APC Legal Communications: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 October 2020:
Lawyers representing the APC Members of Parliament that were removed from Parliament immediately after the general elections in 2018, yesterday October 20th 2020, told the Court of Appeal that they have instructions from their clients not to file synopsis or argue the appeal before the Court of Appeal until the Supreme Court hears and determines the applications filed before them regarding the same election petitions.
It could be recalled that before the Election Petition matters were concluded in the High Court, lawyers representing the APC MPs filed a motion in the Supreme Court Under Section 124(1) of the 1991 Constitution to determine whether the High Court can proceed with the Election Petitions after the four months constitutional mandate within which election petitions must be concluded.
Section 78(2) of the constitution provides that the High court has four months starting from the date of the filing Election Petition to hear and dispose of the matter.
The Chief Justice, Babatunde Edwards, never assigned this application for hearing before the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the High Court Judges hearing the Petitions, Justices Kamanda and Stevens, gave judgments in which 10 APC MPs were removed from Parliament.
Lawyers representing the APC MPs appealed the decisions to the Court of Appeal. Section 78(4) of the Constitution again gives the Court of Appeal to hear and determine Appeals relating to election persons within four months from the date the Appeal are filed. Again the four months constitution limit expired with the Court of Appeal hearing and concluding the Appeals. Again Lawyers for the APC MPs filed to the Supreme Court for interpretation of section 78(4) of the constitution and stay of proceeds of the Court of Appeal until the hearing and determination of the Supreme Court applications. Again, the Chief Justice like in many other constitutional matters failed to assign the application for hearing.
Lawyers for the APC MPs filed before the Court of Appeal to stay their proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the applications in the Supreme Court. The motion was argued before the Court of Appeal by Africanus Sorie Sesay Esq. but the Court of Appeal refused the application and gave directions that synopsis are filed and gave a date for hearing of the Appeals.
When the Appeals were called up for hearing yesterday in the Court of Appeal, lawyer representing the APC MPs, Ady Macauley Esq. informed the court that he has had instructions from his clients not to file synopsis or argue the appeal until the Supreme Court hears the three applications on the same petition filed before it more than one and half year ago. The reasons for this decision are thus; lawyer Macauley Esq. added:
1. His clients believe that by rushing through the appeals in the Court of Appeal on the Election Petition while applications on the same issue are pending before the Supreme Court, it will seek to undercut the latter’s authority and exclusive jurisdiction.
2. That the Court of Appeal risks acting in futility because, if the Supreme Court were to agree with the Application filed on behalf of the APC MPs then the judgment of the High Court removing the APCs and all subsequent actions or proceedings will be set aside and the APC MPs returned to Parliament.
In view of the above, lawyer Ady Macauley informed the Court of Appeal that his instructions are not to proceed pending the hearing in the Supreme Court.
Lawyer representing the SLPP MPs, Lawyer Musa Mewa, applied to the Court of Appeal under Rule 24(1) to have the appeals struck off with costs. The Court of Appeal presided over by Justices Sengu Koroma, Ivan Sesay and Tonia Barnett agreed to the application and struck out the Appeals with a cost of Le5,000,000 to each Appellant.
It should be noted that under Rule 25 of the Court of Appeal Rules of 1985, the Appellants can apply to the Court of Appeal to Restore the Appeals.
The APC MPs were represented by Africanus Sorie Sesay, Ady Macauley and Salmata Bah.
Politically motivated decisions of the court system, is all the more reason we need a new democratic constitution for our small republic, to expressly affirm full independence for the office of the chief justice of the supreme court, free from the vices of the executive branch. Given the current status quo of the constitution relating to executive power of appointments, the president, he alone, with little consultation with the judicial and legal commission, handles the appointments of the Chief Justice and the Attorney General.
It’s foolhardy to then believe that the courts will be ever free and fair when the rules of the political party in power enveloped and flooded the rule of law.
Here we go again. Some delusional supporters of the destructive APC party are once again predicting Doom and Gloom because things have not gone their way as was the case of Hon. Chernor Bah who won his petition against a close relative of the president and even Paolo Conteh that won a treason trial against the government. That’s what democracy is all about, which is respect for the rule of law. Predicting another civil war which was the result of 25 years of one party dictatorship is really CRAZY, based on the fact that we have a democratically elected government and all the branches of our government are thriving.
