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Alie Bangura vs SLPP:‘Illegal names on delegates list’

- says plaintiff lawyer

September 30, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

The substantive matter in the litigation brought by Ambassador Alie Essa Bangura and 27 others against the executive of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) finally commenced yesterday after the motion was first filed at the Supreme Court almost a year ago.

Ambassador Bangura took the SLPP executive to court just after the August 2013 National Delegates’ Conference elections in Bo, alleging that the election of Chief Somanoh Kapen as Chairman and Leader, and other executive members, was fraudulent.

Part of Ambassador Bangura’s prayers to the Supreme Court is the declaration of the elections null and void and ordering fresh elections.

Before both parties could state their respective cases, lawyers for the plaintiff sought an interlocutory injunction restraining the SLPP executive from conducting regional, zonal and constituency elections across the country until the substantive matter is decided.

The injunction was granted by the court, comprising acting Chief Justice Valesius Thomas, and Justices Nicolas Browne-Marke, Eku Roberts, Patrick O. Hamilton and Vivian Solomon, on 30 July, 2015.

As lawyers for both parties were about to commence their submissions yesterday, the acting Chief Justice admonished them to do so within 1 hour, 15 minutes. He also asked whether they were privy to any reports published by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) on the conduct of the elections, which he said would be admissible in the court.

“According to their Act, the PPRC should supervise the conduct of political parties, and on that fact, please counsels help us with that report if any. It will help the court to expedite the matter, our judicial time is very precious,” Justice Thomas asked.

But Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi, lawyer for the defendants, argued that the court should adjudicate the matter without the PPRC report as he expressed fear that the report could have ramifications on either party.

Plaintiff lawyer Yada Hashim Williams was the first to argue his case before the apex court. He said they have a clear and very good case before the court, and that their case was pegged on the originating notice of motion dated 19 December 2013 and various other documents, including the affidavit of Mr. Joe Kallon.

He submitted that the plaintiffs had earlier detected about 70 illegal names on the delegates list at the eleventh hour, and that the list in question was prepared by the third defendant, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, secretary-general of the SLPP.

“It is pertinent for the court to note that the third defendant only presented the delegates list on the eve of the elections (18th August). Just that moment we were able to remove 70 names which were illegally on the list. Let’s assume the list was given to us two weeks earlier, it would have led to the detection of more names,” submitted Mr. Williams.

He further submitted that it was the remaining 605 names of delegates that were presented to the court as exhibit, adding that 20 people were absent at the conference.

He told the court that the SLPP constitution was clear on the issue of who should be delegate and that several delegates whose names appeared on the list were not present in Bo, while certain institutions which should have sent one representative had two, citing as example the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology.

“On the whole, we catalogued 31 persons who were either not present at the elections or were present but were not competent to vote or impersonating others. Nine Diaspora delegates should have come from America but none of them came, even the legal adviser of the SLPP, Easmon Ngakui, was in America,” said the legal luminary. “All these malpractices lie on the feet of the defendants; they were in control of the secretariat, they compiled the delegates list, issued cards and the general organisation of the election.”

He concluded that they challenged a total of 37 names that should not have voted in that election, as dictated by the SLPP constitution, including the current Deputy Chairman, Dr. Prince Harding, as he was not a fully paid up member.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi could not make his counter submission and pleaded with the judges for adjournment because he was “physically and mentally disturbed”.

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