Application at the ECOWAS Court….
SUBJECT MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS:
- Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Protection and Security of the Law as enshrined in Article 3(2) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
- Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Due Process of the Law as enshrined in Article 7(1) of the African Charter on Human and People’ Rights and Article 14(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
- Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Work as enshrined under Article 15 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 23(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 6(1) of The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
- Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Participate in Government as enshrined under Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Personal Safety and Security as enshrined under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and Article 9(1) of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
- Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Dignity under Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- The Republic of Sierra Leone is a signatory to the revised Treaty Establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) dated 24th July, 1993.
- The Plaintiff is a Community Citizen within the meaning of Article 1(1) (a) of the Protocol A/P3/5/82 relating to the definition of the Community Citizen.
iii. The ECOWAS Treaty, the ECOWAS Court Rules of Procedure, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Body of Law as contained in Article 38 of the Statutes of the International Court of Justice, are all applicable by this Court to this case by virtue of Article 19 of the Protocol on the Community Court of Justice.
- The actions taken by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the purported Vice President, and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sierra Leone are directly attributable to the Republic of Sierra Leone by virtue of the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of the State for Internationally Wrongful Acts; and it is provided under Article 2 of the Draft Articles that there is an internationally wrongful act of a State when conduct consisting of an action or omission: (a) is attributable to the State under international law; and (b) constitutes a breach of an international obligation of the State; and under Article 4(1), the conduct of any State organ shall be considered an act of that State under international law, whether the organ exercises legislative, executive, judicial or any other functions, whatever position it holds in the organization of the State, and whatever its character as an organ of the central Government or of a territorial unit of the State; and Article 4(2) continues on to state that an organ includes any person or entity which has that status in accordance with the internal law of the State; and Article 4 recognizes the President of the Republic, the purported Vice President, and the Supreme Court of the Republic as organs of the State.
- The failure of Sierra Leone to provide an effective remedy for the violation of the rights of the Applicant has necessitated the Applicant’s resort to the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice.
- This Court held emphatically in the case of Obioma C.O. Ogukwe v Republic of Ghana ECW/CCJ/APP/12/14 [Appendix 63] that States will be held responsible if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent violations of the rights, or to investigate and punish acts of violence and for providing adequate compensation. The Republic of Sierra Leone, therefore, had a responsibility to first prevent, and upon the violation of the Applicant’s rights, to provide effective remedies for the violations.
vii. Failure to provide such effective remedies means that the State is in default of Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Such was the principle espoused by this Court in Sidi Amar Ibrahim and Another v. The Republic of Niger ECW/CCJ/JUD/02/11. In Abia Azali and Another v. Republic of Benin ECW/CCJ/JUD/01/15 [Appendix 55], in criticising the failure of Benin to take appropriate action to ensure the rights of the Applicant, this Court took the view that “the situation is indicative of the undisputable negligence on the part of the judicial services, coupled with signs of a malfunctioning judicial machinery, all continuing to jeopardise the rights of applicants. The inertia of the judicial authorities has led to an objective situation of denial of the rights of the victims.” In short, States are to be held responsible if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent violations of rights or to investigate and punish acts of violence and for failing to provide adequate compensation (see African Commission in Amnesty International and Others v Sudan (2000) AHRLR 297 [Appendix 56] and in Malawi African Association and Others v Mauritania (2000) AHRLR 149 at 164-165 [Appendix 57]).
viii. The ECOWAS Court is empowered to hear cases in which domestic courts had given judgments. Once human rights abuse can be established, the ECOWAS Court is competent to exercise its jurisdiction over the matter, as in Mrs. Ameganyi Manavi & Ors v The Republic of Togo (2011) CCJELR 35, where the applicants were Parliamentarians in Togo. Owing to internal crisis in their political party, Union des Forces du Changement (UFC) a new political party was formed. In order to remove them from the Parliament, a letter from the chairman of the UFC addressed to the President of the National Assembly claimed that the Applicants had transmitted letters of resignation to him, supposedly emanating from the Applicants. On the basis of the falsified letters the Constitutional Court of Togo certified that the seats of the applicants had become vacant. In a suit filed at the ECOWAS Court, the Applicants alleged that their human rights were violated and they cited the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of Togo. The preliminary objection of the defendant that the matter had been determined by the Constitutional Court of Togo was dismissed by the ECOWAS Court. Having found that the purported letters of resignation were forged, the ECOWAS Court ordered the reinstatement of the Applicants as Parliamentarians.
