April 24, 2018 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The High Court of Sierra Leone yesterday granted an interim injunction restraining ten elected Members of Parliament representing the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) from taking up their seat in Parliament ahead of the elections of the Speaker and his deputy this morning.
Earlier in the day, Justice Unisa Kamara controversially recused himself from hearing five petition matters brought against the APC Members of Parliament.
The files were promptly transferred to Justice Babatunde Edwards, who slammed an interim injunction restraining the affected lawmakers from participating in the election of the Speaker and his deputy tomorrow or any other time.
The affected MPs include the running mate of defeated APC presidential aspirant Dr. Samura Kamara, Hon. Chernor Manju Bah of Constituency 126, Serajin Rawlings-Kamara of Constituency 117, Ahmed Mansaray of Constituency 121, Osman Timbo of Constituency 130 and Kadiatu Davis.
The judge ordered the petitioners to file a written undertaking for damages within 72 hours and adjourned the matter to April 30, 2018.
In addition, five more petitions were heard by Justice Alusine Sesay at the High Court on Siaka Stevens Street.
Meanwhile, Lawyers representing the APC, Lansana Dumbuya and A.S. Sesay argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter, citing sections 83 and 98 of the 1991 Constitution.
But opposing counsel Musa Mewa and Easmon Ngakui replied that their colleagues on the other side shouldn’t be heard on the grounds that the motion was ex parte – without notice – and that the court has full jurisdiction to hear the said matter.
Justice Sesay briefly stood down the matter before he returned to give his ruling that the sections cited by Dumbuya and his co-counsel were of no moment.
“I failed to recognise the relevance of the above sections. This court has the jurisdiction to hear this matter. Therefore, your objection lacks merit,” he ruled.
The judge also admonished lawyer Mewa that before filing matters of that nature, there must be an undertaking as to damages.
He noted that the said interim injunction, if granted, would not cause irreparable damages.
Justice Sesay slammed interim injunction on Rugiatu Rosay Kanu of Constituency 113, Isaac Tarawallie of Constituency 118, Hon. Momoh Kamara of Constituency 120, Hon. Kemokoh Conteh of Constituency 108 and Wurror Timbo Jalloh of Constituency 119.
The judge further stated that the aforementioned elected MPs should not partake in the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament and any other proceedings until the hearing and determination of the said matter.
In a related development, the APC had also filed counter petitions against some SLPP. Court sources say three ruling party lawmakers have been petitioned by the APC.
Two of those files were mentioned and argued before Justice Sesay last night, but the appellate court judge couldn’t give a ruling on the matter as the time had gone past 7 p.m.
The judge expressed fear for his security and adjourned the matter for ruling today at 9 a.m.