrators. Am talking before your panel chairperson trying to illustrate what one can call half truths. These are actions and words that can further cause injuries to family members of the victims and make it impossible for them to bring out the closure to the past. Am trying to illustrate further quality on the part of perpetrators which can undermine the innovative and noble cause of seeking alternative routes to justice other than the traditional course.

Another area which comes to mind and I believe its worth talking about is that of difficulties in getting women to talk about their experiences during times of conflict. I remember one woman from the rural areas of one of our provinces who shared her experiences of rape in front of her husband and her daughter in law. She was from a traditional setting were a mother-in-law cannot even eat in the presence of the daughter-in-law and vice versa. She went down to say that for the past 16 years she was ashamed and afraid to go outside and meet with people within the village.

South Africa today is moving forward but she is left with a wound which brought her life to an end. There are many women who were in their thirties who appeared before our women’s hearings who had developed all sorts of psychosomatic illnesses and believed that there is nothing they can do with their lives. Their lives are finished. And I mentioned in these examples chairperson because women find it extremely difficult to open up willing patriarchal societies in fear of further humiliations and victimizations. Yet another challenge is that of children who are emotional and linguistically not yet developed at the time of TRC process. We had to get quality psychologists to help them articulate their experiences through drawings and art work which are key in understanding children’s plights during times of conflict. Among other challenges for the TRC process was that of redress, which generally speaking refers to as such for a mechanism to facilitate the restoration of dignity for those who lose that the most and a mechanism which aims at promoting community rehabilitation, institutional transformation and awarding of reparation. As a commission we made concrete proposals and recommendations to the president of the Republic of South Africa. We costed the financial assistance at about 3.2 billion in our currency which I think in your currency will be about nine hundred and sixty billion. Our proposals was that it should be awarded to our twenty-two thousand victims over a period of 6 years. When we submitted the final reports of the commission to the President on the 21st March this year all victims started coming for reparations. The challenge of awarding reparations is that in any one country only a few victims can come forward in any one time. In the case of South Africa a country of forty one million people only 22 thousand people made statements. Also there are other practical challenges like levels of poverty in our case and lack of basic services like water, electricity, and waste management facilities for the previously disadvantaged people. In general all these challenges tend to challenge the integrity and sustainability of heavily investing in individual based forms of reparations. Over some time failure to award reparations could promote impunity and be travesty of justice for the poor voice. There are many lessons which we have learnt and I believe might be worth noting.

The first one: we should all lift campaigns never to allow any leader to create victims. Feelings of victims are painful, dis-empowering and energy draining. In our case we had the majority of citizens 80% really been dragged into that position of been victim and suffering enormously from that. The second point I want to raise is that we should all never take positions of bystanders during these processes our investigators tend to track down a few perpetrators that were no means of compelling millions of people who were in the position to prevent such levels of human sufferings that they choose not to. This finger can as well be pointed to the international community. Thirdly leaders should continuously be capacitated so as to ensure good governance, mediation skills, conflict prevention, management and resolution. Pure review mechanism should be strengthen and its implementation carefully monitored by the human rights community. Fourthly all beneficiaries have their duty and responsibility to account and to reposition themselves differently. Denial and avoidance behaviours are not helped and they became a hindrance to future development. They do not facilitate healthy co-existence. Fifthly the Corporate sector in particular should be compelled through legislation to work in line with governments. In the world today we have the bug of what is commonly known as the Kimberly process which aims at regulating and monitoring diamonds sales so as to ensure that diamonds are not used again for fueling conflicts. We know that in Africa in some instances of the occurrence of incomprehensible suffering. Sixthly local community base organizations CBO, non governmental organization and whole community should be assisted to promote the commission’s process at a community level. International NGOs help in promoting the country’s initiative at an international level that those findings do not find their way back to communities were there impact of the commissions outcome should be found. Civil society has a huge responsibility in their realization of the commissions recommendations in the memorization of the past. The second point is that government should commit to the recommendations of such costly processes like commissions: by putting in place indicators by which each sectors an interest group could measure progress made in terms of ensuring never again. The last point which I want to highlight is that we should aim at strengthen the culture of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Onenessness which is often a consequence of human rights violations is equally devastating. Thank you chairperson I promise to submit a revised document before I leave.

