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LAW SCHOOL MALPRACTICES: WHY WHISTLE BLOWERS WANT ANTI CORRUPTION PROBE

The Law School Whistle blowers who uncovered the alleged massive examination malpractices and irregularities are now planning to officially report the matter to the Anti Corruption Commission if the necessary action anticipated is not taking. Allegations of serious examination malpractices and irregularities have been raised by this group, which they officially reported to the Council of Legal Education of the Sierra Leone Law School and the expectation is that an investigation should have been conducted and those found culpable suffer the consequences. It is becoming explicitly clear that authorities of the Law School are not prepared to look into the issues raised nor ready to take action.

imagesThe lukewarm and unresponsive attitude of the authorities has frustrated those that raise the alarm and are now seeing themselves as victims of the Law School. Allegations that bother on favouritism, discrimination and manipulation of examination marks in favour of certain students including female law students that they claimed have intimate relationship with senior members of the School were also levied and contained in several correspondences sent to the Registrar of the School and other key stakeholders, but regrettably nothing positive seemed to have happened.

Referring the matter of alleged administrative irregularities and examination malpractices to the Anti Corruption Commission could be a step in the right direction, if the objective is to shame and prosecute those that may be found culpable, but opinions relating to this next step of action sound different and may not be workable or generate the right solution for the victims of the Law School, knowing how timid and selective the Anti Corruption Commission operates  when it comes to matters involving some prominent state officials. A very senior Lawyer with over fifteen years of legal practice and conversant with the operations of the Anti Corruption Commission, when learnt that the victims intended taking the matter to the Commission has treated it with the wave of the hand, saying “it is just another waste of precious time” as nothing positive will come out of their effort in the next decade “The Commission can only fall on the less privilege and less influential in society and not those who eat and dine with members of the Commission”. How true this assessment of the Anti Corruption Commission by the legal practitioner is a matter for debate.

In a document dated 11th November, 2013 addressed to Mr. Umarr and Colleagues from the Office of the Registrar of the Law School, Mr. H.H.I.Davies, he responded as follows “I am directed by the Hon. Chief Justice and Chairman of the Council of Legal Education to respond to your concerns, as encapsulated in your letter of today. I am further directed to assure you that your concerns will be accorded the importance the deserve; however, due to the fact that all arrangements and modalities are now in place for the Ceremony, which is scheduled for two days from now, you are assured that if your concerns are proved credible and that students deserve to be awarded the Barrister at Law (BL) Degree, that will be done at a Mini-Call Ceremony which council will organize immediately after”

Since this response was transmitted to those that raised the concern, effort they alleged have not been done to prove the credibility or false alarm made by the whistleblowers, instead they have been left on the streets to roam.

Following this response from the Registrar on behalf of the Chief Justice, Professor F.C.Tuboku-Metzger in a letter to the group he called Affected Students  wrote “REF: A PLEA FOR THE REVIEW OF THE LAW SCHOOL RESIT/REFERENCE EXAMINATION RESULTS.

Your Appeal/Plea, addressed to the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education of Sierra Leone, has been passed on to the Administration of the Sierra Leone Law School. As far as the Chairman is concerned, the following points are to be noted:

  1. This appeal is unprecedented in the twenty three years of the founding of the Sierra Leone Law School.
  2. The majority of referred/re-sit students were successful in the September examination
  3. Many of the Students who took the full examination passed and only a minority failed.
  4. The scripts of all candidates were subjected to the scrutiny of a 2rd Examiner.
  5. Almost all Tutors were present at the Academic Board Meeting, making sure that the difference between 1st Examiner and 2nd Examiner in assessment was not too large to present any concern
  6. The Academic Board was satisfied with the results which they ultimately sent to Council for ratification.
  7. The Council has met and ratified the Results, which have been published

Predicated on the above, Council is very concerned about setting a PRECEDENT which will not augur well for the integrity of the examination process of Council in the future. As you will appreciate, educational excellence cannot be based on emotions or sentiments especially so as the Sierra Leone Law School has some time now been accused of educational irregularities in its intake of students and the examination process.

