Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 March 2018:
Few expected the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone to yesterday conclude its hearing of the petition for constitutional interpretation brought by the ruling APC, regarding the rules governing the rights of Sierra Leoneans holding dual citizenship to contest parliamentary election.
But not many expected another adjournment yesterday, as two of the five Judges were disqualified and thrown out of the hearing panel.
Counsel representing Dr. Yumkella successfully proved to the court that both Justices Vivian Solomon and Naomi Jones are unfit to sit on the panel of Judges.
In the case of Justice Solomon, counsel provided evidence to support their application for recusal, showing that she has a close relationship with the ruling APC party as an affiliate.
In the case of Justice Jones, it was pointed out that as a retired Judge should not have been brought out of retirement, as there are substantive Judges currently serving on the bench, who could sit on the panel.
But there was much confusion yesterday at the Supreme Court as those attending, hoping to hear the proceedings, were told that the case had been adjourned indefinitely without any hearing, pending the formation of another panel of Judges.
This could take weeks – if not months. However, this hearing will not stop Yumkella from contesting the elections tomorrow.
In the meantime, the national Grand Coalition (NGC) party, has issued a statement to clarify what took place at the Supreme Court yesterday. It says:
“The attention of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) has been drawn to a mischievous post circulating on social media falsely claiming that the Supreme Court has given a ruling on the matter related to Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella and that he has been disqualified as a candidate for the presidency.
“The NGC wishes to inform the general public that there is absolutely no truth to this story. The truth is that when the matter came up for hearing on Monday 5th March, Justice Solomon recused herself from presiding while Justice Jones was ordered to be recused. This was as a result of an application for recusal made by Suleiman Banja Tejensie, counsel for the 5th defendant.
“Following the recusal of the two judges, the matter was stood down pending the selection of two judges by the Chief Justice to join Justices Brown-Marke, Roberts and Thompson to preside over the hearing of the matter. Counsels for the parties were told that they will be informed when this has been done.
In the light of the persistent attempts by propagandists and mischief makers to misinform members of the public about the status of the matter in the Supreme Court relating to Dr. Yumkella’s candidacy, members and supporters of the NGC are advised to ignore all publications on social media related to the presidential candidate of the NGC that do not bear the party logo and the signature of the party’s Campaign Spokesman.
“Meanwhile, all Sierra Leonean registered voters are urged to go out and vote solidly for Dr. Yumkella and all other candidates of the NGC in order to bring about real change in Sierra Leone and ensure a future of hope and opportunity for all and transformation of our country to a place where we can all live and prosper.”