NEC’S spokesman and SLPP activist, Massaquoi continues to speak contrary to the Hight Court order dated on the 26th of March, 2018. This order required NEC to have a 100% manual counting. Manual counting means at every stage in the counting, collation and documentation of ballot casted, NEC has to record results in paper form, witnessed by all parties concerned and copies provided. The order for a manual counting means NEC must never use computer or other electronic device in the process, not even simple calculators. Computers can only be used after the winner is decleared.
Our Presidential Candidate, Dr Samura Kamara and our Honourable Attorney General, JFK must ensure that the High Court Order is implemented to the fullest. Winning the election on Saturday will depend on ensuring that NEC staff comply with the High Court order without any exception.
Ibrahim Badamasi Kamara, Quebec, Canada
SO WHAT HAPPENED AT SUPREME COURT TODAY MARCH 28TH?*
Basically the Supreme Court has told NEC that if NEC feels they have a Case, let them go back to the High Court and beg the High Court judge to re-open the file and listen to any counter arguments which NEC may have against the brilliant submission of Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie Koroma!
It can be recalled that NEC had defiantly refused to file a defense to the Case at High Court level under a misguided claim that High Court has no power over NEC.
So what Supreme Court is simply saying is that NEC should learn to respect all Judges of the Courts!
It also came out clearly in the Notes of *Hon. Justice N.C. Browne Marke,* the presiding judge, that it is only this morning of March 28th that NEC took a hurriedly prepared application to Supreme Court.
So all the talk of NEC PRO Albert Massaquoi on FM98.1 yesterday March 27th during which he claimed that NEC had gone to Supreme Court to overturn March 26th Orders were not true. He was not saying the truth. _*Na me buddy so ar nor go call am LIE-MAN*_ but clearly he was not saying the truth on radio!✋😄
For my part, I hope the High Court judge the Honourable Justice Mansaray, will be magnanimous, re-open the Case, listen to whatever arguments that NEC may have that makes them want to go against the Constitution and break the Law and give a Ruling in the interest of upholding the Law.
I also pray that the High Court judge will magnanimously overlook the recent tomfoolery of certain persons and so not hold anyone at NEC for contempt!
Bottomline, as at present, the precious and lovely *Orders* of Justice Mansaray as prayed for by the superbly brilliant Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie Koroma, for NEC to obey Public Elections Act, especially Section 94, stands!
Come Saturday, we expect Manual, Non-electronic transmission of results *tallied at District Levels*. Simple!
Thanks for attention and feel free to share.
*Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, OOR*
Wednesday 28th March 2018.
NEC LAWYERS DISGRACED BY JUSTICE BROWNE-MARKE & CO*
*_By Sheka Tarawalie (Shekito)*_
It was a moment of shame for Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) when its lawyers got some handful of schooling at the hands of Supreme Court Justice N C Browne-Marke and his colleagues over a matter the said lawyers brought before the highest court in the land.
The ruling was very swift, short and sweet (not less for the compact nature of the language that even left some other luminaries guessing for meanings and groping for interpretation).
It was simple to understand though – even by many a layman.
Now, let’s do it step by step:
THE CASE AS DETERMINED BY THE SUPREME COURT ON WEDNESDAY 28TH MARCH 2018
a) According to the court papers, the case before the Supreme Court was in relation to, among others, “Section 125 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone” seeking a “judicial review of the ruling of the Hon Justice Abdul Rahman Mansaray dated 24th March 2018” and a “judicial review of the interim order of the Hon Justice Abdul Rahman Mansaray…”
b) For ‘Presiding Justice,’ the court papers stated that the application was made on “the 26th day of March 2018 filed on behalf of the applicants herein having come up for hearing today [28th March] before the Honourable Mr Justice N C Browne-Marke, Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honourable Mr Justice E E Roberts, Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Hon Ms Justice Glenna Thompson, Justice of the Supreme Court…”
c) And now to the proceedings as certified and delivered by the Court in summary: (1) NEC solicitors filed three documents via an affidavit sworn on the very 28th March; (2) Based on respondent’s lawyer’s submission (that is Lansana Dumbuya, lawyer for Ibrahim Sorie Koroma), the NEC lawyers should have served the amended documents to the respondent on the 27th March for a case scheduled to be heard on the 28th March to provide time for a response in court; (3) and this I would rather quote verbatim, “In the circumstances the hearing cannot continue. Adjourned to 5th April 2018;” (4) NEC lawyer being obviously confused by the Supreme Court decision, decided to enquire about the orders made by the High Court. The Supreme Court’s response was succinct: “ask for the file to be recalled so that respondent’s application could be argued. No argument was heard in lower court”; and (5) “Adj to 5th April 2018.
