Lawyers in Sierra Leone challenge legality of commission of inquiry at Supreme Court

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 January 2019:

The body representing Barristers in Sierra Leone – the Sierra Leone Bar Association, has today filed a 20-page Supreme Court action, seeking an interpretation of the country’s Constitution with regards the rules governing the establishment of commissions of inquiry in Sierra Leone.

In a public statement announcing its decision to take action in the Supreme Court, published today, the Bar Association said that in accordance with Section 150 of the Constitution, a committee of judges chaired by the Chief Justice – known as the Rules of Court Committee “is the sole authority empowered and authorised in Sierra Leone to make rules relating to the practice and procedure of all Commissions of Inquiry”.

By making up the rules governing the proposed commissions of inquiry themselves, the government, the Bar Association says, has contravened the provision set in the Constitution.

But the Bar Association says that “it is fully supportive of a fair and independent commission of inquiry, aimed at bringing to account all those involved in corrupt practices”.

The commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption by former minsters and public officials in the Koroma-led APC government, is to commence sitting in the next few weeks.

It is not certain whether the government will now suspend its sitting until the Supreme Court concludes its deliberations on the action brought by the Bar Association today.

This is the public statement published by the Bar Association:

3 Comments

  1. It is unfortunate that this kind of thing is happening just to delay the process. Where were they when a commission was set in 2008 when there was no rule of evidence?
    The general populace of sierra are asking those former government officials to give account of their stewardship.

  2. Many people wonder whether there are patriotic individuals in the main opposition APC, particularly those culpable of endemic corruption. Also, many civil societies need to be vetted in Sierra Leone, particularly when many were being formed and sponsored by the corrupt APC high level politicians.

    Sierra Leone will continue to support this SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio. We will fight corruption to the highest degree and never compromise our stands to win the fight. “This is a fight we must win and we know corruption will fight back”, says President Bio.

  3. Another bombshell again and there is more to come. Democracy seems to be gaining grounds in present day Sierra Leone. Did the Sierra Leone Bar Association see a loose nut in the guidelines of the commission of inquiry investigating corrupt officials? If so, who is at fault.

    Did parliament not see it coming? Did the SLPP government and the president’s legal team not see this coming? What happens next, now that the Sierra Leone Bar Association has placed a wrench on the guidelines of the commission? How long will the supreme court take to react?

    If the Sierra Leone Bar Association comes out victorious with this filing, then president Bio has to fire all those responsible for not doing their job properly. Heads just have to roll. This is very serious matter. It will also be a test for president Bio on how he reacts if the Sierra Leone Bar association wins the filing.

    The good news behind all this is that the Sierra Leone Bar Association is in favor of the commission of inquiry although this filling will probably delay the start date of the commission. Well done to all members of the Sierra Leone Bar Association for throwing that wrench on that loose nut in the guidelines of the commission. You have seen what the parliament and the governments legal team did not see. Although I am not a legal expert, I hope the flaw the association detected is genuine and without bias. Je dit Bravo a vous tous.

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