NARRATION OF FACTS BY THE APPLICANT:
- The Applicant was duly elected Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in August 2007 and again in September 2012. He stood and was elected as a candidate of the All People’s Congress Party (herein referred to as “APC Party”) and both times as the running-mate of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. This was done pursuant to Section 54 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (herein called “the 1991 Constitution”) [Appendix 1], Article 6.9.3 (iii) (g) of the Constitution of the APC Party [Appendix 2], and Section 45 of the Public Elections Act, 2010 (Act No. 4 of 2010) [Appendix 50].
- On 10th March 2015, the Applicant, whilst serving as Vice-President, received a letter dated 6th March 2015 from the APC Party’s National Secretary General, [Appendix 3] expelling him from the Party upon the purported approval of the Party’s National Advisory Council with effect from Friday, 6th March 2015, purportedly in accordance with Article 8 of the Party’s Constitution.
- The letter alleged that a complaint had been submitted to the Chairman and Leader of the APC by one Karoma Kabba, whose integrity has since come into question [See Appendix 12]. The letter of complaint does not provide details of the allegations made against the Applicant. The letter chronicles a sequence of events in which the Applicant was invited to appear before an Investigation Committee constituted by the National Advisory Committee (NAC). It further states that the Applicant appeared before the Investigation Committee and gave his reaction to that Committee, and that the Committee allegedly submitted some findings to the NAC, which purported to endorse those findings [See Appendix 3].
- The National Secretary General of the APC Party further stated in his letter to the Applicant that, based on the findings of the Investigation Committee, the Applicant had been dismissed as a member of the Party on grounds of behavior amounting to fraud, inciting hate, threatening the personal security of key party officials, carrying out anti-party propaganda, and engaging in activities inconsistent with the Party’s objectives. There were no further elaborations in the one-page letter, as to which particular actions of the Applicant amounted to the alleged grounds for his dismissal [See Appendix 3].
- On 14th March 2015, the Applicant was forced to flee his home with his wife, fearing for his life, after soldiers surrounded his house and disarmed his security team. All thirty-eight (38) officers in his security detail were removed and five unknown armed men took their place, prompting the Applicant to put in a call through to the United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone to convey that his house was under attack. The Sierra Leone Government however claimed that the Applicant was not in any danger and that the soldiers only came to his house to rotate his security team.
- In a Press Release dated 17th March 2015 [See Appendix 6], a mere 11 days after his purported dismissal from the APC Party, the Applicant heard it announced on National Radio and Television that the Republic “had relieved him of his duties and office as Vice President of Sierra Leone” by reason that the Applicant was “no longer a member of a political party in Sierra Leone” and therefore did not have “the continuous requirement to hold office as Vice President of the Republic Provided for in section 41(b) of the 1991 Constitution” and because the Applicant “sought protection from a foreign Embassy.” The Applicant did not personally receive any official communication to that effect, but later obtained a copy of the said Press Release [See paragraph 1 of Appendix 8; see also Appendix 6].
- In answer to the State House Press Release, the Applicant issued a Press Release on the 18th March 2015 [Appendix 8] in which he contended that the President had no power to “relieve him of the duties and office of Vice-President”, especially so far as the 1991 Constitution makes provision in its Section 55 for the circumstances in which the Office of Vice-President could become vacant, particularly at Section 55(c). The Applicant contended in his Press Release that his purported removal from the office of Vice- President was both “unconstitutional and unlawful.” The Applicant also took steps to address his political supporters and well-wishers, advising that they “remain calm” and “abide by the law always.”
