Written by Joseph A.K Sesay
Monday, 17 September 2007 16:01
Justice Mary Sey, presiding judge of Freetown’s High Court No. 2 on Monday 17th September 2007 ruled that the Court cannot hear the injunction motion filed by counsel representing the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) because according to the judge, there was no affidavit of service. The Judge stated that the complainant have failed to follow the rules and procedures that should be used in filing a motion in the High Court of Sierra Leone pursuant to Order 18 Rule 6 of the High Court Order 2007.
The SLPP is reported to have filed the notice of motion to the High court for an injunction on Saturday 15ththth September 2007, NEC explained that both set of results were valid and that they were from the same ‘Tally Centre’. According to NEC, “the version read by the [Chairman] was a working document presented to her and other members of the Commission in preparation for the Press Briefing at 6.00pm. These results reflected 75.4% stations reported. This percentage was also quoted in the statement.” NEC continued to tally more results that led to the increase in figure. The release further stated that NEC would investigate and verify result that is between 95% and over 100% voters’ turnout. With most of the remaining votes coming from the Southern and Eastern Regions, the SLPP sought an injunction from the High court to temporarily restrain NEC from announcing the remaining result and precluding them from verifying or recounting the remaining votes until the alleged malpractices are corrected. September 2007 at the British Council during the usual press briefing on election results were different from those posted on the NEC official website. In a press release issued on the 14 September 2007 following alleged discrepancies by the National Electoral Commission and its Chairperson (NEC). The SLPP alleged that the Presidential run-off results which were announced on Thursday 13
Justice Sey informed the complainant that she had not received any affidavit of service to show that the other parties involved had been notified and as a result the Court cannot continue with the proceedings. One of the counsel representing the complainant, Dr. Bu buakei Jabbie, argued that they were operating on a limited time frame in seeking an injunction to restrain the NEC from publishing further Presidential run-off results and that the ‘high duty commitment’ of the Chairperson of the NEC has made it impossible to serve her the document relating to their motion. Others were David B. Quee esq., Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sei esq., and Easmon N.B Ngakui esq. The Court stood down the matter for recommencement at 12:00 noon and ordered that the complainant should produce affidavit of service to all parties concern including Mr. Solomon Berewa and Mr. Ernest Koroma. She also ordered that all the parties should be present at the next adjourned time.
In addition, the Court further granted the request which was earlier made by lawyer Amadu Koroma for a joinder as co-defence counsel. Mr. Koroma requested for leave to be heard in the matter and be joined as co-defence counsel together with his team comprising of M.N Kamara, L. Dumbuya, S.K Koroma, A. Fofana, A. Bakulay and Ms Kallay, all representing the All Peoples Congress ( APC) party. He said they were seeking the joinder because the APC party would be directly affected by any order(s) the Court might grant. Mr. Reginald King represented the NEC and its Chairperson.
Upon reconvening at 12:00 noon, Justice Sey informed the Court that no affidavit of service had reached her office. Counsel for the complainant responded that they cannot perform the orders of the Court because they cannot reach the individuals because of the present political situation and the subsequent announcement of the winner of the 2007 Presidential run-off elections. Counsel for the APC party reacted by saying no reasonable reason have been given by the counsel for the complainant for failing to perform the orders of the Court. He also suggested that this should be tantamount to contempt of court and submitted that the matter be dismissed. He advised the complainant that the Electoral Act 2002 makes provision for any party who is aggrieved with the outcome of any electoral result to seek redress in the Supreme Court of judicature.
The matter was accordingly dismissed for lack of court procedures. The presiding judge informed the Court that she does not have the jurisdiction to stop the NEC from announcing the Presidential run-off result as the motion made by the SLPP was not properly filed and such motion cannot be moved. Furthermore, she stated that it was the constitutional responsibility of the NEC to count and announce the result of the Presidential run-off election. She ended by informing counsel that notice would be sent to them.
With the dismissal of the SLPP’s petition which sort the High Court to restrain the NEC from counting and announcing the remaining ballot votes and corresponding results because according to them there were alleged discrepancies, the only alternative left for them is to seek redress either at the Supreme Court or the Electoral Court which was set up to address electoral issues. The stare in judicio are the Sierra Leone Peoples Party as the plaintiff and the NEC and Christian Thorpe as the defendant.