Letter To His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma….
H. E. Ernest Bai Koroma
President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
State House, Freetown
5 March, 2016
Re: The Unlawful Removal from Office of the Koidu New Sembehun City Council, Mayor Saa Emerson Lamina
Dear Your Excellency:
We, the Kono people in the Diaspora, wish to bring to your notice our concern regarding the removal of the Koidu New Sembehun Mayor, His Worship Saa Emerson Lamina. We are deeply concerned because having gone through Sections 11 and 12 of the Local Government Act, 2004, we have noted the following:
11. (1) Subject to section 125, there shall be a Chairperson/Chairpersons for each local council, who shall be elected by universal adult suffrage by electors of the locality.
12. (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 Councilors on any of the following grounds: (a) abuse of office (b) corruption (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.
Further, the Local Government Act outlines a set of rules of procedure to effect the removal of a Chairperson. The rules require a written notice of intention to remove the Chairperson signed by not less than two-thirds of all the members of council. This notice must be submitted to the Minister and, within 7 days, the notice must be transmitted to the Chairperson and the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice then, within 7 days, shall 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 the findings to the council stating whether or not there is a “prima facie case for the removal of the Chairperson”. During this process, the Chairperson is entitled to be present and to be represented by a lawyer or any person of his choice. The same rules apply for the purposes of removing a Chairperson on grounds of physical or mental incapacity.
Mr. President, you will agree that in the case of removing Mayor Lamina this process was not followed. Prior to this development, we have been following the dispute between the Mayor, the National Mining Agency (NMA), and OCTEA mining. The Mayor has claimed that OCTEA is in violation of the Mining Lease Agreements in all respects by not paying the agreed percentage of shares to the locals and also not implementing their corporate social responsibility by regenerating the city. We note that the Mayor’s actions were not well received by the company directors and the Minister of Local Government and since then, Mayor Lamina has been a target of physical harassment and victimisation.
Mr President, we are concerned that given the close relationships between OCTEA and the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Diana Konomanyi, as well as the Paramount Chief of Tankoro Chiefdom, Paul Saquee (who is listed as one of the company directors), Mayor Lamina has become a target for intimidation and abuse in Koidu by your appointed officials, namely Hon. Konomanyi and Hon. Karamoh Kabba, Deputy Minister of Political Affairs. This attempt to forcibly remove Mayor Lamina from office is not only undemocratic but a flagrant abuse of power and the human rights of Mayor Lamina.
In short, we believe that the illegal suspension of the Mayor of Koidu is directly connected with his Lordship’s lawsuit against OCTEA and that Mayor Lamina has become the latest victim of abuse of power by your Government.
We are therefore calling on you to rethink your decision to agree (as stated in your letter) to this unconstitutional suspension of Mayor Lamina, an action that was hastened with malice on the part of Hon. Konomanyi and without proper procedures.
Mr. President we hope that you will regard this letter as a matter of great urgency. We, the descendants of Kono District in the Diaspora, are united in our resolve to seek justice for Mayor Lamina and the people of Kono.
Mr. President, we thank you for your immediate attention and look forward to your response to this letter within the next 14 days.
Dr. Kai Ngegba, Chairman, Kono District Development Association (KDDA) UK
Dr. Fuambai S. Ahmadu, President, Kono Union USA Inc.
Mr. Aiah Fanday, Chair, Kono District Global Organization
Mr. Mamadi Jalloh, Chair, Kono Progressive Union, USA
Contacts: email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
The Descendants and Friends of Kono District in the Diaspora in Support of the Reinstatement of Mayor Saa E Lamina
c.c. Chief Justice – High Court of Sierra Leone
c.c The Minister, MoFED
c.c. All Paramount Chiefs in Kono District
c.c. All Diplomatic Missions & European Union Partners
c.c. Minister of Local Government, Diana Konomanyi
c.c. Deputy Minister of Political Affairs, Karamoh Kabba
c.c. The Secretary, ECOWAS
c.c. The Secretary, Mano River Union
c.c. All Councillors in Kono District
c.c. The Kono Students Union (KONSU)
c.c. All MPs in Kono District
c.c. The Chairman, Kono District Council
c.c. Chairman, National Association of Mayors
c.c Director, Local Government
c.c The Executive Secretary, Local Government Service Commission