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Showing posts from July, 2018

Opinions: 2 Weeks on Freetown's Streets

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -The release of the Governance Transition Team (GTT) coincided with the arrest of former Vice President Victor Foh and former minister of mines and mineral resources Minkailu Mansaray---two events that set off some of the most heated debate since the final results of Sierra Leone's 2018 presidential election were announced.

As the verbal confrontation raged between sympathizers of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC), Sierra Leonean arguments spilled over to rising prices during the first one hundred days of President Julius Maada Bio.

Two weeks ago, Sewa News took to the streets of the capital to undertake a series of interviews. The interviewees cover the spectrum in age, political affiliation, ethnicity, and region.

'Corruption worse than Ebola'

SLPP voter Gabriel Ansumana said the GTT Report focuses on corruption, which is the root cause of Sierra Leone’s decades’ long underdevelopment. The GTT’s purpose he s…

Sierra Leone's asset recovery tsar denies unfair advantage in timber export trade

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After a cross-country helicopter flyover, former president Ernest Koroma told officials at a 2008 opening ceremony for customs and border officials that he noticed a huge swathe of Sierra Leone’s forest had disappeared.

During the 2018 presidential campaign, Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) candidate Julius Maada Bio said that there was no accountability in the country’s timber trade. Immediately after he assumed power on April 4th, President Bio issued an executive order suspending the export of timber logs.

Since the resumption of timber exports took effect a few weeks ago, information reaching Sewa News indicates that a major stakeholder is Foday Rado Yokie, a former Member of Parliament who President Bio appointed to head a taskforce responsible for recovering government vehicles.

Yokie, who represented a constituency in Bo district, Sierra Leone's second largest city, is a principal partner in Spring Wood & Furniture Company, the firm given the concession to overse…

Sierra Leone’s Unregulated Export Timber Trade

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Sierra Leone’s rapidly disappearing tropical forests are home to soft and hard wood, including herbs and plants and many common and exotic flora and fauna.

Significantly, most biodiversity hot spots in Sierra Leone are contained in what are supposed to be  protected areas: forest reserves; community forests, national parks; game sanctuaries and other proposed protection areas.

Alarmingly, because of lax government and community controls, these areas are being devastated at a rapid pace by widespread illegal logging.

Unknown to the majority of its citizens, Sierra Leone has for decades exported timber that provides material for logs, panels, boards, doors, windows, furniture, decking, plywood, sawn timber, planed wood and timber, laminated wood, flooring, packing and pallet wood, and soft and hardwood veneers.

 With Sierra Leone’s forests and woodlands being a significant source of construction wood, timber and furniture, Chinese timber merchants have increasingly targeted the countr…