Chairperson: Thank you Mrs. Mkhize. We usually ask our commissioners if they have any questions to ask of clarifications.

Comm. Marcus Jones: Thank you Mrs. Mkhize for coming and for giving this submission to the TRC. It's quite an experience to have this straight from the horses mouth as it were I just have one question that I want to ask what happens in the case of reparation when the recipient or who ever should be the recipient has died

Mkhize: Well there is a financial component as well as other components of reparations that we have recommended. When it comes to the financial component the magistrate assists family members to write an affidavit and access what ever allocation was made for that person if they are found legal in terms of our laws to be qualified for that.

Bishop: Able representative from South Africa we want to thank you that the two countries can converge here together, the point of convergence is at the truth telling enter and saying never again. Your presence here is symbolic of the fact that Africa us becoming a new Africa. You people have not only released Yasmin to be part of this commission but have also released you as part of the commission to come to share with us here today with remarkable, soul lifting, is enlightening and its very encouraging. I think Africa is thinking differently today and I think your presence here alone apart from this presentation is sending a new signal to the world that we are together in the struggle. When we are talking about the rainbow country we know what that means and you've come to give us insight into all the struggle and cautioning us as to how far we should go and where we should go. What are the expectations we've begun experiencing in some of these things already. Interestingly enough we leave here barely consoled of the fact that indeed the commission has been doing some jobs. Out of 41 million we had twenty-two thousand statements whose who were willingly to give statements. We are not quite sure of the population of Sierra Leone at the moment; some put it all different levels, the final census is yet to come maybe after before 2007, some put it at 4.5, some 3.9 and so on, but we have been able to reach and to capture the attention of between 7-8 thousand statement givers. My colleagues will agree with me that this presentation here will go a long way to helping us continue to cope with our process and to say that it is not a lie job. Finally one key portion of your presentation has to do with operation and you made representation, and recommendations to government as to EX amount we are going to learn from you as to whether or not this commission will say to this government in terms of reparation EX amount then the question would be will the government be in the position to pay to give either to raise the hope of the person and later dash the person through to ground or to say no stay were you are this is where you should be. We want to thank you so much and I only want to ask one question which our colleague commissioner has been posing to us but we want it to come from you. When as a commission in your experience the going gets tough and the tough gets tougher, what do you as a commission as an re-energize yourself, to resusitate yourself to regroup.

Mkhize: It was a very difficult question thank you chairperson. We did different things; we used to go for a retreat. I was just chatting our ambassador yesterday that at a certain point I went to a local Methodist church I sat with somebody and then said I should attend some classes and we tried different things but also our net works within communities were very hardcore in terms of helping and dealing with whatever we were encountering and of ensure the South African TRC had attracted an international community a lot. I remember towards the end we have even offers from some countries to visit and just relax and I suppose they have been inviting us at different times during conferences and so on. To be honest it is a very costly process and emotionally during and after. It remains in one’s heart and mind and you really need to slow down and deal with it put things go and keep on listening and d and keeping awake and letting other things go and deciding for yourself what is it that you want to hold on to. But the importance is to really realize that ever you as commissioners are going through, it is more difficult for members of the community out there especially in our case the only organization which you can find everywhere in the countries: the church and we have been a SACC, the South African council churches is going around right now challenging the church to take its place in terms of helping with the healing which should continue for sometime but for us as commissioners it's difficult as you are dealing with it right now I suppose.

