Sierra Leone: 'Withdrawal of Security From Sam Sumana Is a Complete Pettiness'

Official spokesperson for sacked Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana, Lawrence Coker, has described the method used by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to withdraw the personal security of the former as a complete pettiness and expressed fears that the said action has rendered him vulnerable.

The Sierra Leone Police on Tuesday attempted to withdraw security personnel assigned to Sam Sumana as part of his constitutional rights, but the latter refused on the grounds that he hadn't received any correspondence from the Inspector General of Police.

According to Lawrence Coker, over one hundred armed Operational Support Division (OSD) personnel yesterday (Wednesday,9 January) raided the compound of the former vice president and withdrew three of his security personnel, leaving two behind.

He claimed that police detained the three personnel that were withdrawn from the compound, but the Police Media boss,Supreintendent Brima Kamara, refused to comment on the allegation when contacted by Concord Times.

While Coker insisted that Sam Sumana deserves state security as former vice president and that the police failed to inform him before their action, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Fodie Umaru Dabor, stated on Radio Democracy 98.1 that, they have right to withdraw their personnel at any time they deem it necessary.

A letter from the SLP dated 9th January,2019, stated that "It has come to the notice of the Management of the Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Internal Affairs that you still have state security guards deployed to you. According to section 21, subsection 1&2 of the Pensions and Retiring Benefis of Presidents and Vice Presidents' Act of 1986, you are not entitle to such state privilege as you are not a retired Vice President."

Section 21,subsection 2 of the said Act provides that "Reasonable but adequate security shall be provided for the protection of the Vice President, his family and his residence at the expense of the state comprising six personal guards."

The withdrawal of security from Sam Sumana could not be unconnected to his earlier visit to former President Ernest Bai Koroma. Many observers have questioned the timing because he has been enjoying such state privilege since he was sacked as vice president.

Vice President Sam Sumana was controversially relieved of his duties in 2015 after his membership in the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) was annulled by the party's National Advisory Council (NAC). In a press release issued by State House on 17th March 2015, it was stated that President Koroma used his 'Supreme Executive Authority' as enshrined in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone to sack his elected Vice President.

The matter was tried in the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone which ruled that the president had right to relieve his Vice President of his duties.

But the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice presided over by Justice Hameye Foune Mahalmadane of Mali, declared that his removal from office was illegal, null and void, adding that the singular action of President Ernest Bai Koroma in sacking the former did not follow due process.

The Court unanimously ordered the government of Sierra Leone to pay Chief Alhaji Sam-Sumana all his outstanding "salaries, emoluments, perquisites, entitlements and pension from the day of his sacking to the end of the time that his tenure would have expired as constitutionally elected Vice President."

The Court further stated that the Supreme of Court of Sierra Leone did not interpret the 1991 Constitution properly bearing in mind that Chief Sam-Sumana was not accorded fair hearing before he was dismissed from office.

Responding to interview on 98.1,Samuel Sam Sumana made mention of the commitment made by President Julius Maada Bio to respect and uphold the judgement of the ECOWAS Court.

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