As 90 Days Ultimatum Elapses Soon… Appeal Now, Else…

Persons of Interest (POIs) who were indicted by the recommendations of the somewhat controversial Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the accompanying government’s White Paper recently released, are reportedly urged to file an appeal at the Appeals Court to prove their innocence, else they run the risk of being guilty as charged.

Already, the 90 days ultimatum for POIs to seek redress at the Appeals Court is slowly elapsing and very few individuals mentioned in the said report have so far reportedly filed an appeal at Appeals Court.

However, what has become a serious concern expressed by some POIs, the international community and members of the public is the usual delay in dispensing justice. As it is popularly said, justice delayed is justice denied. It is one thing to file a matter with the Appeals Court but it is totally a different ballgame altogether to have the court sit on the matter and give ruling at a record time.

The international community is reportedly urging the judiciary to ensure that it expeditiously try matters filed at the Appeals Court and deliver justice at a record time.

As it stands, whatever report issued by the COI and the accompanying government’s White Paper are mere recommendations and as a matter of fact, the COI is not a court and therefore has no powers to pass judgement.

In the absence of a speedy trial at the Appeals Court, the POIs, guilty or not, remain guilty as charged. Already, they have been treated as though they are all State criminals even before judgement day. Some who may, after the Appeals Court hearing, come out to be innocent would have already suffered as their good images have already been tainted by the recommendations contained in the COI report. Is the government going to compensate those who may be found not guilty at Appeals court? Is the question that is on the lips of most political analysts.

It is said that an individual is presumed innocent until he or she is found guilty at a REPUTABLE court of law. Already, the POIs have been punished without them been found guilty on allegations heaped on them. They have been slammed travelling ban; their movement restricted; their bank accounts freeze and few of them who were in government service asked to step aside, pending investigations.

Much as it is advisable for POIs to seek redress at the Appeals Court, it is also but important that the matters filed at the court be expeditiously tried and justice delivered in the name of fair play as that is the beauty of democracy and rule of law in their strictest sense.