NOW TO MY INTERPRETATTION
There’s no doubt that the Supreme Court knew the case before it was about the ruling /orders of the High Court delivered by Justice Mansaray with regards the presidential run-off elections, and that NEC was seeking to ‘quash’ at least some parts of the ruling/orders. (Pleas note that the original application at the Supreme Court was filed in relation to the interim injunction of the 24th March; which means it was done in the morning of 26th March before Justice Mansaray lifted the injunction in the afternoon of the same day with its attendant orders. This would be the reason why NEC lawyers had to submit additional documents/affidavit on the 28th – which they could have done on the 27th – to capture the latest developments of the case).
NEC lawyers however did not follow the right procedures of serving any other additional documents /affidavit to the respondent at least a day before the substantive hearing. The Supreme Court therefore had no alternative but to adjourn the matter until NEC lawyers do the right thing prior to the next adjourned date. Basically that was where in reality the Supreme Court proceedings on the matter ended. What we know about court-room etiquette from a layman’s point of view is that, the moment a case is adjourned to an announced date, it means proceedings on such a matter are ended for that moment until the adjourned date.
The Supreme Court therefore bent over backwards and did a favour to the NEC lawyers by entertaining any further enquiry relating to the matter. And, thank God, the Justices made it clear in the prefacing phrase, “After adjourned date announced, Mr. Drucil Taylor enquires…”
In other words, it was through the Supreme Court’s magnanimity that we had points (4) and (5) in the certified court papers. Therefore, any lawyer going about saying the Supreme Court has quashed the ruling/orders of the High Court perhaps needs some refresher course at Law School.
The fact is that the Supreme Court did not even want to talk about the issue the moment the honourable Justices realised that the NEC lawyers had not served the documents to Lansana Dumbuya the previous day, and therefore immediately adjourned – meaning that what the High Court ruled/ordered, as administered by the Master & Register, has not been deliberated upon, not to talk about being set aside or quashed.
For the Supreme Court to have noted that ‘No argument was heard in lower court’ was just a way of noting what NEC lawyers had presented to it and which can be used as the basis to approach the High Court for the “file to be recalled so that respondent’s application could be argued.”
Note ‘could’ as a conditional word here to be interpreted as ‘may’ – in other words, “so that respondent’s application MAY be argued’. This is so because the learned Justices were very well aware that the High Court had made a ruling, for which the Supreme Court was being asked to do a judicial review; but due to the procedural blunders of the NEC lawyers, the proceedings could not go on today 28th March. And if the NEC lawyers were asking about the High Court ruling and its attendant orders, knowing full well that the Supreme Court had already adjourned to 5th April (when in fact the orders of the High Court are to be applied on the runoff elections slated for 31st March), that’s why the Supreme Court was generous enough to advise the NEC lawyers to re-approach the High Court. That means they have only today and tomorrow to do that and see – maybe the High Court would be sympathetic to listen to them. If not, with Friday being a holiday and Saturday being ‘runoff day’, the orders stand as ordered by the High Court!
If the Supreme Court were not generous enough, perhaps Drucil Taylor of NEC would not have been allowed to say anything after the Court had adjourned, or he would have just been reminded that “the court stands adjourned” with no specific answer to his enquiries.
But the Supreme Court did its best to be motherly.
NEC IN A CONUNDRUM
But here’s the conundrum for NEC and its lawyers. Would they be bold enough to approach Justice Mansaray vis-à-vis the timeframe and orders for holding the elections? If NEC wants to do that, they would risk another injunction on the conduct of the elections, meaning they would have to ask for postponement again.
And since they are apparently so desperate to quash certain sections of the High Court ruling and seem to be reluctant to go on with the elections without those quash orders, all we do is to sit and wait. If they don’t go, then they have to abide by the High Court orders of counting and tallying manually without electronic transfer from the polling station to the district level to the regional level to national headquarters.
Remember, when given the opportunity to argue their case before the High Court, NEC lawyers disregarded it and stood on their challenge of the jurisdiction of the court. Even when Justice Mansaray had ruled that his court had unlimited jurisdiction on the matter, NEC still stood its ground on jurisdictional objection without arguing the substantive case and then asking for an application at the Supreme Court, which was why Mansaray J slammed an interim injunction on Saturday 24th March. Justice Mansaray granted their request and noted on Monday 26th March that indeed the NEC lawyers had filed at the Supreme Court earlier on the same Monday 26th March, for which he lifted the injunction but went ahead to give his ruling/orders regarding the origination motion dated 21st March 2018 by lawyer Lansana Dumbuya representing Ibrahim Sorie Koroma – an originating motion that was served on NEC lawyers, but which they deliberately refused to respond to apparently because they did not recognise the jurisdiction of the High Court.
So now, taking into consideration the Supreme Court’s advice with regards NEC’s Drucil Taylor’s enquiries as to what happens to the orders of the High Court, what would they tell Justice Mansaray if they decide to follow the advice and “recall” the file for an argument when in fact they had blown away the first opportunity by not recognising the High Court’s jurisdiction?
Many people in Sierra Leone will call this a ‘bone nar throat’ situation for NEC and its lawyers, who were apparently disgraced by the Supreme Court!