Orange Sierra Leone

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Orange Sierra Leone is one of the leading telecommunications in the country, but it has been involved in several activities that have negatively impacted the lives of its entrusted customers. It could be recalled that after the August 10 insurrection in the country, the government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Sierra Leone Police commencedan investigation on the top management of Orange Sierra Leone for deliberately obstructing justice by refusing to cooperate with the special investigation committee that was set up by His Excellency Dr Julius Bio. The investigation committee was set up as a result of the August 10 insurrection.

According to the Sierra Leone police, the top management of Orange Sierra Leone is refusing to cooperate with the committee by not handing over the call data of eighty subscribers who are persons of interest to the set-up committee. As one of the leading telecommunications in the country, this could indicate that they have not only destroyed customers’ trust, but they have undermined their trustworthiness, and this act of theirs, has been the apprehension of the work of the investigation committee. 

Many customers have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the way and manner Orange SL has been treating them, especially in the area of data usage or subscription and orange money. 

“If you dial*800#, using orange sim, you will see options like daily, monthly and weekly subscription. For instance, if one buys data under the monthly subscription or any of the three options as the case may be, the data will not last with him/her for even two weeks,” said an angry subscriber. 

A staff of the company who prefer anonymity said, their customers are truly vulnerable and certain people in their company disclosed customers’ contacts, names, and passwords to those fraudulent syndicate boys so that the latter would be able to call the particular customers and inform them that they have won a huge amount of money and sometimes promise offering them jobs which are always not true. Some even claim to be men of God and in the end, ask the customers to pay a certain amount for their prayers to be immediately answered.

Donald Cole, a resident of Eastern Freetown said his orange money was deducted from his Orange money wallet without giving his phone to anyone and without doing any transactions. “To my greatest surprise, I just received a text message on 21st September 2022 stating that I have cashed out five thousand New Leones (5,000NLS), but I did not give my phone to anyone nor do I cash out any money, how? I call Customer care 111 they said to me to wait the following day, and since then no one has gotten back to me,” she remarked. 

The Public Relations Officer said, they, as a mobile company, cannot do such and that their brand is getting bigger every day, and he does not believe what the public says about them, but this is a proven issue.

Orange SL is not protecting its customers from fraudsters who keep on calling people and telling them that they have won a certain amount of money, only for such a person to send money to them. 

Fatmata Kanu an Orange SL user told this medium that she has been receiving messages from Orange SL that she has won three hundred new leones. “At first I was surprised when I received that call because I did not play any lottery or gamble with my orange number, and what got me disappointed is when the caller asked me to send money to him and I just told him to deduct it from the said amount of that he claimed I won. 

Elizabeth Sesay, another Orange SL customer and a businesswoman at Sackville Street, said, she received a call in August 2022, from Orange SL, that she has won twelve million old Leones. At first, she was joyful, but what baffles her was when she was asked to send her account details so that they could send the money to her account which was never true. 

Customers want to know how fraudsters get access to their numbers, names, and addresses. Orange Sierra Leone should continue protecting their customers from fraudsters if only they want to maintain their credibility. 

Radio sensitization is not enough to stop fraudulent practices, the system needs to be protected. Heroes Media has been trying to get information from the Director of Business, Edward Sesay, but this medium has not been able to get in touch with him. However, in a telephone interview with the Public Relations Officer, she told this medium that, she cannot comment on any issues that have to do with Call Data of the August 10 insurrection, as the matter is under police investigation.

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Africel Rehabilitates St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School.

On Tuesday 18 October 2022, Africell Sierra Leone commenced the reopening ceremony for St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School at Wilberforce village in Freetown. The occasion was graced by Her Excellency Dr. Mrs. Fatima Bio, as the keynote speaker. The ceremony started with an opening prayer by Rev. Fr. Col.  Desmond S. Lebbie.

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Several representatives from government institutions such as NaCSA, the Ministry of Education, the Armed Forces Technical and Education College (AFTEC), and private institutions such as Africell Sierra Leone, the Press, Parents, and Well-wishers.

Madam Elizabeth Cole, not her real name, was the chairperson of the occasion; in her opening remarks, she applauded Africell Sierra Leone, First Lady, parents, and parishioners for making it possible to actualise a dream that had passed two decades, and she described the ceremony as historic. She gave a brief background of the name “Saint Luke”. “Today indeed is a historic day for the Catholic Diocese of Freetown, there would have been no perfect day than the reopening of St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School, a school that is named after St. Luke who was an educationist, a writer, one of the writers of the gospel and a doctor,” she said.

She furthermore said, “At Luke, this is the day the Lord has made, that we should be glad indeed. For several years now we had a dream to establish a secondary school, but our founding father, priest Francisco and with the help of all the parishioners helped to build a primary school at the time. After several years of consideration, the council of parishioners had another dream to build a secondary school, and the name suggested was to be named St. Luke’s Model Catholic Secondary School but this dream was not materialized for several reasons, Her Excellency and all present here, God has time for everything, this year 2022 is a remarkable year for St. Luke’s Junior School to be opened today. St Luke is with you, Bishops and all present we want you to take this school as your baby, ” she remarked.

The declaration of the purpose of the gathering was done By Rev. Vincent E. Davies, who first started with opening greetings starting with our First Lady and all that representatives and called a few names of distinguished persons, such as Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles the proprietor of the school, who was not present. Rev. Davies said, the proprietor had an unavoidable engagement to attend and was deputized by Rev. Fr. Dr. David Kamanda, he also recognized Mr. Shadi Gerjawi of Africell Sierra Leone, Mr. Edwin Kamara of NASSIT, Mr. Peter Komeh representing Sierra Leone Road Authority (SLRA) and everyone gathered. “To the education committee, the school reformation has been in operation and line with the free quality education since 2018 under the ticket of his Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE) has made good progress, but there is more to do as the education has already lost its value to our social life and the pandemic, we believe in the government desires that every child must be educated through the free quality education. We should also ensure that our children are taught in schools by well-trained and qualified teachers, and the school should be a free territory where learners meet to learn positive things about life and community so they, too, can become the true future leaders we crave. We should compass sound knowledge in them. A school that shall create for quality learnings, and the government should add more value to the sciences, Commerce, and humanity,” he said.

Shadi Gerjawi, the Managing Director of Africell Sierra Leone, during his short statement, thanked president Julius Maada Bio and the government for seeing education as a valuable tool for human capital development. He also thanked the St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School administration and the teachers for their profound sacrifices made and continuous support.

Col. Richard Bockarie the Director of Studies at the Armed Forces Technical and Education College (AFTEC) also thanked everyone and encouraged parents to send their kids to both St. Luke’s primary and junior secondary school, and there will be an initiative that will help them to monitor parents that are in the Barracks to encourage their kids to study; she talked about other facilities that will help the kids to learn.

Her Excellency Mrs Fatima Bio gave the keynote address; during her speech, she also stood on the existing protocol by thanking and appreciating everyone for their timely sacrifices. Furthermore, she admonished religious leaders to be careful with the kind of sermons they should preach to people. It could not be a sermon of hate speeches and they have a role to play in their communities and that role is to help minimize rape and early teenage pregnancy. So, the girl child can become educated and responsible, but if her right to education is abused for a petite bride price, she cannot sustain a family of five for a day. She also encouraged parents to send their children to school and make sure that they (girls) are prevented from rape as “It is better to prevent rape before waiting for justice,” she said.

The cutting of tape was done by the First Lady, Mrs Fatima Bio of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and the inspection of the school building was done by her and Dr David Kamanda, followed by the gathering. The vote of thanks was done by a class 5 pupil of the school

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