February 25, 2021
By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
Mani Koroma, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education yesterday made his second appearance before the Court of Appeals where he commenced his oral submission.
Koroma was found wanting by Justice Biobele Georgewill’s Commission of Enquiry (COI) that probed into the administration of the then President Ernest Bai Koroma government.
The appellant who is represented by lawyer Ady Macaulay had earlier filed a synopsis of his case before Justice Ivan Sesay (JA) Justice Momoh Jah Stevens, (JA) and Justice A Fisher.
In his submission, lawyer A. Macaulay pegged his argument on the jurisdiction of the Commission of Inquiry, Principle of Natural Justice and the Substance and Recommendation of the Inquiry.
He submitted that the commission acted outside its mandate in making adverse findings and recommendations and that the commission lacks the jurisdictional mandate, thus citing Section 4(a) of the Constitutional Instrument No. 64 of 2018.
He argued the sole commissioner acted in his own authority and power without consulting the president, who has the sole power to order any individual to appear before the COI, adding that in the absence of jurisdictional mandate whatever order comes should be null and void.
The issue of natural justice, the lawyer submitted that the appellant was never summoned before the commission for questioning and that his name was only mentioned in the recommendations that he was found wanting.
He stated that his client started working at the ministry from June 2013 to December 2013 and was accused of being involved in an act that happened in 2015, thus noting that there was no evidence of misappropriation for even the period he was in the office.
He canvassed the Bench to consider his submission and trash the findings and recommendations against his client.
Meanwhile, the Judges unanimously directed the respondent to prepare very well before responding to the argument of the appellant.
The matter was adjourned to Monday 1st March, 2021.