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Sierra Leone News: “Notice is inadequate on time and specification”…..Wara Serry-Kamal

Lawyer Wara Serry-Kamal, counsel representing Persons of Interest which includes Yayah Tobias Sesay, chairman of the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA) and Abdul Kalokoh, Chief Executive Officer of the same institution, has told the Justice William Atuguba Commission of Inquiry (COI) that notice from the Commission Secretariat was inadequate on two folds, that it was served late and that it also lacks specifications. The counsel made this statement during the opening of a second matter before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry yesterday Thursday 14th March 2019, whilst representing the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Road Maintenance Fund Administration. The commission sent notices to three Persons of Interest including Yayah Tobias Sesay, Abdul Kalokoh and Abdul Aziz Kamara, all of the RMFA, believed to have been in the position of assisting the commission on issues of interest to the Commission of Inquiry. Counsel for the state Musa Mewa informed the sole Justice Atuguba COI that the Secretariat sent out notices to persons of interest inviting their presence before the commission to assist on issues that has to deal with RMFA for the past ten years. He said they received response from Abdul Aziz Kamara that, he was in the province and that he wants to be in the court in person hence he cannot instruct his counsel to represent him in his absence. Serry-Kamal said as counsel on behalf of their clients they will have to prepare a defence for full argument if they had clue on details in what they are requested to appear before the Commission for, as counsel they will be in a better position to argue on behalf of Yayah Tobias Sesay and Abdul Kalokoh. State Counsel stated that despite the fact that the secretariat has constraints in locating residences of Persons of Interest, he said there is a clear need to put them on notice hence a notice is a notice stressing that it was as well confirmed by counsel for POI by reading from the letter received that testimonies will be led which clearly shows that their presence will follow specifically on issues that will be coming up. Mewa said the commission has opportunity for counsel to cross-examine, seek an adjournment because according to him POI are in the position to assist the Commission with information on all contracts, all road maintenance activities undertaken for the past ten years hence they had served in that position. He said the commission is not a permanent established hence some of the engagement proceeding would have to be expediting especially so that the style and patterns of notices address POI are in the format of stewardship of Person of Interest. Counsel Wara Serry-Kamal on specification stated that despite the fact that the constitutional instrument are clear that she conceded but the time frame in the instance before the Commission is 10 years which will be used to look into issues of loans and projects by the RMFA this according to her is not clear especially when every project in the past ten years will be looked into but requested for specification on projects, documents and issues hence they are coming to argue in blind. In his lectures to both counsels Commissioner Atuguba emphasized that the law is very much like a spider’s web that if you don’t take care you go and find one principle and hang on it too much, but there is a whole dynamic like reading a statutory document you most read it as a whole and find the policy objectives and make the passage consistently together. He said in modern judicial administration, it is always substantial justice which is the end product if it is fear and not so much on proceedings. “When the reason for the law itself seizes to exist, it is the objective of the mischiefs to be address.” “Order 2 on Mac Foh UAC is an old principle that has given way and no longer holds because there is no court in the world that has jurisdiction to nullify proceedings that is statutorily forbidden. Even where a rule is mandatory or a statute is mandatory, the use of the word ‘shall’ can be treated as directory and not mandatory if the end consequence will mean to defeat consequential justice. “ The Common Law should never be apply in such a way as to lead to have said it hence the new order of the common law because even constitutional refraction are not held to fade out injustice,” he engaged. In his ruling on the application on request from Abdul Aziz Kamara who informed the Commission that he will appear before the commission in person along with his counsel. The Justice stated that, “Prior to the submission made by counsel for the state particularly because of the inability of Abdul Aziz Kamara due to the short notice and been up country and can’t instruct counsel to appear on his behalf, this proceedings are adjourned to Monday 20th March 2019.”

By Mohamed Kabba

Twitter; @chikakabba

Friday March 15, 2019.