A total of four people including a police officer from the Operational Support Division [OSD] of the Sierra Leone Police have been dismissed from work. They were relieved from their duties at the Sierra Leone Airport Authority [SLAA] on criminal related matters. This was confirmed by the Safety and Compliance Manager, Mr. Lawrence Conteh in an interview with the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA).
He started by outlining the functions of his department as one that is charged with the responsibility of monitoring the operations of all the agencies at the Freetown International Airport with a view to ensuring that they comply with the laid down rules and regulations. It includes the responsibility to receive complaints from travellers on matters relating to the pilfering of baggage and theft.
While outlining some of the marked improvement since the establishment of this department, the Safety and Compliance Manager said there have been several criminal related occurrences at the Airport in recent times. He cited the theft case involving OSD personnel who was captured by the Close Circuit Television [CCTV] Cameras in the act of stealing a DVD at the Airport. He said there is also the issue of another theft case that involved one Airport security staff.
Apart from the Sky Handling personnel that has also lost his job for failing to comply with safety regulations, Mr. Lawrence Conteh explained the case of ‘Versatile Airline’, an Aircraft that plies between Lungi, Hastings, Bonthe and Yengema Airfields. He said some Supervisors from the Fire Department at the Freetown International Airport conducted training and issued certificates to some people, bearing the logo of both the Management of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority and the Government of Sierra Leone without due consent or permission.
He said when the information was gained from the Trans-National Organised Crime of Sierra Leone, a committee was immediately set up to investigate the matter and two Supervisors at the Fire Department were found guilty. The Safety and Compliance Manager said all the categories of persons found guilty have since been relieved from their duties. He observed that most of these matters would have gone unnoticed or without the deserved attention, if it were not for the immense support from the Management of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority and cooperation from the other Operating Agencies. He however singled out the issue of the newly recruited personnel at his Department as one on the prevailing challenge. He said even though most of them are University graduates, yet there is need for them to undergo professional Training.
Hassan Bruz, SLENA