Bishop: Thank you very much

Commissioner Kamara: Thank you very much madam chairperson I hope I am going to try and call your name and I hope I get it right Ms. Mkhize I hope I'm right in pronouncing. I would like to join the other three commissioners including the chairperson in we leaving and thanking you for coming all the way from South Africa like our other commissioners seated here to come and help us in this exercise we appreciate very much what you have done and particularly the presentation of this documents. I have no question to ask except for a clarification. I am interesting in the lessons that you have learnt and in the first one but I want a clarification on the meaning of that lesson and I read it: “We should all lead campaigns never to allow any leader to create victims”. I really failed to understand that am afraid: what does that mean?

Mkhize: Basically what I was trying to say is that the human rights family has got an responsibility to be extremely watchful and vigilant and be the first ones to see the only warning signs which could be displayed by any leader which indicate that there is a ask or danger of losing power that leaders often have in such a way that some people could be causalities or victims within that system. I'm saying this because if you just look within the continent were there had been commissions like Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa, a little bit of Malawi. It clear that perpetrators don’t wake in the morning and commit gross rights violations. There are decisions that are taken by the leadership of the time over a long period of time which put certain people at risk and often citizens choose to turn a blind eye and react at a time when a massacre has taken place so I really believe as human rights people we have the responsibility to be the first ones to take a stance.

Comm. Kamara: Thank you very much I hope that I and all of us have it very well in simple language that civil society should always create mechanism were by repressive government or leader are stopped or they are trapped towards creating victims in their own territory.

Mkhize: I think what is important to really to emphasis is that civil society is an important role to play in this processes but unfortunately local organisations often do not have the capacity financially during the lives of the commission and yet when the commission's lifespan is finished they have the responsibility to be watchful and ask questions about the implementations of the recommendations and generally also they are the ones who are on the cutting edge very close to the poorest poor who do not have access to any form of help that they can play a major role in assisting at a community level if they are well resourced. Also when it comes to this process of really re-examining the past there is a challenge as to how do ask people then carry that memory forward without causing bitterness and divisions within the community. Civil society could be created by using cultural plays right now at home there are people from all over the world who are coming up with local groups to encourage them to use our local culture to have plays, songs, dances including the memory of the past but of course it got to be managed so that memory is not the kind of memory which would promote divisions that is ensuring that people don’t forget some thing similar to what the few have done the world. The Holocaust experience which is remembered to energise people to move forward in a determined fashion in empowering people so that they are easily victimized.

Com. Torto: Thank you Ms. Mkhize for coming to share your experience with us. I have two questions / well areas for you to clarify and then a statement a very brief one at that. One I will just ask the areas of clarifications during the war in Sierra Leone there was a fighting group operating in the kono district and the other mine areas especially I think in the protection of Bumbuna Hydro Electric Power I don’t know if they were there. We have this in process security of those areas was done by a group of armed faction called the Executive Outcomes are were told those were coming from South Africa. I don’t know whether you are in a position to know as to whether the South African government knew of the existence of the Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone and their operations?

Mkhize: I cant remember whether in our Truth Commission process we did come across those records that what we know that there were decisions taken during the apartheid years sometimes to invade certain countries but here in as far as my memory can go I don’t remember that specific aspect but as I know as I indicated here with this processes you have to deal with half truths when people are subpoena to to testified they choose what to tell you and they would give you limited information it is possible we were not preview with those documents with that information but I cannot rule out that is a possibility.

Com. Torto: Another area of clarification is: from the South African experience what was the level of cooperation of the fighting forces with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Was there cooperation high? In other words we are more members of the fighting forces appearing before the commission?

