The Office of National Security (ONS) is the lead government agency (LGA) for vetting of public officials who hold or may vettable positions or have access to sensitive or classified information in government. This mandate is explicitly expressed in Section 18(1b vii) of the National Security and Central intelligence Act, 2002 which states that the National Security Coordinator “is responsible for the supervision of security vetting, and for investigation for the security clearance of persons who hold or may hold vettable posts, in government departments, ministries or agencies or who may have access to any sensitive or classified information so as to ensure a uniform vetting standard throughout the government.”
The ONS collaborates with the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), intelligence agencies, academic institutions and MDAs to ensure that public officials are properly vetted prior to employment or while in employment.
Vetting of prospective or serving public officials is mandatory in Sierra Leone. To that effect, the ONS periodically receives requests from public institutions to conduct background checks on prospective employees or applicants for specific licences such as licence for firearms in order to help determine their eligibility.
The provision of Security Clearance issued by the ONS is a prerequisite for granting of licence for services. In that regard, the ONS conducts security assessments of persons or organisations who intend to establish businesses or provide services to determine whether they pose any threat to the state.