By Judiciary of Sierra Leone Communications
High Court Judge Honourable Justice Aiah Simeon Allieu (J) has struck out the interim injunction slammed against conducting the Nyenie Chiefdom, Koinadugu District Paramount Chieftaincy election for lack of jurisdiction on the part of the court.
Justice Allieu said that the Appellant failed to comply with Section 18 (1) of the Chieftaincy Act of of 2009 and also used the wrong vehicle to approach the court.
The matter was brought before the Court by Nyenie I. Koroma against the Provincial Secretary Northern Province (1st Defendant/Respondent) and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) 2nd Defendant/ Respondent after his disqualification from contesting in the said election.
In an Originating Notice of Motion dated 12th January 2021, Lawyer F. K Gerber who represented the Appellant (NyenieKoroma) filed an application seeking the Court to grant an interim injunction restraining the Defendants from conducting the Nyenie Chiefdom Paramount Chieftaincy election pending the hearing and determination of the matter. The said election was scheduled to be held on the 18th January 2012.
He argued that the Court grants an order compelling the 2nd Defendant (NEC) to add his client to the list of candidates contesting for the election in the chiefdom.
He further prayed that the Court orders a fresh Declaration of Rights Meeting to be held prior to conducting the election.
The application was supported by eight exhibits including a photocopy of the birth certificate of the Appellant and a document evidencing the recognition of the ruling house by the Commissioner of Northern Province in 1938 among others.
In his preliminary objection to the said application, Counsel for the 2nd Defendant (NEC) B. E. T Cummings argued that the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter as the Chieftaincy Act No. 10 of 2009 does not provide for a cause of action during the declaration of rights meeting.
He also submitted that the Court further lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter because it is not properly before the Court as stipulated by law.
Delivering his ruling, the Hon. Justice Aiah Simeon Alllieu noted that declaration is one of the processes in the conduct of Paramount Chieftaincy election and therefore requires that such a process must be carried out fairly.
He stressed that where any party claims it is not so, the remedy available is provided in the Chieftaincy Act which requires all aggrieved persons to file a petition within seven days after the declaration of the election results to the High Court.
Justice Allieu concluded that: “evidence before the court clearly shows that the election is yet to be conducted and the manner of approaching the court is mandatory and not optional or discretional.”
“I’m of the considered view that the Plaintiff/ Applicant in this matter has failed to observe the provisions of 18 (1) i.e. the time of filing an action to challenge the validity of an electoral process and even the mode of approaching the court to challenge same,” he stated.
Hon. Justice Allieu struck out the matter with no order as to costs.
In another development unfolding at the Anti-Corruption Commission Division of the High Court, Hon. Justice Aiah Simeon Allieu has ruled that three former Judiciary staff including the Master and Register and the Principal Accountant have a case to answer over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
The accused persons: Stephen YayahMansarayMansaray, former Master and Registrar of the High Court, Richie Edwin Asgill, former Principal Accountant, Adel Fayia, former employee of the Judiciary and Clarence Solomon Will, legal Assistant of Kargbo and Partners are before the court on an 18 counts indictment including conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds.
Following the close of State Prosecutor J.T DeenTararally’s case after leading in evidence a total of 9 witnesses, the accused persons opted for a no case submission with the exception of Mansaray who relies on the entirety of the evidence adduced before the Court so far and will make address to the Court.
In his rulling on the No Case Submission by Counsel for the accused persons, Hon. Justice Allieu stated, “I hold that the prosecution has led evidence through, particularly P W 1 & 5, sufficient to establish that there was an agreement to misappropriate public funds by facilitating the encashment of cheques.”
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons will be put to their election in subsequent hearings as the matter progresses.