Mkhize: In the case of our commission we had people who were invited to come forward; we had to examine conflict from both sides that is people from the South and people who were in liberation movements as well as. I would say on the side of the previous government for understandable reasons there was a lot of caution and fear. They did not really trust the outcome of the process ,they were reluctant to share experiences but of course besides the TRC process there was an amnesty committee which people knew that if they were not granted amnesty at the end of the life of the commission they could be prosecuted so that in a way also compelled most of them to come forward but when we look at the number of people for instance families who made statements and when we made an audit the money of families who had not given information in terms of abduction and people who disappeared: It’s clear that we did not get much cooperation from those who were perpetrators. On the part of the liberation movement that was a major structure and a major source of conflict and resistance sometimes in terms of saying it is just a war we were fighting for our liberation and we were coming with our human rights songs in terms of saying; in some instances you didn’t observe the Geneva convention. So those are some of the tensions which I would claim that would resolve completely which society has got to continue looking at them as part of healing and really setting parametres of waging structures in future.

Com. Torto: The last point is just by way of statement and I want to make this statement - I am not speaking for the commissionI'am speaking out as a commissioner, as an observation by a commissioner not commission. During the war I have noticed that we have had a lot of assistance from neighboring countries and from countries elsewhere, we've had from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangaldesh and then from Africa we have Nigeria, Guinea, Ghana, and even in Southern Africa- we've had Zambia, Kenya before the military intervention of Britain some of us here in Sierra Leone look upon South Africa to be a leader in many ways especially in the arms struggle and from the little current affairs I used to read Sierra Leone stood tighten very close to South Africa during the struggle in fact I remember it was at independent 1961 before we established diplomatic relations that is after we had independence, the South Africa mission that was here was expelled in 1961 just to associate ourselves with our brothers in South Africa’s struggle. My observation is that I have not seen much coming from that part of the world our brothers and sisters actually by way of assistance during those very tedious struggles. I am just expressing my own personal feelings that we really forward to South Africa in this areas in future and we however thank the South African government and the people for letting us have the services of Yasmin whose experiences we are benefiting from very immensely and very very much. That we are grateful and thankful for; but like I said there has to be room for improvement in those areas that my personal feeling I thank you.

Com. Sooka: Thank you. I think just for Torto’s benefits when the new government came into power and they learnt about what ex-South Africa military men were doing particularly in Executive Outcome the South African government actually passed a law outlawing it or making a criminal offense for any South African to be enlisted as a mercenary and in fact charges can be laid in South Africa by the state against any South African who participated in mercenary activity. I have no questions for Ms. Mkhize except I think to ask if when we discuss reparation at our workshop is she would be available. I think with her own rich experience of the difficulties of the would share that with the commissions especially as we have been discussing this issue in the last week. Does she have questions?

Leader of Evidence: Actually, I was going to ask a question about reparations I wanted to find out madam commissioner that in deciding on reparation did you make specific reparations in respect of individual cases or did you make it at a collective reparation targeting a particular group of people or a community and I also want to know the factors that informed the kind of reparations to make; was it as a result of your own needs assessment? Did you conduct your own needs assessment or was it done on request made by the victims and also did you in any way test the waters with government did you in any way consult the government concerning the figures were going out with so as to probably prompt and prepare the mind of the government did you?

