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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Banks Tender Debtors Lists to COI

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Banks Tender Debtors Lists to COI

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Asked whether any measures could be taken  against those who cannot repay their debts and who have no collateral security, a senior lawyer said such bad debtors may face jail term sentences as punishment measures if they are unable to pay the loans.

In a similar development, Lawyer Ade Macauley yesterday appeared before one of the COI headed by Justice Biobele representing Alfred Paolo Conteh and Madinatu Rahman. He told the inquiry that one of his clients, Paolo Conteh had filed a petition before the Supreme Court in regards the rule of practice. He was quick to be reminded by Justice Biobele of the 2007 High court rules that has been published by the COI which they are using.

Oladipo Robin Mason, who is representing the State also reminded Ade Macauley of the legality of the COI passed by Parliament. Ade Macauley was asked to serve the inquiry on which it will be ruled on. He asked for an adjournment to Thursday  14th February which was granted for re-appearance.

Also, Brima Thullah, an Archivist for the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), was in the dock to submit Asset Declaration Forms for ministers and other government appointees that served between 2009 to 2018.

These are forms that were filled upon entering office. According to Thullah, the ministers and all other government officials are yet to submit their Exit Asset Declaration Forms to the Commission, which is due in April this year.

At yesterday’s sitting, Ady Macauley Esq. announced representation for Madam Rahman and Alfred Palo Conteh. He submitted that he is taking a jurisdictional objection to the proceedings of the Commissions of Inquiry with respect to his clients being examined or inquired into on grounds that the instrument that establishes the COI did not comply with Section 150 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

He further made an application pursuant to Section 124 (2) of the 1991 Constitution for the sole commissioner to stay proceedings and refer the issue objected to, to the Supreme Court.

The sole commissioner asked Ady Macauley which rules of procedure of the COI he is relying on in taking the jurisdictional objection. Ady Macauley replied that there are no rules as the RoCC as prescribed by Section 150 of the Constitution.

The sole commissioner asked Mr. Macauley why he did not file papers before taking the objection. Ady Macauley replied that his clients were only informed of their appearance on Saturday night via radio and social media and so did not have time to file the necessary papers.

The sole commissioner urged Robin Mason for the State to make sure that persons of interest are accorded fair trial by being notified of appearance well in time to enable them prepare their case.

Ady Macauley continuously objected to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner whenever any evidence is being tendered.

Alfred Palo Conteh and Madina Rahman were not present at the sitting.

Prosecution Lawyer R.B. Kowa submitted his second witness, Raymond Coker, who is the Deputy Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance.

Coker submitted the payroll of former President, Vice President and other government appointees.

Lead State Counsel in Commission No.2 also submitted the payroll as an exhibit.

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