By Ragan M. Conteh
Justices Komba Kamanda and Momoh Jah Stevens yesterday narrowly received Parliamentary approval, after facing several bashing especially from the main opposition All People’s Congress Party Members of Parliament.
The atmosphere in the Well of Parliament was very much militant during the confirmation of Presidential nominees who were announced by appointment and Public Service Committee.
In his submission, in the Well of Parliament, the Leader of Opposition APC, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah, said the two Justices’ names are not in the Legal register of the Bar and that both of them are not fit to sit on the Court of Appeal. He also added that both of them have not served the bar for a period of at least twenty years plus, which make them ineligible for appointment to the Appeal Court.
He however raised a motion that Parliament can approve the six nominees out of eight with the exception of Justices Komba Kamanda and Momoh Jah Stevens.
In his submission, the ruling SLPP Member of Parliament representing Constituency 132, Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, said the two were appointed by the former APC regime as High Court Judges and that the current Parliament is just working to promote the legacies of the former APC regime.
He recalled when two of their colleagues MPs were ruled against by the same Justices, and that President Julius Maada Bio did not make a mistake in appointing Justices Kamanda and Momoh Jah Steven as Appeal Court Judges, respectively.
The Opposition Member of Parliament representing Constituency 077, Hon. Abdul Kargbo, said whatever a man does now will always reflect tomorrow. He however said the constitution is clear about the fundamental independence and impartiality of the justice system, adding that the constitution is sacrosanct and natural justice must be respected, which is the hallmark of the democracy.
The Independent Member of Parliament, Hon. Shiaka Samai, said one of the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is the dispensation of justice without fear or favour. He added that the injustices are clearly stated in the TRC report as the root cause of the Civil War in Sierra Leone.
The Deputy Leader in Parliament, Hon. Bashiru Sillikie, said the two nominees were appointed by the former regime and their approval should not be a barrier to approve them in their new position.
The Leader of Government Business, Hon. Matthew Sahr Nyuma, said they should go through the appointment letters of the former APC regime to make them have a way in going around their new appointment as Appeal Court Judges.
He said whatever happened was inherited and the issue of the appointment should not be an issue to stall the approval of the Presidential nominees.
At the end of the sitting, two motions were raised by the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Matthew Sahr Nyuma, who said that all the appointees are eligible and they should be approved. But the APC Opposition Leader, Hon. Chernoh Maju Bah, raised the minority motion that, Justices Komba Kamanda and Momoh Jah Steven are not qualified to be Appeal Court Judges.
However, the opposition APC ended up voting against the two Justices, while ruling MPs, NGC, C4C, Independent MPs and Paramount Chiefs Members of Parliament voted in favour of Justices Komba Kamanda and Momoh Jah Stevens.