May the almighty continue to bless our democracy.
Yet gullible individuals are here in this glorious intellectual platform being taken on a ride in believing that the ‘messiah’ has indeed arrived in our nation. Exactly how do you expect any semblance of stability or economic development to take hold in a nation where the judiciary essentially act as a PUPPET to the executive branch of government? Discernment is indeed an enviable trait!
Well, even without a legal mind, it is not rocket science to determine that Chief Justice Babatunde Edwards is the culprit in this misguided technical ruling against the APC. Lawyer Ady Macaulay & Co representing the APC MPs are quite right in their arguments, including the fact “that the Court of Appeal risks acting in futility because, if the Supreme Court were to agree with the Application filed on behalf of the APC MPs then the judgement of the High Court … will be set aside and the APC MPs returned to Parliament”. In effect, there would not have been any cause for an Appeal in the first instance.
In a civilised society, there will be a public outcry for the Chief Justice to tender his immediate resignation. But since Maada Bio’s ‘new direction’ government came to power most, if not all, institutions have been moving towards the politics of the jungle – even a Mafia State will fail short of being compared to the polarized injustices taking place in the country. Everything has to fall in line within the confines of the jurisdiction of the demented and sadistic ‘God Father’, MAAD BIO. Dissent is punishable by death as evidenced in the massacres in Pademba Road prisons, Makeni, Lunsar, Tombo, to name a few. It is not surprising that the three arms of government – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary – are clustered as the second, third and fourth most corrupt institutions in the country, respectively.
Many people are not oblivious of the fact that the ‘new direction’ government is illegitimate and has proved to be ineffective at the detriment of the country’s development agenda. The question is: who is so bold and patriotic as to challenge or attempt to alter its bureaucratic inertia towards the gutter? The ride is very scary; as many would reflect to the present circumstances as a recipe to similar dynamics that led to the decade long senseless civil war. Seemingly, the boiling point is not too far fetched. Perhaps, the only hope now is the intervention of the international community to avert the impending disaster.
In any country, the work of the judiciary is clearly defined. The judiciary is the third arm of government. The aim here is to maintain checks and balances between the three arms of government, so no one takes a domineering role like what our present government under president Maada Bio is engaged in. The Judiciary is the custodian of the constitution, defending the human rights of ordinary citizens against the excesses of the state, interpreting the laws of the land, and most importantly settling constitutional disputes between the other two arms of government, the legislative and the executive branches. More like, acting as an impartial ref when ever a dispute arise. The judiciary in a healthy and well functioning democracy, is first amongst EQUALS.
THE REFEREE SHOULD NEVER BE SEEN OR SUSPECTED OF TAKING SIDES. But as the APC case highlights, what we are seeing in Sierra Leone, the role of the judiciary has been curtailed by president Bio, every step of the way, rendering this arm of government like a toothless barking dog, with no substance to its pronunciations of the law. The outcome is always the same. It’s not only dangerous for the health of Sierra Leone’s democracy, but if we continue on this path, it becomes a national security threat. Because the patience of Sierra Leoneans will soon run out of steam, when they start to question, Why is one rule for Bio and his ministers and a different set of rules for the rest of us? May God bless Sierra Leone.
A corrupt nation, being led by an inept unscrupulous President controlling the entire Judiciary like puppets on strings pulling, pushing and tugging them helplessly here and there with bribes, forcing them to dance and sing to simulated tunes of justice handed to them by the SLPP Cabal. What a big disgrace! The APC should come to the realization that Justice in our beloved Sierra Leone under this corrupt, crooked old traumatized soldier without a mission, without intuition and clear vision is now virtually non-existent.
Those seats were brazenly stolen from their rightful owners mainly for the purposes of having the advantage to further their malicious, hateful agendas with great efficacy and ease. Instead of building a solid, efficient credible Judiciary they are tirelessly undermining it, discreetly promoting a murky coordinated campaign behind the scenes designed to sabotage the admirable democratic interests of the State.