By Judiciary of Sierra Leone Communications
Court of Appeal Judge who presided over theJaiamachiefdom, Bo district chieftaincy election petition casebrought before the High Court, Hon. Justice Tonia Barnett (JA), has nullified the election and ordered a re-run.
The Chieftaincy election was conducted on 19th October, 2019 between Augustine MaadaKemohLuseniVandi-Yah and KartehFodayBassie. After the election, the National Electoral Commission declared KartehFodayBassie as the winner.
On 25th October, 2019, Augustine MaadaKemohLuseniVandi-Yah petitioned the election result on grounds that the election was marred by massive irregularities, fraud and procedural flaws which tilted the vote in favour of the 1st Respondent (PC KartehFodayBassie).
Counsel for the Petitioner, Alfred Kamanda Esq prayed that the Court declares that the 1stRespondent was not duly elected Paramount Chief, and further implored the Courtto declarethe Petitioner (Augustine MaadaKemohLuseniVandi-Yah) as the duly elected Paramount Chief.
Arguing in the alternative, Lawyer Kamanda canvassed the Court to order a re-run election on a convenient date to be determined by the Court.
He went on to pray that the Court orders an interlocutory injunction against the 1st Respondent having being sworn in as Paramount Chief.
In his defence, Counsel for the 1st Respondent, C. Vandi Esq denied some of the allegationsand led in evidence a number of witnesses during the course of the proceedings.
Defense Witness Patrick Momodu Turay Jabbie, a losing candidate in the 1st rounds denied seeing any Treasury Clerk selling local task and Councillor’s receipt.
The 1st Respondent (Mr. Bassie) denied the Petitioner’s assertion that the election was fraught with fraud and procedural irregularities and held the view that the election was free and fair.
He also argued that the eligibility to vote on the date of election was determined by names published in the gazette and evidence of local tax receipt from 2018 to 2019.
In view of the totality of the evidence before the Court, the Hon. Justice Tonia Barnett ruled that the 1st Respondent, KartehFodayBassie was not duly elected as Paramount Chief.
She also ordered that NEC and its affiliate bodies conduct a fresh election between the Petitioner and the 1st Respondent within two months on a date and place to be communicated to them.