Controversy looms over the dismissal of the Anti Corruption Commissioner Ady Macaulay. Some call it a political witch-hunt from the opposition angle and the government put it safe as not feeling comfortable working with people not committed to the philosophy of the new direction.
The new direction is the people’s manifesto the Sierra Leone People’s Party coined inclusive of strategies inline with governance and political agendas. Ady Macaulay is considered an APC appointee in the reign of former President Ernest Bai Koroma. Given the circumstance of his dismissal the legal instrument is put on the crossroad.
Now, one of of the questions put forward by a legal luminary and civil right activists Ibrahim Tommy reads “Is it the case that the text on security of tenure of ACC Commissioners under the original ACC law was watered down in the 2008 Act?
Here’s the ORIGINAL version on the tenure of Commissioners under the ACC Act 2000:
(5) A member of the Commission may resign his office by written notice to the President and may be removed from office but only for inability to perform the functions of his office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or for stated misconduct.
(6) The statement of misconduct referred to in subsection (5) shall be addressed to a tribunal appointed by the President, adapting for that purpose, the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (5) of section 137 of the Constitution; and subsections (6) and (7) of that section shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to the removal of any member of the Commission.
(7) In the absence of the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner shall have power to perform all the functions of the Commissioner.
In the 2008 version, the text was significantly changed to somewhat undermine the security of the Commissioners or at least create the possibility for the current controversy by the introduction of the “If” clause. Why was the original text amended?
(4) The Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner, may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or for stated misconduct.
(5) IF it is represented to the President that the question of removing the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner under subsection (4) OUGHT to be investigated then the President shall appoint a tribunal which shall consist of a chairman and two other members all of whom shall be persons qualified to hold or have held office as Justices of the Court of Appeal;
(6) The Tribunal shall enquire into the matter in accordance with such procedures as it may determine and shall, not later than three months after its appointment, report on the facts thereof and the findings thereon to the President and recommend to him whether the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner, as the case may be ought to be
removed from office.
(8) The Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner shall be removed from office by the President-
(a) IF the question of his removal from office has been referred to a tribunal in accordance with subsection (5) and the tribunal has recommended to the President that the
Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner ought to be removed from office; and
(b) if his removal has been approved by a two-thirds
majority in Parliament.
It’s unending as the debate heads taking different loop fronts. What is certain now is that the SLPP government is poised to clean up the system of people not suitable within their style and scope of work. The opposition on the other hand are making a score card against the backdrop the constitutional order and the seeming contravention of some of its dictates by the new direction.