In an unprecedented development the winner of Sierra Leone’s first ever prison beauty contest has been granted a presidential pardon Ms Sia Kembe, 20, was among over 500 prisoners earmarked for release as part of a presidential clemency to mark the New Year, this medium learnt.
On New Year’s Day, the list released by the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) entails the statistics of the inmate to be released and the center in which they are serving their sentences. The 507 male inmates and 27 female inmates were drawn from 20 prison and detention facilities across the country.
Officials said the move is a continuation of a tradition that is based on a constitutional provision giving the President the power to forgive prisoners on festive occasions.
Lesely Cole-Showers, a spokesman for the SLCS, said the practice is not to release the names of the inmates but he confirmed that Ms Kembe was part of those currently being processed for release as part of the clemency.
Ms Kembe was sentenced to five years for Manslaughter. She was serving her term in the Southern Bo district. She came to the limelight in November when she participated in the maiden edition of the Miss Correctional. She emerged winner in the contest that included nine other inmates drawn from female correctional facilities across the country.
Kembe, who was jailed for the killing of her husband, was 20 months into her term.
As enshrined in the Constitution of Sierra Leone gives the Head of State has the ceremonial mandate to exercise the Prerogative of Mercy on special occasions, one of which is New Year’s Day, by ordering the release of certain incarcerated persons. On the 1st of January 2020 a total of five hundred and thirty-four (534) incarcerated inmates were set free from various detention centres in the country. Attached is a breakdown of prisoners that were freed by Presidential Pardon:
Presidential Pardon Statistics
Freetown Male Centre (Pademba Road) = 211
Freetown Female Centre = 20
Freetown Male Reintegration Centre (Former Special Court) = 29
Pre- Trial Detention and Simulation Centre (Waterloo) = 33
Bo Male Centre = 09
Bonthe Centre = 03
Moyamba Centre = 15
Pujehun Centre= 13
Mattru Jong Centre = 11
Kenema Male Centre = 18
Kenema Female Centre = 03
Kailahun Centre = 09
Sefadu Centre = 11
Makeni Male Centre = 23
Magburaka Centre = 15
Mafanta Centre = 46
Kambia Centre = 17
Kabala Centre = 11
Port Loko Centre = 26
Approved School (Juvenile) = 11