Grieving Sam-Sumana can’t attend court


- matter adjourned to Friday

May 13, 21015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone yesterday (12th May) adjourned the matter of Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and Victor Bockarie Foh as first and second defendants, respectively.

The court was slated yesterday to commence hearing arguments between counsels representing the plaintiff and defendants as to whether the sacking of Alhaji Sam-Sumana as Vice President was constitutional and within the powers vested in the presidency.

Acting Chief Justice Valisius Thomas, on 5 May, had announced the date following the unanimous rejection by the quintet of Supreme Court justices to grant an interim injunction restraining Mr. Foh from performing the duties of Vice President while the court hears and determines the constitutional questions.

However, after waiting for almost three hours for the matter to commence, journalists, lawyers and observers in the packed court were left asking questions as to why the judges had not showed up.

As the defence team, led Berthan Macaulay Jr., and counsels for the sacked Vice President filed out of court, word went round that the matter had been adjourned until Friday, 15 May.

All five Supreme Court Justices – Valisius Thomas, Nicholas Brown-Marke, Eku Roberts, Vivian Solomon and Patrick Hamilton – did not enter the court room, and no official statement was made as to the reason for the adjournment.

However, sources within the court told Concord Times that the matter was adjourned because Alhaji Sam-Sumana could not attend the hearing due to the sudden death of Kaindeh Bangura on Saturday, 9 May.

Madam Bangura, 71, was a staunch ally of Sam-Sumana. They were both expelled from the ruling All Peoples Congress on 6 March this year following a disciplinary committee investigation.

The party’s National Delegates Conference subsequently endorsed that decision on 30 April, albeit without a unanimous vote.

Alhaji Sam-Sumana’s lawyers had filed an originating motion at the Supreme Court on 20th  March seeking an interpretation of whether the President can “relieve the Vice President of his office and duties” other than by ways prescribed by sections 50 and 51 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. They also asked that the court interprets whether the President, by way of his “Supreme Executive Authority”, can unilaterally sack his Vice President.

The Supreme Court judges have pledged to “fast track” the trial, which officially commenced on 20 March when lawyers for Mr. Sam-Sumana filed a petition at the apex court.