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GOVT. ASSETS COMMISSIONER WRITES PRESIDENT KOROMA on the position of Chief Justice

The Commissioner of the Sierra Leone Government Assets Commissioner, Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay alias “Awoko” has added his voice to the debate relating to the tenure, and retirement age of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay has been regarded as one of the most controversial figures in the Country. This description of Alhaji Sesay sometimes fits his personality, but many Sierra Leoneans have perceived him differently. He is an individual with vast knowledge in various disciplines and has always used his knowledge and skills to partake in discussions relating to issues that are deem controversial.

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Alhaji Sesay has written a letter to President Koroma on the much complex issue of the Chief Justice, wherein he cited several references to justify his argument on the matter. The office of the Chief Justice is a very important one that needs the participation of all and sundry. It is a Constitutional matter as most people have described it to be, but it is also the office that deals with the administration of the Judiciary, which must be handle with care. It is the argument of Alhaji Sesay that the matter relating to the Constitution must be protected and be respected. In the same vein, he has pointed out that the appointment and position must be giving to somebody that is credible and in this regards, he has drawn the attention of President Koroma to several precedents that had taken place, though some not in the interest of the State, but cannot be easily disputed(Read on)

                                                                       

 

 

 

Thru: The Secretary to the President

 

His Excellency the President

Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma

President’s Office

State House

State Avenue

Freetown

 

Your Excellency,

 

RE: SIERRA LEONE CONSTITUTION ACT 6 OF 1991 (SEC. 140) THE JUDICIAL AND LEGAL SERVICE COMMISSION

 

I write to raise concerns regarding the current composition of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission. Sections 140(1) of the Sierra Leone Constitution Act No. 6 of 1991 provides as follows:

 

  • There shall be established a Judicial and Legal Service Commission which shall advise the Chief Justice in the performance of his administrative functions and perform such other functions as provided in the Constitution or by any other law, and which shall consist of:-

The Chief Justice, who shall be the Chairman;

  1. The most Senior Justice of the Court of Appeal;
  2. The Solicitor-General;
  3. One practicing Counsel of not less than ten years standing nominated by the Sierra Leone Bar Association and appointed by the President;
  4. The Chairman of the Public Service Commission; and
  5. Two other persons, not being Legal Practitioners, to be appointed by the President, subject to the approval of Parliament.

I note that most of the Commissioners are Ex-officio members, but for those appointed by virtue of Section 140 (1) (F), I would wish that they should be professionals or other Sierra Leoneans with exemplary record in either the private or public sector.

 

I draw your attention to the imperative recommendations of the TRC which noted that:-

 

There is a need to broaden representation on the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC), which appoints judges.  In addition to the existing representation, there ought to be representation from the Civil Society and the law teaching profession.  At least one teacher of law designated by teachers of law at the Sierra Leone Universities; and at least three members of Parliament, one of whom must be a member of the official Opposition, ought to be represented on the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

 

The COMMON CAUSE SIERRA LEONE recommends further that the representation of the organized Bar be increased.  At least two practicing lawyers nominated from within the organized bar to represent the profession should be appointed to the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

 

The Judicial and Legal Service Commission plays a very important role in ensuring the Judiciary of Sierra Leone is independent.  Apart from advising the Chief Justice on the performance of his/her administrative functions, they also advise the Chief Justice on the effective and efficient administration of justice and are also responsible for the promotion, transfer, appointment and discipline of a number of staff within the Judiciary including Administrator and Registrar-General, Registrar and Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court, Registrar and Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Master and Registrar of the High Court, Deputy Master and Registrar of the High Court, any Registrar of the High Court, Deputy Administrator and Registrar-General, any Principal Magistrate, Senior Magistrate, Magistrate, under Sheriff, First Parliamentary Counsel, Second Parliamentary Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Customary Law Officer, Senior State Counsel, Senior Parliamentary Counsel, Research Counsel, Parliamentary Counsel, State Counsel, Assistant Customary Law Officer and such other officers as may be prescribed by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of Section 141 (3) of the Constitution.

 

As we are currently in the process of reviewing the Constitution of Sierra Leone, it is important that we re-examine the Constitution of the Commission to ensure that it is properly constituted and independently and objectively discharge the functions given to it under the Constitution.

 

May it please Your Excellency, we are taking the liberty to copy the Lady  Chief Justice and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, respectively, for their comments and for your attention.

 

Highest considerations

 

Yours sincerely

 

ALHAJI UNISA ALIM SESAY

Executive Director

 

Cc: The Acting Chief Justice of Sierra Leone

Cc: The Attorney-General & Minister of Justice

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