Greek Orthodox Mission faces setback

Saidu Bah – 3/2/13

The Greek Orthodox Mission in Sierra Leone has faced a serious setback after acquiring a 49 -year lease of the Dr. June Holst Ronnes Municipal School at Skye Street for development from the Freetown City Council. A recent report by Professor Gbamanja Commission of Inquiry has proved otherwise, stating that the lease agreement is flawed.

According to AWOKO investigations, the Dr. June Holst Ronnes Municipal School which comprises of a primary and junior secondary school was leased to the Greek Orthodox Mission in Sierra Leone for development for 49 years.

The Greek Orthodox Mission has already constructed a magnificent two-storey building with sixteen classrooms for offices and staff room and furnished with an additional administrative block and an orthodox church aimed at promoting quality education and the Greek orthodox Christian religion that meets international standards.

However, reports indicate that the National Board of Education is not happy with the acquisition of the school from the (FCC) by the Greek Orthodox mission in Sierra Leone.

Maximus M. Bobson Kamara General Manager of the Orthodox in Sierra Leone in an interview with AWOKO said that, he believes the lease agreement was not flawed because all legal procedures were followed for the acquisition of the school.

“We have been paying our annual lease fee of US$4000 to the Freetown City Council accounts department with receipt to the effect,” he told Awoko.

He stated that he has not yet laid hands on the Gbamanja report and cannot discuss details of the report further with Awoko.
“We have acquired this place legally and the property belongs to the Freetown City Council and they have the right to dispose the property to any institution they want.” He argued bitterly beating his office table with his hands. He added that the Ministry of Education is still paying teachers’ salaries at the school as a government -assisted school.

‘We wanted as a mission to be recognized as proprietors and the government still assisting the school’.
The Ministry of Education has no right to talk about the property but the administrative operation of the school;
A dusted written letter to the Education ministry informing them about the Orthodox mission taking over the school was shown to Awoko during the interview.

“The mission should not suffer for the Freetown City Council mistakes because I believe there was no mistake on the lease agreement but may be some protocols were neglected but the FCC did not violate any law”, he argued

He said the mission has a legally registered lease agreement between the FCC and the Orthodox mission and calls on the ministry of education to discuss with FCC to address the misunderstanding over the school.
Maximus M Bobson Kamara General Manager of the Orthodox in Sierra Leone alleged that the National Board of Education has a biased ideology about the school lease.

The school has been renamed the Freetown Orthodox Christian School by the Freetown City Council at a colorful ceremony, he told Awoko.
A letter from the FCC Mayor signed by the ousted Herbert George-Williams dated 9th February 2011 which states that the lease agreement have been concluded for the transfer of ownership or proprietorship and operations of the former Dr. June Holst Ronnes Municipal School to the Greek Orthodox mission and the name of the school have now been changed to the Freetown Orthodox School Primary ad Junior Secondary School and all correspondences to be addressed to the new proprietor. The letter was also shown to AWOKO.

However in a reply letter dated 29th June 2011 by the Ministry of Education also states that the Board has directed that the school reverts to its original status, bearing the name Dr. June Holst Ronnes Municipal School and that that board of governors and principal of the school are to ensure compliance.

Maximus M Bobson Kamara General Manager of the Orthodox mission said the mission has engaged the Freetown City Council on the Gbamanja report and they are awaiting their response.

However efforts to get to the Mayor of the Freetown City Council proved futile.