Emmanuel Sahr Gbeke AND Hon. Hariyatu Bangura (002) [2019] SLHC 32 (31 May 2019);

Before the Hon. Mr. Justice Mohamed Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens J. Judgment  dated the  31st day of  May 2019

The Petitioner herein, Emmanuel Sahr Gbeke, stood as a Parliamentary Candidate for the Sierra Leone People's Party in the Jth March 2018 General/ Parliamentary Elections for Constituency 116 Western Urban District of the Republic of Sierra Leone, filed Petition dated the 24th day of April 2018 against the pt Respondent herein, Hon. Hariyatu Ariana Bangura.

The Petitioner herein avers that the pt Respondent herein being a worker of the Anti-Corruption Commission had not resigned her position from the sa id Commission and she was receiving salary

within twelve months from the Consolidat ed Fund, and nevertheless stood as a Parliamentary Candida t e in the 7th March 2018 Genera/Parliamentary Elections for the All People' s Congress and was returned by the Nat ional Returning Officer as duly elected Member of Parliament, Const it uency 116, Western Urb an.

By virtue of Section 35 of the Election Petition Rules 2007, this trial shall be conducted by Affidavit evidence.

The Affidavit in Support of the Petition, dated the 10th September

2018, the Petitioner  deposed inter alia that it came to  his knowledge






that the pt Respondent did not resign her position as an employee of the Anti-Corruption Commission twelve months prior to the General

/Parliamentary Election of 7th March 2018. The Petitioner further

deposed that the pt Respondent received salary up to the 23rd March 2018 and in this regard exhibited -ESG 8. The Petitioner further submitted GSG 10 giving official information of the pt Respondent from the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The pt Respondent on the other denied every allegation made in the said  Affidavit  of  the  Petitioner,  in  the  Affidavit  in  Opposition deposed to by herself dated the 20th September 2018 and stated that among other things that she had resigned 6th day of March 2017, and exhibited HAB 3 in that  respect.

Lead Counsel for the Petitioner, J .J Campbell Esq. made legal submission in Court in support of the Petition dated the 10th day of September 2018 deposed to by the Petitioner herein. Counsel for Petitioner briefly stated that the pt Respondent must be disqualifi ed as a Member of Parliament because she was still receivi ng salary up to the 23rd April 2018 as exhibited in ESG 8 from the Consolidated Fund contrary to Section 76 (1) (b) of the 1991 Constitution of Si erra Leone.

Lead Counsel for the pt Respondent, A Macauley Esq. also made  legal submission in support of the Affidavit in Opposition deposed to by the  pt  Respondent  herein .  According  to  A.  Macauley, they  relied on the Affidavit deposed to by the pt Respondent and all the Exhibit attached thereto  since they  are  vehemently  opposing  the Petition.

Counsel for 1st Respondent discountenance the entire exhibits in the Affidavit in Support of the Petition deposed to by the Pet it ion er as there is nothing sh owing from same that the pt Respondent was receiving salary up to April 2018. Mr A. Macauley further st at ed that the purpose of Section 76(} bis to step down a year before the Election and his client step down on the 5th March 2017. A. Macauley epitomised his objection in three area s: First, theist Respondent did


not offend Lhe provision of Sect ion 76 (l)(b) ot the 1991  Con st it ut io n. Second, The Petitioner did  not  object to  the

Candidature of thep      t Resp ondent, because under Section 63 of the Public Election Act 2012 an objection must be made by the Petitioner before 5pm on Nomination Day and you  do not  come to Court as a  first instance. The third point  is, this Court  lacks jurisdiction  to  interpret Section 76{1} {b) of the 1991as it  is case for  the  Supreme   Co urt . A. Macauley eventually requested for the matter to be transferred  to  the  Supreme Court. I however  overruled  A. Macauley for this matter to  be transferred to  the  Supreme Court  since  t his

Honourable Court has jur isdict ion to hear and determine this Petition.


Counsel for  2nd  , 3r d   and       4 ht   Respon d ents, made reference to Sect io n

63 of the Pu bl ic Election and stated the proced ure for object ion to a Parliamentary Candidat e. I w ill not lis t en to Counsel because his

clients 2nd  , 3r d ,  and       4 ht  Respondents failed to file Affidavits in reply.


