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APC to take constitutional instrument issue to Supreme Court

28,Aug 2018
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By Clarence Roy-Macaulay  (OOR)

There is mounting dissent in Parliament over the contentious Constitutional Instrument under which the President Julius Maada Bio Government proposes to conduct Commissions of Inquiry into the ten-year administration (November 2007 to April 2018) of former President Ernest Bai Koroma which the Ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)  alleges to be riddled with corruption, following the publication of the Ruling SLPP Governance Transition Team Report in July 2018..

In an interview with Member of Parliament  Ibrahim Ben Kargbo,  a  a professional Teacher,  veteran Journalist and former President of the Journalists Association of Sierra Leone, he told this Writer earlier this week  "the Speaker of Parliament Dr. Abass Bundu did not rule the Member of Parliament  Daniel Koroma out of order in good faith and the Ruling SLPP wanted to rush the Constitutional Instrument itself which has complicated  provisions and serious security implications.   The APC as a political party will take the issue to the Constitutional  Supreme Court for proper interpretation.   We are not going to accept the Ruling SLPP to hijack all the functions of running the State."

The Constitutional Instrument was tabled in Parliament by the Deputy Attorney General & Minister of Justice Abdul Bangura on 3rd August, 2018, the last day before Parliament adjourned for  recess and according to Parliamentary "Standing Orders", if no Member of Parliament immediately moves a motion for it to be debated and voted upon,  then the Instrument matures after 21 (twenty-one) days and the Commission of Inquiry should commence after Thursday August 23, 2018 and  the Commissioners take the Oath of Office.

According to the Ruling SLPP Government Clerk of Parliament Paran Tarawallie, when the Constitutional Instrument was tabled in Parliament, a Member of Parliament of the main opposition APC Daniel  Koroma moved a motion for MPs to debate and vote on it but the SLPP Speaker of Parliament Dr. Abass Bundu  ruled the APC MP "Out of Order"  because the APC MP moved his motion under the wrong "Standing Order" of Parliament..   The Speaker then allowed the Constitutional Instrument to be laid on the table in Parliament for it to mature twenty-one days from 3rd August, 2018 while Parliament is in recess and did not allow the APC MP to make amends to move his motion under the correct Standing Order.

On Monday August 20, 2018 before the Constitutional Instrument  mature s and  become effective, the APC  Opposition MP  Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, on a matter of principle,  said in an interview broadcast by FM 98.1 radio in its national newscast that the issue of the Constitutional Instrument should be resurrected, debated and voted upon before it becomes law by Thursday August 23, 2018 otherwise the Commission of Inquiry would be stalled.

The main opposition APC has the majority of seats in Parliament, 68 (sixty-eight), while the Ruling SLPP has 49 (forty-nine) Members of Parliament with two other political parties represented in Parliament  - Coalition for Change (C4C) has six (6) MPs, National Grand Coalition (NGC) four (4) MPs, Independent MPs three (3) and 14 (fourteen)  Paramount Chief  MPs representing the fourteen Provincial Districts.

On August 2, 2018, President Julius Maada Bio under a Constitutional Instrument  appointed two Commissions of Inquiry into the ten-year (November 2007 - April 2018) of former President Ernest Bai Koroma, according to a Sierra Leone Government Gazette Public Notice published Thursday August 2, 2018'

A Nigerian Judge of the Superior Court of Nigeria Justice Biobele Georgewill is a  Sole Commissioner and a Sierra Leonean former Judge of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone Bankole Thompson as another  Sole Commissioner.

They will "examine the assets and other related matters in respect of persons who were President, Vice President, Ministers, Ministers of State, and Deputy Ministers, Heads and Chairmen of Boards of Parastatals, Departments and Agencies and to  inquire and investigate whether assets were acquired lawfully or unlawfully. "

The Commissions will "ascertain whether the persons maintained standard of lifestyle above which was commensurate with their official emoluments."

The object of the Commission of Inquiry is to carry out  Cabinet's decision to implement the recommendations of the Governance Transition Team Report" which was presented to President Bio at a State House ceremony  on July 4, 2018.

 

"The Commissions shall have the powers, rights and privileges vested in a Judge of the High Court to a trial."  

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