Sierra Leone: Commissions of Inquiry - APC Goes to Supreme Court

Still defiant, Ambassador Yansaneh and the APC finally seek redress in the Apex Court

Secretary General of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC),Ambassador Osman Yansaneh, has confirmed to Concord Times last night that they have filed a case in the Supreme Court to seek clarifications on some constitutional provisions, which have been 'breached' by the newly inaugurated Commissions Of Inquiry (COI) set up by President Julius Maada Bio's government.

Immediately after the launch of the inquiry by President Julius Maada Bio, the party issued a strong statement in which they expressed concerns that the instruments establishing the COI were not consistent with the provisions of Section 150 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, and that they would not be a party to the inquiry.

"Those instruments establishing the COI are not consistent with the provisions of Section 150 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone which states "Subject to the provisions of this chapter, the Rules of Court Committee shall, by constitutional instrument makes rules regulating the practice and procedure of all Commissions of Inquiry. The APC Party is of the view that this committee was not constituted prior to the enactment of the Constitutional Instruments referred to," said Osman Yansaneh.

He, however, noted that they were not against the COI as long as they follow the law, and that that they were prepared to obey the rule of law and not the rule of man.

"What is more worrisome is that in Section 6(1) of the Constitutional Instruments 64, 65 and 67, the Commissioner has powers to modify, adapt and except himself from abiding by the practice and procedure in force in the High Court if he so feels like it. This is in sharp contrast with the provisions of Section 150 of the Sierra Leone Constitution," Ambassador Yansaneh averred.

According to the party, Section 6(2) of the said Instruments stated that the Commissioner shall not be bound by the Rules of Evidence in civil or criminal proceeding.

"This is also against the spirit and content of Section 150 of the Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone."

Concord Times could not lay hands on the document filed by the APC in the Supreme Court, but the Party's National Publicity Secretary, Cornelius Deveaux,said they were seeking among others, an injunction to prevent the inquiry from going on until the court determines the outcome of their matter.

Meanwhile, the Commissions of Inquiry had begun with documentary evidence already tendered by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Pricilia Swartz. Yesterday, some senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture were invited by the Commissions' Secretariat to assist with information on fertilizer projects of the ministry.

Also, after they received documentary evidence tendered by the Minister of Justice, the three Commissioners adjourned sittings to February, although details on what would obtain on that day were not explained.

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