13 December 2011

Sierra Leone: Australia Provides U.S.$1.5 Million Agriculture Support to Nation

Photo: David Njagi
Communal agriculture.

Freetown — At a ceremony to mark Australia 's support for Sierra Leone's capacity-building in the agricultural sector, the Australian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, HE William (Billy) Williams said "I am very pleased to be able to hand over significant Australian government support to the Sierra Leone Small-holder's Commercialisation Programme Coordinating Secretariat."

"The support in the form of vehicles, computers, printers and communication headsets and the provision of technical expertise will improve the Secretariat's capacity in agriculture investment planning at the national and district levels."

At the ceremony Mr. Williams handed over the keys to four vehicles (Ford Rangers), 25 desktop and laptop computers, 18 printers and 20 communication headsets to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) to start the programme.

The equipment and training from the Australian Government to the Sierra Leone SCP Coordinating Secretariat is valued at US$1.5 million over three years.

The SCP is a key initiative that has the potential to improve food security and generate wealth for the most vulnerable population in the country. The programme intends to double agriculture sector growth in Sierra Leone to 7.7 percent per annum by 2015. It also aims to increase farming households' incomes and household food security by 10 and 25 per cent respectively

Over the past few years, Australia has increased its development assistance to Sierra Leone by providing scholarships, training and community development grants. It has awarded two Sierra Leonean organisations, Sport for Development and Peace and the West African Youth Network with grants of approximately Le35 million (USD 7,500) to support youth sport and social cohesion projects.

Australia will also support Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commission to deliver voter education, worth US$75, 000, ahead of the 2012 national elections.

Teacher of the Makeni Comprehensive Academy Makeni, Mr. Foday Khalil Sheriff, has been convicted for corruption offences under the ACC Act 2008 by the High Court of Sierra Leone.

Delivering his verdict at the High Court in Makeni on Saturday 10th December 2011, the Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Sam Margai, sentenced him to three years jail term or pay a fine of thirty million Leones after he pleaded guilty to the offence of soliciting and accepting an advantage for performing an act contrary to section 28 (2) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 12 of 2008.

Mr. Foday Khalil Sheriff was charged to court by the Anti-Corruption Commission on 13th October 2011 under the Anti-Corruption Act No. 12 of 2008 for soliciting and accepting five thousand Leones (Le. 5,000) from pupils of Makeni Comprehensive Academy for the collection of their BECE results.

The State was represented by Michael Imran Kanu Esq. while Mr. Foday Khalil Sheriff was represented by Alpha Fornah Esq.

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