Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 February 2016
The office of the attorney general and minister of justice of Sierra Leone, today informed the Sierra Leone Telegraph that after just thirty days of being appointed to head that office, Joseph Kamara (Photo), has accelerated access to justice in the country.
According to figures released by the attorney general’s office, between 4th of January and 4th February 2016, 95 indictments were filed and 53 refiled.
Of the 53 indictments refiled, 15% are said to be for offences of a very serious nature and 27% are in regard to sexual and gender based violence.
In addition, the attorney general is said to be pleased to report that he has listened to the concerns of rights groups and the general public, about the very slow pace of justice dispensation in the country.
And in the light of this, the attorney general is reported to have undertaken several administrative measures to enhance the expedition of justice in the country, in line with the president’s vision to reform the justice sector, by speeding up the justice delivery mechanism.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as thousands of people are still languishing in the country’s main prison at Pademba Road in Freetown, where most have been locked up for more than two years, without appearing in court.
Last month, opposition leader – Alie Kabba (Photo), who was arrested on Christmas Eve, on what many believe to be a politically motivated charge of bigamy and jailed for several days at Pademba Road prison without due legal process, commented after his release that thousands of young people are being locked up in appalling conditions, without any hope of obtaining justice.
Dr. Alie Kabba himself is still awaiting justice, after being arrested three times in two months, on what appears to be political expediency, rather than the equitable administration of justice in Sierra Leone.
According to the office of the attorney general, the 95 indictments filed in the last 30 days, are expected to significantly impact the remand population of the Freetown Correctional Center.
It says that the increased level of indictments would provide inmates the opportunity to have their day in court and get justice.
The report also asserts that actions taken so far by the attorney general, will significantly contribute to addressing the perennial problem of overcrowding in the country’s correctional centres.
“The Public is therefore encouraged to cooperate with the Director of Public Prosecutions Division of the Law Officers’ Department to ensure the speedy and effective trial of matters before the court.
“The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice wishes to further emphasize to the public, that it is the Government’s urgent desire to restore public confidence and trust in the justice delivery system,” says the report.
Last month – Monday, 11th January 2016, Joseph Kamara – the man many in Sierra Leone believe to be hot favourite to succeed president Koroma as the ruling APC party’s presidential flagbearer in 2017, made history by becoming the first attorney general and minister of justice to publicly hand in his asset declaration form to his successor at the Anti-Corruption Commission – Mr Shollay Davies.
The head of the ACC – Shollay Davies commended the former anti-corruption commission boss, and called upon other government ministers and public officials to emulate the attorney general’s example.
He called on pubic officials in the country to ensure that their assets are declared in line with Section 119 of the ACC Act of 2008, which makes it mandatory for all public officials to register their Asset Declaration Forms annually.
The attorney general Joseph Kamara, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that he has always complied with the requirements of Section 119 of the ACC Act of 2008, even as head of the ACC.