Commissions Of Inquiry…

Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry set up by Constitutional Instrument No. 64, Nigerian-born Justice Biobele Georgewill on Monday 4th February, 2019 allayed the fears of witnesses and defendants that he would not compel them to appear before the Commission and that no innocent defendant would be found guilty.

Making the statement at the first sitting of the three Commissions of Inquiry (COIs), Commissioner Biobele Georgewill stated that the three Commissions of Inquiry are legally constituted through the three Constitutional Instruments that were laid before the House of Parliament by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on 1st August, 2018. He added that the Commissions of Inquiry are in the interest of the citizenry.

Having proscribed to the oath of office, Justice Biobele said: “I shall be guided strictly by the laws of Sierra Leone,” adding that he will give equal opportunity to all who appear before the Commission to state their case or make their defense.

He furthered that his Commission’s work centers on investigating whether the former government officials named by the Governance Transition Team’s (GTT) Report acquired their assets legally or illegally whilst in office. Commissioner Biobele Georgewill also promised to “do right to all manners of people without fear or favor.”

Justice Biobele assured that after the investigations, he would present his report to President Bio, who commissioned the Commissions of inquiry.

He reiterated that his Commission would not force anyone to testify, but however advised that it would be in the best interest of witnesses and defendants to come forward and answer if summoned by the Commission.

It could be recalled that before the Commissions started work, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Priscilla Schwarz gave the rational for establishing the COIs as a strong conviction by the government to curb impunity and corruption.

The Attorney General emphasized that the state would lead evidence adducing that the subjects of the investigations and their collaborators misused public funds entrusted to them on behalf of the state and its people. She added that they willfully failed to protect such funds and resources, thereby failing to defend what belonged to the people and causing untold suffering of the masses.

The COIs, the Attorney General said, are an instrument which the government is using to recover stolen funds.