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News Item

By Fuad Yillah
Reliable sources have told this reporter that new judges, including a new chief justice, have been appointed to the Supreme Court. This followed few weeks when the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) raised the issue with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frank Kargbo. In a letter a letter signed by the ACC Commissioner, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, the ACC raised concerns over the reluctance of the current Chief Justice, Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh, to vacate office after attaining the retirement age of 65 years. The explanation of the AG and Minister of Justice was that the Constitution did not provide a retirement age for the Chief Justice, something the ACC Commissioner challenged in a subsequent letter, stating that the AG and Minister of Justice’s assertion would appear as if the position is for life. The Commissioner also stated that the issue is one of integrity in public life as people in higher authority must be seen respecting the laws of the land.
Seasoned legal practitioner, Charles Francis Margai, in a radio programme supported the ACC position, adding that the failure by the Chief Justice to vacate the position after her retirement age has some serious legal implications and therefore urged her to quit honourably.
The Sierra Leone Bar Association, during a recent meeting, extensively discussed the issue and resolved to call on the Chief Justice to retire as provided for by the Constitution of the land.
Meanwhile, the appointment of the new judges means the Supreme Court will be fully constituted to hear cases that have to do with interpretation of the Constitution. The sources say Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh will officially retire from her position as early as next month.

Civil society activists over the weekend commended the vigilant and proactive move of the ACC. One of them while commending the ACC Commissioner in particular also pointed out that it is good that the Commissioner raised this issue as “respect for public offices should be manifested by those occupying such offices and this should be done in the interest of the country.Start writing here...