By Ragan M. Conteh
The deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Solomon Sengehpoh Thomas, has ordered the Oversight Committee on Works to stop all construction of houses under bridges.
He raised this serious concern to ensure that Parliament, especially the Committee on Works, visited all major bridges within the city to stop those in the habit of constructing houses under bridges.
According to Hon. Solomon Sengehpoh, such construction has the tendency to pose serious threats for city dwellers, especially during the rainy season. He said bridges have been damaged by squatters who are bent on erecting structures under them.
“People have grabbed lands situated under bridges. The Committee should be very proactive to visit those bridges and bring the report to the House for debate,” he said.
In a similar development, the deputy Speaker of Parliament has ordered the Committee on Ethics and Privileges to table the report on the four Members of Parliament who were earlier investigated for several allegations levied against Parliament.
According to Hon. Thomas, the report has taken too long in the hands of the Ethics Committee. He added that Parliament is an institution that makes laws and should respect provisions enshrined in the law books by doing the needful.
Making his submission, one of the Members of Parliament on the Ethics Committee, Hon. Mohamed Bangura, informed the deputy Speaker that the investigations have been concluded ever since, and their Committee have submitted the findings and recommendations to the Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Chernoh Bundu, and the Leader of Government Business for two months now.
The Leader of Government Business, Hon. Matthew Nyuma, acknowledged receipt of the report, but stated that some of the recommendations needed clarifications. He assured the House that the report will be laid in the Well of Parliament in the next sitting for a possible debate.
It could be recalled that the Ethics and Privileges Committee was instituted by the House following the aftermath of corruption allegations against the House of Parliament of Sierra Leone, which led to the resignation of the Member of Parliament representing Constituency 132, Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, from the Parliamentary Committee on Transparency and Accountability.
Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh was investigated by the Ethics Committee due to what he referred to as the leadership of Parliament’s interference on his Committee’s activities, during the probing of the Information Minister’s conflicting status report submitted to the Committee, especially on the unbundling of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB).
Hon. Hindolo Ngevao, too, was investigated by the Ethics Committee in Parliament because he confirmed, in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) interview, that the Sierra Leone Parliament was corrupt.
Other two MPs were also investigated for allegations of using derogatory or obscene language on their colleague female Members of Parliament. What is in the report document is yet to be disclosed, but the deputy Speaker is very much concerned about its delay.
All the four Members of Parliament, investigated, are from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party, including the Member of Parliament representing Constituency 132, Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, Hon. Ngevao and two others who were investigated for misconduct and corruption allegations.