Sierra Leone’s Ombudsman engages citizens in the provinces

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 September 2019:

The Ombudsman of Sierra Leone – Mr. Leon Jenkins-Johnston and his team, will travel to various districts in the provinces, starting from tomorrow Tuesday, 17th September to Wednesday 25th September 2019.

The purpose of the visit is to give opportunity to the people in the provinces to meet, discuss and make complaints directly to the Ombudsman, rather than travel to Freetown.

Since assuming office as Ombudsman in December 2018, Leon Jenkins-Johnston has been meeting stakeholders and community leaders to sensitize them and solicit their cooperation with his office.

In Freetown, he has met with the Chief Minister, Chief of Defence Staff and Commanders, Inspector General of Police and the Emergency Management Board, Cross section of cabinet, Vice Chancellor, University of Sierra Leone, the Lord Chief Justice and senior officials of the Judiciary, the United Nations Development Program Country Representative, the Outgone British High Commissioner, the Spanish Consul, the first Secretary, Irish Aid, Country Representative, GIZ, Director General NASSIT, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner NaCSA and several institutions of high learning.

In the Provinces in Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Port Loko, he will be holding similar engagement with Resident Ministers, Paramount Chiefs, Mayors and Councillors.

So what has the Ombudsman achieved so far since his appointment?

From January to June 2019, the office of the Ombudsman received a 100% increase in complaints, compared to the same period in 2018. The office recorded over 400 complaints, of which 204 were concluded. 139 cases are still under investigations and 61 have been referred.

This shows an increase in public confidence in the institution under the leadership of Leon Jenkins-Johnston.

The provincial tour will take the Ombudsman and his team to areas where the Office of Ombudsman presently has no presence such as Bonthe, Moyamba, Kono, Kailahun, Kabala, Lunsar, Magburaka and Lungi.

On his return from the provinces, the Ombudsman will join the International Ombudsman Institute to celebrate the International Ombudsman Day for the first time in the history of the country, on 10th October 2019 on the theme “Ombuds-the Unusual name”.

He will then present the institution’s progress report to President Julius Maada Bio.

The Ombudsman will take part in the International Ombud Expo in Abuja Nigeria from 28th to 31st October 2019, under the theme “ Extending the Ombud frontier, better governance and enhance performance”.

He will represent Sierra Leone as lead speaker on the invitation of Chille Wanger Igbawua – the Chief Public Complaints Commissioner (the Nigerian Ombudsman) of Nigeria.

The international Ombud Expo 2019 is unprecedented in the over 200 year’s history of the modern ombudsman institution. The overriding objective of the Expo is to bring together over 500 Ombud offices, grievance handlers and similar complaints bodies from over 100 countries to participate in a major international exhibition of their role, operations and performance impact.

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