Margai’s View On The Commission of Inquiry
According to one of the outstanding Legal Luminaries, Lawyer Charles Francis Margai (in photo), Section 149 of the Commission of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991 provides for the setting up of Commission of Inquiry. The two instances whereby Commissions of Inquiry could be set up are:-
S.147 (1) (a) – where the cabinet advises that it is in the public interest so to do; OR
Parliament by resolution passed in that behalf requires that a Commission be appointed to inquire into any matter specified in the resolution being a matter of public importance.
He went on further to state that, in either case, it is the president who shall by constitutional instrument appoint such a Commission of Inquiry into any matter of public interest as aforesaid. “The use of the words: by constitutional instrument, is significant .Significant in the sense that, ought the Constitutional to Instrument to accommodate debate by members of Parliament?
The answer to the above question lies in an interpretation to be given by the Supreme Court pursuant to Sections 124(1) (a) of the constitution of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991, OR the president could seek judicial clarity under the proviso to section 122(1) of Act No.6 of 1999 on the need or otherwise for a parliamentary debate to take place where the president exercises authority under section 147(1)(a) ibid”. Gesticulated Margai.
In another careful presentation, he said and I quote “Without being presumptuous, I opine that Section147 (1) (a) OR (b) does not envisage a debate, more so subsection (a). As to who should preside as chair of any Commission of Inquiry, I would only caution that Mr. President takes cognizance when deciding, of the following:-Integrity, Sovereignty, fairness and nationalism.
This brings me to the question of the period that is to be covered by the commission. It is my humble submission that to negate any allegation of a witch hunt, the Commission should investigate activities spanning from April, 2002 to April, 2018. It is ill advised for individuals to be named to face the intended Commissions of Inquiry, suffice it to name institutions to be investigated and by extension, occupants of those institutions”.
By: Allieu Badara Kamara
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