Counsel urges court to ‘restrain’ intra-elections
July 10, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
As the legal battle between Ambassador Allie Bangura and the national executive of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) unfolds at the Supreme Court, counsel for the plaintiff, Yada Williams, who was represented by Osman Jalloh Esq., yesterday (9 July) made a final submission urging the five judges to restrain the party from conducting any form of intra-party elections while the substantive matter is still before the court.
Jalloh had applied for an interim injunction for the apex court to restrain the SLPP executive from conducting any form of intra-party elections while the court is yet to hear and determine the substantive matter, as such would be detrimental to the interest of their client.
The plaintiff, Ambassador Allie Bangura, had filed an action against the current members of the opposition party following the outcome of national executive elections in Bo, 2013, which he narrowly lost.
He also contends that the court should declare the elections ‘null and void’ and order fresh elections.
As the case drags in court, the party expelled the plaintiff, which decision he has challenged by filing a supplementary motion which seeks to restrain the former from conducting intra-party elections.
But counsel for the respondent, Hon. Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi, in a 45-minute address to the court yesterday, countered that many of the affidavits filed by the plaintiff merely recall proceedings and reports of a matter that was arbitrated by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), and asked for answers as to why the latter had withdrawn the matter from the PPRC.
Hon. Dr. Jabbi implored the learned judges to look through paragraphs 3 to 6 of a document from the PPRC to orientate themselves on how the latter had put forward an explanation of the issues before them, as well as an insight as to the status of the plaintiff within the party, as indicated in his own documents filed to the court.
He said Exhibits A and B contain very important and crucial information, as the former pertains to membership card of the plaintiff, whom he said had been posing as Grand Chief Patron of the party, while Exhibit B relates to current membership contribution payment by the plaintiff in his status as ‘Grand Chief Patron’ for the period since 2013 to date, adding that there was lack of evidence that the plaintiff had been paying his contribution.
He referred the court to its own decision to refuse granting an interim injunction restraining Mr. Victor Foh from continuing to act as vice president while the substantive matter as to whether he was duly appointed is yet to be decided, which according to him was granted partly in the public interest.
Thus, he pleaded with the court not to grant the injunction, but instead ordered a speedy trial on the substantive matter, like they reasoned in the matter filed by sacked Vice President Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana.
In his reply, counsel for the plaintiff retorted that they are not before the court seeking a restraining order against members in public office, but instead prayed for an order from the court restraining the respondents from conducting any intra-party elections while the substantive matter is in court.
Jalloh told the court that the PPRC had advised the current executive to restore into office Foday Sannoh in one of the local branches of the party, and that they have failed to follow that through, adding that even as the matter is before the court they took a decision to expel the plaintiff from the party. He referred the judges to the party’s constitution, sections 4b and 5b of which grant the executive power to expel a member of the party.
“I submit that the conduct of the defendants for defying the PPRC and expelling the plaintiff from the party even when the matter is in court shows that they are going to do more and I ask that this court grant the injunction in the interest of justice,” Jalloh submitted.
He added that granting the injunction would avail judges the opportunity to hear and determine the merit of the substantive matter before the court and that it would ensure that justice is done at the end of the day.
The quintet of judges headed by acting Chief Justice Valesius Thomas, and Eku Robert, Vivian Solomon, Patrick Hamilton and Nicholas Browne-Marke, are due to give their ruling, although they did not state in open court the exact date.