Bu-Buakei Jabbi debunks illegality claims
October 1, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Lead defence lawyer for the defendant in the matter at the Supreme Court between Ambassador Alie Essa Bangura and the executive of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, Hon. Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi, yesterday submitted that the party’s convention, held in Bo, southern Sierra Leone, in August 2013, was legal.
Dr. Jabbi was reacting to the submission on Tuesday (29th September) by counsel for the plaintiff, Yada Hashim Williams, that the convention was fraudulent because ‘illegal names’ were on the delegates list, and that the Supreme Court should declare it null and void and order fresh elections.
In his one hour submission, Dr. Jabbi said claims by opposing counsel that some delegates whose names were on the list were absent at the convention was inconsistent with exhibits available in the court. He told the court that an affidavit sworn to on 28 December, 2013 by Joe Kallon was greatly defective because a claim therein that SLPP members pay as monthly contributions Le1,000 and no other payments expect donations, was patently false.
On the issue of illegal names on the delegates list, he argued that the names were vetted by both candidates prior to the elections and that no objection was raised with regards illegal delegates. “The verification of the delegates was concluded without any undue tension from anyone including the plaintiff and all other contestants,” said Dr. Jabbi.
He also maintained that it was because both candidates agreed on the delegates list that the elections went ahead, adding that the “electoral board was very systematic and considerate in seeking to ensure the understanding and corporation of candidates and their supporters during the process of conducting the elections”.
The constitutional lawyer told the apex court that the ballot boxes were locked with padlocks and the keys handed to the various candidates, while counting for the position of chairman and leader was done in a separate room in the presence of both candidates. According to him, the ballot papers were signed by both candidates before the voting commenced.
He debunked claims made by the plaintiff lawyer that the current deputy chairman of the opposition party was not a fully paid-up member when the elections were held, as he was qualified to contest for that position.
Addressing the court on issue of the secretariat being responsible for conducting the election as claimed by lawyer Williams, he said the Secretary General worked directly under the supervision of the erstwhile National Chairman and Leader, John Oponjo Benjamin.
He commended the report of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) on the conduct of the convention. He read some extract of the report and urged the court to focus on the 4th, 5th, 6th and concluding paragraphs of the report.
However, Yada Williams damned the report of the PPRC, contending that “the PPRC report does not have any probative value and is useless to the court”.
Meanwhile, the matter was adjourned sine dine for judgment by acting Chief Justice Valesius Thomas, and the other judges forming the panel of five – Nicolas Browne-Marke, Eku Roberts, Patrick O. Hamilton, and Vivian Solomon.