BY MOHAMED KAMARA
Workers at the Sierra Leone State Lottery (SLSL) now run by BET SALONE has on Wednesday July 14th 2021 staged a one day protest outside the BET SALONE headquarters on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown over what they referred to as fake agreement between BET SALONE and the Sierra Leone State Lottery which they say does not involved the management and staff of the institution thus not guaranteeing their protection as workers.
According to them, due to non guarantee of their protection and their future as workers they therefore see themselves as meaningless adding that the fake agreement does not assure them of their certainty and future in the company.
Speaking to journalists Florence Kamara, President of the Staff Association, said that after 56 years of operations, the SLSL was running at a loss, the business was going bad, thus the authorities decided to make an open bid for partnership.
She said staffs were given the opportunity to invest in the business, but due to absence of none, the company then went into an agreement with a contractor, and a partnership agreement was signed without the involvement of the management and the Board.
‘’The terms of the said agreement was not made known to us the staff, and it was disclosed that when the contractor commenced operations, it refused to take up the liabilities of the company and as a result, failed to honour its obligation to the staff, It failed to pay the workers the salaries they were being paid by the company, allowances and other remunerations were abandoned and the conditions of service was drastically interfered with against the stipulations of the Labour laws of the country,’’ she said.
Madam Kamara added that after several attempts to get the contractor to honour its obligations to the staff, they had no alternative, but to call the attention of President Julius Maada Bio, whom she referred to as the father of the nation and Fountain of Justice to intervene and to regularize the agreement in order to salvage their situation.
Madam Kamara furthered that this is the first time that in a partnership, the right to bank signatories has been given to one man alone who is the sole proprietor of BET SALONE in the name of Johnny Koussa who has indicated that he does not have enough fund to manage the operations of the new partnership.
President of the Staff Association, however called on the Anti-Corruption Commission to revisit the documents noting that they are not in relation to the usual documents written in partnership adding that Johnny Kousa has been harassing them with sack threats and has also decorated the offices of BET SALONE leaving those occupied by state lottery workers unfurnished.
‘’Worst of all, he has refused to pay the usual benefits due to workers. The manager of state lottery and Human Resources manager of National Commission of Privatization when consulted for their comments were panic and could not say a word,’’