• July 24, 2023

Judiciary Exposes Immigration Department

Judiciary Exposes Immigration Department
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By Foday Jalloh

The High Court Judge presiding over a disputed factory matter situated at Kingtom in Freetown, Hon. Justice Amy J. Wright has described systems failures improper in the management of information on travellers coming and going out of Sierra Leone. She referred to the lack of information on travellers within and out as a big slap in the country.

Hon. Justice Amy J. Wright further described negligence in the area travellers’ data management as disgraceful for the Sierra Leone Immigration Department, especially when the agency is unable to produce reliable and accurate information on travellers within and out of the country.

The Sierra Leone Immigration Department as we all know is not only responsible for the checking of incoming and outgoing of travellers, issuance of passports, but we are also expecting Immigration Officers to be out on streets, chasing individuals without residential permits staying and residing in the country, charged Hon Justice Amy J. Wright.

She adds that; “We think this also helps in the fight against crime, lawlessness and decongesting the country, especially the capital city, Freetown.

Hon Justice Amy J. Wright called on President Julius Maada Bio to institute a competent authority within the legal framework of the laws of the country to probe the operations of the Sierra Leone Immigration Department.

She observed that the country is free to a point of that there is no checking is done by the Sierra Leone Immigration Department charged with the responsibility, which is resulting to the roaming of people all over the place especially in the city doing nothing.

Following recent matters in the Lower and High Courts of Sierra Leone, the judiciary has raised eyebrow over the core functions of the Sierra Leone Immigration Department.

A senior Sierra Leone Immigration Department Officer, Bayoh who was arraigned before the court as a prosecution witness, in the ongoing factory matter between a Lebanese and an Indian nationals, disclosed that the Sierra Leone Immigration Department since 2006 to 2012 lacked proper records management for the Freetown International Airport at Lungi, Balamuya and Gendema; a rural town in Pujehun District in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone on the border with Liberia.

Before the installation of the port system in 2012, Bayoh recalled that they were doing hard copies for travellers who were moving in and out of the country.

He informed the court that the Sierra Leone Immigration Department can avail neither hard nor soft copies of information on travellers in and out of the country before 2012.

In 2012, a port system was installed which makes it possible for proper records of travellers in and out of the country, Bayoh disclosed.

Now, we can produce and tender such information when and as the need arises.

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