…says Judge Sengu Koroma
April 1, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Newly approved Judge of the High Court of Sierra Leone, Justice Sengu Mohamed Koroma, has told members of the Appointments Committee in Parliament that two types of lawyers ply the legal profession in the Sierra Leone jurisdiction.
While responding to questions during a parliamentary interview prior to his approval as judge of the Superior Court of Judicature, on what he would do about the huge backlog of cases particularly in the High Court of Sierra Leone, Judge Koroma said: “From my experience as a practitioner, I would say that there are two types of lawyers. Firstly, there are those professional lawyers who do not only look for remuneration but also want to make a name for themselves, and then there are those lawyers who believe that success is synonymous with wealth, so that their attention is geared towards making money at the detriment of their clients. These are lawyers who do not go to court. They would receive money from clients but fail to show up in court so that their matters are adjourned sine die, and once they receive another tranche of payment, they would appear in court to resuscitate the matter.”
He added that the increase in the backlog of cases is not necessarily caused by the judiciary, as the lawyers also contribute significantly to delay cases in court.
He maintained that if lawyers regularly attend court and do so with their witnesses, the caseload would naturally be reduced, adding: “My view on the matter of adjournment is that, though it is the discretion of the Judge, that discretion must be jealously guarded.”
Judge Sengu Koroma comes to the Bench with huge experience as an expert in corporate and commercial law. He has had an impressive stint as a private legal practitioner as well as legal specialist for public institutions, having served as legal adviser to a number of corporate institutions.
From 1997 to 2000, the relatively young jurist was Legal Counsel/Secretary and Acting Director of Administration at the National Development Bank, and between 2002 and 2013, he was Solicitor/Secretary, and Director of Legal Affairs & Board Secretary at the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT).
In 2013, he voluntarily resigned his top managerial post at NASSIT to establish a law firm: “Sengu Koroma & Co”, and from 2012 to date, has been a part-time lecturer at the Department of Law, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
Hon. Komba Koedoyoma said Judge Sengu Koroma has been hardworking and dedicated to duty, and that the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and President Ernest Bai Koroma made no mistake by nominating him for the post.
He said the country needs a strong and credible justice system and expressed hope that the newly appointed judge would implement what he had told the Appointment Committee.
Majority Leader and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu, noted that the issue of backlog cases is of grave seriousness in the dispensation of justice in the country and should be addressed professionally as ‘justice delay is justice denied’.
Hon. Bundu said they are also victims of delayed litigations in the court as their constituents would always report to them after enduring the frustration of long delays caused by adjournment in cases.
He implored Judge Koroma to interpret laws and determine matters in accordance with the laws of the country, in a bid to enhance Sierra Leone’s democratic culture.