Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 January 2019:
The three learned judges that will chair Sierra Leone’s Commissions of Inquiry into alleged corruption, abuse of office and misdemeanours by ministers and senior public officials in the former APC government led by president Ernest Bai Koroma – dubbed the people’s commissions of inquiry, have today – Tuesday 29th January 2019, been sworn into office by president Julius Maada Bio.
Justices Biobele Georgewill – from Nigeria, Bankole Thompson – a Sierra Leonean Judge, and William Annan Atuguba – from Ghana, took their oath of office this morning at State House in Freetown.
The formal launching of the Commissions of Inquiry is taking place today in the Buildings of the Special Court, Jomo Kenyatta Road in the capital Freetown, where the commissions will sit for the next nine months for formal hearing of evidence and counter-evidence.
Shortly after the ceremony, president Bio said he is pleased to welcome the three Judges and wish them well, as they embark on a very difficult assignment.
Bio said his government decided to go beyond borders in search of Judges, because of the difficult nature of the assignment and to ensure there is fairness and neutrality in the process.
He thanked the Nigerian and Ghanaian Judges for consenting to come to Sierra Leone, at a time when the nation is in dire need of their services, adding that because of their experiences, they are expected to be impartial and do their job without bias and prejudice.
President Bio also assured the Judges of his government’s fullest support and asked for their independence during the entire process.
Chief Justice of Sierra Leone – Babatunde Edwards, said it is time for justice to be done and in a transparent and open way. He said Sierra Leoneans are looking up to the learned-Judges to do an excellent job in bringing justice to Sierra Leone.
He added: “We are not going to tell them what to do in terms of the matters that they have before them, because they are sufficiently equipped – in terms of having the right calibre and knowledge to handle what will come before them. They have a lot on their plates but I am sure they are able to navigate through it all and at the end, all of us will know that indeed justice has been done”.
Section 147 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, provides the president with the powers to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into any matter of public interest. Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the Judges were appointed as Chairmen and Sole Commissioners of the Commissions of Inquiry, as established by Constitutional Instrument No.65 of 2018.
This is what president Bio said: