You are here
THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE CHIEF IMMIGRATION OFFICER COMRADE KHOLIFA KOROMA ESQ
~~The country’s Immigration Department was almost at its defunct of migration activities other than the provision and issuance of the Sierra Leone passport when a savior came to salvage the dreadful situation.
The Immigration Department is a very wide institution which manages the affairs of people coming in and out of the country on a daily basis.
With the presence of comrade Kholifa Koroma the Department also protects the borders of the country both land and sea; provides immigration documents for nationals and non-nationals; interprets international in inter-regional laws affecting the movement of people among others.
Imported from The UK by His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Immigration and Security Expert, Alpha Kholifa Koroma Esq took over the affairs of the moribund Department on the 1st of April 2008.
Since the 1st of April, 2008, the Immigration Department is one of the best MDAs the country can proud of in terms of efficiency and professionalism.
The Department has been revived and has witnessed series of reforms over the years, the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Lawyer Alpha Kholifa Koroma is highly impressed with the way and manner the department is heading in terms of development and innovation.
Immigration Department was at the lowest ebb, but with the well-informed and erudite administrator the public can breathe a sigh of relief for a well purposeful and determined department that can compete with any other Immigration Department in the sub-region.
The introduction and reform package at the Immigration Department saw compliance with international standards as the introduction of the first machine readable ECOWAS version of The Sierra Leone passport.
The learned lawyer introduced the concept of job specification as one of the reforms which made available the knowledge that each and every Immigration staff has to have a descriptive mode of work.
The innovative Leader went on to inform that certain units within the Immigration Department were created to enhance the Service Charter that was developed by the Department in conformity with the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC).
“We now have the Customer Service Unit, the Public Relations Unit, Central Processing Unit, Intelligence and investigation unit, all created to enhance confidence and reduce corrupt practices,” he informed.
The young and dynamic Immigration boss went on to state that the processes, systems and procedures that were responsible for the smooth issuance of the Sierra Leone Passport were adequately strengthened, hence the reduction of passport slippages into the hands of none Sierra Leoneans.
The profiling of both nationals and non-nationals criss- crossing our borders both land and air was modernized by introducing the Passenger Information Registration System.
This, he said, has enhanced international confidence in the country’s international airport security situation and has also encouraged international airliners to start flying to Sierra Leone because the system is also inter-linked with international police that is interfacing with other security apparatus within the country.
Another innovation was the robust strengthened of border control and also the re-introduction of border guards that are currently manning some of our most important border crossing points in Kabala, Kamakwei, Solima, Kailahun among others.
Fast- track training facilities, he went on, has been provided for border guards both at national and international levels, hence improving knowledge on immigration matters.
Decentralization of the immigration services is a new phenomenon that has seen the establishment of Immigration headquarters in the provinces with the responsibility to manage the affairs of foreign nationals in any part of the country.
With all the reforms been introduced with Directors of various organs been appointed, upward mobility by Immigration Officers, he said, has now been attractive.
‘’Yet, there are still challenges in running the affairs of the Immigration Service such as Finance is the very breathe of every organization and lack of it has deprived the entity form growing comparably to other immigration services within the sub- region, Because of this, the logistical, training and operational capabilities have not been encouraging.
The numerical strength of the institution is still not very robust and attractive; the laws relating to the different fact of immigration services are still obsolete. These are some of the challenges the institution is going through.
However, the desire of comrade Kholifa Koroma Esq is to work towards garnering support from the government to making the Immigration establishment an autonomous entity to catch up with the modus- operandi of other immigration services in the sub- region.
Lawyer Alpha Kholifa Koroma is a product of Fourah Bay College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law, Philosophy and English.
After graduation, he worked for the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and attained the rank of Superintendent of Police. He later resigned and took up appointment with the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone as Security Analyst. He again resigned from the UN system because of the instability in the country in the late 90s and went to The UK, for further studies. In The UK, the learned Lawyer was admitted to the Masters School at Leicester University where he graduated with a Masters Degree in Corporate Security and Risk Management. In furtherance of his academic pursuit, he gained a BRITISH Government Bursary to study an under graduate Law degree in the London Metropolitan University and graduated with Bachelor of Law with honors.
In between this period in ‘The UK, he worked in some institutions such as Merrilinch Financial Centre, Boston University in London and some law firms.
Subsequently he was contracted by the Government of Sierra Leone to serve as the country’s Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) and also doubled as a Statutory Director of the National Tourist Board in Sierra Leone.
While in his capacity as CIO he completed an Utter Degree as Barrister at Law at the Sierra Leone Law School and qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Sierra Leone. The learned Sierra Leoneans is honed to transform the Immigration Department to the height of fame. Stay tuned for further profiling.