Judiciary Communications, District Council Office, Kambia District, Wednesday 18th August, 2021: Paramount Chiefs, Chiefdom authorities and other stakeholders in the administration of Local Courts have today made recommendations to the Hon. Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards in ensuring the effective and efficient implementation of the 2011 Local Courts Act.
In his recommendations, the Paramount Chief Member of Parliament of Magbema Chiefdom in Kambia District, Hon. PC Bai Farama Tass Bubu N’gbak IV, said to enhance justice delivery at local level in accordance with the Local Courts Act, there is urgent need to pay all Chairmen and other officers of the Court. He went on to recommend that those currently occupying various positions should be maintained and any other vacancy already created in some Chiefdoms should be filled by the Hon. Chief Justice in consultation with the Paramount Chiefs in the various Chiefdoms.
He also recommended for a review of the Act to make certain provisions explicitly understandable.
Earlier in Bekeh Loko Chiefdom, Pork Loko District, Ibrahim Sheriff, a Local Court Clerk recommended that the Judiciary should provide professional training for all Local Courts officers including the Chiefdom Police.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Officer from Legal Aid Board in Port Loko District, Mustapha Kallon, said excessive fines levied at the Local Courts had undermined the administration of justice, adding that, “they will even encourage both parties, that is, complainant and accused, to bet for a certain amount as to who will win. This betting system is exploitative.”
The ADR Officer therefore recommended that the team from the Judiciary and Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice should discard such system as it will always disadvantage the poor complainant or accused person.
In his presentation, the Team Leader Hon. Justice Aiah Simeon Allieu assured that all the recommendations will be submitted to the Honourable Chief Justice and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, stressing that their primary recommendation should be employment to legitimise the status of the current acting LocalCourts officers.
“I can’t conclude without telling you the unprecedented reforms under the current leadership,” said Hon. Justice Allieu, noting that in just three years the Judiciary has deployed Magistrates across every District, deployed Resident High Court Judges in places where there were no sitting Judges, conducive working environment and the enhancement of expeditious trials at all levels.
He also assured that the Act will be fully implemented with the active involvement of the Paramount Chiefs.
The Principal Legal Assistant to the Sierra Leone Government in the Law Officer’s Department, Mr. Lahai Farma, called on the Paramount Chiefs to support the implementation of the Act by using their authority to mediate and arbitrate to ensuring sustenance of peace and stability.
He cautioned them not to be exerting excessive power which will undermine the peace of the Chiefdom. He reiterated that the Act has not in anyway removed the respect and traditional authority from them.
The delegation will be in Bo and Kenema tomorrow before travelling to Kailahun District.
For more information contact the Judiciary Communications on +23234617548/78 101086/78 244739.