Mkhize: Thank you chairperson. Our reparation policy has got I think three components: the individual financial grants and the other category is what we called community rehabilitation in other wards proposing specific services which can benefit more people were by violations stood at a larger community level. The third category symbolic reparations in other words things like parks, memorials like what now is called the freedom parks which is quite a comprehensive park which traces our history from colonial era, apartheid years where we are today and where we are going. It's a huge construction. When it comes to individual financial grants I would really say we debated the issue at length. In the case of our commission, we had an amnesty clause whereby perpetrators were granted amnesty irrespective of the crimes they had committed as long as they met the legal criteria. The question then this commission is likely to be in favour of perpetrators if victims are only promised services; so we were faced with this dilemma is to how do we justify the granting of amnesty to perpetrators and not have anything concrete for victims because we knew post ending conflicts, it takes time to have services up and running and also there were pressing needs presented by people who were victims like some were on wheelchairs which were falling apart; some were living on medical assistance of some kind and found in abject poverty. So we said look maybe to give government time to come up with our needed services let's provide the financial component which can enable people to buy whatever pressing needs they had ultimately then merge that with government. So that's how we came about with this individual financial grants but the huge component of our reparation is really looking all what would be needed to assist communities and families so that we don’t create conflict again in communities and we trusted and believed in the generosity of our people that they will accept that they should give a small acknowledgement of how we suffered which is not really anything; it won't make anyone richer or anything. As to how determined needs assessments I remember that we had a database, a frame work and whenever we are making or taking statements are asked people to determined needs so some had needs for educational assistance, health assistance, some in need of housing and so on. And then we captured the right zones; a family needed financial assistance especially in the case where bread winners were killed and grandparents were left with the responsibility of bringing up small children and in those instances we felt there was a need for educational assistance as well as financial assistance. So it wasn’t done through a research process but it was just determined based on people needs. In the process of working we kept the minister of justice informed that when looking back, I would say commissioners it's important to insist that government should establish inter ministerial working committee so that with each phase we breed a quicker group of ministers especially about significant recommendations because then you created a by-room during the life of the commission. Otherwise in our case we had a good relationship with the minister then but I don’t think insisted on ensuring that these inter ministerial committee which is briefed on a regular basis. We relied on the relationship and also as a commission, we welcomed issues, we wanted our independence and sometimes I don’t know whether we took that to extremes a bit. In a way I think we could have achieved more if we had managed that independence better. South Africa is likely in that we have a very strong voice of civil society and that have helped a lot to keep issues burning even now people are still not reliable in terms of saying how much more can you get in support of our victims.

Com. Sooka: A number of those questions are things perhaps when we have workshop we can talk about that Ms. Mkhize can tell is the struggles related to dealing with government on those issues. I know that Mr. Makhanda wants to say something but I am proposing that in order to afford him a proper opportunity we should take him first thing in the morning at ten o'clock when we start nine thirty lot possible. I think you should cross a few things say it might be useful if first thing in the morning you deal with those. It only remains for me to think Ms. Mkhize for traveling so far and sharing her wealth of experience with us and it's a pleasure in a sense to welcome someone from home and at this stage for our regular listeners we are adjoining the hearing and we will commence tomorrow morning at nine thirty thank you. Stand as the commissioners take their leave.


Comm. Torto: Morning all we once more welcome you to the TRC hearings here at the YWCA Hall for those who are listening on the radio am Slyvanus Torto commissioner presiding for the day. Before we go on to the business of the day maybe rise for the Muslim and Christian prayers respectively.


Com Torto: For those of you who are attending this commission hearings for the first time maybe it will be important for us to remind or state the major procedures. Do we have our first witness.

Leader of Evidence: May it please the commission the government of South Africa had sent a representative who has kindly assisted the commission in presenting one of commissioners of the South African TRC to make a presentation to the commission in terms of her experience and that was the witness we had yesterday but the political the first secretary at the South Africa Embassy in Cote D’Ivory then wants to make a brief statement on behalf of the government of South Africa so may I now invite Mr. Laseona Makhanda.

Com Torto: Thank you for coming to share your experience with us we appreciate your presence. We have had Yasmin with us for sometime for since our beginning we have benefited immensely from her practical experience in this exercise, your presence just make it adding more to that and we want you to know the commission very much appreciate your presence and thanks the government of South Africa very much for letting you come here to share your experiences with us. You know the procedures I don’t have to state you are witness we don’t have to bother with procedures.

