Banjul Accord Group investigative Agency (BAGAIA) has resolved with the Gambia and Sierra Leone to establish an independent accident investigative body as soon as first quarter of 2021. The two West African nations are also working out modalities to clear the outstanding subscription and to ensure follow-up with the how the funds are administered.
These were some resolutions of two separate meetings with teams from Gambia and Sierra Leone aimed at charting the course for the regional investigative body and strengthening it. The meeting held last week focused on key issues including the signing of the Project Document (ProDoc.) – Management Service Agreement (MSA), possibility of Accident Investigation Group (AIG) set up (advice from Nigeria’s perspective) as well as the need to offset outstanding subscription to BAGAIA commission
The BAGAIA Commissioner, Charles Erhueh and his team met with the Representative of the Gambia’s Minister of Aviation, Mod Ceesay where he sought legal backing of ICAO-Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB) services to BAGAIA.
Presenting a hard copy to the Minister through the Head of BAG Secretariat, Mr. Abdullahi Jammeh; it was noted that TCB carry out recruitment of the BAGAIA Commissioner and is currently doing same for the Technical Director without this document signed by the Member States. According to resolutions from the deliberations it connotes that the TCB is executing such assignment without the consent the Member States.
Rep of Minister, Mr. Mod K. Ceesay, on his part thanked the BAGAIA Commissioner while agreeing with the DG, that the document will be signed after which it is received at the ministry.
On the need for an effective regional accident investigative agency, Erhueh explained that in the event of accident, it is the state’s responsibility to institute the investigation but such investigation can be delegated in part or whole to BAGAIA especially when there is a shortage of capacity to handle it. According to him, among others one main function of BAGAIA is to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between member States in respect to investigation of accidents and serious incidents.
BAGAIA Commissioner further referred to the Gambia Civil Aviation Act 2018 as enacted has promulgated the establishment of the Independent Accident Investigation Authority and emphasized the need for the implementation of the Act so that it should not remain findings in upcoming ICAO-USOAP and close any gap as the case may be.
The story was the same when the commissioner visited Sierra Leone where one of the resolutions was establishment of Independence of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) as stated in the Civil Aviation Act of 2019 which is an actionable item that would be done as quickly as possible in first quarter of 2021.
Erhueh maintained that the mandate of BAGAIA was to assist the Banjul Accord Group (BAG) Member States in the conduct of an independent investigation of aircraft accidents and serious incidents in compliance with international standards.
Responding to the commissioners appeal for the establishment of an independent investigative body, Minister of Transport &Aviation and Head of BAG Council of Ministers, Kabineh Moinama Kallon, expressed total support to the idea, stating that the Ministry was in consultation with the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA).
“As a government, we are not averse to the setting up of this department; it is a safety issue. We are always ready to cooperate with other member States. We will do all in our capacity to make sure that we have a functional independent accident and incident investigation department in Sierra Leone”, the Minister stated.
Director-General of SLCAA, Moses Tiffa Baio, however, updated the Minister about the session held with the BAGAIA Commissioner at the Authority’s office, which they were able to interact with the management of the Authority.