Coun se l for the Petitioner cited further the case of In Re An Election Petition and In Re Rogers-Wright December 6th 1948 (Civil Case NO. 318/48, where it established by the Court that 'any lawyer or doct or currently  or  previously  debarred  from  practising  not  eligible  for election into Legislative Co u ncil' . Also the case of Alwa'u v. Yakubu (2004) 4  W.R.N . In  this case two  principle of law was established  by the Court ,  First  'no  person  shall be qualified  to  be elected a member of the House of  Assembly if  a perso n employed in the Pu b li c Service of the Federation has not resigned  or  retired from  such  employment thirt y days before the date of elect io n' . Second, an ' unreliab le  lett er

of resign at ion should not be al lo w ed to form the basis of withdrawal of service ' .

Counsels rep resent ing the pt Respondent submitted to this Court a document ent it led ' pt RESPONDENT SUBMISSION' signed by Counsel himself dated the 10th day of  May 2018.


For me the issue for determination is very clear and unambiguous.

From the evidence and exhibits cited it  is clear t hat the  1st Respondent did  resign prior to the  election.  But the  question is was it a genuine resig n at io n, for me the an sw er is in the negative. For this I reference  Exhibit ESG 8  which clearly indicates that the   pt

Resp ondent did receive salary from the Consolidated Fund up to the 23rd day of April 2018, after she has written a purported letter of resignation.  That  by itself I humbly  submit  is  a criminal Offence.

In the English case of R V. Leatham (1861) 8 Cox C.C. 498 at p. 503 regarding the adm issib il it y of evidence , it was held by the Court, "it matters  not  how  you get it,  if you steal it  even, it  would be admissible in  evidence".   I will  not  border to  ask the  Petitioner  how he got the said Exh ibit ESG 8 but to r eceive same in evidence as it qualifies the standard of admissibility of evidenc e. I also agree with theposit io n of the Court in the Alw a' u case cited above and here say that the Letter of Resig nat ion  Written by the 1st  Respondent  was a deceitful Lett er because she cont in ues to  receive salary from the

Consolidated Fund up to  the 23 rd April 2018.

The Constitution  of Sierra Leone Act  NO. 6 of 1991 is the  Supreme Law of  t his Country pursuant to Section 171(15) thereo f, and I quot e;

't his Constitution shall be the supreme law of Sierra Leone and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of  this

Constit ut ion shall, to the ext ent  of  the  incons ist ency  be void and  of

no eff ect' .

I submit humbly, if Section 63 of the Public Election Act 2012 was not complied with, has no effect in view of Section 78 (l)a of the1991 Const it ut io n of Sierra Leone, which gives jurisdiction to this Honourable Court to hear and determine persons who are validly elected as Members of Parliam ent . So, it follows, nothing can stop a claimant from contesting the election of someone returned duly elected, just after the said declaration because of the supremacy of


the Cun ::,l i t ution of Sierra Leone which do not place any limit on a claimant in that regard. If I give credence now to Section 63 of  the  Public Elect io n Act 2012, I here say 'Eq u it y would have been used as a cloak for fraud ' .

In the light of the evidence before the Court I hereby enter Ju dgment in favour of the Petitioner and I make further orders thereto, as follows:

  1. The ist Respondent has not been validly elected as a Member of Parliament for Constituency 116 Western Urban, Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone because the said Hariyatu Ariana Bangura was receiving salary up to 23rd April 2018 contrary to Sect ion 76(1) b of the 1991Constitution of Sierra Leone Act N0.6 of 1991.


This Honourable Court orders that the 7th March 2018 Genera l/ Par lia ment c!Ci of Hariyatu Ariana Bangura of the All People's Congress, Constituency 116, Western Area, is declared null and void in line with Section 78  (1) a of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991. as being a person receiving salary from the Consolidated Fund failed to resign in good faith twelve months before the 7th March 2018 General/Parliamentary  Elections

  1. This  Honourable  Court orders thep    t Respondent to pay back the monies she has been receiving as sal ary from  the  date  of  the  said  purported  resignation,  into

the Consolidated Fund immediately, otherwise is a case for  the  Anti-Corruption Commission to prosecute.

  1. Now therefore in line with the "Sierra Leone Gazette published by Authority dated Tuesday, 10th April 2018 that deals with 'Declaration of Results For The Ordinary


. ,                                                    Members of Parliament Elections held on the 7th March 2018" exhibited and marked ESG 3, the Petitioner herein, Emmanuel Sahr Gbekie of the Sierra Leone Pe ople' s Party having secured the second highest vote in the said Elections, is hereby declared Honourable Member of Parliament for Constituency 116 Western Ar ea.

  1. No order as to costs