Laseona: Honorable commissioners grace and peace. Allow me to thank you and also our commissioner Ms. Mkhize for affording me this opportunity to respond to the chairperson to the commissioner Slyvanus Torto’s personal questions raised yesterday. Commissioner Torto is absolutely correct that Sierra Leone made valuable contributions towards our own struggles against the abominable polices of apartheid who the international community correctly label as crimes against humanity. Indeed I myself on a personal note traveled on a Sierra Leonean passport as a Sierra Leonean for most of my thirty years in exile even though I have never set foot in this country until only several weeks ago when I came to this public hearings here in Freetown. Having said this let me turn to the two questions already touched upon earlier by the commissioner why the Executive Outcomes after our freedom on 27th April, 1994 all mercenary activities were outlawed by an act of parliament which set out heavy punishment for any one found or convicted, found and convicted of contravening with these provisions. The group in question that is Executive Outcomes upon learning of this act announced that they have seized all operations and would disband. The government of South Africa scrupulously monitors and investigates any and all allegations that would contravene this law it will not and does not tolerate any mercenary activities. Mr. chairman honorable commissioners, my colleague commissioner Mkhize quoted our president Tabo Mbeki's observations in her statement she made yesterday. Those observation had to do with people who some what had become African pessimist. If our president concern was only for his country South Africa and his people the said quotation would not have bothered him at all let alone make him pay any attention to it, given us the onerous task he has to fulfill. I also humbly draw the chairperson’s attention to president Mbeki's Statement to parliament made several years ago, titled “I am an African”. Sierra Leone is an integral part of Africa. South African’s foreign policy has it chief priority the continent of Africa every action and program of our government and our department of foreign affairs is guided by that policy. The African renaissance and NEPAD have as their genesis this vision contrary to all informed aparenthies by those who claim NEPAD is a western inspired program. Coming to the specifics therefore in Sierra Leone, South Africa is a member of a group of three countries chosen by the fore runner of the African Union that is the OAU in a program titled Nelisa which stands for NIgeria, Libya and South Africa; the three countries were appointed by the fore runner of the AU to work with the government of Sierra Leone in terms of rehabilitation and assistance to Sierra Leone. My current director-General Mr. Mammah Bohlor had traveled several times to Freetown in pursuing that mandate. It is in that project the Nelisa project, South Africa has approved a sum of approximately 20 million Rand to kick start the project. The project is a very massive project as I said that we have already approved the sum of twenty million into that project as an initial allocation toward Sierra Leone and that project as I say is a long term and a very massive project. In that way South Africa not only takes into consideration the contribution of Sierra Leone but also carries out its responsibility within the context of the Africa Union and the NEPAD program. As I said before, Mr. chairman it would helpful to add this in our scripts am grateful that chairperson allowed me to make this few remarks and I think correctly so because as I stated that it is very important for us to be seen to not only talk but to work the talk and as the good book says- “The footsteps of the righteous are guided by the Lord” least did I know when I carried the Sierra Leonean passports which stated that I was born in Freetown I did not know I only knew Freetown was in some part of West Africa somewhere that one day I will be sitting here in Sierra Leone and speaking to the distinguished commissioners who are doing such an important job. Thanks you very much Mr. chairman.

Comm. Torto: We want to extend our thanks to Mr. Mkhanda for coming into talk to us one important information we omitted really was to state that Mr. Mkhanda himself was a member of South African TRC he served as a commissioner, that had been stated by the leader of evidence the procedures here is for the commission not to talk government officials questions we have not done so in the case of Britain and United States we are not going to do so in the case of South Africa so we thank you very much for this presentation and except if the chairman waits to make a comment before you step down.

Bishop: Mr. Mkhanda we want to thank you very much for this presentation but at every stage we seize opportunities to send message across and when we see representatives coming from other parts of the country like South Africa it is important that you give the message to that Ambassador and through that Ambassador this message would go far and wide. Having heard from you I believe that in the first placed Africa is coming of age and it is now my conviction from what you have expressed if that is the case then South Africa and Nigeria must lead while others follow. That is our message as a commission for our leaders through you and we are gratified and really privileged to have you here to say what we have not heard before in simple and clear terms because people did not know that South Africa out there was doing something for Sierra Leone. I am sure about that. I'm clear in my mind about that. So my message to President Mbeki and president Obansanjo is South Africa and Nigeria must lead whilst others in Africa follow. Thank you.

Comm. Torto: Please convey our sincerest appreciation to the government of South Africa for the efforts. Thank you.