By Alpha Kamara
The Sierra Leone government on Monday rejected the ECOWAS court verdict on the case between the sacked vice president, Samuel Sam-Sumana and the state.
The Abuja-based judicial organ of the Economic Community of West African States on Monday morning ruled that the sacking of Sam-Sumana in 2015 was illegal, Nigerian broadcaster NTV reported. The court also ordered that he be paid all his outstanding salary and emoluments since his dismissal by President Ernest Bai Koroma.
In response, Sierra Leone’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara issued a statement refusing the ECOWAS court verdict.
"While we await the full correspondence from the ECOWAS court on the verdict, our office wishes to reiterate its legal position that the ECOWAS court lacks competence and jurisdiction over the aforementioned matter," the statement said.
"The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone did rule on the above matter and therefore no other court is competent to overrule it except by itself. Therefore, the Government of Sierra Leone refused to participate in the proceedings and does not accept nor recognize the ECOWAS court in respect of the said judgment," it added.
Just after the verdict was announced in the morning, the former vice president said his victory meant a lot for the people of Sierra Leone who elected him.
"I will continue to follow the legal procedures and will contest the next presidential elections under a new party," he told journalists outside the court in the Nigerian capital, NTV reported.
Samuel Sam-Sumana was sacked by President Koroma on Sept. 15, 2015 for allegedly creating political violence in his home district of Kono in the east, and abandoning his duties as VP. His dismissal came a day after he sought asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.
On Feb. 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone ruled that the president had the supreme authority to sack the vice president, who then took the matter to the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
This is the third time Sierra Leone is facing the ECOWAS court. The current government paid Lebanese businessman Mohamed Wanza $25 million after he sued the government for failing to pay for a gunboat he supplied for the military junta during the war in the 90s. A police officer also sued the government for $250,000 in damages after he was dismissed.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.