Commissions Of Inquiry… APC Says No!

 

The All People’s Congress (APC) party yesterday, 29th January, 2018 held an emergency press conference at the party’s headquarters on Old Railway Line, Brookfieds, Freetown to, among other things, discuss issues relating to the already launched Commissions of Inquiry by His Excellency President Julius Maada bio.

“Our position on the Commissions of Inquiry remains sacrosanct, we will not subject our members to unconstitutionality,” the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Cornelius Deveaux insisted.

He went further to state with utmost dismay, that President Bio launched the Commissions of Inquiry without taking into consideration the concerns of the APC and other bodies.

Also speaking at the press conference, the National Secretary General of the APC, Alhaji Amb. Foday Osman Yansaneh alleged that the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone has taken a partisan position on the Commissions of Inquiry. “We are prepared to face the full force of the law. That is better than war,” he said.

Prior to the press conference, the National Organizing Secretary 1 of the APCs, Karamoh Kabba asserted that the party’s position with regards putting an appearance before the commissions of inquiry remains unchanged – “We will not subject ourselves to the inquiry.”

The reasons he gave for APC’s refusal to subject themselves to the inquiry are many, among them, he insisted that the three constitutional instruments, although passed by parliament because it failed to get the 2/3 votes required to annul them does not make them legal. According to him, the law passed was a bad one against the spirit of the constitution, citing Section 150 which he quotes: “any law inconsistent with the constitution is null and void.” Mr. Kabba furthered that the instruments did not make room for the Chief Justice to set up the Rules of Court Committee that validates their rules of engagement an abrogation of the 1991 Constitution. These, he said, are the reasons why the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) filed a petition to the Supreme Court pleading for an injunction to be placed on the Commissions of Inquiry until the last two points are cleared.

The APC National Organizing Secretary said they have nothing to fear, adding that they are willing to stand behind the government to fight corruption, and are ready and willing to subject themselves to the COIs, depending on the SLPP government’s willingness to accede to their demand for the COIs to spell out their rules of evidence.

The COIs, he charged, are not fair, as according to him, they target certain people, protect some others and are prejudicial against those, he said, the president has called criminal racketeers and ‘ayampis.’

As such, he said, “We (APC) will not be part of an irregular court that has tribal, regional and partisan undertones,” adding that the SLPP government has made a distinction between SLPP and APC officials that served in the former government; citing that there are many of them serving in the current administration whose names were not mentioned in the GTT Report for investigation. He asks if these are sacred cows.

On the retrieving of monies from corrupt public officials by the ACC, the APC organizing secretary noted that not one of them is a politician but heads of MDAs which he said buttresses APC’s demand that permanent secretaries and vote controllers not be left out of the investigations.

He lamented President Bio in Kono stating that they, APC, want a fight and that he is ready to fight them. He maintained that APC does not want a fight with the President but are only insisting that the government follows the law.

“If the commissions want, they can investigate them in absentia but APC is not going to appear,” Karamoh Kabba repeated. “Why should we believe them (SLPP) that if we call the names of their own people they will be called to give account?” He asked.

“Why should government be lawless?” The APC organizer asked. “Even the government is bound to obey the constitution and be bound by the rule of law. Why should the government become lawless?”

He lamented that although the SLPP led government is holding the handle of the knife and they APC the sharp end, that will not deter them to put up resistance against what he called the SLPP government’s unlawfulness until the right thing is done with regards the commission’s rules of engagement.

The APC organizer’s position is reinforced by a former APC Minister, Ambassador Alimamy Kamara who makes similar allegations of illegality against President Bio and the SLPP government.

He expresses disdain and contempt for the Speaker and the government over the invitation of armed guards into the Well of Parliament during the election of the Speaker to forcefully remove APC MPs. SLPP, he said, will be remembered for that unsavory incident. He accused the SLPP led government of being intolerant to dialogue and consensus and seeking to silence APC because their government has no programme for the people and that APC will continue exposing them for what they are until they are remove from power in 2023 by APC.

They (APC) are willing to face the COIs but only on condition that they include rules of evidence. “We are saying this as a party,” Ambassador Alimamy Kamara said.

Insinuating that SLPP are as vindictive, heartless, merciless, and unforgiving like Shylock the Jew in Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant Of Venice,’ Amb. Kamara said was it not for APC’s President JS Momoh who pardoned late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah from an adverse COI findings against him in 1968 that banned him from public life for life, he would not have been able to contest and won the 1996 presidential elections under the SLPP ticket.

“Their (SLPP) intention,” he charged, “is to ban (APC) people, tarnish them discredit them.”

On the issue of including PSs and Vote Controllers, Ambassador Kamara said, he served, as minister for three years and knows that it is PSs and vote controllers who authorize disbursement of monies in ministries.

He said APC are determined to prove SLPP’s lies adding that this is not military rule – “They should follow the rules; the burden of proof lies with them to prove that we are guilty of what they accuse us of,” he said.

He went further to accuse SLPP of double standards with regards exclusion of SLPP officials who served in the former government from investigation.

“We do not agree. There is law in the country. We do not want APC to be seen as a violent party, a “sonkor-sonkor” party. We will engage them (SLPP) until 2023 when we remove them from power.”

“We as a party support President Bio and SLPP government for setting up of the COIs,” he stated. “That is why our Secretary General asked for all APC people to return home and face the COIs. All we are asking is: follow the law.”

“This is not the first time COIs have been held in this country,” he said. “President Koroma focused on what he had to do. APC respects the Office of the President. War against corruption is excellent. APC campaigned on the platform of zero tolerance to corruption which indeed affects our development,”

He charged that the propaganda SLPP has launched against APC is not good. “They came like saints from heaven. Let us calm down, let us explain, let us know the corrupt people in this country. They say we do not want the COIs, that is farce. We want it. The time has come for the people to know the truth. All of us are here. Now that we have come they are intimidating us.”

Ambassador Kamara concluded, “President Koroma strengthened the ACC. He prosecuted many APC ministers and very senior people for corruption. All we are asking Bio, follow the law.”