‘Nobody is mightier than the National Constitution’


…Speaker warns Presidential nominees

May 23, 2018 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Speaker of Parliament Dr. Abass Bundu (First from left)

The Speaker of Parliament yesterday warned presidential nominees that, ‘nobody is mightier than the national constitution.

Speaking during the screening process of seventeen presidential nominees by the Appointment and Public Service Committee in Parliament, Dr. Abass C. Bundu noted that certain sections in the constitution provide for the qualification or disqualification of any member of the public to hold ministerial position or from being a Member of Parliament.

“A Minister or Deputy before occupying his or her office nominated for should subscribe to the oath in schedule thereof in the national constitution and in that oath you have to swear to support, uphold and maintain the constitution. Therefore, I am requesting that nobody is above the law and no one also is mightier than the constitution. Unlike the past, in the ‘New Direction’ policy, we will ensure that we support, uphold and maintain the constitution,” he said.

He said Section 76 of the 1991 Constitution gives clear indication as to individuals disqualified to hold public office in the country, adding that the committee will note such provisions.

Dr. Bundu noted that there are still gaps that ought to be dealt with in the Citizenship Act, which should be amended or repealed.

“I want you all to make sure that you are faithful and honest by presenting to the committee of parliament adequate information and your credentials as you are all under oath. You might have escaped the President but you will not escape parliament, and if you do, when such queries come up or  proof to show that you have taken an allegiance to another country without renouncing it after you have been nominated by the President, you will be chased and removed from your office. Also, there are penalties that are tagged to the oath taken when flouted. We will surely make sure that you will not escape parliament,” he warned the nominees.

He urged the nominees to do the proper thing, stating that “go and do the needful things before you are interviewed. Save parliament the embarrassment; save the President the embarrassment. Just walk out calmly through the door that you used to enter into Parliament and we shall do the rest. After everything, bring the evidence of the renouncement. We don’t want to embarrass anyone. It is the benefit of us, the country and the ‘New Direction’ policy,” he said.

One of the nominees, the proposed Minister of Lands, Housing and Environment, Dr. Denis Sandy, promised to reform the lands ministry and restore all the state lands that have been encroached on by people.

“I have been in the ministry for a while and I know the issues that are affecting the ministry. I will make sure that all state lands and government housing unit be protected as it is the passion of the President for the good and benefit of the country.  I will make sure that land banks for investors be restored as there have been numerous hassles on land administration and management. On housing, I will also make sure that civil servants be able to have accommodations,” he assured the committee.

On the issue of the environment, he said a committee has already been established and that he would ensure that proactive follow up be done in order to avoid another landslide disaster across the country, with the cooperation of parliament.

Proposed Deputy Minister of Finance, Patricia N. Lavaley, said the ministry of is  one of the pillars of any country and that Executive Order 2 of President Bio speaks clearly on expenditure control that will be implemented.

Ms. Lavaley promised that when approved, they would work closely with the National Public Procurement Unit and all ministries, department and agencies that have been enlisted to the ministry.

She vowed that they would control public expenditures and work in line with the laws that guide them.

She noted that in dealing with the challenges with regards exchange rate, they would first have to work on the deficit by ensuring that the Monitory Policy Committee in the ministry meets frequently to address the issue and not wait for emergency issues to arise before going into action.

The other nominees include Rex Bonarpha – Deputy Minister of Lands; Dr. Turad Senesie – Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education; Hon. Philip T. Tondoneh – Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development; Dr. Anthony Augustine Sandi – Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation; Dr. Sadiq Sillah – Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation; Lawrence Lahai Leema – Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs; Francess Piagie Alghali – Minister of State Vice  President Office; Lawyer Abdulai M. Bangura – proposed Deputy Minister of Justice; Solomon A. J. Jamiru – Deputy Minister Information and Communication; Nematulai Bah-Chang – Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Robert Chakanda – Deputy Minister of Economic Development; Rev. Abraham Jones – Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry; Eldred Tunde Taylor – Deputy Minister of Energy; Sam King Brima – Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry; and Lansana M. Dumbuya – Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security.