Elvis Samai Cries for Help
Elvis Samai, a former worker at the SLPMB, on Monday 19th April 2021, at a press briefing organized by Forum of Sierra Leone Youth Network (FoSLYN), held at the Trivoli Hall on John Street, accused the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board, Dr Vibbi of flouting Presidential order, when he refused to reinstate him, as directed by a letter from the Secretary to the President.
Speaking during the event, Executive Director of FoSLYN, Thomas Pa Alie Babadie, said the organization was established in 2006, with the aim of working with state actors in maintaining democracy, Human Rights, Disability issues, Gender disparity and Education. He furthered that as their mandate hinges on protecting the Human Rights of individuals, the story of Elvis Samai touched them, and the organisation is doing all it can to ensure that victim gets justice. FoSLYN, he furthered, is a trusted organization that has enjoyed funding from various partners like the British High Commission, UNDP, ENCISS. Christian Aid, Africell, Airtel, and Sierra Leone Brewery Ltd, as a result of its work.
Explaining his situation to the press, Elvis Samai disclosed that he was appointed by the government in 2014 to set up the SLPMB, which is charged to Regulate, control, direct agricultural production, Processing (harvesting, drying, measuring storing, transporting), Marketing (arrange the pricing, selling and exportation under local & international quality standards) of all produce( rice, cocoa, coffee, cashew, oil palm products, honey, piassava, ginger, cassava). He was able to set up the admin structure based on the mandate of the institution, set policies, strategies and procedures to respond to the institution’s values (vision/ Mission). He then set up departments, sections and units; designed the Human Resource management structure, propagated value chain intuition with peripheral organizations (MDAs, Middlemen and the Farmers)
After successfully setting up the institution as Deputy Head; in 2017, he was handed an appointment letter by Madam Isatu Kabba, the Acting Director PMB, with instruction to sign, which he described as a second appointment letter, since he had already signed the first when he took up appointment in 2015. He furthered that he refused to sign the said letter on the grounds that he had signed the first appointment letter,
“A second letter of appointment, with a six months duration was prepared and handed over to me to sign. I declined, stating that the first letter of appointment is a permanent one and was addressed to me on the instructions of the Ministry of Trade…” he stated.
As he refused to sign the second appointment letter, on 31st January 2017, his salary was withheld in a bid to force him to comply, which he refused.
“On the 31st day of January 2017, my salary was withheld by the accounts department with ultimatum coming from the Acting Director that I must sign that second letter of appointment to date..” he again disclosed.
This action by the Acting Director, he furthered, failed to observe administrative procedures outlined in the policy of grievance procedures and flouted Article 22, 23 of the universal declaration of Human Rights, Flouted the International Labour Organization (ILO) equal pay & equal opportunity rule of 1960 and the Labour Laws of Sierra Leone.
He then explained that as a result of this perceived termination of his service, all hell broke loose as his absence saw the institution under Madam Kabba losing Le 400 million, which were embezzled by the 3 accounts staff, who were late arrested and detained at the CID. He furthered that this anomaly was exposed by the UBA officials and up to date that amount had not been recovered.
Elvis Samai further disclosed that he took up his matter with Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swarray, Minister of Information & Communication, who introduced him to Dr. Vibbi, who was newly appointed as Executive Chairman of the Board of the PMB and was due to face Parliament. He recalled working with Dr. Vibbi at the PMB in 2018, again, organizing and clearing up the mess created by those who were there, after it was realized that his matter was not properly handled.
“I was allowed to go to my office in December 2018 without any letter of review” he furthered.
Samai stated that few months afterwards the Chairman placed an advertisement for his position, and he was forcefully removed from his office by the Chairman and replaced, much to his surprise. All moves to get him to reinstate me proved futile, including a letter from the Secretary to the President at State House, which stated that he had been directed by His Excellency the President Rtd Brig. Julius Maada Bio to reinstate Elvis Samai. He furthered that he was resigned to his fate and simply wanted the institution to pay him his emolument and in this vain, engaged the Attorney General, who, after thorough scrutiny, also directed Dr. Vibbi to pay all his emoluments and bring closure to the whole issue, which the Chairman refused to comply with.
Elvis Samai disclosed that he had written to the ACC, PMB and the Parliamentary Oversight Committee, the Human Right Commission of Sierra Leone to no avail. And he is now calling on His Excellency to intervene and get the PMB to pay him his emoluments and save his life, as currently he is having pain on one side of his body, unable to pay the fees for his daughter in Ghana doing medicine in her fourth year, and his son at FBC doing engineering.
He stressed that he is obliged to engage in the sale of plastic water to survive. Elvis Samai is calling on the President to prevail on the PMB to pay him his dues, as well as get NASSIT to meet with their obligation to him, as his contribution had been deducted regularly when he was working, from his salary. He could now not get access to any of his money from either NASSIT or the PMB.
By Alim Jalloh