The controversies swirling over the Concession Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) represented by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and Autospect (SL) Limited has reached such a nauseating level that some senior officials in whom the President has reposed much confidence in to supervise the Authority have resorted to drawing daggers, something very embarrassing to both the Government and the Authority unless the appropriate authorities intervene with immediate effect to save them from that conspicuous embarrassment.

It is an established fact that the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government led by His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio inherited the Concession Agreement from the erstwhile All People’s Congress (APC) Government led by former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma which was signed between the GoSL and Autospect (SL) Limited on 6th December, 2017. Some lapses were however discovered in the Concession Agreement and consequently, it was allegedly reviewed in the best interest of the two parties and an Addendum to the Agreement was also mutually agreed to and signed on 21st January 2019 respectively.

But no matter the fact concerning that Concession Agreement, many controversies have been swirling over it that have allegedly culminated in the sacking of not only the SLRSA Executive Director under the APC Government, but also the immediate predecessor of the current Executive Director that was appointed by President Maada Bio, who was reported to have vehemently opposed the Concession Agreement that resulted to some disagreements between the then Executive Director and the Chairman and Board of Directors. The Executive Director was consequently shown the door and the current Executive Director was appointed by the President.

But reading between the lines to unravel the paradox of the situation at SLRSA, it appears that the Chairman and Board of Directors are directly accusing the current Executive Director of SLRSA Rev. Smart K. Senesie of betraying the confidence President Maada Bio has reposed in him by “trying very hard to undermine the Concession Agreement even though he does not enjoy the support of the supervising Ministry and the Board,” according to a Short Commentary published in Global Times newspaper on Monday 8th May. It furthered that “Reverend Smart Senesie has been briefing some opposition media houses against the interest of Autospect and by extension the Government of President Bio,” adding that “He continues to argue that, Autospect have taken over the operations of SLRSA which has led to the near collapse of the Authority.”

The commentary warned that Reverend Smart Senesie should focus on his job and avoid attracting negative newspaper headlines for both the Government and SLRSA, noting that his immediate predecessor Ibrahim Sannoh got sacked as Executive Director of SLRSA for allegedly undermining the Concession Agreement. The commentary concluded: “Reverend Smart Senesie is advised to stop giving the SLPP Government a bad name. A word to the wise is sufficient.”

By and large, Government may have reviewed the so-called Concession Agreement in the alleged interest of the two parties, but given the incessant dismissals of Executive Directors of SLRSA over this controversial Agreement, one would suggest that all has not been well between the Management of SLRSA and the Chairman and Board of Directors over this Agreement. And with such Short Commentary in Global Times purportedly written by an insider that wields enormous power within the Authority, it is very nauseating that those who have been placed in that Authority by the President to ensure its smooth running are embarrassingly washing their dirty linen in public much to the trepidation of their employer and the public.

Though the insider claimed that Autospect (SL) Limited was meeting all its financial obligations including paying monthly salaries to forty-four SLRSA workers on secondment, other SLRSA workers were howev erf unduly worried when their salaries for March were unprecedentedly delayed to their greatest surprise. How come their salaries were delayed if the operation of Autospect (SL) Limited was not having any negative impact on SLRSA? Even the Honourable Speaker of Parliament early this year bitterly complained about the astronomical rise in the price of private licence and promised to invite both Autospect (SL) Limited and the Management of SLRSA to Parliament to explain why the price has suddenly increased.

We believe something is fundamentally wrong with the Concession Agreement which could not have been properly reviewed in a way that would foster a symbiotic relationship between the Authority and the company which the Chairman and Board of Directors are now capitalizing on as great beneficiaries. By making damning allegations from within against the current Executive Director of SLRSA, we believe there is now conspiracy to have him removed from that Authority for failing to pander to their every whim with regards Autospect (SL) Limited. That is why the Government should intervene now to stop insiders from discussing the private affairs of the Authority in public thereby embarrassing the Government.

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