• August 11, 2023

Immigration Department in Double Trouble

Immigration Department in Double Trouble
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By Foday Jalloh

The Sierra Leone Immigration Department is saddled with low staff capacity, which is undermines the effective operations of the agency under the line Ministry of Internal Affairs and the political leadership of Minister Major-General (Rtd.) David T.O. Taluva.

In an exclusive with the Correspondent Unit Officer, Sierra Leone Immigration Department, Mustapha Swarray laid bare the gravity of double trouble the Department continue to face since 2021 to date.

Swarray expressed the Department’s frustrations over funds periodically allocated to the agency by the Finance Ministry, to carry out their operations.

The Correspondent Unit Officer explained that the Sierra Leone Immigration Department receives quarterly subvention from the Finance Ministry to enable them to dispense their functions well.

He disclosed the Department is mandated to generate revenue through the issuance of passports, visas and conduct regular checks on foreign nationals for both residential and work permits.

Swarray added that the present status of the Sierra Leone Immigration Department remains very much alarming, describing it as a serious setback being caused by lack of resources and low staff capacity.

He revealed that the Department has made several requests to high profiled government offices including the Office of the Secretary to the President, Office of the Vice President, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and Internal Affairs Ministry for financial and mobility support which ended up as beating a dead horse.

He added that lack of staff capacity has over the years prevented the Sierra Leone Immigration Department from meeting the needful public expectations, adding that it is due to under staffing and mobility challenges, the Department is being prevented from having visible presence in most of the border crossing points in country.

“We have informed the Finance Ministry through correspondences that the Immigration Department is largely under-staff, and it is affecting our operations,” he said.

Swaray disclosed that the Department has over pleaded with the Finance Ministry for increase of allocations to enable them recruit additional staff and enhance the capacity of the Sierra Leone Immigration Department, which the Finance Ministry is yet to give a due consideration.

It could be recalled that a High Court Judge presiding over a disputed factory matter situated at Kingtom in Freetown, Hon. Justice Amy J. Wright has recently described setbacks at the Sierra Leone Immigration Department as ‘systems failures in the management of information on travellers coming and those going out of the country, describing it as a big slap in the face of the country.

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