March 2, 2017 By Jariatu. S Bangura
As Members of the Appointment and Public Service yesterday approved Justice Patrick O. Hamilton as Chairman of Political Parties Registration Commission, Alpha MuctarrJalloh as chairman, National Revenue Authority, Speaker of Parliament described the former as a man of honour.
Justice Hamilton, who has spent his entire working life in the judiciary, joined the Law Officers Department in 1977 .Through hard work and dedication to duty, he rose through the magisterial ranks to the position of Principal Magistrate, 1990-2000.Thereafter, he was promoted as High Court Judge 2000-2004,Justice of the Court of Appeal, 2004-2009, Member, Judicial and Legal Service Comission,2007-2009, Justice of the Supreme Court, 2009 to date, Commissioner, and Law Reform Commission 2010 to date respectively.
While making his address, Speaker of Parliament,ShekuBashiru B. Dumbuya, said Justice Hamilton has demonstrated honour throughout his life,and that he could better handle the political intolerance that is being displayed in the country.
Meanwhile, Justice Hamilton told the committee that he had read through the ‘Political Registration Act’ and wasau fait with the primary functions of the Chairman as provided by the Act.
He assured the committee that: “I am going tobe as neutral and impartial as I have always been in the judiciary. I will give independent and fair decisions when approved by MPs.”
On the burning issue of Political parties defaulting to submit audited financial reports to the PPRC as required by law, Justice Hamilton opined that the PPRC Act has a provision for the annual submission of audited reports of political parties’ finances to the commission.
“What remedy is needed in the future is the penalty for defaulters. There is no provision for the penalty in the Act. I cannot see the PPRC, for now, improving punishment where the Act has not provided any. That is why political parties are delaying in submitting their audited financial reports,” he noted.
He continued that the above issue should be looked into by the Law Reform Commission, with a view to making amendments to the Act in question.
“I am of the view that there must be a penalty where political parties fail to forward their financial statements. The fact that they are not funded by government does not mean that their accounts could not be looked into. If I obtain the blessing of members, I will take a look at these and other issues to strengthen the Act,” he assured.
“PPRC is a novelty in our political history. It is growing baby and a growing baby needs to be nurtured properly.”