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Reading: Parliamentary Committee Probes Recent Staff Changes in Unprecedented Move
Reading: Parliamentary Committee Probes Recent Staff Changes in Unprecedented Move

Parliamentary Committee Probes Recent Staff Changes in Unprecedented Move

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Parliament of Sierra Leone
Parliament of Sierra Leone

To address concerns and provide clarity, Chairman Solomon Sengepoh Thomas of the Parliamentary Committee investigating recent staff layoffs has confirmed that the Parliamentary Service Commission approved the layoff of 82 staff members. This contradicts the widely circulated claim of 137 on social media.

During the proposed headcount of all Parliamentary staff on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at the Parliamentary forecourt, Hon. Thomas reassured the public that the Committee had cross-verified the figure with the Clerk of Parliament to ensure accuracy.

Commencing on January 17, 2024, and expected to conclude on January 19, 2024, the headcount process prompted Hon. Thomas, also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, to emphasize the gravity of the matter. He directed Heads of Departments to submit comprehensive lists of staff under their supervision directly to him by the close of business on Thursday, January 18, 2023. The Committee aims to compare these lists with other documents in its possession.

Addressing the absence of the Substantive Chairman and Secretary of the Commission (the Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament) during the hearing, the Acting Chairman clarified that he was appointed to chair the meeting in the Speaker’s absence.

Hon. Thomas assured the public that the issue of the 82 staff layoffs would be thoroughly investigated, and the findings would be communicated accordingly.

To streamline the headcount process, Hon. Thomas urged the 82 affected staff members who received letters to be present in Parliament on Friday, January 19, 2024, at 10 in the morning. This step is intended to prevent overcrowding and ensure transparency in the headcount according to their respective departments.

Highlighting the importance of accountability, Hon. Dickson Rogers requested staff on leave or sick leave to present their letters to their Heads of Department for inclusion in the headcount. However, the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sahr Mathew Nyuma, emphasized the need for professional handling of sick leave based on verification.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Abdul Karabo, clarified their stance, expressing support for the principle of staff redundancy but stressing the importance of fairness. He urged that those not reporting for work but still on the payroll be considered for redundancy, while those actively working without convincing reasons should not be affected.

In the interest of a transparent investigation, Hon. Karabo suggested that the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Umarr Paran Tarawally, step aside temporarily and resume duties if found innocent at the conclusion of the investigation.

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