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Sierra Leone News: Judge to decide APC MP’s fate

The fate of seven Members of Parliament of the All Peoples Congress is currently in the hands of Justice Komba Kamanda of the High Court of Sierra Leone. Honourable Kadie Kallon nee-Davis of Constituency 110, Honourable Siraji  R. Kamara of Constituency 127,  and Honourable Osman Timbo of Consistency 130 were petitioned by Josephine Jackson , John T. Kamara  and Abdul Sulaiman Conteh from the Sierra Leone People Party respectively. On Tuesday 16 April 2019, all three petitioners appeared before Justice Komba Kamanda at the High Court of Sierra Leone at Siaka Stevens Street together with all three respondents from the opposition party. After the appearance of four other Petitioned APC Members of Parliament by SLPP Parliamentary Aspirants in the 2018 election on Tuesday. Amongst which is Honourable Chernor Maju Bah, Mohamed Kassim Conteh, and Abu Bakarr Sillah. The Court room was flooded with lawyers from both sides, party supporters from SLPP and the APC and some Members of Parliament. According to the lead Counsel for the petitioners, Musa Mewa they are before the court as a way of petition after the March 2018 elections. Reading the affidavit sworn to by the petitioner from constituency 110 Josephine Jackson , Lawyer Mewa said the parliamentary election at Consistuency 110 was surrounded by electoral frauds and intimidation. He pointed out that the APC aspirant then Kadie Kallon Nee- Davis and her thugs intimidated and threatened the SLPP party agent, and suppressing him from performing his duty. He also added that an official from the National Electoral Commissioner Mr Kobba was seen with scattered RRF form in a vehicle with registration number ACK-328 the night after the voting process. He said they have a video and pictorial evidences to the effect of the said allegations. He submitted that there were clearly evidences of electoral fraud and intimidation perpetrated by both the APC aspirant then and NEC ,  stressing for the latter to have violated  Section 90 subsection 4 of the Public Election Act of 2012. He called on the Judge to overturn the declared result by NEC in 2018, in favour of Josephine Jackson, who came second in the election. Responding to the claim from Counsel of the petitioners, the NEC Lawyer ,B. Cummings maintained that all the tampered envelopes collected  by NEC were untampered with in the said Constituency. She maintained that it was the NEC officer who suffered an attack in Ward 389 by supporters of the petitioner as opposed to the other way round. ” my Lord the respondent did not involve in any election malpractice “, adding that the SLPP agent signed the RFF form which signifies the validity of the result She pointed out that the counting of the voting were never falsify and the election were never surrounded with violence. The Legal Counsel for Respondent Africanus Sesay noted that Counsel of the petitioners highlighted the issue of over voting without mentioning a precise Polling Station. Commenting on the petition of Honourable Osman Timbo of the APC by Abdul Sulaiman Conteh of the SLPP, Mewa noted that it was the Constitution on which the respondent Honourable Timbo infringes on – stating that the first respondent was in public service at the time he contested the 7 March election. He noted that Honourable Timbo was a Legal Adviser to the Chief of Staff at State House receiving over Le 15 million per month, adding also that he was also a Board Member at the National Commission for Privatisation (NCP) receiving a little over Le 6 million. Mewa stated that the action of the first respondent to have been receiving salaries from the consolidated fund up to March 2018 clearly established disqualification, referencing the case of  Ansu Lansana and Sam McCarthy. Counsel for the respondents A. Sesay underscored that his client resigned from his position at State House as Legal Adviser to the Chief of Staff on 6 March 2017 ,adding that he last received salary on 28 February 2017. He pointed also that such objection about his client’s eligibility should have been raised by the petitioner during the nomination stage of the election process. Justice Komba Kamanda adjourned for ruling on the said cases as notices will be served.

By Mohamed J. Bah

Wednesday April 17, 2019.

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