The Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone has constituted an investigation committee to look into recent grievances of redundant staff of the house of parliament.
In the spirit of public accountability and transparency, a Five-Man bipartisan investigating Sub Committee compromising the Leaders of political parties in Parliament has been constituted to, "look into the matter relating to redundancy in parliament," and look into claims that the wife of the Clerk of Parliament was employed in an undeserving status.
It could be recalled that on the 12th September, 2023, a redundancy notice was issued by the office of the Clerk indicating the intention of the Parliamentary Service Commission to redundant some staff of the Parliamentary Service in the year 2024.
The legitimacy of this action predicated on Section 53.1-2 of the Parliamentary Act, 2023 in tandem with Chapter 9.12 of the Parliamentary Service Human Resources Manual . Three and half months later, the Parliamentary Service issued redundancy letters to some 139 staff of Parliament.
Unfortunately and emotively, the redundancy has sparked a tidal storm following administrative and procedural issues and general dissatisfaction of the crucial decision to weed and replace not performing staff.
In what has been seen as a grapevine notion, some dissatisfied insiders have turned to blackmail and bad publicity making allegations that the Clerk employed his wife as a worker in Parliament.
In response to the claim, a Public Notice circulated by the Parliamentary and Public Relations Department stated that during a Parliamentary Service Commission meeting held on Thursday 4th December, 2024 , "the Clerk of Parliament has also clarified the question of his wife being on the payroll of Parliament and has requested a special Committee be set up to separately look into the matter and report to the Parliamentary Service Commission."
Amongst members of the Sub Committee is the House Speaker Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu, Hon. S. S. Thomas Deputy Speaker, Hon. Mathew Nyuma Leader of Government Business, Hon. Abdul Kargbo Leader of the opposition APC party in parliament and Hon. Paran Tarawally, Clerk of Parliament.
The Clerk's clarification came after several efforts by the traditional and new media to get his side of the story proved futile.
On the big elephant in the room, redundancy of staff, Parliament announced that, " a Five-man Committee consisting of the Hon. Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Leader of the Opposition and the Hon. Clerk of Parliament has been constituted to look into the matter relating to redundancy in Parliament and present its recommendations to the Parliamentary Service Commission within two weeks (Wednesday 24th January)."
This news, affected workers said, usher a sigh of relief and hope that at least the decision is now a subject under review with a timeline.
One thing that is yet to be ascertained is whether the decision to be redundant will be upheld or upended in the recommendations of this all powerful leadership Committee sub investigating Committee.
Apparently, critics say the rule of impartiality is being undermined; the Speaker and Clerk are seemingly envisioned to be in a cold war of personality conflict. They even questioned the legitimacy of constituting a Sub Committee as undercutting or usurping the very powers of the PSC.