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Over boundaries delimitation and voter registration…

Supreme Court throws out plaintiffs’ submission

June 14, 2017 By Regina Pratt 

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone yesterday stroke out preliminary investigations on the originating notice of motion filed on 3rd May, 2017, by three citizens, but however encouraged the plaintiffs that there was room to redo their filings.

The empaneled judges include, Chief Justice Honourable Justice Abdulai Charm, Honourable Justice Vivian Solomon, Honourable Justice Showers, Honourable Justice Nwawo Jones and Honourable Justice Deen Tarawally.

Justice Charm, who read out the order to the plaintiffs’ Lawyer, Ibrahim S. Koroma, stated that the court has decided to strike out the originating notice of motion on the grounds of none-compliance.

According to the lead council for the respondents, Glena Thompson, the originating notice of motion was not clear on what exactly the plaintiffs wanted the court to interpret and that the names of persons affected by the proof were not clearly spelt out, thus stating that the motion was not properly before the court.

Lawyer Thompson said paragraphs 1 to 4 on the originating notice of motion be struck out and that the relief sought in paragraph 5 has no relevance in the matter, while there was no case for interpretation as per paragraph 6.

She further argued that there was no legal interpretation for Section 38 (5) of the 1991 Constitution, thus praying the apex court to strike out the originating notice of motion.

Lawyer Thompson also reiterated that the plaintiffs were not clear on what they wanted the court to interpret and that the names of the persons affected by proofs were not stated properly, thus making it difficult to decipher the plaintiffs and the defendants.

She submitted that no court has the power to inquire into the dos of parliament, adding that if Parliament works according to its Standing Orders, they have the powers to make, amend or revoke any law, citing Subsection 2 of Section 3 of the Interpretation Act of 1971.

“The Order from Parliament is an Act of parliament and therefore it cannot be inquired into nor overruled as long as Parliament acted within its Standing Orders,” she said.

She submitted that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to declare null and void, anything passed by Parliament.

Plaintiffs lead council, Ibrahim Sorie Koroma said in his reply that the 1st issue made by the respondents’ lawyer on none compliance should not be a reason to strike out his matter, adding that on several occasions the court has accepted matters on none compliance.

 “I submit that it would be unfair to construe Section 94 (2) of 1991 Constitution alone and that this court has jurisdiction”, he said, adding that they were not concerned with procedures in parliament but laws passed by it.

The plaintiff further argued that it was their firm conviction that the court has the jurisdiction to hear their case and that they were praying the court to hear their originating notice of motion.

It could be recalled that the plaintiffs, including Ibrahim Sorie Koroma,N’fa Alie Kabbah and Sidique Kanu, filed an originating notice of motion to the Supreme Court, seeking an injunction on the National Electoral Commission not to go ahead with the boundaries delimitation exercise and the voters’ registration process for the March 2018 elections.

The plaintiffs also stated that the respondents were facing the Supreme Court for misinterpreting Section 38 (5) of Act No. 6 of 1991 Constitution.

They claimed that the commission altered the boundaries of Sierra Leone by creating 20 new constituencies from 112 to 132 ahead of the 2018 elections, without the approval of Parliament.

The respondents in the matter are NEC Chairperson- N’fa Alie Conteh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice- Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, and Speaker of Parliament- Hon. Sheku Badara B. Dumbuya.