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Sierra Leone Chief Justice to face parliament

By Crispina Cummings

Speaker of Parliament, Sheku Dumbuya, says Parliament is very clear on the invitation of Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh who has been summoned to appear before the House.

“She has been called to face parliament as Chairperson of the Council of Legal Education and not in her capacity as the Chief Justice, to give an explanation on what is really going on in the legal landscape following the withdrawal of licenses from 56 lawyers with reasons that they had not passed their exams after the said lawyers had been graduated and were practicing now”, he said.

The topic was raised by Bashiru Sidikie, MP, under Standing Order 23, which provides for personal and other issues affecting them and their constituents to be discussed.

Immediately after the issue was raised the Speaker conferred with the pre-legislative chairman, Agibola Manley-Spaine, MP, and confirmed that the Chief Justice could be invited in that capacity and that parliament would not have interfered with the issue as a matter before the court.

Following the move by Parliament, the 56 affected lawyers say they believe the committee’s report was incredible considering the number of inconsistencies and pitfalls discussed in it.

The report states thus:  “On a balance of probabilities, I am at a loss to understand how it [the committee] came about that only 15 students are deemed to have passed the examinations out of a total of 87, unless with respect the investigation process is inherently flawed”.

It suggested that the students’ knowledge of the law was so low that after they had gone through the academic stage they could not grasp the practical stage.

(C) Politico 15/04/14