- On 19th March, 2015, the President purported to appoint Mr. Bockarie Foh as Vice-President of Sierra Leone, purporting to have acted under Section 54(5) of the 1991 Constitution [See Appendix 9]. Mr. Bockarie Foh has since purported to assume the Office of Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
- On 20th March 2015, the Applicant, through his solicitors, invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, being the country’s constitutional and highest Court as well as final Court of Appeal locally, by means of an Originating Summons for a determination of the constitutionality of the President’s actions against him [Appendix 10].
- Whilst the said Originating Summons was pending, the Applicant filed a Motion dated 24th March 2015 seeking an interlocutory injunction against Mr. Victor Bockarie Foh, the impugned Vice-President, to restrain him from continuing to hold the Office of Vice-President pending the determination of the Originating Summons [Appendix 11].
- In further response to his sudden expulsion from the APC and the unfounded and dubious reasons for same, the Applicant invoked his right of appeal under article 8(i) of the Party’s Constitution by serving an Appeal against his expulsion by the letter signed under the hand of the Party’s National Secretary General and dated 26th March 2015 [Appendix 7]. The Applicant has since neither been informed of any proceedings relating to his Appeal nor was he called upon to participate in any appellate hearing or other proceedings.
- On 8th April 2015, the Applicant filed a Supplemental Affidavit to his Originating Motion [Appendix 33] exhibiting inter alia, the APC Party’s Expulsion Letter, his Appeal against same and a copy of the APC Party’s Constitution. On the same date, 8th April 2015, the Attorney-General, filed their Statement of Case [Appendix 34]. On 20th April 2015, the purported Vice President also filed his Statement of Case in the Supreme Court [Appendix 35].
- The Supreme Court Justices, on 5th May 2015, delivered their individual but unanimous Rulings dismissing the Applicant’s Application for an injunction, inter alia, on the basis that the balance of convenience was in favour of dismissing the application, and that the Applicant had failed to adduce adequate evidence in support of his application for injunctive relief [Appendix 37].
- On 15th May 2015, when hearing commenced on the Applicant’s Originating Motion, the Defendant objected to the Applicant’s Counsel’s reference to and use of Applicant’s Supplemental Affidavit, on the ground that the Applicant had not served him with the Supplemental Affidavit, even though it was already part of the Court’s records. On the same day, the Court made an Order for the Defendant’s Counsel to be served with the Supplemental Affidavit of the Applicant and granted the Defendant leave to amend its Case Statement accordingly. This Order of the Supreme Court was, however, erroneously dated 15th December, 2014 [Appendix 37].
o.Without complying with the Supreme Court’s Order to possibly amend his Case Statement, the Defendant filed a Notice of Motion dated 19th May 2015 [Appendix 38] inter alia requesting the Court to set aside its Order of 15th May, 2015 as being irregularly made, considering, according to Counsel, that the Applicant had not applied to amend his Case Statement before filing the Supplemental Affidavit aforesaid.
- On the 1st of June 2015, upon hearing the Defendant’s Notice of Motion, the Court amended its 15th May 2015 Order by inter alia ordering further that the Supplemental Affidavit aforesaid be served on the Defendant; that the Applicant, if he so desired, amends, files and serves his Case Statement on the Court and the Defendant by 4th June 2015, failing which the Supplemental Affidavit shall not be used in the proceedings. The Court further ordered that the Defendant may also amend its Case Statement upon service on it of the Applicant’s amended Case Statement, not later than 9th June, 2015 [Appendix 39].
- On 4th June 2015, in a bizarre development, the Applicant’s Solicitor and Counsel, Messrs. Jenkins- Johnston & Co., contrary to the instructions of the Applicant, their client, and without consulting him, filed a Notice to the Court of their intention not to amend the Applicant’s Case as ordered by the Supreme Court [Appendix 43].
- On the 8th of June 2015, the Applicant’s Solicitor and Counsel had as yet not amended and filed the Applicant’s Case Statement in order to reflect the contents of the Supplemental Affidavit and so the Applicant was constrained to terminate their services and to replace them with Messrs. CF Margai & Associates, working together with Mohamed Pa-Momo Fofanah Esq. [See Appendix 41].
