As Zoodlab and Sentinel the companies that replaced the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) and Sierratel have commenced work in earnest without the approval of Parliament, the leader of opposition, Hon Chernor Maju Bah has on Tuesday, 6 April 2022 demanded that the Zoodlab Contract be brought to the Well of Parliament for debate.
According to MP Maju Bah, Parliament is yet to preview any document depicting the takeover of any company dealing with the fibre optic cable, not even Zoodlab, through the Ministry of Information and Communications, laid on the table of Parliament justifying that SALCAB is finally gone and has been replaced by Zoodlab.
He said it has been six to seven months now since Zoodlab started operations on the fibre optic cable without any contractual agreement. Hon Bah viewed such action by Zoodlab Company as a contravention of the laws of Sierra Leone, adding that it is mandatory for the Minister of Information and Communications to bring the agreement documents to the Well for parliamentary debate and approval.
The Opposition Leader reminded the company and minister of Section 5b of the Constitution of Sierra Leone which talks about the welfare and security of the people of Sierra Leone.
Hon Maju Bah also lampooned the government of President Julius Maada Bio for selling Sierratel without parliamentary knowledge, viewing such an action by the SLPP government as compromising the welfare and security of the people of Sierra Leone ‘by selling a state communication company to private companies.
He, therefore, demanded the authority concerned to involve Parliament in the preparation of the agreement documents before bringing them to Parliament for enactment.
Acting on the demands of the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Chernor Abass Bundu ordered the Committee on Information and Communications to investigate the Zoodlab and Sierratel agreements and report to Parliament.
The Deputy Leader of Government, Hon Bashiru Silikie has also guaranteed that once the agreement is done, authorities will bring the documents to Parliament for approval.
In a related development, the Leader of the Opposition has also frowned on the pace at which the Peninsula Forest is being misused by unknown persons.
According to the Leader, day in day out the Peninsula Forest is being burned down, adding: ‘It seems as if forest rangers assigned to protect the forest are the ones depleting the forest because they are not preventing encroachers.’
MP Maju Bah said a lot of resources have been disbursed to pay forest rangers, whose mandate is to ensure that the forest reserve is protected including preventing encroachers.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Leader of Government, MP Bashiru Silikie has also assured the Leader of the Opposition that the Committees on Environment and Land in collaboration with the Leaders of Parliament will pay a visit to the Peninsula Forest to ascertain firsthand information for action.