Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 May 2021:
In a ceremony held at the United States Embassy in Freetown yesterday, Ambassador David Reimer presented awards to ten individuals from the Attorney General’s Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission for their successful completion of a training in Cyber Investigations.
The training was conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of efforts to support and strengthen the capacity of Sierra Leonean law enforcement to carry out investigations of cybercrime and utilize information technology to conduct their work.
“As nations increase access to critical information technology to improve the lives of their citizens, they become increasingly vulnerable to cybercrime,” stated Ambassador Reimer.
“Through direct capacity building efforts, the United States assists countries like Sierra Leone in establishing and executing national cybersecurity strategies, addressing cybercrime, instituting cybersecurity standards, and protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats. This work not only protects the development and digital future of Sierra Leone, but also makes the world safer and more resilient against cyber threats,” Ambassador Reimer said.
Warren Carmichael, the Assistant Regional Security Officer for Investigations, noted that “The Office of Criminal Investigations enjoys a great working partnership with the Attorney General’s Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission and will continue working together to provide opportunities to enhance their investigative skills.”
The training recipients are expected to use their new knowledge and skills to improve the capacity of the Attorney General’s Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission to conduct cyber investigations and pursue criminal activity in cyberspace.
From the Attorney General’s Office, Umu Sumaray, Ahmed Bockarie, Joseph Sesay, Augustine Sheku, and Elizabeth Jalloh received completion certificates. From the Anti-Corruption Commission, Thomas T. Kanu, Abdul Karim Kamara, Abdulai Squire, Bernard Dixon, and Mohamed Tomboyeke completed the training.
Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Cape Verde, South Africa to name but a few countries have long ago adopted a cybersecurity strategy, policy and bill to enhance the privacy and good health of their citizens from the attack of cyber criminals. This is a laudable venture undertaking by their leadership and people without any politics attached. In our own situation, Sierra Leone is lagging behind the adoption of the cybersecurity act because of selfishness and putting unnecessary arguments. We have educated people with a vision to raise the flag of our nation high. But one thing that looks likely affecting us as a nation is the issue of putting unnecessary arguments to those things we believe can better ourselves. This has nothing to do with politics this time around. This is not about red or green party. It is a natural phenomenon. You go to the work places, market places, residential homes and outdoor places, you can find people arguing about issues. Yeah!
This is how we have been practicing our democratic rights. So, inorder for one to carry out a task that is of national interest, the argument we cut across all quarters before finally being laid to rest. With regards this issue (cybersecurity), we need to ask our oriented law makers to seek for a kind of synthesis between advantages of cybercrime and disadvantages of cybercrime, to accept and use the advantage of modern technical civilization whilst avoiding the evils that come with cybercrime. Such a combination of ideals would lead to the full and truly understanding of our cybercrime bill.
I strongly agree with the statement of Mr. Reimer, the US ambassador saying that “as nations increases access to critical information technology to improve the lives of their citizens, they become more vulnerable to cybercrime. We must be pioneers of a new and wiser era which will bring together the best elements of thoughts. This will not only bring us contentment, not only restore inner peace and outer prosperity, but also put the nation on the path to true greatness.
Its always good to learn from the experts. People who know their field of study and can execute their knowledge blindfolded without a helping hand. And when it comes to cyber security, and how to fight it, the United States is at the forefront in that battle. It is great to see the new Biden administration has taken a keen interest in promoting human rights and accountability in Sierra Leone. This is one way of doing it. There is a new sheriff in town. And respect for human rights is at the forefront of his administration. Now Bio and his government have to go to a reverse gear and start all over again. The message from this Biden administration is clear. If you want to do business with us, you have to respect your citizens human rights. Abusing their rights cannot be tolerated any longer. The US embassy, can see the trajectory of travel here. Especially the concern raised by private citizens and human rights organisations, and civil society groups, about the introduction of a cyber crime bill, and the impact it will have on ordinary citizens rights.
So they needed to step in early, to smoothen the edges, to aviod an almighty collusion course with the Bio government. The US government knows the cyber crime bill is a necessary evil. But leaders with dictatorial tendencies can also use it as a tool of oppression against their opponents. The Biden administration, have their own interpretation of it. Bio and his security agents have their own take on it, and its meaning. Far from discouraging its passing, the US embassy has taken the long route to train our cyber security agents on how to implement it. They are trying to plug the holes that might arise in the future. As trained agents, all they have to do now is to sit and wait, and see what comes out of the wash, as the cyber crime bill makes its way through the wells of parliament. Human rights is not just an expression, but a universal right.
This cooperation with the roll out of the cyber security traning, between our security agencies and the US security experts will in the long run help them enhance their capabilities, and allow them to be more independent, free from the dictat of Bio. As the Bio government press ahead with the introduction of the cyber crime bill, and by working with the American government and their expert knowledge in tackling cyber crime, the realities of cyber crime and its true meaning will soon be seen in all its glory, both by supporters and opponents. So it was only right the US government step in with a helping hand.
Cyber crime bill is not good for Sierra Leone. The reason why is because they want to achieve their evil plan against the citizens of the country.