- On 10th June 2015, Messrs. CF Margai & Associates filed a Notice of Motion to the Court seeking inter alia, an Order to extend time within which the Applicant can file his amended Case Statement as well as an Order to expunge the Applicant’s erstwhile Solicitors’ Notice to the Court, in which he had refused to amend the Applicant’s Case [Appendix 42]. The Defendant opposed the Application.
- The Ruling of the Court delivered on 15th July 2015 [Appendix 44] refused the Applicant’s Application, holding inter alia that his erstwhile Counsel and Solicitors had “sufficient authority to file and serve the said Notice” and that the Notice was “neither scandalous, nor irrelevant or oppressive”; therefore, the Court could not expunge it as requested.
- The Court subsequently proceeded to hear and determine the entire Matter by hearing arguments and submissions from the respective Counsel of the Parties concerned. The Court then handed down its Final Judgment on 9th September 2015 and the five Justices in their respective individual Judgments unanimously refused all of the declarations sought by the Applicant in his Originating Motion dated 20th March 2015 [Appendix 45].
- The Applicant, consequently, has exhausted all local remedies available to him under the Laws of Sierra Leone, considering that the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone is the constitutional and final court of appeal in that country. Furthermore, the Applicant contends that the Supreme Court’s Ruling of 15th July 2015 and the Final Judgment delivered on 9th September 2015 condoned the various rights violations he had suffered, and itself violated his fundamental and constitutional rights regarding due process of law; protection and security of the law; right to work; right to participate in governance; right to personal security; and right to dignity, as elucidated below, thereby necessitating the intervention of the ECOWAS Court.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY THE DEFENDANTS AGAINST THE APPLICANT
(1) Violation of the Applicant’s Right to Protection and Security of the law
- The Applicant’s Right to Protection and Security of the Law were violated in the following five (5) Respects:
- The Applicant was expelled from the APC Party without regard to Article 8(ii) of the APC’s Constitution [Appendix 3] which empowers the Party’s Executive Committee, not the National Advisory Committee, to decide on disciplinary measures against a Member.
- The Applicant was removed from the Office of Vice President and was purportedly replaced with Mr. Bockarie Foh without regard to Sections 54, 55, 50, and 51 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone which provide for the manner by which the Vice Presidency becomes vacant [Appendix 1].
- The President purported to replace the Applicant with Mr. Bockarie Foh through a misapplication of Section 54(5) of the 1991 Constitution.
- The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone denied the Applicant the opportunity to fully and exhaustively present his case to the Court, without regard to sections 15(a), 23(2) and 28 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone [Appendix 1] and rule 93 of the Supreme Court Rules [Appendix 49].
- The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone failed to correctly apply the provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, and erroneously held that the Applicant had lost a constitutional criteria required to maintain his Office as Vice President and that the President had the authority to remove the Applicant from office, without regard to sections 54, 55, 50, and 51 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone [Appendix 1].
- The right to Protection and Security of the Law is enshrined in Article 3(2) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights [Appendix 16], which provides that all persons shall have equal protection of the law.
(1.1.)1. Expulsion from All People’s Congress Party without regard to Procedure in Party Constitution
- It is the Applicant’s submission that where individuals have been provided certain rights or privileges by law, it is only through lawful means that those rights or privileges may be curtailed. The Applicant, as a member of the APC Party is entitled to the guarantees of membership as captured under the 1995 Constitution of the APC Party.
- The expulsion of the Applicant from the APC Party, however, violated his right to the protection and security of law because the body that purported to expel him, the NAC, acted outside of its mandate under the 1995 APC Party Constitution. It is provided for under article 8(ii) of the 1995 APC Party Constitution [Appendix 2] that disciplinary measures which are taken against members of the APC Party must begin with a decision from the Party’s Executive Committee. After the said decision of the Executive Committee is made, the NAC is then to be notified and presented with records of the actions of the Executive Committee. [See article 8 (iii-v) of Appendix 2].