In the light of the foregoing Council regrets that it cannot accede to your request for a REVIEW of the aforementioned Examination, especially so when all of you still have one or more options to complete the Bar Final Course. This letter was jointly endorsed by the Registrar Mr. Davies Cole and the Interim Director, Professor F.C.Tuboku-Metzger.

On 12th November, 2013 the Registrar in another brief letter wrote, “The Hon. Chief Justice of the Council of Legal Education of Sierra Leone is in receipt of your letter of today. She has asked that it would be helpful to Council if Council could have a list of those students you claim to have not taken the exams, but were pronounced successful and also those failed and were passed.

The Tutors are ready to go through the examination scripts to ascertain that no injustice has been done to anyone. It is of utmost urgency that Council receives the list sometime this afternoon”(See more documents). It is not known, since the departure of this letter to the Affected Students as described by Professor F.C.Tuboku Metzger, the group has been able to produce a list of the Students they claim were involved in Examination malpractices or administrative irregularities.

 

Rashid Jalloh Speaks Out!

Contrary to allegations contained in a letter written to the Sierra Leone Law School Administration, which was published in the December 4, 2013, a member who was recently called to the Bar has revealed that failed students of the Sierra Leone Law School are now engaged in what he referred to a witch hunt on Alpha Rashid Jalloh. Mr. Jalloh was among those successful students called to the Bar and licensed to practice the profession.

Investigations however reveal that, Alpha Rashid Jalloh indeed failed Professional Practice, Ethics and Tort Law; but took a re-sit and was able to secure    68% in Professional Practice and Ethics but failed Tort Law again. Incidentally, his name was not published among those who passed. He complained against the result because there were deductions done from his   continuous assessment in Tort Law. He produced evidence of it and demanded for a restoration of his grades which was successfully done. This apparently infuriated the other students who failed and had requested a joint enterprise   with Jalloh to fight their case to what they called a “logical conclusion”.

Jalloh’s dissociation from them did not go down well with especially from the President Umaru Sesay, who claimed to be the leader of the failed group. There had been complaints over the failed students’ confrontational approach which had infuriated many people within the authority circle of the School and the judiciary. Apart from that, it has also been reliably learnt that their situation is “unhelpable” because some had 27% others below 40% including Umaru Sesay. The pass mark at the Law School is 50%.

“So, how can you help such students? If you invite them to the Bar, it would be the worst scandal in history. And there are some of them who failed two modules which makes it impossible for them to be called to the Bar”, Reports say Mr. Jalloh’s name and all those who successfully pursued their cases after the publication of the  results  were  published in the Call to Bar Invitation on November 13th 2013.

“Besides, his lecturer has the right to restore grades she deducted from his continuous assessment”. Out of common sense, Jalloh’s name would not be  definitely    be on the result published since it was after the publication that he pursued  the matter successfully and it incidentally qualified him to be called to the   Bar . The same also applied to other students like  Abdul Karim Koruna, Aruna Bundu Conteh, Abdulia Saffa who also  successfully pursued their cases after the publication of the results; it was in the Call –to- Bar  Invitation that their  names were published, which is the official  way of doing things  in graduations even at Fourah Bay College. Mr.Jalloh has been described as a very intelligent and brilliant man who got Division Two in three tertiary qualifications plus a distinction. There is need to inquire on Umaru Sesay’s  qualification at Fourah  Bay College and grades at the Sierra Leone Law School, which could definitely help in the fight.

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One Response to LAW SCHOOL MALPRACTICES: WHY WHISTLE BLOWERS WANT ANTI CORRUPTION PROBE

  1. Samuel karg

    December 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Tribalism an favoritism is a major cause. Y this lecturer are so heart less. Hw can some one spend such money, energy time 6yrs at the end of the because of tribalism u spoil the person future only God can pay them in return.

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