Speaker… Hon. Dr Abass Bundu
Even though officially it is on recess, two Statutory Instruments laid before it for the setting up Commissions of Enquiry to investigate alleged corruption involving past government officials is currently rocking parliament as Members of Parliament from both the ruling SLPP and main opposition APC battle it out.
On August 3, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General laid before parliament two Constitutional Instruments that should pave the way for the setting up of two separate commissions of inquiry.
According to some concerned Members of Parliament representing APC, the Statutory Instruments were laid before the House on the eve of parliament proceeding on recess.
The Statutory Instruments were tabled in Parliament after the Government Transition Team Report revealed damming allegations of corruption by officials of the former APC government.
Among the recommendations made by the Team is for the setting up of a Commission of Enquiry to unravel how billions of Leones was either allegedly misappropriated or squandered by officials of the past regime.
It is as a result of the aforementioned that Hon. Daniel Koroma of the APC representing Constituency 46 and Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah have challenged the manner in which the said Constitutional Instruments were laid before Parliament.
In an attempt to announce that he intends filing a Notice of Motion for the Statutory Instrument to be debated within 21 days before it is passed into law, Hon. Daniel Koroma denied ever using a wrong Standing Order (SO) to make his point known to the Hon. Speaker and colleagues Members of Parliament.
According to reports, at the time, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Chernor Abass Bundu, dismissed Hon. Koroma’s attempt to announce his intention to file the said Notice, because he used the wrong Standing Order to do so.
In his response, the Clark of Parliament, Hon. Paran Tarawally, said as head of Administration and Principal Adviser to the Speaker, he knows that by law, once the Speaker has declared an issue close nobody has the authority to challenge or question his decision.
On the issue of whether the Constitutional Instruments were gazetted or not, he confirmed that government decided on using the Extraordinary System of gazette for a day instead of the Ordinary way, while stressing that the Instrument had all what it takes to be legally laid in Parliament.
On the issue of the 21 days, the Instruments have to be laid in Parliament before becoming laws, Hon. Paran said technically, it has qualified to be enacted into law but however maintained that it is only the Speaker of Parliament who can give him the permission to issue a Certificate of Approval to the Statutory Constitutional Instruments to become laws.
On the hullaballoo surrounding the issue for MPs to debate the bill, Hon Paran, said whether it is debated or not the Instrument is bound to become law as presented, adding that the only way it can be stifled is for Parliament to secure a two-third majority vote, which is a total of about 98 MPs to throw it out.
He said it is practically impossible for that to happen because no single party in Parliament commands such majority.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of APC, Ambassador Foday Osman Yansaneh, has said the party is putting papers together to seek for a constitutional interpretation on the matter from the Supreme Court.