Paul Kamara: Siera Leone Telegraph: 14 June 2021:
Professor Kelfala Kallon is to my knowledge the first Bank Governor to point accusing finger at the Siera Leone Judiciary in their collaboration with unscrupulous wheeler-dealers to fleece the economy as well as defraud banks.
Kelfala is both blunt and direct in his seeming frustration with corrupt Judges who let go defaulters of bad loans which in the end, the banks cannot recover or the collateral; simply because Judges take bribes and shelved such matters in their sacred private chamber sine die. The banks are thus totally helpless for who dare face the colossal and draconian Inquisitor.
Governor Kelfala’s (Photo) bold and factual statement should concern all and sundry for urgent and radical judicial reforms; if not, a total overhaul of that noble institution which today, is dubbed a ‘den of corruption and a citadel of injustice.’
The Judiciary has played a pivotal role for the tragedy that is Mama Salone; injustice, war, poverty, land wahala, corruption, illegalities and other ills that plague the body politic; because it is not apolitical, independent and flout the Rule of Law with disdain and scorn, if not downright impunity.
Gone those glorious days when lawyers of integrity and character are held in high esteem who can boldly rule against political tin-gods without fear or favour; whose judgement is based on the merit of the law, for justice and in the cause of the poor and oppressed. Let’s now take a cursory glance.
- Lawyer cum prime minister Albert Margai, dragged journalist Ibrahim Bash-Taqi for libel, but the law acquitted and discharged him. That case is now replaced by: The State v Paul Kamara in matters dealing with both defamatory and seditious libel in Salone and the entire Commonwealth.
- The same law locked up Siaka Stevens, ITA Wallace-Johnson and other APC stalwarts at the behest of Sir Milton; a pistol- wielding dictator during elections; and that was on the eve of Salone’s independence in 1961.
- Just as ITA the journalist, pan-Africanist, labour leader, freedom fighter who established the APC National Youth League, was also locked up by colonial Britain for speaking out against colonial misrule.
- Lawyer Albert Margai as prime minister passed the 1965 draconian press laws; introduced and entrenched tribalism, nepotism, corruption and vote rigging in Salone’s body politic.
- Lawyer Tejan Kabbah was among those who planned the first SLPP coup in 1967; in collaboration with lawyer Albert Margai, Peter Tucker and others.
- Lawyer Tejan Kabbah altered his name from Ahmed to Ahmad and Kabba to Kabbah who ‘broke don’ SLPMB-our economic powerhouse, was banned from holding public office where honesty and integrity is the watchword. But again, SLPMB broke the law and smuggled him to power.
- Lawyer Charles Margai however had vehemently objected before the entire SLPP that Kabbah was indeed, banned from public office. But they didn’t give a ‘bogedo.’
- The law became totally lawless under Shaki’s one-party rule; a toothless bulldog and worst perpetrators of injustice such as the killings of Dr Sorie Fornah, Ibrahim Bash-Taqi, Sam Bangura, Francis Minah and many others.
- SLPP Speaker of Parliament MS Kutubu and Judiciary destroyed Karefa-Smart’s UNPP by delaying a judgement over his removal of 17 MPs; which by law should’ve been delivered within three months; but waited after four years and just three weeks to the 2007 elections in order to moribund the party.
- Lawyer Abass Bundu installed himself as SLPP Speaker of Parliament illegitimately; and hounded paopanistically 10 legitimate APC MPs out of parliament; and the Courts turned a blind eye.
- Lawyers appointed as ACC Commissioners have so far not lived up to the public’s expectations since they too are corrupt, not independent, and politicised.
- Kamajor commander Mory Jusu was jailed without trial in Bonthe and Freetown on the orders of lawyer and 1991 constitution framer, Peter Tucker and was languishing in a quarantine cell at the throes of death before his plight was reported by For di People newspaper.
Indeed, what Bank Governor has said is just another notoriety of the Judiciary. Many foreigners with good intentions to help develop the economy have been fleeced by our locals, especially Lebanese, Fullas and Indians with the tacit connivance of the Judiciary.
In November 2000, For di People newspaper reported that a French national Ivan Meglioli was unlawfully detained at Pademba prisons for six months for a civil case due to collaboration of the Judiciary, state apparatus and a local businessman, Rex Cowan.
The case between Oceanic Trading Company and Pacaredo Company represented by Cowan had been judged in Guinea and did not concern Meglioli. But our Judiciary locked him up without trial because they wanted to fleece him; until the intervention of the Hon Consul of France, Mike Fletcher who signed a surety on his behalf and was subsequently released. He left Freetown May 8, 2000 when the British High Commission ordered the evacuation of all EU citizens.
A German Court found out that it is in Salone that one can obtain a death certificate when the person is still alive. The Courts had impounded a ship after a Lebanese said the goods were contaminated- a usual trick by our local businesses in connivance with Judges to not only impound the goods but impose hefty fines in forex as well; while the ship is seized until payment delivered.
To prove the lie, the German came and obtained a death certificate, that he was dead to prove the stinking corruption in our judiciary and govt officials. Most of the land wahala especially in the western and urban areas, emanate from the Judiciary who signed fake declarations for land poachers without resorting first to the appropriate ministry. How come Wurie Palavar Jalloh should own vast lands in the western area!
It was not too long ago that Judges were removed from being chairmen of govt parastatals and other offices even though it was duplicity, illegal and conflict of interest. A sitting Judge can hold the Office of President of the Appeals Court of Sierra Leone and the same time President of the Salone Football Association with no eyebrows raised by that noble and august institution.
Cases on trial still abound without hearing for the past decade or so, while innocent people are locked up without due process. The Judiciary is completely politicised, corrupt and lawless.
In conclusion, let me again hail Bank Governor for exposing the Judiciary and I only hope a probe could be conducted on how long our financial institutions have been fleeced and frustrated by the collusion of the Judiciary.
I also pray that the Paopanistas can consider upholding the surrender obligation that obliges all mining, petroleum, and other entities to pass through the Bank of Salone.
These companies take loans from the banks to pay workers, smuggle their forex while by-passing the Central Bank. In fact, all state institutions including MDAs must do business through Salone Commercial Bank or Rokel Bank and should be protected.
A probe should be done on all bad debts owed by politicians and others over the years that have decapitated some of our financial institutions. It is also time to probe the Judiciary because the stench is too nasty!
Well, the Judiciary sentenced Jesus Christ for the Truth. And from experience, I don’t see any political lawyer yet, that would bring about the reforms that Sierra Leone needs at this crucial time – in the Judiciary or the country in general.