OCTOBER 21, 2014 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Following a bench warrant issued last week (15 October) by Justice Patrick Hamilton ordering the General Manager and Financial Controller of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority to give evidence in court, the two were at the High Court yesterday to honour the bench warrant.
Justice Patrick Hamilton, presiding at the fast-track commercial court, had issued a bench warrant ordering the SLPA GM, Alhaji Abdul Mohamed Sesay and Financial Controller, Crispin Cole to give evidence in a matter between the Authority and some one hundred and eight-five (185) former employees.
The ex-employees in February 2012 initiated a class action against the management of the Ports Authority, alleging that the latter had refused to pay their full benefits.
Addressing the judge yesterday, counsel for the litigants, Elvis Kargbo Esq., noted that the bench warrant had ensured that senior officials attended court.
He made an application that the duo be sent to prison for failure to attend previous hearings. He added that the Ports officials had been either absent or unrepresented in court, while directives for them to calculate monies they should pay to their former employees were unheeded.
However, counsel representing the Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Umaru Koroma Esq., apologized for his absence in court, which he said was due to being out of the jurisdiction on health matters and his colleague, A.D. Bangura, having many files to handle.
He told the court that the Financial Controller had informed him he would submit the calculation of how much the former employees are owed to the lawyer representing the litigant this Friday.
In his ruling, Justice Hamilton decided said he would not send the two officials to prison to allow them time to do their work, but he would send them to prison should the calculated sum owed to the litigants is not provided at the subsequent hearing.
“I want this matter to move from point A to point B. I am fed-up with this matter. These people are in court just for their balance payment and not for any other thing else, and you should try and settle this matter,” the judge fumed.
The matter was adjourned to 27th October.