Dismissal of ACC commissioner – open letter to president Bio

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Citizens Advocacy Network: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 June 2018:

Dear Mr President, The Citizens Advocacy Network (hereinafter referred to as “CAN” or “Organisation”) is a highly respected Civil Society Organization that focuses primarily on promoting good governance, strengthening democracy, and upholding the Rule of Law.

By reason of our mandate, CAN is compelled to express its position on the aforementioned subject particularly when to do so is clearly in the public interest.

CAN notes that few days ago, you directed that the former ACC Commissioner be sent on a “special leave”. No explanation was given for the decision, leaving the public to speculate as to the motives thereof.

And shortly thereafter, your esteemed office informed the public by a press release dated, 20th day of June 2018, that a new ACC Commissioner has been appointed.

This comes amidst growing concerns over the unprocedural  and unusual “modus operandi” in which a number of public officers have been axed from their offices, including recently the Chief Immigration Officer.

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Your Excellency, as you are aware, Section 4 subsection 8 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008 lays down the procedure for the removal from office of the ACC Commissioner. For the avoidance of doubt the said section is reproduced hereunder verbatim. It reads:

The Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner shall be removed from office by the President:

(a) If the question of his removal from office has been referred to a tribunal in accordance with subsection (5) and the tribunal has recommended to the president that the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner ought to be removed from office;

(b) If his removal has been approved by a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

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In view of the said provisions, it is our considered view that while without doubt you have the authority to remove the Anti-Corruption Commissioner from office, the method employed to effect his removal as described above contravenes the provisions of the ACC Act and further engenders disregard for the rule of law.

Your Excellency, we wish to humbly remind you that respect for the rule of law is a fundamental pillar of the SLPP MANIFESTO which ushered your government into office. Paragraph 4.6 thereof under the rubric Executive Power and The Presidency reads:

“Under the New Direction, the next SLPP Government will commit itself to adhere to the rule of law and institutional reforms to maintain law and order in society. This will mean the next president will lead by example, demonstrating the necessary discipline to refrain from acting unconstitutionally and scrupulously respecting the rule of law in the best interest of national development and stability.”

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It is therefore expected that the present SLPP government will keep its promise to the people of Sierra Leone and refrain completely from engaging in any acts reminiscent of the past government’s disdain for legal provisions.

In conclusion, permit me your Excellency to reassure you of our continued vigilance in promoting the rule of law and ensuring that government remains accountable to the people.
Respectfully yours,

Signed:

Alimamy Koroma Esq. – Director of Legal Affairs

Cc:
Honorable Speaker of the House of Parliament
The Honorable Attorney Genral and Minister of Justice
Human Rights Commission
National Commission for Democracy
Diplomatic and Consular Offices
The Fourth Estate

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