By Janet A. Sesay
The Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, has, on Monday 11th January, 2020, appointed twelve barristers and solicitors to serve as Notary Public and Commissioners for Oaths.
The twelve appointee notary officers include the Anti-Corruption Commission boss, Francis Ben Kaifala, deputy Minister of Justice, Umaru Napoleon Koroma, Bar Association President, Edinia Micheala Swallow, and the deputy Foreign Affairs minister, Solomon Jamiru. Others were appointed as Notary Public Officers.
The main role of a notary public officer is to verify the authenticity of legal documents and create a trustworthy environment for parties to an agreement. The legal documents must meet the minimum requirements to be notarized.
Requirements of a notary officer include stated commitment, original signatures from the parties involved in the agreement, as well as photo identification of the signatories.
A Notary Officer must be satisfied that the document meets all the requirements; he/she awards a notary certificate and appends the seal of the notary on the document. However, if a legal document does not meet the requirements or the identity of the participating parties is uncertain, a notary may refuse to authenticate the document.
Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, addressing the appointees, noted that they must serve the public with honesty. They must verify documents before they could put their stamp and signature on them.
He also admonished them that, before they sign any document, they must investigate the individual properly to ensure that his/her document is genuine, or the person produces an identification card.
He further said that he has no doubt in the profound trust of the appointed people, because most of them hold very big positions in the country and they will not fail him.
Abdul Karim Kamara, one of the appointees, thanked the Chief Justice for his profound gratitude in appointing them to serve as Notary Officers of Sierra Leone. He said, on behalf of his fellow appointees, they will ensure to uphold the highest form of integrity in performing their respective duties as Notary Public Officers.
“This is a challenge to us; much honor is also a challenge. We want to assure you that we would do everything not to disappoint the judiciary and the country of Sierra Leone,” he said.