16 APC MPs In Court Today

 

About sixteen (16) Members of Parliament representing the All People’s Congress (APC) in the Western Area Urban and Rural together with their legal representatives, families and relatives, party members, supporters and sympathizers will today, Monday 16th April, 2019, appear at the Freetown High Court to witness proceedings in the election petitions brought against them by their ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) challengers that lost the 7th March, 2018 parliamentary election.

It could be recalled that when the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic first convened after the 7th March national elections, there was pandemonium in the Well when the Clerk announced that 21 APC lawmakers that have been petitioned should not take their seats on grounds that the court had slammed injunctions on them. The injunctions eventually elapsed and the petitioned APC MPs continued to sit in Parliament. Last week, however, Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards sitting as a Judge of the High Court in Freetown dismissed an application for a jurisdictional objection on behalf of Hon. Osman Timbo, one of the 16 Western Area APC MPs petitioned by the SLPP.

Counsel representing Hon. Timbo, Brima Koroma Esq., argued that the High Court no longer has jurisdiction to hear the case against his client because, according to him, the four months stipulated by the 1991 Constitution within which the case should have been heard had expired since. Therefore, he asked the court to exercise a stay of proceeding.

In his judgment, Chief Justice Edwards overruled the counsel’s application, citing that according to law, it is the High Court that has right to hear election petition cases, noting that once the petitions had been filed and affidavits received from counsels for the petitioners and the respondents, it would be unjust and unfair for the court to stay proceedings until the petitions are heard. Justice Edwards’ ruling significantly applies to the other 15 election petitions filed by the SLPP against the APC lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the Appeals Court sitting in Freetown on Wednesday 10th April, 2019 squashed the application made to it by 5 SLPP and 5 NGC parliamentary aspirants that they filed against 5 winning APC MPs in the North and North/West districts. The judgment was delivered by Justice Monfred Sesay sitting on a three-judge panel with the two judges, Justice Kamara-Taylor and Justice Musu Kamara.

The Court upheld the earlier judgment delivered by the High Court sitting in Makeni against the SLPP and NGC petitioners. According to Section 78 of the 1991 Constitution, the SLPP and NGC petitioners have no further court to appeal to as the Appeals Court has the final say in all election petition matters.

Meanwhile, 14 APC supporters that were arrested at the CID headquarters on Pademba Road and at the APC national headquarters at Old Railway Line on 28th December, 2018 with regards the summoning for questioning of former Minister of Defense, Major (Rtd) Alfred Palo Conteh, allegedly for riotous conduct, are to make another appearance in court today.