- The procedure as laid out above, is the lawful process which the Applicant should have been subjected to. The Party Constitution provides a capable decision making body and strict procedures which should have been followed.
- This Court is referred to the case of Good v Botswana (2010) AHRLR 43 (ACHPR 2010) [Appendix 20]. At paragraph 170 the Court stated that, “The right to be heard requires that the complainant has unfettered access to a tribunal of competent jurisdiction to hear his case. It also requires that the matter be brought before a tribunal with the competent jurisdiction to hear the case. A tribunal which is competent in law to hear a case has been given that power by law: it has jurisdiction over the subject matter and the person. Where authorities put obstacles on the way which prevent victims from accessing the competent tribunals or which oust the jurisdiction of judicial organs to hear alleged violations of human rights, they would be denying victims of human rights violations the right to have their causes heard.”
- The Applicant submits that he was never summoned by any Executive Committee of the Party to a disciplinary hearing in respect of the allegations made against him. Instead, the NAC of the APC Party invited the Applicant to appear before an Investigation Committee which it had unlawfully constituted [See Appendices 3 and 7].
- The decision to remove the Applicant from the APC Party was made in excess of the powers granted to the NAC. It was made contrary to clear provisions assigning the decision making authority to the Executive Committee; and was therefore, within the circumstances, an infringement on the protection which is afforded him under the 1995 APC Constitution.
(1.2) Removal from office of Vice President by the President, contrary to provisions in 1991 Constitution
- Much like the National Advisory Committee, the President lacks the competence at law to remove the Applicant from his position as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Therefore, purporting to remove the Applicant from his position either in reliance on the decision of the NAC or on the grounds that the Applicant lacked “the continuous requirement to hold office as Vice President of the Republic Provided for in section 41(b) of the 1991 Constitution…”, or on the allegation that the Applicant had exhibited “a willingness to abandon his duties and office as Vice-President” [Appendix 6] deprived the Applicant of the opportunity to appear before the competent body which the Constitution has mandated to determine whether or not a Vice-President should be removed from office.
- This Court is again referred to the emphasis which was laid on the requirement of a competent court or tribunal in the case of Good v Botswana [Appendix 20]. At paragraph 170 it is clearly stated that where, “A tribunal which is competent in law to hear a case has been given that power by law: it has jurisdiction over the subject matter and the person.” The provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone provide for the appropriate bodies which are to decide on whether or not the Vice President should be removed from office [see Sections 50 and 51 of Appendix 1] and nowhere is it stated that the President has been vested with such authority.
- Justice Dr. Abdulai Conteh, a former Chief Justice of the Belize Supreme Court and Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands, wrote an open letter to the President dated 18th March 2015, as a concerned citizen of Sierra Leone and in his capacity as a Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas [see Appendix 14] to express to the President that he lacked the constitutional capacity to remove the Applicant from his office as Vice President. Justice Conteh is also a former minister from Siaka Stevens’ APC Government (1977-1984); and also served, significantly, as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice (1987-1991); and again significantly, as First Vice President and Minister of Rural Development (1991-1992).
- In his letter, the learned Justice competently explained why the actions of the President were well above the powers which the Constitution granted him. The learned Justice referred to Section 54(1), (2), and (3) of the 1991 Constitution and noted that a candidate for President must have a running mate designated as Vice President. Together, if successful, they are declared President and Vice President respectively. The learned Justice distinguished the 1991 Constitution from those of 1971 and 1978, in which the President Appointed the Vice President, noting: “Thus gone are the days when a President can appoint a vice President. The two offices are now conjointly elected at the same time by the will of the people at the time of electing the presidential candidate.” The learned Justice cited Section 54(8) of the 1991 Constitution and made it quite clear that the Constitution provides that the removal from office of the Vice President must be by the same means as the removal from office of the President. In his view, “…the removal from office of the Vice President, as stated in the Release from [the President’s] office, is nothing short of an exercise of power that can find no validation in the text of our national Constitution.” The procedure must be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The Applicant’s constitutional rights should have been protected by the Supreme Court. Instead, the Court purported to give efficacy to the violation.
