January 15, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Coalitions for Change (C4C) Members of Parliament have expressed dissatisfaction over the outcome of the meeting between the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Internal Affairs Committee in parliament because they were not allowed to ask questions.
Last week, parliament summoned the IGP, Dr. Richard Moigbe, through a letter dated January 11,2019, to appear before the Internal Affairs Committee and explain the reasons behind the withdrawal of state security personnel from the former Vice President and Chairman and Leader of the C4Cparty, Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana.
Before the commencement of the meeting, the IGP requested the presence of the leader of the C4C in Parliament, Hon. Emerson Lamina, who raised the issue that attracted the Speaker’s attention to order the summoning of the former.
Explaining the reasons behind his action, Recharged Miogbe requested for the sitting to be fully covered by the press and aired.
“Right now as I was coming, my police friends and family members along the globe are watching and they are yearning for the outcome of this gathering. I want full coverage,” he urged.
Defending his action before committee members, the IGP stated that having state security depends on the manner and circumstances, citing former President Ernest Bai Koroma, former Vice Presidents Berewa and Victor Foe, who he said were all retirees and were entitled to state security personnel.
He said when the issue was raised to him, he did call on Sam Sumana to discuss it with him, but that he refused.
“In fact, he had some armed men which none of my Security Heads were aware of, including the riffles in their possession. It was ethically biased as all the security personnel hailed from east (Kono),” he said.
“I asked him to communicate with Hon. Emerson Lamina to lead him to president for concession to be made for him, which he promised to do, but he never did. He promised to consult his legal team to discuss the issue. The action I took on the 9th of January to withdraw the personnel was within my mandate and also I cannot sit and see the law that was enacted by Parliament be marginalized or over used,” he argued.
He argued that Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana was sacked by the then All People’s Congress government, and that according to Section 21 (1&2) of the Pension’s Act, 1986, “He is not entitle to such benefit. If he had resigned or might be incapacitated due to an ailment, then he could have been given state security. He did finish his 1st term in office and then in 2012, he did serve as Vice President for some years and was sacked. After serving as Vice President for the 1st term of office, he could have resigned if he had wanted such benefit but he continued in office. You cannot be an active Vice President and want to enjoy the benefit of a retiree at the same time like that of the former Vice Presidents Joe Demby and Solomon Berewa.”
Hon. Sahr Charles of the C4C, who was the mover of the motion for the IG to be summoned for clarification, expressed frustration, stating that they invited the IGP to not only provide them with explanation, but to also respond to questions from Members of Parliament.
“When a witness or an MDA is called or summoned to a committee hearing, after his explanations, questions or comments are made by committee members which was quite different from this. Honestly, I am not satisfied with the decision of the Chairman of the committee. Summoning the IG was a mere waste of time as they have stage-managed the whole process and we were just wasting our time. We were sitting there for nothing. It was a big shame,” he charged.
He charged that it was a big shame for the IG to have stated that Alhaji Samsumana had five gunmen without his knowledge or his Security Heads/Personnel, adding that President Bio in his speech to Parliament stated that he will not tolerate the unconstitutionality that then APC government did to Alhaji Samsuman, but now doing same.
“This is just the beginning of what you all have seen here. The move they have made will not be tolerated as long as we are here. We will have to raise this issue to the chamber tomorrow during sittings. Just wait and see, we are tired of this unconstitutionality that is happening here. We need change and put the interest of country first,” he maintained.
Hon. Dickson Rogers who presided as Chairman for the meeting, said parliament has right to call on the IG as and when they wanted, as stated by the law governing the country, so his presence was very important concerning the situation that surrounds them.
“The C4C MPs requested that the IG be summoned to give explanation and has done justice by coming to parliament and we are satisfied. If any other item is needed, we will consult the Attorney General for interpretation,” he said.
Leader of the C4C in Parliament, Hon. Emerson Lamina, also expressed similar frustration, stating that the chairman should have created a space for one or two MPs to ask questions.
However, he assured that the security of Chief Alhaji Samsumana will be reinstated within the shortest possible time as they have made the call to the Speaker.