After the unceremonious and unconstitutional sacking of vice president Sam Sumana in 2015 by president Ernest Bai Koroma with the help of the country’s Supreme Court Judges who endorsed his decision, many in Sierra Leone could not wait to see the backs of those Judges who were complicit in the former president’s bad decision.
Wednesday 20th March 2019, four newly appointed Judges of the Supreme Court, took their Oath of Office in the presence of president Julius Maada Bio at State House, in accordance with the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The newly appointed Judges of the Supreme Court are Justice Allan B. Halloway, Justice Sengu Mohamed Koroma, Justice Alusine Sani Sesay and Justice Manga Fana Deen Tarawally.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow Justices, Justice Halloway said they are thrilled to be given the opportunity to fulfil their academic and professional dream, making their ultimate contribution to the development of the nation.
“We want to assure you, His Excellency, that your magnanimity is not lost upon. We will treat our appointment, as Judges of the Supreme Court, with the greatest importance it deserves. We are truly grateful and wish to extend our deepest appreciation in this regard.
“I want to assure you, His Excellency, that we are fully aware that when we as Judges of the Supreme Court put on our judicial robes it serves as a reminder of what is expected of us: impartiality, boldness and courage.
“We promise to uphold the law and dispense justice without fear or favour as we ensure Unity, Freedom and Justice for all,” he said.
President Bio congratulated the newly appointed Judges, saying that they have been meticulously chosen and that society is now looking up to them, as so much is expected of them in the pursuit of making Sierra Leone a better place for everyone.
“We know the enormity of the task ahead and when I made the pledge that Sierra Leone will be a better place, I did so on behalf of many well-meaning Sierra Leoneans like you. So, with your appointment, I expect that you will join us, while keeping your independence, in moving in the New Direction to make Sierra Leone an enviable place,” he said.
On Tuesday 19th March 2019, Parliament of Sierra Leone debated and unanimously approved the recommendation of the Twenty-Ninth Report of its Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, chaired by the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sidie M. Tunis to appoint the four Supreme Court Judges and several High Court and Appeals Court Judges.
Speaking to the nominees after their approval, the Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu said: “I am proud that the nominees have just been approved by Parliament, having due regard to their eminent qualifications, experience, competence, capability and probity which they have demonstrated over the years during the course of executing their duties”.
He also said: “I have no doubt that the nominees will live up to the expectations of President Bio, Parliament, and the People of Sierra Leone”, adding that the Judges should dispense justice to the highest degree of impartiality and to the best of their consciences and in accordance with the established laws, with the aim of dispelling the unfavourable perception the public holds about the Judiciary. He stressed the need for the impartial dispensation of justice without fear or favour.
The following presidential nominees were also approved by Parliament: Justice Jamesina Essie Leonora King as Appeals Court Judge; Justice Miatta Marie Samba as Appeals Court Judge; Justice Ansumana Ivan Sesay as Appeal Court Judge; Justice Sulaiman Bah as Appeals Court Judge.
Seconding the motion for their approval, Emilia Lolloh Tongi, an independent MP from Kailahun District said that “the New Direction is the right direction” and commended President Bio for making effort to satisfy the women of Sierra Leone. She called on Judges to give justice to provincial women that are staying in distant areas and urged them to pass severe sentences on perpetrators of rape in the country.
Hindolo M. Gevao – SLPP MP, catalogued the experience, competence and hard-earned reputation of the Judges and referred to their service to the Bench as “a huge sacrifice”, largely due to poor conditions of service and being barred from profiting from any enterprise. He also called for more Magistrates to be sent to Kailahun District with the aim of improving access to justice.
Daniel B. Koroma – APC MP, commended the Judges on their promotions in the justice sector, adding that “it was based not on political considerations, but on their professionalism”, that has also been identified by the APC over the years. He decried the practice of “preliminary investigation” as “obsolete” and said it should be replaced by a new “Criminal Procedures Bill” which should be brought to Parliament for enactment without further delay.
Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella MP, Leader of NGC, praised President Bio in light of the statement he made in Parliament “to overhaul the judiciary”, adding that the President has put a lot of trust in the Judges to revamp the judiciary. He also called on Judges to protect businesses, human rights, free speech, freedom to demonstrate, law enforcement and protection of the country’s nascent democracy by being independent and dispensing justice without fear or favour.