- The position of the African Commission in Good v Botswana reflects its views in the case of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights & Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe v Zimbabwe (2009) AHRLR 235 (ACHPR 2009) [Appendix 22], at paragraph 172. Again, in Purohit and Another v The Gambia (2003) AHRLR 96 (ACHPR 2003) [Appendix 21], at paragraph 72, the African Commission expressed the view that the guarantees in article 7(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights [Appendix 16] extend beyond hearings in the normal context of judicial determinations or proceedings.
- Within the current context, the President, as well as the APC Party as discussed above, were under a legal obligation to ensure that the allegations which led to the expulsion of the Applicant from the Party and his removal from the Office of Vice-President, were brought before the competent authorities provided for by the national and Party constitutions. Their disregard of those obligations violated the Applicant’s right to the Protection of the Law.
(1.3) Purported replacement of the Applicant done outside provisions of 1991 Constitution
- The subsequent appointment of Mr. Bockarie Foh as Vice President was purportedly executed in accordance with section 54(5) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone in a bid by the President to paint his unconstitutional actions with a brush of legality. The section provides that “Whenever the office of the Vice-President is vacant, or the Vice-President dies, resigns, retires or is removed from office, the President shall appoint a person….” It is however submitted that none of the prerequisites which would have allowed for the appointment of Mr. Bockarie Foh were met at the time of the purported appointment.
- In order that the Vice Presidency be considered as “vacant”, section 55 of the 1991 Constitution provides that (a) the term of office of the President should have expired; or (b) the Vice-President (the Applicant herein) resigns or retires from office or dies; or (c) the Vice-President (the Applicant) is removed from office in accordance with the provisions of section 50 or 51 of the Constitution; or (d) upon the assumption by the Vice-President to the office of President.
- Sections 50 and 51 of the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone [Appendix 1] provide that the removal of the President (or the Vice-President, when read in concert with sections 54(8) and/or 55(c)) shall be either upon a determination by a Board appointed by the Head of Medical Services, that the President (or Vice) is physically or mentally unfit; or upon a determination through proper impeachment proceeding in Parliament that there has been a violation by the President (or Vice) of the Constitution for any gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office.
- As is clear from the above, the only means for removing the Vice-President from office are provided by Sections 54 and 55 of the 1991 Constitution. Neither one of those constitutional processes includes a removal by the President suo motu. This, having been established, we are left with the insurmountable conclusion that the Vice-Presidency was not vacant because the term of office of the President was not expired; nor had the Applicant retired, resigned, or died; nor had the Applicant been removed from Office in accordance with sections 54 and 55 (which reference sections 50 or 51) of the Constitution; nor had the Applicant assumed the office of President.
- How the conclusion was reached that the criteria for establishing the vacancy of the Applicant’s Office had been met, so as to occasion the appointment of a new Vice President, is beyond imagination. The appointment of the purported new Vice President was nothing more than a ploy to impede on the Applicant’s ability to assert his rights as the rightful occupier of the Office. This is a wanton and reckless breach of both the Constitution of Sierra Leone and the right of the Applicant to the protection of that Constitution, and must be instantly rectified by this Court.
(1.4) Refusal of the Supreme Court to allow the amendment of the Applicant’s Case Statement in the face of clear evidence that the amendment was not submitted on time because of circumstances outside of the control of the Applicant
- The Applicant submits that the Supreme Court, being the constitutional and final court of appeal in Sierra Leone, failed to grant the Applicant the opportunity to fully, exhaustively and impartially present his case to the Court [Appendix 44]. This is in view of the available evidence and the special factual and legal circumstances that the Applicant was faced with against his former Solicitors and Counsel, as well as against the State/Defendants respectively. The Court had on two occasions, by its Order of 15th May 2015 [Appendix 37] and the Order of 1st June 2015 [Appendix 39], ordered the Applicant’s erstwhile Solicitors to serve the Applicant’s Supplemental Affidavit on the Defendants and for both Parties to amend their respective Client’s Case Statements. It was thus strange and unfair that when the Applicant terminated the services of his former Solicitors for failing to do so and appointed new ones who sought to amend the Applicant’s Case in compliance with the Court’s Orders, the Court refused them.
