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As COI comes to an end

Judge assures of justice in the process

January 5, 2020

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

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Justice Bankole Thompson presiding at the Commission of Inquiry No.65 has assured State Prosecution, Defence Counsels and the general public of dispensing justice in his final report to the government.

He gave the assurance on Monday, February 3rd, at the Special Court in Freetown during his closing address to lawyers and staff of the Commission’s Secretariat.

He thanked the State Prosecutor, Robert Kowa-President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association for professionally and peacefully presenting his cases to the commission.

He also expressed similar sentiment to the defence counsels and witnesses for their cooperation throughout the process.

He called on lawyers from both side to trust the process and disregard the mantra of ‘witch hunt.’

State Prosecutor, Robert Kowa on his part, commended the judge for being patient with them and the witnesses who found time within their busy schedule to testify at the tribunal.

President Julius Maada Bio in 2019 instituted the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the past government officials of former President Ernest Bai Koroma led administration for misappropriation of public funds and abuse of office, among other offences.

Three judges were appointed to preside at the commission, including Justice Biobele Georgewill from Nigeria, Justice William Annan Atuguba from Ghana and Justice Bankole Thompson from Sierra Leone.

While the three judges were taking their oath of office, President Julius Maada Bio wished them well as they embarked on a very difficult assignment.

 He added that his government decided to go beyond borders because of the difficult nature of the assignment and to ensure that there was fairness in the process.

President Bio also assured the judges of his government’s support and asked for their independence during the entire process.

Chief Justice Babatunde Edwards said it was time for justice to be done and in a transparent and open manner.

He said Sierra Leoneans were looking up to the learned-justices to do an excellent job in bringing justice to Sierra Leone.

He added: “We are not going to tell them what to do in terms of the matters that they have before them, because they are sufficiently equipped in terms of having the right calibre and knowledge to handle what will come before them. They have a lot on their plates but I am sure they are able to navigate through it all and at the end, all of us will know that indeed justice has been done”.