Commissions Of Inquiry Resume Today

 

The Commissions of Inquiry set up by the Bio administration to look into the activities of former government officials including erstwhile President Ernest Bai Koroma, sacked Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana, Vice President Victor Foh, Ministers and Deputies, and both past and current public officials continue today.

On the last day of sitting last week at Commission No. 1, presiding Commissioner Justice Biobele Georgewill ruled that the Commission (as established by an Act of Parliament) was legal and would proceed with its hearings.

The Nigerian Commissioner gave the ruling after hearing an impassioned submission by Lawyer Ady Macauley, counsel representing former Minister of Defense, Alfred Palo Conteh and former Deputy Minister of Health Madinatu Rahman that the Commissions lack functional competence.

State Counsel Oladipo Robin Mason countered by delineating the constitutional and legal basis on which the Commissions were set up, citing supplementary legislations that validated them as well as the rules within which they were mandated to function.

After hearing both sides, Justice Georgewill adjourned the tribunal for an hour. On his return, he lengthily explained the premises on which the Commissions stand.

Earlier on Tuesday 12th February, 2019, Justice Atuguba presiding over Commission No. 3 gave the same ruling that the Commissions stand on unshakeable constitutional foundations.

There was no legal wrangling at Commission No. 2 presided by Justice Bankole Thompson, where the subject of investigation was the purchase and supply of fertilizers by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.

A representative from the Auditor General’s Office revealed how fertilizer contracts for the period 2015 – 2016 were grossly overpriced to the tune of Le630, 940, 000. Chief Agriculturist in the Ministry, Amara Hydara Sheriff told the Commission that technical specifications were not met in making the purchase. Counsel representing persons of interest in the matter, Lansana Dumbuya asked for adjournment to prepare his submission on behalf of his clients, which the Judge approved.

At Commission No. 3 presided by Justice Atuguba, Defense Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie Koroma cross examined witness No. 3, Evelyn Brown, who had told the Commission that a huge land deal was done that allegedly illegally benefitted Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay and Ahmed Khanu to the tune of Le200 million and Le70 million respectively. Sorie Koroma and team are representing six persons of interest in the investigation.