THE ATTENTION OF GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN DRAWN TO AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON 9TH JANUARY, 2016 IN THE AS – SAFIR NEWSPAPER OF LEBANON IN WHICH IT IS CLAIMED THAT THE LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY HAS RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE AUTHORITIES IN SIERRA LEONE INDICATING THE COUNTRY’S WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT WASTE FROM LEBANON ON THE CONDITION THAT IT IS FREE OF TOXINS. THE SAID LETTER IS ALLEGEDLY SIGNED BY AN ADVISER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT. THE NEWSPAPER FURTHER STATED THAT APPROVAL REMAINS AT A PRELIMINARY STAGE UNTIL THE PRESIDENT AND GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE CONFIRM THE DEAL.

SINCE THIS MATTER IS CURRENTLY THE SUBJECT OF AN ACTIVE DEBATE, IT IS INCUMBENT ON GOVERNMENT TO CLEAR THE AIR BY ISSUING THIS DISCLAIMER. GOVERNMENT WANTS TO MAKE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT IT HAS NOT AGREED TO ACCEPT WASTE FROM LEBANON AND HAS NOT AUTHORISED ANY OFFICIAL OF STATE TO CONVEY APPROVAL TO THAT EFFECT. GOVERNMENT IS FULLY AWARE OF THE DANGER POSED BY HAZARDOUS AND NON – HARZARDOUS WASTE AND GIVES THE FULL ASSURANCE THAT IT WILL NEVER EXPOSE THE PUBLIC TO SUCH LONG – TERM RISKS TO HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT HAS INSTRUCTED THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE TO CONDUCT CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THIS MATTER AND THE PUBLIC WILL BE APPRISED OF THE OUTCOME. MEANWHILE, THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION HAS ALSO BEEN INSTRUCTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY TO ASCERTAIN THROUGH DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS IN LEBANON THE ORIGIN OF THIS PROPOSED TRANSACTION

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STATE HOUSE
FREETOWN 9TH JANUARY, 2016