By Lansana Fofanah.
As the Commissions of Inquiry (COI) commenced sittings yesterday, all the three presidings judges have committed themselves to work within the ambit of the Constitution of Sierra Leone and the established Acts of the Commissions.
Addressing the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Priscilia Schwartz, State Counsels, the Press at the COI Room one at the Special Court Building New England Ville, Justice Biobelle George-Will said that accountability all over the world is the least normal requirement for a nation that wants to thrive adding that the COIs seek to restore public confidence and dignity as this will set the precedent for a corrupt-free country.
He said that when he took an oath at State House on the 29th January, 2019 President Julius Maada Bio assured him of a free-will to do the right thing to all manners of persons and to uphold the rule of law so that there would be no ‘injustice’.
Justice Will admonished everyone that will be invited by the COI to cooperate fully and assured that there will be every avenue created to give them chance to make their case.
Opening a case for the State, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Priscilia Schwartz said that the COI was established to combat impunity as waging war against corruption is a constitutional mandate enshrined in Sierra Leone’s Constitution.
She said that information and evidence against a person of interest over a specific period of time from November 2007 to April 2018, will be presented and probing will be done on the activities of the President of the past administration, Vice President, ministers, heads of ministries, departments and agencies and Board Chairmen of various institutions. “The fate of justice should not be circumscribed by people in power”, she said.
Dr. Schwartz said that adequate provisions have been made for representative counsels from the other side to make their work easier.
Justice William Atuguba of COI Room 3 and Justice Bankole Thompson all made their commitments to give fair hearings to those that will be called before the Commission.
Leading Government Counsels are; the Minister of Justice Dr. Schwartz, her Deputy Abdulai Bangura, Lawyer Lahai Momoh Farma Lead Principal, Lawyer Oladipo Robin Mason Lead Principal, Lawyer Musa Mewa Senior Counsel and Lawyer Morie Lenghor.
Representatives from the All People’s Congress didn’t turn up. The COI resumes February 11th 2019 for further procedures.