The former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sam Sumana has appeared in court on Friday 15th May 2015 for the first time in the matter he took for an interpretation to the Supreme Court. However, the matter could not proceed as planned because of an administrative blunder that saw lawyers for the Government not being served additional papers filed against the government by the former Vice-President.
Apparently, lawyers for the former Vice-President had prepared more allegations against the Government but they did not follow through to confirm that the lawyers for the Government had been served those additional papers of their fresh set of new allegations.
Meanwhile, supporters of the former Vice-President whom had been holding crude street demonstrations out in foreign countries, took to social media to blast the Supreme Court judges as being guilty of deliberately refusing to serve the papers due.
However, their claims were quickly debunked by legal minds who explained that on the contrary, judges have no say in who serve affidavits and papers on plaintiffs or defendants.
There was some debate as to who was supposed to serve the additional papers on the Government lawyers. Some allege that it was Sam-Sumana’s lawyers who deliberately failed to serve the papers on the government whilst others allege that the clerks working at the Supreme Court registry were supposed to have collected a monetary fee from Sam-Sumana’s lawyers in order to go and serve the government lawyers. However, it was generally agreed that contrary to the accusations of supporters of Sam-Sumana, the Supreme Court judges have done no wrong in the issue of non-service.
It can be recalled that the former Vice-President was expelled from the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) thus making him lose a continuous requirement for him to occupy the office of Vice President.As a result of failing to meet the constitutional requirements of Section 41, the Office of the Vice-President fell vacant and the former Vice-President was relieved of his duties he had purported to be continuing to do. Prior to this, as if in full knowledge that he no longer had duties to carry out, the former Vice President reportedly told journalists and the United States Embassy officials that he wanted to be offered asylum from American embassy.
However, the former Vice-President is now challenging his loss of Office. In his original papers filed, he is saying the Constitution was not correctly interpreted and so he wants the Supreme Court to declare that he is correct, the Government is wrong and he must be made back as Vice President.
The former VP has already lost the first leg of the matter in which he had asked the Supreme Court to stop the new Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, from doing his lawful duties until the court matter ended.
The former VP had asked the court for the country to be without a Vice-President. However, the Supreme Court rejected his request because the court said the country could not exist without a Vice-President. The Supreme Court had instead ordered for the main case to speedily commence on Tuesday 12th May 2015.
On that Tuesday, media reports say the former Vice-President and his lawyers had asked for an adjournment saying the former Vice-President was bereaved and could not appear in court. So the matter was adjourned to Friday 15th May 2015.
However, to the surprise of many, when the matter was called up by the Judges that Friday 15th May 2015, it was learnt that the legal team of the former Vice-President had filed additional allegations against the Government but they had not served those new papers on the government. Therefore, the judges had no option but to order for the government to be served with the new set of papers. The matter was then adjourned until Friday 22nd May 2015 when it is hoped that the additional papers will have been served on the Government lawyers.
The former Vice-President is being represented by a team led by Lawyer Blyden Jenkins-Johnston whilst the current Vice-President is being represented by a team led by Honourable Lawyer Agibola Manly-Spaine. The Attorney General who is also sued is being represented by a team headed by Lawyer Berthan Macauley (jnr.)