Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 December 2015
Four months ago, on the 16th of August 2015 to be precise, the Sierra Leone Telegraph published an article titled: ‘Sierra Leone attorney general’s position is now untenable’, and many thought it was a big joke.
And we concluded by asking this simple, though significant question; ‘Will president Koroma relieve Frank Kargbo (Photo) of his duties with immediate effect, so as to protect the good name and respect of the office of Attorney General of Sierra Leone?’
Well it didn’t take ‘too long’ before president Koroma, who is not well known to be a decisive and resolute leader, to make up his own mind and come to the same conclusion as the vast majority of people in Sierra Leone that are following politics in the country.
So, Monday, 28 December 2015, was red letter day for the controversial attorney general, who had not only become a liability to the president, but to the government in general, as his reputation for giving bad legal advice to the head of state and his fellow ministerial colleagues degenerated.
So what exactly broke the camel’s back, for president Koroma to push his trusted and loyal attorney general under the red Chinese bus, without the blink of an eye?
We may never know for sure, but one thing is certain, Frank Kargbo’s reckless and irresponsible fight with the leader of the opposition PMDC – Charles Margai, was the wrong fight to pick.
President Koroma’s ruling APC is going to need all the help it can find to establish a coalition to stay in power in 2017. And Charles Margai and his PMDC may well come to the aid of the APC once again, as they did in 2007. Who knows. Politics is a funny old game.
Not only was the attorney general’s fight with Charles Margai clumsy, wrong, inappropriate and unnecessary, it was uncouth and messy.
Who picks a fight in the middle of an Ebola crisis, when thousands of fellow citizens – brothers and sisters, were dropping like flies, struck down by the deadly virus?
Well, attorney general Frank kargbo did just that.
This is what the Sierra Leone Telegraph said on the 16th of August 2015 – just four months ago:
As the row between Sierra Leone’s Attorney General Frank kargbo and the leader of the opposition PMDC – lawyer Charles Francis Margai continues, the question now for president Koroma is how long before he gives Frank Kargbo the boot for dereliction of duty and incompetence.
Never before has the occupant of the office of Attorney General in Sierra Leone brought so much ridicule and disrepute to the office, after throwing a barrage of insults and rude invective at lawyer Charles Francis Margai, for questioning his failure to give proper advice to president Koroma.
Such was the inappropriateness of the Attorney General’s letter of reply to Charles Margai that, many in the legal profession are now saying that Frank kargbo is unfit to continue as the country’s Attorney General.
The row erupted last week when president Koroma unilaterally decided to continue some of the Ebola state of emergency restrictions without parliament’s approval.
Another row erupted last month when the government signed a $12 million loan agreement to purchase 100 buses from China without going out to public tender and without parliamentary approval.
Early this year, president Koroma sacked the country’s elected vice president, without recourse to parliament as required by Sierra Leone’s constitution.
Last week, lawyer Charles Margai (Photo: With president Koroma on the right) wrote a letter in good faith to the Attorney General, accusing him of failing to provide sound legal advice to president Koroma, so as to save the president from continuing breach of the constitution and embarrassment.
But Attorney General Frank Kargbo did not take too kindly to being pointed out as incompetent.
Rather than responding to the points of law and constitutional irregularities discussed in Margai’s letter, Frank Kargbo’s choice of language has been described as unbecoming of a lawyer.
The use of invective in his reply to Lawyer Margai has not gone down well. There are now calls for the Attorney General’s resignation or sacking.
Not surprisingly however, Charles Margai’s reply to the Attorney General written two days ago – 14th August 2015, appears measured, civil and professional. This is what he told Attorney Frank Kargbo.
RE: PRESIDENTIAL BROADCAST
I have with dismay read your letter of 12th August, 2015, which falls short of a reply but rather full of invective.
When I spoke to Mr. President some time ago about your incompetence, his reply was apt. As the conversation between him and I was confidential, I shall refrain from divulging what was said.
What I however find interesting is the fact that you are still in post.
Mr. President’s failure vis-à-vis governance, can no doubt be ascribed to him being surrounded by characters like you, who cannot deliver (aptly described as a square peg in a round hole).
You have always ill-advised him on matters of national importance due to incompetence.
I had held the view before now that the late F.M. Carew was the weakest Attorney-General this nation had produced but your performance or rather non-performance now proves that as Attorney-General, you are weaker than Carew.
Weak as he was, he represented Government in all court matters, the outcome notwithstanding.
You should be ashamed of yourself running away from the courts and instead, electing to brief private practitioners at the tax payer’s expense in disregard of Section 114 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991, in the ongoing Constitutional cases before the Supreme Court.
Suffice it to say that, I am still awaiting a response to my letter. All you have done is expatriating rudeness at which you are adept.
I shall not comment on the issues sadly raised in your concluding paragraph. I shall let the people decide.
In case you are wondering why I chose to address you personally instead of officially, the reason is that the title Attorney-General & Minister of Justice is meant for deserving holders, of which, you are not one!
C.F. Margai Esq. – Leader of the PMDC
Will president Koroma relieve Frank Kargbo of his duties with immediate effect, so as to protect the good name and respect of the office of Attorney General of Sierra Leone?
Yes he has. On Monday 28th December, 2015, the president decided he has seen enough. And with the stroke of his pen, he struck off the name of Frank kargbo from his ministerial payroll as attorney general.
But will Frank Kargbo resurface in another ministry or department soon?
It will not be surprising, should we wake up tomorrow and find frank kargbo heading one of president Koroma’s failed outfits, where he can continue to cause more disaster, just as other failed recycled ministers are doing today.
And which of those departments will he be posted is anybody’s guess. Only time will tell.
This is the first time I am able to access your newspaper. I think many of us are sick and tired of reading Cocorioko and Awareness Times newspaper, because they are one sided.
In my opinion, your paper is well written and with substance. Please keep up the good job work and stay focused.