Lawyer Marrah puts ECSL on it toes

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By Alhaji Haruna Sani

Renowned rights activist, Laywer Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah Esq., has formally requested the Right to Access Information Commission for a comprehensive review of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone’s (ECSL) refusal to provide requested information on the June 23rd announced results.

His letter is addressed to the Right to Access Information Commission in light of its supervisory role, highlighting ECSL’s statutory obligation to respond within fifteen days, as stipulated by Section 4 of the Right to Access Information Act 2013.

Lawyer Marrah had earlier formally requested certified and verified district-level results of the presidential, local government and presidential elections conducted on June 24, 2023.

Despite giving them a timeline, ECSL had ignored his letter without any reply.

In his letter dated July, Marrah invoked Section 2(1) of the Right to Access Information Act 2013 to solicit information from ECSL, particularly concerning the possession of the sixteen districts’ certified summary results by respective District Returning Officers in accordance with Section 92(1) of the Public Elections Act 2022.

He sought details regarding the verification process of these results by political parties’ agents, along with access granted to counting agents and observers, as specified by Section 92(2) of the Public Elections Act 2022.

Marrah has interpreted ECSL’s silence as a deliberate refusal to fulfill his information request.

Subsequently, invoking the provisions of Section 43 of the Right to Access Information Act 2013, Marrah has formally sought the Right to Access Information Commission’s intervention.

He requests an impartial review of ECSL’s decision to deny or neglect to confirm the availability of the requested information or to grant access to the same.

The Right to Access Information Commission, empowered by law to monitor and report on public authorities’ adherence to the Right to Access Information legislation, is expected to undertake this review within the stipulated legal timeframe.

Augustine S. Marrah’s fervent request for a review of ECSL’s actions underscores the critical importance of transparency and accountability in electoral processes, a sentiment central to the foundations of democratic governance

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