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ECOWAS Court, Wanza Boat, Samsumana Case

04,Dec 2017
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Sierra Leone’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (JFK) has broken silence on the long discussion on social and mainstream media on the relation(s) between the recently concluded Sam-sumana case and the 2008 Wanza Boat matter that was heard by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice.

It can be recalled that following the denial by the Government of Sierra Leone to adhere to the ECOWAS Court judgment on the Government of Sierra Leone versus former Vice President Samuel Sam-sumana matter, there have been discussions on social and mainstream media questioning government’s decision for not honoring the judgment when the same government in 2008 honoured the same court’s judgment on the Wanza versus Government of Sierra Leone matter.

Speaking to AYV newspaper over the weekend, the attorney general said the Wanza case could not in any way be related to the Sam-sumana case.

According to him, the Wanza case was a contractual dispute and claims for breach of contract and that it was never heard nor decided by the country’s Supreme Court before being taken to the ECOWAS Court for a second judgment.

The attorney general said the Sam-sumana case was one for purported violation of fundamental human rights, a case he said that has been heard and settled by Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court which is the final court that can interpret the Sierra Leone Constitution, before being taken to the ECOWAS Court.

He went on that the ECOWAS has no jurisdiction over the Sierra Leone Supreme Court and could not in any way decide on a matter that has already been decided on by the country’s Supreme Court.

He said there is no real factual and legal basis for Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court, adding that Sierra Leone Government has rejected the Court judgment in the Sam-sumana case on the grounds of lack of competent jurisdiction and equally noted that there is no real factual and legal basis for Sierra Leone's Supreme Court to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court.

The attorney general’s legal analysis is validated and supported by the sister jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana. It seems naturally that the mandate and jurisdiction of these Organizational Courts be revisited and repositioned to the original roles they were designed to achieve in the case of the ECOWAS Court, to resolve economic and commerce disputes with the ECOWAS community.

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