- The 1st June 2015 Order amending the 15th May 2015 Order [Appendix 39] was to the effect that the Applicant’s Supplemental Affidavit be served on the respective Defendants; and that the Applicant, if he so desired, amends, files and serves his Case Statement on the Court and the Defendants against 4th June, 2015 failing which, the Supplemental Affidavit shall not be used in the proceedings.
- The correspondences between the Applicant and his erstwhile solicitor [Appendix 40] indicate that the Applicant desired to amend, file, and serve his statement of case. However, his solicitor at the time refused to heed to the wishes of the Applicant, even to the point of filing a Notice to the Court of their intention not to amend the Applicant’s Case. It was for this reason that the Applicant terminated the services of the said solicitor [termination letter and response marked Appendix 41].
- The Applicant’s new solicitors sought to remedy the damage caused by his former solicitors by a Notice of Motion for an Order to extend time for the Applicant to amend his Case Statement as well as an Order to expunge the Applicant’s Former Solicitors’ Notice to the Court, refusing to amend the Applicant’s Case dated 10th June 2015 [Appendix 42]. This request, however was unjustly determined by the Court [Appendix 44].
- In the face of the Applicant’s pleas that he had “followed up with [his] erstwhile Solicitors both orally and via cell phone text messages [Appendix 40 herein] to see if they had filed and served the Amended Plaintiff’s Statement of Case per [his] instructions” [emphasis added]; and in spite of the submission of true copies of the letters the Applicant sent out terminating his erstwhile solicitors for not complying with his instructions [Appendix 41 herein, with solicitor’s reply showing no remorse], the Court somehow reached the conclusion on page 4 of its ruling [see Appendix 45] that “The Court gave the Plaintiff an option to amend or not to amend his Statement of Case and by the notice filed on his behalf dated the 4th 2015, he chose the option not to amend.” A grave injustice was perpetuated against the Applicant in the ruling of the Supreme Court, as it substituted for the Applicant’s wishes, the wishes of his former solicitors, creating a very dangerous precedent.
- When a request was made to remedy the actions of the rogue solicitors, the Supreme Court refused the Applicant’s request to expunge the notice flowing from his erstwhile solicitors that the Applicant did not intend to amend the statement of his case. The Supreme Court’s reason was that the rules which would empower it to expunge the notice, being the High Court Rules 2007, only makes provision for matters which are “scandalous, irrelevant or otherwise oppressive.” [page 9 of Appendix 45] and, in the erroneous opinion of the Supreme Court, there was nothing scandalous or oppressive about the Applicant’s erstwhile solicitors going against his express wishes and representing to the Court, the false notion that the Applicant did not intend to amend his statement of case.
- The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone’s very own rules of procedure, [Appendix 49] at Rule 93 provide that “A Notice of Motion or statement of the Plaintiff’s case or of the Defendant’s case, as the case may be, may at any time, with the leave of the Court, be amended on such terms as the Court may determine” [Emphasis added]. It is submitted that the terms which the Court determined for the Applicant to amend his statement of Case were that (a) he could do so if he so desired, and that (b) service of the amendment be made on the Defendants by 4th June 2015 [see Appendix 39].
- The irrefutable evidence in Appendices 40 and 41 indicate that it was the desire of the Applicant that his solicitors file and serve a Supplemental Affidavit in accordance with the 1st June Order. The refusal by the Supreme Court, within the circumstances, to heed the pleas of the Applicant was against the aims of justice and violated his right to Protection and Security of the Law.
(1.5) The wrongful interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court to the effect that the President could remove the Applicant as Vice President in the manner that he did, or at all.