Law school/council of Legal education etc etc SAGA

By Clarence Roy-Macaulay, International Journalist

I have read with keen  interest the several feature articles, opinions, lead stories with analyses in some of our local newspapers, listened to 98.1 FM radio station in particular programme “Good Morning Sierra Leone”, on what I will term the Sierra Leone Law School/Council of Legal Education SAGA Re: The Bar Final Examinations for the academic year 2012/2013”, and have come to one conclusion that in order to appease the “aggrieved students”, the “affected Barristers and Solicitors of the Sierra Leone Bar Association”, the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, who is no less a person than the Honourable Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, the Registrar of the Law School, the best way forward is for His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma to ask the Commonwealth Secretariat to provide the Sierra Leone Government with five eminent persons connected with Legal Education in the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, and India, to form a Commission to REVIEW  the  reports of the “Committee set up to investigate complaints levied  against the Sierra Leone Law School, challenging the authenticity of the 2012/13 Bar Final Results.”
I understand that there was another report by another investigating committee into this same issue headed by a Judge of the Supreme Court which certified the results of the Bar Final results; following that report, the Council of Legal Education headed by the Honorable Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh in December 2013 did set up another investigating committee, and after deliberations on the findings and recommendations, decided to invalidate some of the results.
For funding of the REVIEWING exercise, the Government can ask DFID to help with the foreign currency component for airfares and per diem, and the Sierra Leone Government can foot the bill for local expenditure like hotel bills, transportation, stationery etc.
I do not support the call for the closure of the Law School after so many years of existence because of all that has happened recently.  What is needed now is to maintain the credibility of the Law School, especially as some of those affected by the alleged SCAM are foreigners who have already returned to their respective countries and started practicing as Barristers and Solicitors in their respective Courts of Judicature.  Apart from REVIEWING the two reports, the terms of reference of the Commonwealth Commission should include making recommendations for the overall administration of the Law School in order to strengthen the credibility for its continuity as an institution of higher learning in Sierra Leone, and not to undermine it any further.
We must also remember that the office of the Honourable Chief Justice is involved.   This is very important.
Although I deliberately suggested REVIEWING the two reports written by Sierra Leoneans, I have avoided calling for an investigation into the complaints of the “aggrieved students”.   In the process of REVIEWING the two reports, the Commonwealth Commission can call on the two other parties to the SAGA to give evidence if need be as the affected “newly minted Barristers & Solicitors” (courtesy One Drop Mohammed Bangura of The Nationalist Newspaper) have been stating that they were not called to testify before the Sierra Leonean set up Committees.   The other party to be heard by the Commonwealth Commission is the affected Lecturers of the Law School for their clarification.
I read with a keen interest the feature article written by Philip Neville, Managing Editor of STANDARD TIMES Newspaper published Tuesday April 8, 2014 headlined “Why We Must Commend the Chief Justice” Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh and carefully analysed it, and came to the conclusion as we say in Krio or Creole WHO KNOW EE KNOW, WHO NOR KNOW NAR EEN KNOW WAITIN MAKE EEN NOR KNOW.
Take the following quotations from Neville’s article “Mr. Davies Cole (the Registrar of the Law School) may have been blamed for what could be referred to as a disaster or calamity that has befallen the Law School.   He has been asked to take a temporary exit  until such time when he may be called upon , if that will be;  the accusation against  Mr. Davies Cole  is unfortunate and absurd because he cannot do it alone what he may have been accused of , but as a quiet and conservative Krio Boy, he has decided to keep seal lips and watch what the future holds for him.
“Some people have been  saying that Mr. Davies Cole should be referred to the Anti Corruption Commission  for further Investigation.   If that happens many heads will roll, that is if Mr. Davies Cole should be squeezed and forced to talk or ready to spill the beans.   Let him be left alone and not be tempted to shake the tree.”
“So many Chief Justices have come and gone, but in the history of the Law school and the Council of Legal Education since its inception to date, none of the past Chief Justice has ever taken such a bold step to investigate petitions  from a group of dissatisfied students, authorized the formation of an investigating committee to look into issues raised and come out with a report.;  only the current  Chief Justice Honourable Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh for which she should be commended and given a pat on the back.
“The Chief Justice (Honourable Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh) has done a marvelous job, by putting an end to corruption at the Law School, discrimination, falsification and manufacturing of grades for some students, and has now ushered in hard work for merit.   She should not be bashed, criticized or lashed in her attempt to bring in sanity to the School and the profession.
“The Chief Justice has just started the mission and must be allowed to conclude it before taking her exit.”
These quotations speak volumes about what has happened with regards the Law School SAGA.   End

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