How is that legal?
SECTION 12 of the Local Government Act 2004 states very clearly that:-
1) Removal of a Local Council Mayor starts only IF two-thirds of the Councillors signed or voted on a LETTER with INTENT to remove the Mayor.
2) That signed letter must be submitted to the Local Government Minister for notification.
3) The Local Government Minister will then notify the Mayor by saying, I am paraphrasing here:- ” Hey Mayor,This is what your Councillors are saying against you.”
4) The Local Government Minister MUST ALSO notify The Chief Justice. Because it is a legal process.-(Not The President, but The Chief Justice must be notified).
5) After receipt of notification by the Chief Justice, The Chief Justice must then appoint a PANEL which includes a Justice of The High-Court, to look into these investigations.
But when I read the REQUEST letter for the President’s clearance for the suspension of the Mayor, dated Saturday 24th February,2016 [which in itself is illegal and has no legal basis], by The Local Government Minister, Finda Diana Konomanyi, there was not a single REFERENCE to these THREE key crucial legal elements:-
In that letter I DID NOT FIND :-
1) The NOTIFICATION Of INTENT to remove the Mayor as required by law.
2) I didn’t see any notification TO the Mayor stating that his Councillors are intending to remove him.
3) I didn’t see any evidence of notification TO the Chief Justice as required by Law.- Since the Chief Justice has to appoint a group of panel including a Justice of the high-court to investigate The Mayor.
We must also be aware that ,even If the panel selected by The Chief Justice finds evidence of malpractices during its investigations, IT HAS NO POWER to remove the Mayor. All this panel has to do, [according to the law] is to refer the matter back to the council with its findings.- For the Councillors to vote for the removal of their Mayor from office if proven guilty by the Panel. –
Because this is a council matter, and the Mayor was elected by his own people, and only them can remove him from office according to the Local Government Act 2004.
I am not here to exonerate Mayor Lamina. Whether he is guilty or not, that is not my concern or problem. My problem is that DUE PROCESS MUST BE FOLLOWED.
Like the President, the Mayor was voted for. The President has no legal or constitutional authority to RECOMMEND the sacking or suspension of an elected Mayor THROUGH a LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER.
There is no such law in our books that supports such an action.
In-fact I am very surprised that the President could be actually involved in affairs happening even at local council level. I am very surprised.
According to SECTION 12 of Sierra Leone’s Local Government Act 2004, below are the procedures for the removal a Mayor for alleged serious offences if found guilty.
SECTION 12 of the Local Government Act 2004, on the removal of the Chairperson (Mayor). I quote:-
“REMOVAL OF CHAIRPERSONS:
(1) Subject to subsection (2), a Chairperson may be removed from office by the local council by a resolution supported
by two-thirds of the Councillors on any of the following grounds-
(a) abuse of office;
(c) gross incompetence;
(d) gross misconduct or misbehaviour;
(e) such physical or mental incapacity as would render the Chairperson incapable of performing his duties; or
(f) failure or refusal without justifiable reasons to implement lawful decisions of the local council.
(2) For purposes of removing the Chairperson under subsection (1) other than paragraph (e), a notice in writing signed by not less than two-thirds of all the members of the council shall be submitted to the Minister–
(a) stating that they intend to pass a resolution of the council to remove the Chairperson on any of the grounds set out in subsection (1); and
(b) setting out the particulars of the charge supported by the necessary documents where applicable on which it is claimed that the conduct of the Chairperson be investigated for purposes of his removal.
(3) The Minister shall, seven days after receipt of the notice referred to in subsection (2) cause a copy to be transmitted to the Chairperson and the Chief Justice.
(4) The Chief Justice shall, within seven days after receipt of the notice transmitted under subsection (3) constitute a Panel comprising a Justice of the High Court and two other persons to investigate the allegations contained in the notice and to report its findings to the council stating whether or not there is a prima facie case for the removal of the Chairperson.
(5) The Chairperson is entitled to appear at the proceedings of the Panel and to be represented by a legal practitioner or other person of his choice.
(6) If the Panel determines that there is a prima facie case for the removal of the Chairperson under subsection (1) other than paragraph (e) and if the local council passes a resolution for his removal supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all members of the council the Chairperson shall cease to hold office. “
Have you read that? Neither the President nor the Local Government Minister has the legal authority to suspend an Elected Mayor of a City Council in Sierra Leone.
-The due process must be followed. Why is it so difficult for those in power to obey and respect the laws of the Land?