Ombudsman Pays Courtesy Call On NCRA

The Ombudsman, Leon Jenkins-Johnston and a cross-section of his senior staff have paid a courtesy call on National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) to explain its mandate to the Authority.

The visit, according to Mr. Jenkins-Johnston, is part of a series of engagements that his office conducts with government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to explain the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman and to interface with other relevant offices to make them aware of their mandate.

Welcoming the Ombudsman and delegation, the Director-General, Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi said that he was excited for the visit of the Ombudsman and acknowledged that the Office of the Ombudsman was critical to the NCRA and for democratic governance in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Massaquoi assured that the NCRA will collaborate with the Office of the Ombudsman since it is an institution that has a clear mandate. He informed that NCRA staff live as a family where there is fellowship of both Christians and Muslims.

“We don’t have cause to nurse any bad feeling against one another as we are one family and we will continue to observe due process,” Mr. Massaquoi emphasized, adding that, “It is good to reach out to MDAs to let people know that the Office of the Ombudsman is a not a police, but rather complements the work of the ACC.”

Explaining to the Director-General of NCRA and staff about the origin of the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman, Mr. Leon Jenkins-Johnston Esq. said that Chapter 8 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone mandates the setting up of the Office of the Ombudsman. The office, Mr. Jenkins-Johnston informed the audience, was set up through an Act of Parliament in 1997.

He further disclosed that the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman covers all ministries and Ministers of Government where they deal with administrative issues to ensure that those who complain of duress get appropriate redress.

He continued that the Office of the Ombudsman is mandated to receive complaints from the public to seek redress if injustice is meted out on them and investigate those cases by looking at the procedures that were taken to punish the person and intervene through negotiation or mediation.

The Director of Complaint, Mediation and Investigations, Andrew Johnson, disclosed that the 1997 Act of the Office of the Ombudsman empowers it to facilitate negotiation and mediation between parties.  He reiterated that one of the core functions of the Office of the Ombudsman is to investigate any administrative act of a prescribed authority in respect of which a complaint is made to the Ombudsman.

The Director of Complaint, Mediation and Investigations also said that other core functions of the Office of the Ombudsman are to take appropriate actions to remedy, correct or reverse the act complained of through such means as are fair, proper and effective, including facilitating negotiation and compromise between or among the parties concerned.

He further said that the Office of the Ombudsman reports or cause the finding of any investigation together with his recommendation thereon to be reported to the principal officer of the prescribed authority and where the offending person is the principal officer, the report is sent to the Minister. The Ombudsman’s Office, Mr. Johnson noted, includes drawing the attention of Government to any defect in any law discovered in the course of any investigation.

Earlier, the Director of Administration and Human Resource of NCRA, Shiaka Kawa, welcomed the Ombudsman and team and expressed hope that they will have a fruitful deliberation and see how they can move governance forward.