July 17, 2018
By Regina Pratt
A panel of three Supreme Court Judges comprising Hon. Justice Nicolas Brown-Marke, Hon. Justice Eku Roberts and Hon. Justice Glenna Thompson will decide as to whether to consolidate two petition cases challenging the validity of the election of President Julius Maada Bio in April.
Two separate petition cases had been filed against President Bio, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh by Dr. Sylvia Blyden on the one hand, and the defeated presidential candidate of the ruling All Peoples Congress Dr. Samura Kamara, Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray and Alhaji Foday Yansaneh, deputy leader and secretary general respectively of the main opposition party.
While lawyers for Dr. Blyden, a maverick APC politician, are averse to the consolidation, George Banda-Thomas, Counsel for President Bio, made an application that both files be consolidated to save time and cost.
Banda-Thomas, a veteran practitioner, submitted to the panel that both petitioners rely on the same facts – to invalidate the presidential runoff result of March 31 announced by the National Electoral Commission on April 4.
He cited two cases that were separately filed in the Supreme Court against Solomon Ekuma Berewa and the National Electoral Commission by Charles Francis Margai and one Abubakarr Conteh, which the apex court consolidated for hearing.
On their part, counsel for the National Electoral Commission and Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh, Beryl T. Cummings and Drucil Taylor didn’t raise objection to consolidating the two cases.
Also Lansana Dumbuya, who is representing the APC, told the court that the APC petitioners do not object to consolidating the two cases, although Dr. Blyden, whom he also represents, objects to the consolidation.
However, Dumbuya had informed the court last Thursday, July 12, that he was withdrawing his representation for Dr. Blyden in the matter.
When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie appeared for Dr. Blyden, who informed the judges that he was only representing her on the issue of consolidating the two cases.
The matter was adjourned to Wednesday, July 18 for ruling.