“There is nothing to worry about in the Sam Sumana’s case. The Government is going to make a submission. We have not exhausted the period in which to make our submissions. We were only served with the petition on 3rd November, 2016 and we have thirty (30) days to respond.The operational date is 3rd November, 2016.” “We are all on course for the February 2018 General Elections. If you (a Public Official) know you have to resign to contest in the elections, why not resign now?” If the Amended Constitution is not ready, the elections will be conducted under the 1991 Republican Constitution.” “The Government is monitoring what the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) is doing and we are waiting for their Final Report. We understand some of the Representatives have made further submissions to the Committee. The Government continues to fund the Review Process based on our obligation to do so.”The above quotations were answers given by the Learned Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Honourable Joseph Fitzerald Kamara during an exclusive interview with this Writer Thursday November 24, 2016 on wide ranging topical issues of public interest.
The ELECTED former Vice President Sam Sumana has filed a petition to the West African Regional ECOWAS Court in Abuja, Nigeria, against his removal from office as Vice President and the ECOWAS Court is empowered to hear cases in which domestic courts have given judgements.
The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone Wednesday September 9, 2015 confirmed President Ernest Bai Koroma sacking his Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana on 17th March, 2015. Sam Sumana challenged his sacking as “unconstitutional” and took the matter to the Supreme Court in April, 2015 on the grounds that President Koroma has no such power to sack him as both the President and Vice President were both elected in the 2012 Presidential elections on the same Presidential ticket.Sam Sumana had also called on the Supreme Court, which is the highest Constitutional Court in Sierra Leone, to declare that President Koroma had no such “Supreme Executive Authority” as the President claims under the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone , to sack the Vice President. On March 6, 2015, the Ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) political party expelled the Vice President from the Ruling APC for various allegations of acts of sabotage against the Ruling Party. Another Plenary Meeting of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) has been re-scheduled for next Tuesday November 29, 2016 and the question is who will pay for the meeting. It is not clear whether the UNDP which is representing the International Community to jointly with the Sierra Leone Government fund the Review process, is continuing to provide funds for the review process after it helped with the November 15, 2016 meeting. Chairman of the CRC Justice (R) Edmond Cowan is on record on Friday October 28, 2016 as saying the “CRC has completed its work, the mandate to Review the 1991 Republican Constitution and NOT to write a new Constitution, and is only waiting to hear from the Attorney General & Minister of Justice Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara when President Ernest Bai Koroma, (who officially launched the 80-man Committee on 30th July, 2013 to REVIEW the 1991 Republican Constitution), is prepared to receive the Final Report and recommendations.” It is reliably understood that only LUNCH might be provided next Tuesday for the participants instead of the 200,000 (two hundred thousand) Leones sitting fee per day as the CRC budget cannot accommodate further meetings at that cost and will only “squeeze” from what is left in the budget reserved for printing of the Final Report.The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is record as saying that the Review Process of the 1991 Constitution is part of their programme and under the 1991 Constitution, Public Officials who intend to contest in the February 2018 General Elections are required to resign twelve (12) months to polling day but this period has been reduced to six (6) months by the CRC. In Ghana where elections are due on 4th December, 2016 and there was a review of their National Constitution, the Final Report presented to the Government, the Government received it and issued a White Paper, even though there were hiccups, with some of the recommended alterations being challenged in Court, (we have not yet reached that stage), the Country is still going ahead with the elections under the existing Constitution.
CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY OOR
2006 AP, (ASSOCIATED PRESS) GRAMLING SPIRIT AWARD WINNER. RETIRED (1989) CONTROLLER (NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS)
FORMER MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & BROADCASTING